HDR Lunar Eclipse Time Lapse

This is a high dynamic range time lapse of five lunar eclipse images. I am fascinated by the subtle and dramatic play of colors from the Earth's atmosphere as the Moon moves through the earth's shadow. The 120 Mega pixel original composite is taken from my image data covering the entire umbral eclipse at 2 minute intervals. The original HDR data is 32 bits per channel taken nine images exposed in steps of one stop.

I'm fascinated by the play of colors in the Earth's shadow that the Moon passes through in a total lunar eclipse. These colors, from the rising and setting sun around the rim of the earth, are spectacular by eye or in a small telescope. They are very difficult to capture in an image. My first attempt was the April 2014 lunar eclipse. Creating a high definition time lapse video of the event convinced me of the need for HDR data. This requires long exposures. A capture rate of one frame every two minutes, with nine exposures per frame during the greater than 80% partial phases and adjacent totality, was used. In Austin we had high thin ice clouds, but the results are spectacular:

Images exposed on 2019-01-21 between 04:30 and 06:00 UT using a Questar telescope, f/15 1350/89mm, and a Sony a6300 mirrorless camera. HDR processing and composites done in Photoshop with minor exposure tweaks. Exposed at ISO 200 (totality ISO 400) for times from 1/50 to 30 seconds.

I plan to produce a 4k UHD video of the entire eclipse from this data, but I have weeks of work to go before I have a video to view.

Content created: 2019-01-22




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Moon Phase