Shooting The Shadow Moon

You might recall I’ve had pretty good luck photographing full moons with my it-shouldn’t-work-but-it-does (sometimes) technique of holding a point-and-shoot cam up against the eyepiece of a 60x spotting scope on a tripod and snapping a shot.

Well, not so much — go figure — with a full lunar eclipse, like the one that occurred this morning. Having spent the night double-wide awake and stewing over last night’s traffic citation that I got downtown on my way to donate a toy for a needy child as part of the largest annual holiday charity bike ride in the history of ever, when it got to be after 5 a.m. I peered with bleary eyes outside and saw the moon already had been partially eclipsed. So as much fun as it would’ve been to sit and grouse some more, I decided to get the spotting scope out onto the porch so that after 6 a.m. I could try to get a nice image of the moon in its completely cloaked phase.

The uncentered result as seen below — which could easily be confused with a dirty pingpong ball illuminated from below  by the bathroom nightlight and taken while shivering — was obviously not what I was going for, and for two very important reasons.

1) The weather app on my phone said it was 45 degrees outside, which meant that after only a couple minutes of standing out in that temperature barefoot, in shorts and a t-shirt I commenced shivering. S-s-s-seriously. And as you no doubt have already grasped, handheld photography and shivering go together poorly, especially when a 60x zoom is involved.

2) Dark moon is dark. It’s one thing to aim a camera and scope at a blaaaaazing full moon against a blackened sky. It’s another thing entirely to aim same camera and scope at such a sinister and shady satellite blending only too well with its background.

Truthfully, I’m amazed I recorded anything more than a smudge, and I actually kind of like it.

Before I hustled back to the warm indoors, I steadied the cam on the pergola crossbeam and got this wide shot of the red moon backed by a lightening sky over Micheltorena Ridge (the time was 6:09 a.m.):

I kind of like that one, too.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."