The Super Blood Moon

September 27, 2015


I'm going to assume that I don't have to explain how extraordinary a lunar eclipse is. In the early hours of the morning, we were treated to something even more special than that! For the first time in over 30 years, a lunar eclipse has fallen on the same date as a super moon. This means that the moon was closer to the Earth and appeared somewhat larger.


I chose to photograph at St Michael's Mount as I will be pointing in a southward direction to the moon. Also, St Michael's Mount is an equally extraordinary location. I've taken pictures there before so look back at my blog posts if you want to learn more and want to see those images. With a flask of hot coffee and two thick jackets, I was prepared for the long night that was ahead of me. After I had got all set up nice and early, there was nothing to do but stop my nose from running and watch the tide come in. I wanted to tide to come up to the causeway because all of the rocks made for an unattractive foreground. It also gave me the chance to collect some timelapse footage that you've probably already watched. The wind started to turn mighty cold and there weren't many places to sit that weren't wet, covered in seaweed or both. There was one other brave soul who even had it in him to explore around the mount itself. 


By 1.45am, one side of the moon began to darken. About an hour later and it had almost completely disappeared. The tide rose quickly and I had to abandon my spot on the causeway. Up the beach I headed and, although I found some more photographers I knew I had a unique shot. Again, the tide came up to our feet surprisingly fast so I retreated to an even safer, but much smellier location whilst I still had time. It wasn't until I was leaving that I noticed hundreds of fast moving bugs running around my feet. 


The moon finally disappeared but only when I crank up my exposure did I see a vibrant red colour. I was ecstatic but speechless all at once! What was really hard was nailing the focus on my lens. I worked out a system to take multiple shots at different points in the focus so I knew I had at least one sharp photo. I even tried different lenses and all sorts of different settings. Using a shutter speed longer than 3-4 seconds rendered the moon slightly blurry so I had to find a balance between depth of field and noise from a high ISO. Once I had exhausted all of my ideas, I wondered if it was time to leave. After all, I didn't need to see the moon lit back up... I had just seen one of the most incredible natural phenomenas ever - the super blood moon!


I think it's worth noting that I might've "cheated" a little bit by compositing in the moon after. Editing and composing this photo was a huge challenge and this is the best I could get it!




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All content copyright Alex Stevenson (unless otherwise noted).

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