How the Super Blue Blood Moon Was Photographed

150 years ago, a rare occurrence graced our night skies. A supermoon, the second full moon in the month, also called a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse happened. 

Fast forward to January 31 2018, this very event was to happen again at 19:30 Perth time. To be honest I wasn't going to bother photographing this as the last supermoon event was crowded and a huge disappointment.

In the morning, I looked through a bunch of images on google of lunar eclipses and supermoons and they all looked like this:

 supermoon and lunar eclipse google search

supermoon and lunar eclipse google search

 The Planning of the Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse shoot - Su Surveyor

The Planning of the Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse shoot - Su Surveyor

Some great images, but nothing special to me at least, then it hit me... I'm a story teller and I want to show the whole process of the moon's transition over the place I call home, so I started planning on my phone with an app called Sun Surveyor, which I believe is one of Google's apps.

This allowed me to track the location on the moon from any specific time of the year.

One thing I didn't want to do was be in a crowed place full of people, so I decided to create a composite, but one that is as true to the real thing as possible. This allowed me to ask a good friend for access to his apartment rooftop in Subiaco.

The only problem with shooting on a rooftop was that I had no view of the city, but it would be much better than having people walk in front of my camera mid frame.

The final destination after all this was to head to Applecross Jetty for a clean view, when other photographers and watchers have had enough.

This was it, I arrived at ~19:20 (I know, a bit late), but there was no one on the rooftop and both Augustine and myself were surprised.

We could already see the supermoon, so I quickly setup my camera (equipment used: Nikon D750, Tamron 70-200 at 200mm, Feisol Tripod and Sunway Gear Head), I chose to use a gear head so I could precisely track the moon.

The lens was fixed at 200mm at a cropping of 1.5x, making the lens equal to 350mm and this was kept constant so I could resize all the moon images together to keep the exact proportion and size of each moon transition.

As total eclipse was happening, people crowded the rooftop, but I got the best spot where no one could walk in front of me. We met a few locals as they were curious about what I was doing as I only look images every 5 minutes. They also ended up taking photos of the eclipse right off the back of my camera screen and sending it to their friends, saying it was taken with their phone, which wowed them HAHA! Technically not a lie 😉.

So by 23:30, I was the only one left up there with my friend and the event was truly over. Everyone else had left taking only a couple of photos of the eclipse and it was my turn to pack up.

The final destination was Applecross Jetty, I headed there and as I predicted, no one was there and it was freezing!

I picked a spot and setup my camera, this time using a Tamron 24-70mm zoomed out to 70mm. I didn't go wide angle because it meant that the city would look tiny, so this was a great compromise with panoramic stitching. 

Panoramic stitch.jpg

I then used the live view function in Sun Surveyor to track the exact pathway of the moon and screenshots to be used as an overlay for post processing.

Merge.jpg
Panostitchoverlay.gif

The final stage was to import all the moon images and select every say 20 minutes of the path.

Panostitch.gif

After the hours on location and hours in Photoshop, I ended up with the final image below.

 Supermoon Blue moon Lunar Eclipse Finished Image

Supermoon Blue moon Lunar Eclipse Finished Image