This was it. April 4, 2015. The third full lunar eclipse of the 2014-2015 tetrad. I set my alarm for 4:15 am, and prepared everything I would need to capture the event while staying warm in a literally freezing pre-dawn.
Morning came, and I drove to the spot I had selected: a spot with a clear view of the western horizon. Although the lunar eclipse was a full lunar eclipse, in my neck of the woods the moon would set minutes before totality. I needed to pick a good spot to have a hope of seeing anything. Sunset hill should work as well for moon sets as it does for sunsets, shouldn’t it?
I walked up the dark hill minutes before the eclipse began. Grateful for my headlamp with red mode, I set up my equipment without ruining my night vision. With the start of the eclipse, I began taking pictures every few minutes, until the moon faded into the dawn.
Here is what I saw that morning. (Click for fullscreen.)
But I was not satisfied with that image.
Yes, it is a mostly faithful representation of what I saw, but it lacks pizzazz, that thing that makes you go, “Oh” while viewing a picture. What was wrong?
You see, the trees compete with the moon. It is a lunar eclipse, the moon’s night. It didn’t want to share the spotlight with some spring-naked trees.
But I didn’t have any shots from that morning of a clear horizon. Lesson learned for the future.
But how can I fix the present? What else has a clear horizon? When else have I been up and taking pictures during the pre-dawn?
I don’t sleep well while sailing. Something about having full responsibility of an almost half-million dollar boat that I rented makes me sleep a bit lighter. As a result, I’m often up to witness the wonder of a dawn over Lake Superior. I have no complaints about that.
I searched our old pictures of sailing in the Apostle Islands, and found an acceptable shot. Using that as the background, I created this image of the third lunar eclipse. (Click for fullscreen.)
I find that image much more striking. What do you think? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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