Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar eclipse 8/28/07

These are pretty much snapshots of the eclipse last night. John brought out a telescope for the first time, and you could really see the detail of the moon, craters and all, even seeing the side texture of the moon in profile. My camera was set to -2 stops exposure compensation to get some detail, but it was insufficient to show what could be seen through the telescope in terms of the actual craters and texture of the moon.

10X50 binoculars gave the best view of the softness of the earth's shadow across the moon, one could see the roundness clearly in the shadow, and the cast of the shadow was brownish, not black like the photo shows. I could have chosen to put the camera on a tripod and play with exposures more for better shadow detail-- just wasn't that motivated at 3AM. Ideally one would shoot on a tripod, with a longer lense I would think, and for the truly motivated: bracket the exposures and make a composite image in photoshop in order to show the shadow details without blown-out whites in the bright areas.

In the last few days I've been having to shoot very white subjects against dark backgrounds and am being treated to just how poor the dynamic range of a photo is, versus our eyes. I don't know why there hasn't been a compressor/limiter function introduced to digital cameras yet: they've been available for the audio spectrum for many years now. Other special effects are becoming pretty popular on digital cameras, but something to cope with the dynamic range I would actually find useful. There's a photoshop filter to "lighten shadows and darken highlights" would be much more useful on camera before the image is compressed and written to memory.

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