Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BLOOD MOON at Perigee – 27 September 2015

A very rare event. A Super Moon coincident with the a total eclipse. The last time a total eclipse occurred in conjunction with a super moon was 1982. The next time will be 2033. And to sweeten the rarity, this was the 4th in a tetrad of total eclipses, itself a rare event.

I had minutes to capture it because we had cloud cover. I was out walking Sophie when I spotted a patch of clarity in the sky. And it seemed to be tracking towards the moon, so we truncated the walk (sorry Sophie) and wandered back to the house.

I ran around finding the GM1 and strapping it onto the back of the Tamron 500mm mirror lens (manual focus, adapted to m4/3 through an inexpensive adapter from eBay) and got it on the tripod about 3 minutes before the patch hit. I was frantically trying to get focus while the cloud thinned and in the end I think only 2 shots were at all sharp.

Even the patch I shot here only lasted about 5 seconds before more cloud intruded. But that was all that was needed. I shot at 1600 ISO because the blood moon has only the glow of the sun seen around the earth on it, i.e. it is pretty dark. The color is normally in shades of brown to red, so I processed it from raw in Lightroom CC with some help from DFINE for noise reduction based on color. I think this is decent when you consider that I shot at high ISO under time pressure on a camera that fits in a jacket pocket (although the lens most definitely does not.)

Panasonic GM1 with Tamron 500mm BBAR – f/8  4/10s  1600 ISO

I experimented in real time with really high ISO, but hedged my bets with a lower ISO at 1600 … that is what you see above. It is still extremely noisy as it was a dark image and I underexposed a bit. But with the help of Nik (Google) Define, I was able to bring it into a reasonable compromise between details and grain. Of course, Lightroom CC played a huge role too …

Now we wait for the next one …