I hope you were able to see the lunar eclipse last Wednesday. It was quite a show in Central Florida.
I used my Nikon D80 with a 70 – 300 VR zoom on a tripod in the driveway to make these photos.
It was quite cloudy at the beginning, but fortunately turned perfectly clear during totality. This first photo was made early as the earth’s shadow started to move across the moon.
The three photos posted here are all croped versions of larger files. 300mm is not quite enough lens to get full frame magnification. I had thought about trying to make some photos through my telescope, but I don’t have a camera adapter for it and didn’t want to try to hand hold an exposure. I used the spot meter mode in the camera and bracketed +/- one stop. The one stop underexposure was the best choice (as you might guess), since the meter coverage is a bit larger than the moon was in the sensor. I used both ISO 100 and 400. During totality, ISO 400 helped to reduce the exposure time and improved sharpness. I also played with turning the lens Vibration Reduction on and off , but I couldn’t see any difference in the results – which is good. I’ve noticed that the image stabilization in my Canon G9 will actually make a photo worse if left on when the camera is on a tripod.
The next photo was made during totality.
Finally, the last photo was made using a wider angle setting to also capture Saturn (lower left) and Regulus (above), which were especially impressive.
I have posted a few more of my eclipse photos here.
If you ever travel through Dulles International, it is well worth scheduling yourself in early or out late so you can take a short side trip. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center annex of the National Air and Space Museum is located a few minutes south of the airport. You can take a shuttle to and from the airport, or follow Highway 28 (the first exit as you leave the airport) south until you see the sign. It only takes 10 – 15 minutes to get there from the airport. Entrance to the museum is free, but parking is $12, so take a few friends (all in one car).
The Smithsonian needed additional space to display items that they don’t have room for at the downtown Washington, D.C. location. This is very good news for traveling photographers. For a small investment of time (2 – 3 hours) you can see a lot of aviation and space history. They have Wright Brother flyers (click on the photo above for a larger version), an SR-71, a Concorde, the Space Shuttle Enterprise, The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer and much more. Some of these items are beautiful, and all are historic.
Equipment: I took my Canon G9, which did very well. You’ll mostly want a wide angle lens for the interior shots – these things are big and you can get close to most of them. The light is pretty dim, so use a fast lens and plan on at least bracing your camera for longer exposures as I did. Flash won’t be too effective due to the distance involved.