The May 15th, 2003Lunar Eclipsepresented a unique photographic opportunity. I organized aworkshop in Death Valleyaround it, where I was fortunate enough to be able to produce what I regard as a quite successful image ofthe eclipse. I was very curious to see how other photographers would approach this challenge, since if skies were clear the eclipse would be visible to almost anyone in North America and Western Europe. So, I announceda small competition.
This page contains the winning entries as well as several of the other more interesting submissions. My sincere thanks to everyone that participated. There were many fine entries and unfortunately there just wasn’t room here for all of them.
I hope that you enjoy seeing what a cross section of fellow photographers were able to produce from this opportunity.
Photographed with a Canon 10D and 70-200 f/4L, tripod mounted, 200mm, f/8, 1/2 sec, ISO 100, manual focus.
May 15, 2003 8:36 PM MDT Lunar Eclipse, as seen through the famous Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.
Best not to be afraid of heights to take this photo, as the dozen or so photographers that discovered my same spot were jockeying for position on a fairly steep, narrow rock ledge above a drop of 40 feet or so. I had brought along a compass to scout out the best location to catch the moon rising through the arch, and I knew beforehand the approximate time of moonrise.
One of the technical challenges of making this photograph was finding an exposure which would record as much detail as possible in both the moon and the foreground landscape. Both were at similar light levels for a short window of time, after which the
dynamic range of the scene quickly exceeded that of the camera. I bracketed like crazy, and ended up using a very slight exposure blending technique for the finished image.
A few of the photographers would yell at the occasional hiker who strayed near the arch, but to me the presence of a person changed the scene, adding a sense of scale and warmth, allowing a different kind of photograph to be taken. In this regard, I was
lucky to have caught someone looking up. I think he was gazing up at the arch, though from the camera’s perspective he appears to be staring at the partially eclipsed moon itself.
For me this image symbolizes, more than any other I took that night, the awe I felt as I witnessed such a beautiful and rare natural phenomenon.
Jim’s photograph indeed captures the awe of a lunar eclipse along with the spender of one of nature’s most lovely terrestrial features. Clearly a lot of planning and effort went into the making of this image, and it shows.
Jim wins a one year subscription theThe Luminous Landscape Video Journalalong with 5 back issues.
Film: Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 800
Body: Canon EOS Elan 7E
Lenses: Canon EF 75-300 f4-5.6 III and Sigma 28-70 f2.8 EX DF
Exposure: Double exposed single frame. Moon – 300mm f5.6 @ 2 seconds, Stars – 28mm f5.6 @ ~30-35 minutes
Scanner: Canon Canoscan FS4000US
Software: Adobe Photoshop
Star trails passing in front of the moon were cloned out of this full frame image. Sharpening and incrasing contrast were the only other image enhancements.
Jason’s entry is a unique blend of the actual and the imagined. One can not see star trails directly — they are an artifact of photography, but have become something of a accepted conceit. Blending them with an eclipse is a creative and original approach.
Jason wins a one year subscription theThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal.
Taken with an Oly E-20 near it’s widest angle (about 40 35mm equiv). The exposure were all at 6 seconds, f2.8 and SOE 80. 10 minutes apart and put together in PhotoShop.
The red hue was not evident visually. It seemed gray with just a hint of red – maybe. I didn’t do anything to bring it out. Perhaps the auto white balance had an effect.
Cropped out of the picture was a house light. I was kicking myself wondering why I framed it in the picture, particularly when I started running out of room at the top of the frame. But as I brought the collage together in PhotoShop I realized that it made a perfect alignment point! Since several frames did not even show a faint outline of the mountain line, it turned out to be very useful!
When the shadow started leaving the moon I took additional shots at 1/100 f9 thinking I could merge the 6 second shot and the ‘daylight’ shot of the moon. That didn’t have a chance of working because while the 6 second exposure was fine for the moon in shadow the moon in direct light bloomed so much that it was impossible to merge the two photos. It seems there was about 14 stops different! 6 seconds to 1/100 and f2.8 to f9. Is that even possible?
I’ve watched a lot of lunar eclipses and this one was remarkable for the clarity of the line the Earth’s shadow made upon the moon. Usually it fuzzes darker and then fuzzes lighter. Here you could see the demarcation line clearly. A wonderful show!
Mine tells a story, but the one up put up on your site is art! A great shot!
It was fun!
Thanks for hosting the contest!
p.s. I didn’t have to travel as far as you, about 40 feet from my front door!
Doing multiple exposures of a lunar eclipse is common practice, but Jim has created a particularly appealing composite.
Jim wins a back issue of his choice to theThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal.