Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse 2008

Did you catch the total lunar eclipse last night? We did! Thanks to my friend Gisele who emails me when something extraordinary is going on in the sky. :) We watched it for most of the evening together. The kids were pretty impressed, and they didn't want to go to bed at all. My mom came over and we had a perfect view from our living room and kitchen windows, which face east.

I remembered most of what happens during a lunar eclipse, thanks to a first-year astronomy class I took at university. (Just goes to show my $30,000 education was worth something! ;) But for those of you who may need a refresher, check out this link... http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/LEprimer.html

This site also had some pretty good tips on lunar eclipse photography...which seemed pretty easy, considering you don't need any special filters or lenses to save your eyes. So I broke out the tripod that my friend lent me, read my instruction manual on my camera again, and tried to get some decent photos of the eclipse.


I was actually pretty pleased with the whole experience and with the photos. I was working with the kit lens (the only one I have so far!) for my 6.0 MP Nikon D40 DSLR...it is a 18-55mm lens, so it has only a little bit of zoom. Plus I was shooting through a window. But I was able to get some detail, and when I cropped afterward on Photoshop I also used the sharpen filter to make them look a little more clear. I think the most fun, tho, was experimenting with the camera...

1) We were shooting from inside...and in order to see, it had to be dark. So I quickly learned which buttons were which on my camera. I figured out how to quickly change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO without the menu. And now I can do this all without looking...so I guess now I could operate the camera with my eyes closed...right?

2) I also learned a little bit more about how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO affect the final appearance of the photo. After a while, I could somewhat predict what the outcome of the photo would be...and this may seem pretty obvious to some people, but I've never experimented that much with manual settings, and this was a huge learning exerience!

3) I learned how much better my DSLR is than my old point and shoot -- even in manual mode. I took photos with both cameras...and I am not going to bother keeping any of the pics I tried to take with the old one. Even with 10x zoom on a tripod, the photos looked like blobs on black construction paper. Sheesh!

Anyhoo -- these are some of the better photos from last night...and I'd love to see yours if you took some! Post your photo links in the comments section and we can share!!


TFL!!

7 comments:

Gisèle said...

Great pics Amanda! Of course, if I tried with my camera, it wouldn't even look like a blob on black construction paper, it would just look like black construction paper!

Anonymous said...

love the shots amanda...my camera is the same as gisele's crappy

michelle@morden

Mrs. Wizzle said...

Amazing!

Mélanie Blackburn said...

Those are awesome Amanda!!! I wish I would have seen this irl.

Lilou said...

Woww, those pics are beautiful!!!

jessi said...

those are great shots...it was funto check out...my son loved watching it!! my camera...not so good with the photo's!

have a fabulous day!!

Julie said...

Great Photos - and you learned a whole bunch at the same time. Lots to learn but isn't it fun? And with digital...you just delete after you figure out why it didn't work. Looking forward to more great shots.