Jdmccranie Platinum

Blood Moon, 2017 Henry Coe State Park, Morgan Hill, CA





Winner in Dramatic Moon Photo Challenge
People's Choice in Eclipse Photo Challenge
Peer Award
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Absolute Masterpiece
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Top Choice
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Superb Composition
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Magnificent Capture
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All Star
Outstanding Creativity

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3 Comments | Report
Jdmccranie Platinum
Jdmccranie March 15, 2019
Taken at an elevation of about 3100 feet.
JayneBug Platinum
JayneBug March 15, 2019
Nice capture, beautiful image. Congratulations on your award.
UpuliWi September 09, 2019
Well done for winning the dramatic moon challenge, what a capture, amazing indeed, keep smiling and capturing amazing moments, blessings!
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Behind The Lens

This astral photo was taken on January 31, 2018 at Henry Coe State Park, outside of Morgan Hill, CA. I chose that location because I would be shooting at an altitude of about 3000 feet, to make sure that I was photographing above any low level clouds on the Santa Clara valley floor. In addition, I wanted as little light pollution as possible, and Henry Coe State Park has no artificial light sources anywhere in the 90,000 acre park boundary, and is about 15 miles from any city.
I set up my gear around 1:00 am, and shot images from 1:30 to about 6:00 am. This particular shot was taken around 5:40 am, and you can see that the earth's shadow is just starting to leave the moon's surface, beginning on the left side of the moon.
There was no artificial light on the hillside in Henry Coe State Park, and that was helpful for getting a relatively crisp shot, even with a fairy slow shutter speed.
My camera body was the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II. The lens was a newly acquired Canon EF 200-400 f/4 with built in 1.4 teleconverter. The camera/lens was mounted on a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod.
I have been experimenting with astral photography ever since I had travelled to an alfalfa field in Monmouth, OR for the 2017 solar eclipse. I found that I enjoyed the location scouting, hiking and solitary experience of this type of photography. So, this lunar eclipse was an obvious attraction for me.
I did the 'normal' amount of post-processing on the blood moon in order to secure as much detail as possible. Additionally, I worked on enhancing exposure and brightness of the surrounding night sky in order to get the night stars to pop out.
In my camera bag
For landscape and astral, I usually carry the Canon EOS 1dx Mark II. My usual travel lenses are the Sigma 14mm , Canon 24-70 f2.8 , Canon EF 70-200 f2.8, Canon 100-400 f4.0/5.6. I also carry a full complement of circular polarized filters and neutral density filters. For wildlife images, I will put the EF 200-400 f/4 in the van. Also, don't forget to have an LED headlamp available, so you can use both hands in dialing in your settings.
1) As with all astrals, there's always the classic tradeoff between brightness, noise and clarity. I found it critical to carry my beefiest tripod on these trips, and to use my remote control device for the shutter event. The good news about lunar eclipses is that they move at a glacial rate, so you can have plenty of time to experiment on ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings. 2) From a composition point, it takes a little thinking to provide any kind of interesting design. I found that photos of which I had the moon fill up the frame to be not particularly interesting. By placing the moon well off center, with the night sky showing companion stars...AND a prominent white signature opposite the moon, the photo has more impact. 3) For the lunar eclipse, I found that my photos of the moon at full shadow were not nearly as interesting as those images taken when the moon is just leaving the earth's shadow. The only problem, if you wait too long, is the overexposure on the side of the moon that's just leaving the shadow. 4) Finally, dress warm! If you're out there for several hours and not moving around much, you can quickly get chilled...making the whole experience not nearly as much fun as you might think!

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