October 27, 2004 by Allen George
Sometimes you just forget.
I’d read of the impending lunar eclipse on some of the blogs I regularly visit and had planned to take a few photos when the time came.
Needless to say, I forgot. Fortunately, I’m not the only person in this house. Matt’s girlfriend called and urged Rob to let us know that there was an eclipse on. Right now. Live. As in “Go Out And See It”. The precise moment Rob knocked on my door – that’s when I remembered.
I bolted. Literally. Grabbed my tripod, my camera, jammed my feet into the first pair of shoes I could reach and ran for the yard. I would get it this time. Not often in life do we get a second chance. Funnily enough, for my second foray into low light photography I was again dressed in shorts and a thin, thin T-shirt. And was it ever nippy out there. Those in the ‘know’ realize that my tolerance for cold is low. Bad pun.
It took around 7 minutes to set up, coax the long shutter mode into life and jockey the tripod into position against the fence. Matt and Rob kept the immediate light pollution to a minimum by turning off the interior lights. Meanwhile, I kept reseating the tripod farther back, trying to jockey the moon onto the LCD. Oh, how I mentally cursed the lack of an LCD gain control, the puny 2X zoom and my limited surroundings. What I wouldn’t give for the the Panasonic Lumix FZ-20 with its 12X optical zoom and IS. Finally however, my ministrations were rewarded and I saw it – the tiny spot of light on the LCD – the moon.
Ah…I can hear Pachabel’s Canon from Paul’s room. How appropriate. Shot after shot. Staring into the LCD, I realized that short of trespassing, I would be unable to get a centered shot. Took as many pictures as I could at different exposures… As I did however, my mind strayed. I remembered the first time I’d tried to take a picture of an eclipse. Long time ago, sometime before I’d purchased a digital camera.
I remember myself out in the huge soccer fields that abutted my subdivision. At night, being in the north of Brampton we receive less light pollution. Out there in the open, I was the only one. Holding a 35mm Minolta in my gloved hands, I climbed up onto the bleachers and squinted upwards through the viewfinder. No manual controls. No long exposure. No tripod. Crick in my neck. Arms aching, quads straining; I crouched facing the sky. Center the moon, change to “Night Scene” mode, press the shutter release. Steady goes it. Don’t shake. Can’t let the image blur. Keep taking picture after picture. Refine your technique.
But of course, it didn’t work out at all that time. My body failed me. This time, I was more prepared.