Thursday, June 16, 2011

20110616 Total Lunar Eclipse

Woke up at 2:00am, the mount was already there in place, just need to put on the camera and it's done.

The above is my equipments: Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L with Canon 450D, a timer release cable is attached and a USB cable was also attached for downloading images for Facebook update. The timer release is not very useful since the moon was blocked for most of the time. Takahashi TG-SP II was used for tracking and it's powered by the USB port of my PC through a DIY cable, it's just convenient! No need transformer, no need to charge any battery, etc! The whole setup was placed on my Gitzo G106 with a Manfrotto 410 head to fine tune the polar alignment.

I also have my Canon 10x30 IS for visual observation, I did something similar during the total solar eclipse in 2008 and I can observe with my right hand holding the binoculars and my left hand to press the shutter release.

While setting up my Canon 100-400mm, I took my 200mm f2.8 to have some handheld snapshots first since the cloud was getting in.

When the tracked setup is ready, things are much better. As the moon gets dimmer, we will need some form of tracking since you're doing several seconds of exposure. Originally I planned to do 800mm with a 2x Kenko but then the sky was very bad with thin cloud, so f/11 would be too much!

Cloud was moving around, thick and thin, large and small...

The cloud amount was increasing overall, so some cloud breaks could be as short as several seconds, so you will have to adjust the mount, etc. Spot metering was used, and so you will want the bright part of the moon to be at the center of the frame!

Friends from local amateurs were reporting their situations and some reported rain!

The weather conditions seemed highly localized, and later we found that we could observe far more in some lucky locations!

This is the last one that I managed to capture.

I waited more than one hour after this shot and we had heavy rain and wind.

Finally, I found the moon could be blocked by distant building before I packed up my stuff.

Believe it or not, this is the first total lunar eclipse that I managed to observe, but then I still couldn't see the real totality. Good me luck next time in December if I managed to catch a chance!

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