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On the night of the full moon on 15 June 2011, my son informed me that it’s going to be a “Blood Moon” tonight.  As I looked up to a beautiful full moon I thought, “It’s possible, since lunar eclipses occur during full moon. Although I didn’t have any advanced warning about it.”  So after we got home and after my son was finished with his homework on the computer, I checked on the Lunar Eclipse.  True enough, it was going to happen this night…starting 1:30AM – 5AM.  It was supposed to be one of the longest as the period of totality is 100 minutes!

I woke up at 2AM to try and take pictures but unfortunately it was cloudy! So I went back to sleep andI woke up at 4AM to try again. I had diffficulty locating it.  I’ve seen a total lunar eclipse when I was a kid and it wasn’t this dark.  When I finally found it, it was a very dark blood red.  I tried a 1.5-second exposure at f/8.0 and ISO800 and it hardly registered.  At 3 seconds exposure here’s what I got:

Hardly visible, right?

Did you notice the faint star at the lower left of the image?   It was in all my shots.  I increased the ISO setting to 1600 to compensate for the extremely poor lighting.  The downside in using higher ISO is that it results in a grainy image.

The star on the lower left is more visible although it appears like a dash (rather than a dot) due to the Earth’s rotation and longer exposure time. 

Finally visible now (so is the star)

I further increased the ISO to 3200 which made the image more visible (and grainier).  The lunar seas (the large dark splotches) are more visible, too!

More visible, more grainy but the lunar seas are visible

At ISO 3200, I increase the exposure time to 4 seconds and tried different apertures.

At 4 seconds, it's a bit brighter


Wider opening (f/6.7) brighter image


Wider opening (f/5.6) brighter still

Wider opening (f/4.0) even brighter

Brightest of these shots (f/3.5)