Low-No Light Project, Winter 15/16 - markhumpage
Lunar Eclipse Montage

Lunar Eclipse Montage

The fantastic Lunar Eclipse on 28 September 2015. This is a montage of the eclipse commencing from penumbral (when the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of the Earth's shadow) through partial and to full total eclipse (when Earth's shadow blocks the direct light from the Sun reaching the Moon's surface). The event occurred just after midnight running through to just before 0300hrs.....It was a long challenging Low light subject night!

There was a fair bit of planning involved to watch and capture this rare old event. Firstly I closely monitored the local weather forecast, which fortunately was generally clear over most UK, except for localised low cloud areas & mist. The optimum clear sky forecast took me to South Wales (I chose Nash Point lighthouse). Over 3 hrs drive I arrived ay my destination. I set up 2 camera stations - one for a wide angle shot to include the lighthouse & the other on a full focal length zoom - the subject of this montage.

I placed the camera with high focal zoom lens on a tripod and took a photo every couple of minutes to capture every slowly darkening phase from full moon through to full shadow (eclipse). Focusing (Auto) was easy enough at first but became increasingly difficult as the moon approached full eclipse. At this point I had to flick over to manual focus. It was a long night and working in no light, especially after a long drive, takes it toll. I encountered many technical & practical difficulties but managed to achieve my objective of capturing the event.

After another long drive home (& good sleep) I then transferred all the images to MAC. Whilst I was keen to produce a montage composite of all phases I was still unsure of exactly which composition to portray the final image. I was keen to keep the image simple & not flood the final composition with dozens of phases (and lose the detail). In the end I selected 8 lead in (penumbra/partial) shots & 1 total eclipse, imported all into software (Pixelmator) and spent an age sliding and moving around to find the best arrangement. I started with a horizontal line, then vertical & ran lots of circular & curved formats but finally found one I was most happy with - the one you see now!

The resulting image reveals over 3 hrs Lunar Eclipse phasing. A stunning image which looks great framed & mounted on a wall.

The next total lunar eclipse will be on 31 Jan 2018......

CAMERA: Olympus OM-D, E-M1
LENS: Zuiko Digital ED 90-250mm with x2 TC (EC-20)
ACCESSORIES: Olympus Remote Control RM-UC1
SETTINGS: Manual, ISO 200, F5.6, 1/640s. Resolution RAW.

TIP: Use the LCD screen (touch) for accurate focusing. This also allows zooming of the subject on screen.