Super Blue Blood Moon

I guess this has been making enough news for me to not have to explain what it is. I had been planning for a while as to how to shoot this. I had a longer lens now, so one option was to just point at the moon at the longest pipe length I had and shoot it.

The other, more tempting option was to take photos of smaller moons and then do a composite of the way it unfolded.

Around 6 PM I had set up the tripod and the longest 150-600mm lens on it. There was nothing for close to an hour. The only interesting thing was a pair of Oriental White-eyes on the neighbouring tree. But the light only yielded a couple of out of focus images.

I was on the call with A who had set himself up at Ullal Lake and eventually managed to see a dull red moon pop out of the light pollution, before being kicked out of the lake premises. Bangalore lakes get locked out at 7 PM.

Around 7:10 I eventually noticed the dull red moon. It wasn’t easy to shoot as there wasn’t much light coming from it. The best option would be to down the shutter speed, but even at 1 sec, the moon appears shaken. It’s a large object unlike smaller stars. However I had missed the eclipse happening. This was expected. The goal was now to get the eclipse unravelling the moon.

So I stuck to the original plan and kept shooting at 3-4 mins interval. After a while, around the time the eclipse started clearing, one side of the moon started brightening up. I realised the pointlessness of a large lens and got the smaller 18-200 hooked up and at a length of 170mm. This got me better range with the aperture and was easier to handle. The moon however became a bit bigger from the earlier pics.

But I stuck to this for the next 1.5 hours and managed to get around 30 pics. Of this 23 were useful and the remaining were variants of one or the other of them.

The trickier part was compositing the pics. Initially I tried compositing with the RAW files. This took a lot of time, each addition taking close to a minute. I also ended up with 2 files, one for the red moon and the other for the unravelling moon.

My lack of planning also can be seen in the second one.

The next day I tried putting all of them in one pic. This went well and took me close to an hour, but eventually the program crashed.Seeing the pain I was causing the CPU with RAW files, I wrote all the valid moon pics out as JPEGs and then set about compositing them. I realised that this was what I should have done in the first place. It was a fast and snappy experience to composite on JPEGs.Anyway, here’s the final output of it. One pic to show them all.

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Super Moon 2016

You probably would’ve heard of the super moon. Supposed to be the largest and the closest in 70 years with the next occurrence in 2034. To be honest, to the naked eye it did not look any greater than the normal ones, but it felt brighter than usual for sure.

Either way, it gave me an excuse to pull out the camera and point it at the Moon. I started the series a week ago, taking photos every day to complete the waxing of the moon from the halfway point to be a full one.

It started with this.

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Every evening gave me good cloudless pics. The full moon one though, was initially obscured in clouds.

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They eventually let up and let me enjoy the proper full moon. Now, a couple of hours later, there’s no sign of any clouds. The moon is shining nice and bright.

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This is the transition in slideshow format:

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Different photographs have different settings. It was also a lesson in parallel for me, learning my camera and what works and doesn’t.

For all of them, barring the first one, the focal length was 300mm, the aperture was 11.0. The shutter speed varied between 1/60, 1/80, 1/100 and 1/125 and the ISO settings changed from ISO 100 initially to ISO 200 at the end. You can see details of each photo in the flickr album. Best to watch it as a slideshow:

Super Moon - Nov 2016