Lunar viewing

 After receiving an e-mail about a Lunar Eclipse viewing possibility April 15, 2014 I thought it would be worth exploring the subject. Here’s what I found.

First from the Digital School of Photography… 

How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse

Today is be the final lunar eclipse of the year. It will be visible for those of us in Tokyo, Japan starting at ~4:20pm, it will reach it’s greatest magnitude ~5:17pm, will begin to recede at 5:53pm and will be over by 7:01pm. If you are not in Japan, you can check out NASA’s website for information on your area.


I am going to try to shoot the eclipse if time permits so I wanted to make sure my ‘moon shooting skills’ were up to snuff. Shooting the moon is actually much easier than you might think. Here is how I approached it:

Focal Length:

First you need a focal length of ~300mm. I actually talked myself out of not buying new camera equipment (there is a first time for everything) and got away with a 200mm with a 1.4 telecoverter giving me a focal length of 280mm.


You want to put your ISO as low as possible. In my case I used ISO100. I actually tried ISO 50 but the 100 shot looked better.


You’ll want to set your aperture at f/11 to make sure you capture all of the details in the moon’s surface.

Additional Setting:

I set my camera into Live View mode, I manually focused using the LCD screen and zooming in 10x and then released with Profoto Airsync remote release, all sitting on a Manfrotto 055CX3 with two 3KG weights to keep everything stable.

Post Processing:

In Photoshop CS5, I adjusted the curves to medium contrast and applied an unsharp mask filter (amount 150%, radius 1.0, threshold 0)

Summary of the settings:

Canon 5DMKII, Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L, 1.4x teleconverter, 1/125, f/11, ISO100, shot in Live View, manually focused, released with Profoto Airsync.

Give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised…

Dave Powell is a photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. He writes Shoot Tokyo photography blog. You can see more of his work at or follow him on Twitter (shoottokyo)

And now more about the Lunar Eclipse opportunity itself,  from Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph…

Apr 15, 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse

Intense red shading: Observers within this area can see the eclipse from beginning to end.

Red shading right/east of intense shading: Observers within this area can see the eclipse until moonset/sunrise.

Red shading left/west of intense shading: Observers within this area can see the eclipse after moonrise/sunset.

No coloring: Eclipse is not visible at all

Note: Actual eclipse visibility depends on weather conditions and line of sight to the Moon.

This next portion offers another suggestion on viewing the Eclipse…

How to Photograph the Total Lunar Eclipse on April 15

We’ll need your comments on this to offer more clarification — Thanks…

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