Sunday Stills – Paths and Trails of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE 8/9 November 2022 

What an amazing evening out watching the full moon blaze a red trail across the night sky. 

I was a little late getting set up after arriving home from quiz night. It was the first time since the August storm, that I had been brave enough to drive on our broken road at night time. It was wonderful to see my team mates again. We didn’t win the quiz but we had such a grand catch up, that it didn’t really matter. 

After 12 weeks, at last the road crews have arrived to clear some mud and lay some gravel over the ditches and cracks. It felt safer to drive. The muddy trail out is slowly becoming a road again.

And so it begins:

The moon peeked above the tree line and shine brightly in the night. 

9.45pm: I had set up the camera tripod within a metre of the beach front where the high tide was gently lapping the seashore. The only sound was the occasional call of the morepork owl, and the sudden splash of little fish. 

For once, the clouds, wind and rain had stayed away. 

As the Earth’s penumbra started touching the moon’s face, it started to darken almost imperceptibly.   Over the next  half hour as the moon traversed its path across the night sky, the effects became more obvious. 

I put together this composite of the Penumbral eclipse phase. (That took me longer to do than watching the whole eclipse.)

By 10.09pm, the Partial Eclipse  phase began as the shadow crept over the bright moon. 

I set my intervalometer to shoot every 3 minutes as the moon moves it’s own diameter across the sky every two minutes. 

A bonus were the meteors I spotted although they were either streaking in the wrong direction or appeared when the shutter was closed! It gave me something else to look for whilst I waited patiently for totality though. 

As the moon continued traversing its pathway across the sky, I had to recompose every 15 minutes to keep it in the camera frame. I layered some of the phases to show the progression.

A quick change of battery  before the main event – then…. Totality.

Total Lunar Eclipse

11.16Totality begins

And right on time the moon disappeared into the blackness of the night sky. Just a faint rim of light remained.

11.21.  I adjusted my settings and I was so excited to see the red glowing moon appear on the back of the camera, and above me. 

Then the stars started to pop out to frame the blood moon.

11.24 Totality yet with so many stars popping out of the dark  as they trailed across the sky.

I took my time and played around with exposure settings again.  When I wasn’t busy readjusting my composition, I had time to marvel at the magical sight of the total lunar eclipse. 

Jupiter, Venus,Saturn,Orion and Matariki were glittering all-around the inky black sky.  Later Mars arose low to the horizon too. It was a galaxy  of planets on their individual pathways around the world. le, that red moon kept glowing.

12.41am: Total Lunar Eclipse ends

12.43. Partial eclipse #2

The rim of light started to reappear quite quickly.  And with it came a sudden change in the chill factor. I noticed it had become very cold.  Still I was determined to wait out the all phases of the  eclipse. BUT…. 

The next set of images looked a little strange. I fiddled again with my settings. What was happening here? 

I checked the back of the camera. Oops. There was a foggy circle of colour surrounding the partially

eclipsed moon.  ( in hindsight maybe I should have checked my lens  hadn’t fogged up.) 

I totally  thought I must have ‘mist’ it.

It looked kind of spooky in an abstract kind of way. I tried once more. It was getting much colder. I liked this abstract but it wasn’t part of my plan. 

Could I hold out another hour? Yeah nah. I gave up! 

I  carried my gear across the lawn, nearly tripping over a little hedgehog out for its nocturnal stroll. 

I tiptoed quietly into the house, turned on my electric blanket and crawled into bed. 

My lunar eclipse adventure was over but that partially eclipsed moon was still up there taunting me through the window as I lay awake wishing on a star.


3 thoughts on “Sunday Stills – Paths and Trails of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon

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