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Wednesday, August 29 2007

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Last night there was a total lunar eclipse. Yuko and I went outside to take pictures. I used one of Yuko's SLR cameras (Pentax) while she used the Canon 30D.

Yuko shooting with the Canon 30D
Me shooting with the Canon 30D

The moon is a very small subject for a standard camera, even using a 200mm lens, and it soon became clear that the photos were suffering from camera shake. Even using my sturdy tripod (which incidentally I purchased specifically for another eclipse in 1991), the shaking caused by the camera shutter was enough to ruin the pictures.

Picture taken with a shaking camera

I therefore resorted to a 'manual' shutter using the following procedure...

Set the shutter to 6 seconds, hold a black card in front of the lens, press the button, wait 2 seconds for the vibrations to stop, move the card away, count to three, move the card back in front of the lens, wait for the shutter to close.

Using a black card as a manual shutter

This method improved the pictures enormously and I got some reasonable (but not spectacular) shots.

Yuko tried this technique too but found it too tiresome, so she gave up. Later, she pirated one of my pictures and published it on her blog, passing it off as her own. She'll be hearing from my lawyer about this!

Eclipse Slideshow

From Message
Laughing Mole
5238 Days Ago
This is a test comment. I posted a comment and it disappeared, but then I realised I'd included a link, and I'm wondering if that triggered an anti-spam trap.

From Message
Laughing Mole
5238 Days Ago
Aha! So, here is the comment I originally tried to post, but this time without a link...

What I do for astronomy photos is use the self-timer (or whatever it's called). That way I can press the shutter button and withdraw my stubby paw, and then the camera stops shaking in the 10 secs it takes for the exposure to start.

I have a shutter release cable for my stone-age Nikon SLR, but it hadn't occured to me (until now) to get one for my new-fangled paint-by-numbers camera. (This is where I posted a link to a 'remote switch' accessory for Canon digital SLRs on their Australian web site, but I'll desist this time.)

Your lunar eclipse photo is much nicer than mine, but as I was in the Shaky Isles at the time, I think this is the cause of my poor results. I've sent you a copy for comparison.

From Message
5237 Days Ago
Yes, your first comment landed in my "BlogSpam" mail folder (which I never read).

The remote switch thingy looks interesting, but I would think that the shutter mechanism itself would still cause shaking as the shutter opens. Or maybe I'm over cautious.

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