Photos of last week: The lunar eclipse

The blood moon

Better late than never, right?

It’s now almost a year since I bought my new DSLR. The Pentax K 70 is supposed to be good for night photography, but I haven’t done nearly as much of it as I wanted. It seems like almost every night, either I’ve been exhausted, or I’ve had to get up early, or there’s been high clouds or Sahara dust. So I made an extra effort to go and photograph the lunar eclipse. I knew I hadn’t put the practice in to get excellent results, but there won’t be another until January next year, and that will be at 4 am in the Canary Islands. So I headed off to Montaña de La Breña.

The lunar eclipse, Mars and street lights

This is much better than the photo I took of the previous lunar eclipse, but it’s still a bit blurred because the moon moved during the exposure.

This camera has a feature where you can take several photos and then stack them, to reduce blur. You can even tell it to keep the stars sharp in spite of the earth’s rotation. I had trouble getting this to work – taking the photos took forever, and then it never seemed to stop processing.

After the third attempt the penny dropped. That’s pretty intensive processing the camera has to do. Maybe it’s supposed to take a long time? The total lunar eclipse was over, so I took another set of photos of the Milky Way and teh constellation Scorpio, then packed up while the camera processed, drove off with the camera still processing, and found it was still processing when I got home. It must have been 20 minutes processing in total, but I’m very happy with the results for my first try. So obviously it works, but I need to prqctise lots more and plan carefully before I use it.

The Milky Way and Scorpio

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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