Thursday, February 21, 2008

Looney Eclipse

By now you have no doubt been able to view countless photos of last night's lunar eclipse and it would not surprise me to know the quality of most of those photos is far superior to what you see here. Well, that's as it should be, given the way it all came down in this neck of the woods.

See, first of all, I didn't even know there was an eclipse event scheduled. For one thing, I don't do television and for another thing, it just happened that I spent practically zilch-zero time on the Internet yesterday so the whole eclipse gig slipped through the cracks, at least as far as my attention was concerned. If youngest dotter Patti had not called me just when it was starting, I wouldn't have known about it at all.

That's too bad because, had I known sooner, I could have done some concentrated cramming on the fine art of moon/night photography and set up my tripod and all that good stuff. I coulda been a conTENduh. Yeah.

As it was, I stumbled through a few dozen shots from the balcony out front, bracing the camera on top of the railing and setting the mode dial to Night. No time to figure out manual exposure controls, which would have worked better had I only known what to do. If anyone in the cars going by below had happened to look up, I'm sure they would have thought I was taking clandestine pictures of my neighbors across the highway. Which means they will not only think I am a poster child for the nosy liddle ol' leddy category, they'll be wondering what the neighbors are doing that is so juicy.

In spite of my lack of preparedness, I did manage to score this one barely decent shot just before full eclipse. In my particular location, the eclipse was already well underway before the moon finally popped up over the hill to the east of me. In fact, that's why the pattern on the face of the moon looks so strange. What you are seeing is the silhouette of the trees crowning the hill because the lunar orb had not yet cleared them.

I learned a few things. I learned the zoom lens is extremely helpful for moon shots. I learned I should have really, really, REALLY set up the tripod. I learned this was most definitely one of those times when a working knowledge of shutter and aperture settings would have probably been better for my purposes than any of the mode settings. I learned I should not have quit trying so soon -- the next total lunar eclipse won't be for a couple more years. I would have had time to set up the tripod and snap more photos when the moon started coming out of the shadow. Wasted that opportunity, that's what. Durn it.

Most of all, I learned -- once again -- I have an awful lot to learn.

Which, when you think about it, is a Good Thang. If you already knew everything, what would you have to look forward to? Please do not point out the fallacy in that argument. I'm trying to console myself.


The Old Guy said...

Consolation? You have support from one writer who is older than the moon: " is impossible for anyone to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows." - Epictetus

Bonnie said...

Well my dear you got a much better shot than I did. In fact I didn't get one as my eyes kept blurring watching the clouds move over the moon. Plus I know my zoom isn't worth a hoot.

Anonymous said...

That is one splendid shot, Dee. This eclipse happened while I was sound asleep in my little bed so I'm rather pleased with your picture. It's as if the crowd of us have eyes all over the planet?

John B.

Maggie said...

It was cloudy here, followed by rain in the morning. I can guarantee that wherever I am in Dec 2010 (don't know the date) when the next lunar eclipse happens it will be cloudy or raining or snowing or foggy. Every single interesting astronomical happening has been behind clouds for me this and last year, and most of the time before that too. Grrrrrrr!!!

Well done on your picture!

Hugs from Liverpool

Dee said...

Ah, Bill. Thank you for that quote. It is cool consolation indeed.

Bonnie, don't worry too much about your zoom. Do some Google hunting on makeshift zoom lenses. I know some folks have had success with holding binocular lenses in front of their digicam lenses and there are all kinds of "hacks" described to do that. I think a tripod or a tripod-like foundation would be essential, though.

Dee said...

Oh, wow! While I was writing the previous, more posts have come in. What fun!

John, you've put your finger on it -- we DO have eyes all over the world. Isn't it grand?!!

Maggie, I really do understand what you mean. Much the same thing happens here, what with rain and such. But sometimes I get lucky. (grin) We'll just have to project some good mojo for ourselves for the 2010 event, right? Right!

Jo said...

We had excellent skies for our viewing here in Ohio and very cold conditions--13 F. Bill took a peek but didn't want to go outside. My 3rd oldest son and I stood on the porch for 10 minutes while the earth closed the gap on the moon and then we stayed another 10 to see if the other side would start peeping through but it didn't. We couldn't stand the cold any longer and went in.

Wendy said...

Dee, like John, I missed the thing as a result of sleeping. Yours is the first picture I've seen and I like it quite well. The trees add quite a nice spooky to the whole effect.

Dee said...

Jo, I understand the eclipse lasted something like an hour (I may be wrong) so you'd have been an ice cream bar had you stayed outside for the whole show!

Thanks, Wendy. It IS rather atmospheric, isn't it. I hadn't thought of that.

~ Sil in Corea said...

Really great picture, Dee!

I'm on the wrong side of the world for this one. It happened during our daytime, musta been about 3 p.m., I guess. We're about 17 hours ahead of you.

Hugs from Asia,
~ Sil

Mage And George said...

You saw more than we did here. It's great just as it is, and we will enjoy your photography as you learn. Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Ah Dee - I really love your photograph! I've seen quite a few, but I really like the way yours looks.

Sadly, I don't have a new camera yet. Soon. I did see part of the eclipse, but the rest of it had to go on without me, as I was too tired to stay up and watch.


Dee said...

Sil, we need to check. I'll bet there's an upcoming lunar eclipse viewable from your side of the globe. Then you can watch and inform us.

Mage, I just lucked out with the viewing -- it was completely overcast on the western side of the sky!

Kate, darn! Sorry about the holdup on the new camera. Do let me know when it arrives because I'm excited for you.