Lunar Eclipse


On May 15th, the latest Lunar Eclipse was going to happen. The weather around my home had been cloudy for a while, so I wasn’t really planning to go out and try to photograph it. Because of this, I really didn’t even try to plan anything.

Then one of my brothers got involved. He is also a photographer and sent me links of his planning for me on where I might capture the best location, etc. So, maybe I should consider this if the clouds would go away. He also told me the eclipse would be low on the horizon with the total eclipse being near when the moon rises out of the east. I looked at what he sent me and as the day and time were approaching, I thought maybe there is a chance.

The goal was to get the eclipse as it rose next to Mt Shasta in Northern California (you’ve seen some previous photos I’ve taken of this mountain). With short notice, I started looking a little closer at possibilities. My brief research told me to go just slightly south of his suggested location. Of course, slight distance chances aren’t going to make a whole bunch of difference when you are talking about the distant moon. As I was driving to the area, I did notice there was a small power station at the spot he had told me, thus a bunch of power lines, so I quickly discounted his selected site. As I continued south, I noticed a few parking possibilities as I drove along a county road as there was not very much shoulder on this road so couldn’t just stop anywhere.

Typical for me, the location I had chosen did not work very well, so I immediately moved to another spot nearby. I set up my camera and was patiently waiting for the moon to rise. I finally spotted the moon coming up and noticed it was very dim. This was both because of distortion from the extreme angle through the atmosphere (I’m sure there is a fancy term for this) and also because the moon was abnormally dim because of the eclipse. The moon was almost in total eclipse as it rose over the horizon.

As the moon was rising, I noticed it was still further south than I had hoped for in relation to the position of the mountain. So “Plan D” or was it “E” was implemented and I moved further again, which admittedly was closer to my brother’s original location (sorry I doubted you). The moon remained dim for longer than I would have liked, but these kinds of things are not exactly in my control. I am now committed to my current location for good, bad, or whatever. So I remained and tried to make the best of it.

Luckily for me, my location is far from any big city, so I don’t have to contend with a large number of city lights which could further dilute the brightness of the moon. The further the moon rose, the brighter it appeared in the sky. I tried to wait long enough for the sun to go further behind the opposite horizon which would allow some stars to shine through in the sky. Of course, I didn’t want the moon to rise so far that it would be too high to be in composition with the mountain. Was the moon in total eclipse when this photo was taken – not sure? It may have started to pass, but it was close enough for me.

Even though it wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned, I think it came out pretty close. Of course, when dealing with Mother Nature there are too many things out of your control and you just do the best you can. I think I read there will be another Lunar Eclipse this year, so maybe I can get something with a little more planning on that one.

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