April 22 , 2014

SUBJECT: Lunar Eclipse

lunar eclipseOkay. I know. A lunar eclipse is not related to birds necessarily, but every once and a while I do something different than photograph birds. Although I must say that during the lunar eclipse, I did hear quite a few owls in the neighborhood and they were more vocal once the skies darkened. Both Great Horned and Barred owls serenaded the eclipse.

The eclipse that occurred on April 15, 2014 is the first in a series of four lunar eclipses that will occur over an 18 month period. A tetrad of eclipses that do not often occur over such a short period of time. Is it the harbinger of the Apocalypse? I hope not. I have too many birds yet I want to see. The lunacy of it all.

My goal for this eclipse was to do a time-lapse movie from moon-rise to moon-set using the Canon 5D Mark III camera, the Emotimo TB3 tracker and Konova rail. This would move the camera in small incremental steps over a period of 8+ hours.

Additionally, my plan was to use the Panasonic Lumix GH3 with the Canon 600mm f/4 lens to take snapshots of the moon while the earth's shadow slowly drifted across its face.

Of course, Minnesota does has its hazards...clouds! The sky conditions were mostly favorable for the event, but as the night progressed clouds formed out of nowhere. They were thin however and actually added to movement in the video.

And then of course, there's only a checklist of 20 or more things that must go right in order to pull these events off. Namely, making sure that all the settings on the cameras are correct. As usually, I got 19 things right on the checklist but neglected one: Setting the Canon 5D to auto-switch between memory cards. Dang! I lost about 20 minutes of time lapse due to this. Luckily, I was still coherent at 1:30 in the morning to catch it and fix it. Nonetheless, I had to blend the time lapse to make up for my mistake.

Without further ado, here's my video of the eclipse. Please be sure to stay up for the end in which I blended the images taken with the GH3. Kinda cool...I think.

A couple of notes: The bright star-like object up and to the right of the moon is the planet Mars. Also, the sky appears day-like due to the intensity of the full moon. The eclipsed moon turns red in color due to the sun shining through the earth's atmosphere. From the moon, it must be incredible to see the orange sunset encircling our entire planet. Maybe someday we'll be there to witness the event.

Eclipse from Alan Stankevitz on Vimeo.

(Be sure to go to Vimeo to download the high resolution version. Right click on the file name to save it to your computer.) 


—Alan Stankevitz


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All photographs © 2002-2014, Alan Stankevitz

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