Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Hea..Err, Moon

Awesome lunar eclipse!

I'll have some pictures up later. But I'm not impressed with them. In order to get my f/11 800mm lens (400x2) to show much of the moon in umbra, I had to boost the ISO to 1600 and take a full second exposure. Wow. With a 450D, that equals grainy. Way grainy. I'll have to see if I can clean it up at all with Photo Shop. Not holding my breath.

As long as I'm complaining, I'll also mention that I did not care for the Manfrotto 322RD2 ball head. It was too hard to adjust the camera/lens on the moon. I had the mount attached the the rear portion of the lens - so that most of the lens was on one side, and the doubler and camera were on the other side. Well balanced for normal photography. But when I'm aimed almost straight up, all the weight is transferred back. When I release all of the tension in the ball head, then adjust the view to where I wanted, then release the handle to re-apply the tension, then let go of the camera/lens, it sags and the moon goes partly out of frame. When I try to only partially grip the handle, so that there is less sag when I let go of the camera, the motion is jerky and the moon shoots in one side of the frame and out the other.

Also, it was a PITA to try to look through the viewfinder (or even at the LCD in live view) when the camera was pointed nearly straight up. On prior moon shoots, I shot it at about 45 degrees. So that was not nearly as difficult for either looking through the viewfinder, or dealing with ball head mount sag (better balance over the ball head).

On a more positive note, I used a Satechi remote shutter release. It worked quite well and I am thoroughly pleased with it. On prior moon shots I would set the shutter release timer, and hope that the camera/tripod were done vibrating by the time it released (settable to 2 or 10 seconds).

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