Capturing the Blood Moon

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The total lunar eclipse, or blood moon, that took place on April 15, allowed photographers to experiment with new equipment and techniques. I decided I wanted to experiment with time-lapse photography. My plan was to set up my Nikon D7100 to take a picture every 10 seconds using an external remote. That was going to be relatively easy, but I knew the post processing would be the most time consuming. Today, I am going to explain how I captured the time-lapse photos, edited the photos, and created the final video.

When I first learned of the eclipse, I knew this was my chance to experiment, and I hoped the weather would cooperate. I researched and  got all the information about the eclipse from NASA. It was important to knew what time the eclipse began and the timeframes for each stage of the eclipse. When I decided to try time-lapse, I took a few test shots the week before. This is important for all photographers because you might discover potential problems. I discovered that my tripod, which was not the greatest, was too wobbly and the images were blurred on longer exposures. I knew I needed to buy a professional grade tripod, so I did some research and purchased a Manfrotto. I also purchased a second battery, which I highly recommend that all photographers carry a backup battery.

The blood moon with Mars (upper right corner)

The blood moon with Mars (upper right corner)

Late on April 14, I set up my tripod and camera in my driveway. I chose the driveway because it was solid footing for the tripod, and because I would have an unobstructed view of the moon as it progressed across the sky. I set the ISO, shutter speed, focued the lens, and set my Apurture timer remote to take a photo every ten seconds. I began taking photos at 11:45 PM and discovered that I had to adjust the camera every 10 minutes as the moon moved across the field of view of my lens (AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR). Throughout the night, I adjusted the camera, focus, ISO, and shutter speed as needed. After several hours, I packed up at 4:45 AM and headed back inside for a little sleep before I had to get up for work.

The next day I uploaded the RAW files to my computer and began the editing process. Of the 1,427 images I took, I picked 16 that I edited separately and posted online immediately (these images are in the slideshow at the top of this post). Then I went through each image using Lightroom. I made minor adjustments as needed and cropped the image so that the moon was the center (or close to the center) of the frame. Once I had gone through all 1,427 images, I was left with 1,382 for the time-lapse (some were left out due to clouds).

Before this past weekend, I had never created a time-lapse, and I had only used iMovie a few time, so I was unsure of the result. I uploaded the images into iMovie and began to create my movie. I adjusted the frame rate, created an intro, added music (Chariots of Fire), and added my logo. After reviewing the images, I noticed some issues with focus, and I believe this is due to the long exposure times required to capture the moon when it was red. I left these in the video for the full effect of the time-lapse, but  I would never publish these as stand alone images. I learned a lot on this photo shoot and am already planning for the next lunar eclipse in October. Overall, I was happy with the final result, and the final video is above.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or you may send me a message through the website or via Twitter.

Welcome to EW-Photography

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I would like to welcome everyone to the new website for EW-Photography. I am considering this post the official launch of the website, so I thought I would introduce myself and give you a brief tour of the new website. I am Eric White, and I have been a hobbyist photographer for about five years. I bought my first DSLR in 2009. It was a Canon T1i, and it allowed me to learn the basics of photography and move to the next level. In 2010, I moved to Virginia for grad school and eventually sold all my equipment because, well, I was a grad student and needed the money! I never stopped regretting the decision. Fast forward to October 2013 when I purchased a Nikon D7100 and a long list of equipment to go with it. I really wanted to get back in to photography, and I have thanks to this great camera.

Neosho National Fish Hatchery

Neosho National Fish Hatchery

My degree is in History, so if you are not a fan of museums and historic sites, you probably will not like some of the posts on this site. But I want this site to be about anything related to photography. Tomorrow, for example, my first post will be about my experience shooting the blood moon a few weeks ago. In addition to writing about what I am doing, I will also have posts about things I read, products, helpful YouTube channels or tutorials, and whatever is on my mind. Those who have followed my other website, The Whole Earth Blog, know that that I have a wide variety of interests, and some of those are bound to collide with photography.

The website is built using WordPress because it is quick and easy to maintain and is also fairly inexpensive. In the menu at the top of the page, you will see the following:

-About: This is a simple biography of me and the EW-Photography brand.

-FAQs: I answer a number of questions from what equipment I use to the photography magazines I read.

-Links: Anytime a link appears on this website that I think will be helpful to photographers, I will post it here.

-Contact: Feel free to use the contact form to ask questions, suggest posts, or provide feedback.

As you navigate the site, you will also see a sidebar which features the archives, post categories, a link to subscribe (which I highly recommend), and links to my Twitter and Flickr accounts. I highly recommend checking out the Flickr page and going through the photos I have posted so far.

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Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to visit the website and am looking forward to the future of EW-Photography!

Coming Soon: EW-Photography

Welcome to the new website for EW-Photography. The site is in progress and will launch soon, but you can view some of my work on Flickr by clicking here.