My April 2014 Photo of the Month is Lunar Eclipse, Spica, and Mars.
Lunar Eclipse, Spica, and Mars Background
Capturing a unique eclipse photograph is always challenging. The April 2014 lunar eclipse offered me an option I had never tried before. Although the lunar eclipse is dim to the naked eye, it is quite prominent against a background of very dim stars. Most images feature just a few scattered dots of the brightest of stars.
The location of this eclipse brought two of the brightest objects into frame. Spica is the 16th brightest star in the sky, and located in a constellation below Orion, it is easy to spot. It was quite close to the lunar eclipse. In addition, Mars was at its nearer approach to Earth and was extremely prominent. Somehow, I managed to get everything into a single frame and I couldn’t be happier.
I spot-metered directly on the Moon. Metering anywhere else would like blow out the highlights in the Moon. Likewise, matrix or center-weighted metering would likely put you a stop from where you want your exposure. What I didn’t know is how the night sky background would come out. I took just one frame, and luckily it worked perfectly. Mars is quite bright, and actually made a very small starburst (planetburst?), but the result was everything I hoped for.
There are so many impressive time-lapse images and other creative products of the lunar eclipse. It can be hard to stand out. I was happy to capture this event, and there is another one in just 6 months! Unlike solar eclipses, these events happen with some regularity.
If you want to see more eclipse photographs I have made, check out this selection in my archives.
As always, thank you very much for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.