Last night, all the necessary celestial bodies aligned to create a rather rare total lunar eclipse. With the normal light blocked by the Earth, the Moon turns a red color, earning it the name Blood Moon.
So why does the Moon turn red during an eclipse? The Moon turns red for the same reason we see such brilliant colors at sunset. As the sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, the light is separated into its different wavelengths much like a prism. Once the Moon is behind that shadow of Earth, the much dimmer scattered light becomes the primary light hitting the surface, giving it a red hue.
When the eclipse is occurring, you need to use a much longer exposure in order to capture the detail of the Moon, so I used a roughly one and a half-second exposure during totality. This longer exposure also makes the stars in the background stand out, allowing for some spectacular shots.
Blood Moon pictures
Getting detailed photographs of the Moon requires a rather long lens, much like photographing rocket launches does. For the up-close photographs of the Moon, Jared Locke and myself were using Sigma 150-600mm lenses, while Jared Sanders was using a Sony 200-600 G
For the wider photographs, including the clouds and Stars around the Moon, Jared Locke switched over to a Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 lens to get extra light.
Total Lunar eclipse composite images
Composite images let the photographer show the progression of the Moon over time in one image. Take a look at Jared‘s composite of the full Moon being covered by Earth’s shadow during the Eclipse:
For my primary composite shot, I wanted to have a local park in the foreground to show it as if the Moon was moving across the sky.
It wasn’t just us four that hoped to capture the Lunar Eclipse, but cloud cover limited visibility for our team member Seth Kurkowski, who had to take a bit more creative a look…
This time the total eclipse was timed well for the Americas, and there will be another total Lunar eclipse later this year. That eclipse will be best viewed on the west coast of America, as it will be occurring as the Moon sets on the East coast. It will be on November 8, 2022, so if it was cloudy for you this eclipse, it is definitely worth making note of on your calendar.