My September 2015 Photo of the Month is Lunar Eclipse From Joshua Tree, made during the September 27, 2017 Lunar Eclipse.
Lunar Eclipse From Joshua Tree Background
My friend Chris Horn and I went out for our second lunar eclipse from Joshua Tree National Park. The September 27, 2017 lunar eclipse set up well because it was occurring on a Sunday, which worked out great for us working folks. In addition, for those on the Pacific time zone, the lunar eclipse was also happening just after sunset. Perfect.
We headed to our favorite area North of Jumbo Rocks. As far as composition, just about every rock formation would do. As it turned out, our phone compass was off (shame on us former Scouts not bringing an actual compass), so we actually missed the moon coming just up over the rocks. Once we saw the moon though, we set up right where we were standing. Again, Joshua Tree is helpful for this, every rock is picturesque.
This turned out to be great, as the rise of the moon framed just perfect. Our location on the West Coast just over the horizon was exactly what I wanted. The key for me was to take a moody underexposed base image. Metering before the eclipse would give you a base image that is too bright for the composite. I wanted to give a mood of twilight in the finished image.
There are some gaps that don’t match up perfectly. Lesson learned, I should have used the camera’s intervalometer on my camera vs. timing it manually 5 minutes apart. Those are fairly easy to fix in post-processing, although it is tough to make them look natural and perfect.
Overall, this is an image I like, and I can’t wait to work on the next lunar eclipse.
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.