My October 2014 Photo of the Month is 2014 Eclipse, a photo of the October 8 lunar eclipse taken from Mission Trails Regional Park.
2014 Eclipse Background
Photographing a Lunar Eclipse is old-hat these days, but I always truly enjoy the experience. They happen much more often than solar eclipses. Your subject is easy to focus. It is usually quiet, even with people gathering together. The right kind of crowd is out and about. I can see why people back to ancient civilization were mesmerized by the Moon.
Old-hat, but experiencing a lunar eclipse never gets old.
Photographers rarely like to talk about their failures, but I will for a moment. For those of us in San Diego, the eclipse was to appear very low on the Western horizon. This was perfect for capturing the eclipse and other visual aspects with the photograph. That is why I chose Mission Trails Regional Park. I had an idea of standing on a ridge, capturing the eclipse, and also including the cityscape below.
Unfortunately, I didn’t stick the landing. The lunar eclipse moon is easy to focus on. Modern autofocus locks on every time. However, I severely underestimated its focus distance from the cityscape. My thinking was that they were both at infinity, therefore, both should be near focus. My technique wasn’t correct though. While it is tough to see the moon out of focus in those images, it is obvious the city space is. Those images were not usable. Maybe another time (UPDATE: Here is a successful version from the January 2018 lunar eclipse).
Despite this, I had several images at 300mm near totality, and I present one here. Doing these close-ups get easier with time, so I hope to start doing time lapses (UPDATE: Here is a successful time lapse from Joshua Tree) and other types of lunar eclipse images in the future.
As always, thank you 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.