What did it feel like to photograph the longest lunar eclipse?

Sitting in my rather unsexy nightgown on my balcony past midnight, still soaking up an unusually hot summer night in Stockholm, my husband and I waited with bated breath.

Waiting for clouds blocking the blood red moon to please move out of the way before we missed the entire eclipse. The irony was that we’d had cloudless skies for close to two weeks leading up the moment.

And right before the moon started loosing its red hue, the clouds slowly shifted out of the way and I was able to photograph the longest lunar eclipse of our century.

The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century took place on Friday, July 27. The total phase of the “blood moon” eclipse of July 27 lasted 1 hour and 43 minutes, during which Earth’s natural satellite turned a spectacular red or ruddy-brown color. From start to finish, the entire celestial event lasted nearly 4 hours.

And we were one of the lucky few to capture it across the world due to heavy cloud cover in most regions. You can learn more about this amazing celestial phenomena at Space.com.

Not only that, we also got to see a bright red dot that was planet Mars!

The Gear

I grabbed my Nikon D750 FX (full frame) camera and the longest telephoto lens I had on me which was my 70-300mm. I quickly popped up my travel tripod and set it on the outdoor table on my balcony.

The Settings

While I played around with the shutter speed and aperture to get different effects, for the most part, these were the general settings I used.

  • The most important is manual focus. You need to manually focus the lens yourself to the point because trying to autofocus in darkness is pointless (no pun intended).
  • A slow shutter speed between 1-3 seconds
  • A moderately shallow aperture of about f/5.6
  • Focal length of 300mm
  • ISO of around 1600. I could have dropped my ISO if I has slowed down my shutter even more.

Here are a few photos I took as well as the technical settings under each shot.

Technical Settings

  • Aperture – f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed – 0.6 seconds
  • ISO – 1600
  • Focal Length – 300mm

Technical Settings

  • Aperture – f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed – 0.6 seconds
  • ISO – 1600
  • Focal Length – 300mm

Technical Settings

  • Aperture – f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed – 2 seconds
  • ISO – 800
  • Focal Length – 300mm

Comparing this shot to the one above it, you can see that I have a ISO of 800 vs. 1600 because I slowed my shutter speed down even more.

Technical Settings

  • Aperture – f/4.5
  • Shutter Speed – 0.8 seconds
  • ISO – 1600
  • Focal Length – 102mm

In this shot and the one below it, you can see planet Mars as that vibrant stationary red dot. Mind-blowing to witness these celestial bodies.

Technical Settings

  • Aperture – f/14
  • Shutter Speed – 0.8 seconds
  • ISO – 1600
  • Focal Length – 102mm

You can see this image is darker than the one above it and that’s because I used a narrow depth of field (aperture) of f/14.

Did you catch the blood moon which was the longest lunar eclipse when it occurred? What did you think of it?