Shooting the Moon during a Lunar Eclipse

Shooting the Moon during a Lunar Eclipse

A Lunar eclipse is when the Earth's Shadow cast by the sun passes over the moon.  A full lunar Eclipse occurs over several hours and you can watch the shadow creep along the moon and appear to gobble it up!  At the point where the moon is totally covered by the shadow, the strangest sight occurs.  suddenly the moon which slowly blacked out lights up!  Only instead of the normal color it is blood red!  I let you look up the reasons why but it is kind of interesting and from a photographer's point of view has to do with the focal length of the shadow.



The morning of November 19 had a once in a lifetime event happen.  Really once in several lifetimes!  The longest lunar eclipse in over 500 years occurred.  Here in Amarillo, Texas only 97% of the moon got covered with the Earth's shadow but still that was stunning to watch.


This view is of a full moon but the Earth's shadow has cover more than half of the moon. 
If you have never seen a lunar eclipse in person, they happen about every few years. Really, they happen much more frequent but often they happen where and when we can't see them because of the position we are on the globe and where the moon is when the Earth's shadow passes over it.


This is the view of the moon right before it turned blood red.  As the shadow comes close to covering the whole of the moon it begins to glow, you can sort of see that glow beginning here.


A highly detailed zoomed in view of the blood moon created by stacking 30 images together to bring out the detail.

The "blood moon" ads so much drama to a landscape it is impossible not to try and capture a bit of that mystery.   

In 2020 I set out to photograph every phase of the moon.  Not only at night but if the moon was visible in the day, a day shot as well.  More than a zoomed crisp image of each of the 28 phases of the moon, I wanted an artistic image of that phase in a landscape setting and I wanted a time lapse of that phase transitioning before the frame of my camera.

I am kind of a nerd so I read several books about the moon including the Appolo program and Lunar exploration so not only did I learn a lot about Lunar photography I learned a lot about the moon.

The image below is the result of that effort and is one of my all-time favorite images.