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Photographing a Lunar eclipse

Photographing the Lunar eclipse is a tricky job, even for SLR cameras, because of the high contrast between the moon - which appears small in the viewer, unless you use a powerful zoom - and the dark sky. The moonlight is the reflex of the sunlight, so the moon should be exposed as a grey surface reflecting sunlight. There are some rules of thumb to shoot the moon (check the links below), but of course, in the Finepix I can't adjust exposure at my own will.

What I had to do was to "fool" the camera, by forcing the flash, so that the speed would be 1/60s. I could do nothing about the aperture, which the camera put at its maximum (f3.5). The results were nice. I could have tried to underexpose the photo, but I think I would not have the necessary setting. When using the flash trick, you must not have any surface next to the camera that might reflect the light coming from the flash.

The first two images below were shot without and with flash. One second problem with the no-flash image is that it's also not very sharp, because of the low speed (1/4s) capturing the moon in motion. These images were cropped and the last image shows the size of the moon obtained in the 640x480 image, taken at full zoom. Check the whole sequence at my Page of the Month.

without flash
(f3.5, 1/4s)
with flash
(f3.5, 1/60s)
without flash, full image



0.3M, 640x480 (119kb)

Links about photographing eclipses:

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Last updated on July 3, 2004

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