Then at around 11 p.m., I began to see patches of clearing in the sky. The full moon made a brief appearance and then vanished once again, teasing me with a game of hide and seek.
A half hour later, the sky was mostly clear and the moon shone brightly in the southern sky. Thank you, Universe!
Earlier in the day, I had set up my tripod and was ready to go. I brought it outside with my camera and discovered that there was no way I could focus on the sky and get beneath it in such a way that I could actually see the moon, much less focus on it. And there was nothing that I could have used to raise the tripod high enough to facilitate the task.
The camera came off of the base and back into my hands where it spent the rest of the night, in 15 minute intervals focused on the moon. I held my breath for each shot. Some worked out well enough. Others not so much.
This first image was taken about an hour before the eclipse began. The brighter the moon, the faster the shutter speed. This means that shaking or twitchy hands had little negative effect on the photo.
This photo looks much like the first but you can see the penumbral shadow beginning to slip over the left side of the moon.
A while later, the eclipse is well underway. Nearly one quarter of the moon is in darkness.
Halfway there, it looks as if the moon is grinning off to the right.
It's getting late but it's so exciting to be a witness to this celestial event. Nearly three quarters eclipsed.
As the moon's light diminishes, I need to slow my shutter speed down in order to allow enough light to see the image. This is where my heavier camera lens begins to make it difficult to hold still enough.
Finally, at 3:15, we see a total eclipse of the moon in all her reddish, copper glory. This was the most difficult image to capture as I needed to decrease my shutter speed considerably and raise my ISO to allow as much light as possible. This is the reason for the blurred and "noisy" image. It was the best I could do without a tripod and all things considered, I'm not unhappy with the results.
Reb over at Sibu Pegasus Power took some impressive shots of the eclipse and some starlight with her point and shoot digital camera. She managed a nice capture of the fully eclipsed sphere with very little shake and blur. She also had the great idea to show three stages of the eclipse within one image as often seen on astronomy sites online. I've borrowed that idea and done the same with my images below.
Thanks for joining me under the moonlit sky.
Wishing all who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas.