2011 Lunar Eclipse over the Colorado Rockies ... and 2018 - D'OH! ;-)

So I've ventured out a couple of times in the early morning to take pictures of the moon setting over the Colorado Rockies. The full moon only happens once a month ... and even rarer is a Lunar Eclipse, especially near dawn. On December 10th, 2011, there was a full Lunar Eclipse@7:36AM; with the moonset at 7:13 and sunrise at 7:12. I met fellow photographer Chuck at a church parking lot at 79th and Lookout Road to snap a few pics.

The day after the full moon is typically better to shoot because you get some light on the mountains - not surprisingly, that was the case this time. The tripod'ed Canon 7D with a 70-200/F2.8ISv2 telephoto lens plus 2x extender was shooting at F/5.6, 1/100s, and ISO3200 - it was dark! The 18 mega-pixels of the 7D provides super-duper high-def, so I've resized it down to 1080x720 ... which also reduces some of the grainy noise. I had actually "given up" on doing an image sequence, so I wasn't as careful with the tripod and intervalometer ... but here's a time-lapse of my images.

Scroll down to the bottom to see a complete time-lapse of the full moon setting the next morning over the Colorado Rockies.

December 10th, 2011 Lunar Eclipse over Longs Peak

Use the controls to play, step, pause, slow-down, and/or speed-up the animation.
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Lunar Eclipse over Longs Peak

Eclipse'd moon at ~299.9° in the pre-dawn light from 40.0762°N - 105.1695°W ... and then 36 minutes later

lunar eclipse pre-dawn

lunar eclipse post-dawn

"Boys with their Toys" ... and yes, Chuck's is "bigger" than mine! ;-)

2011 lunar eclipse boys toys

Chuck with his Canon 1DM4 and 500/F4 plus 1.4x TC

2011 lunar eclipse chuck 1

2011 lunar eclipse chuck 2

2011 lunar eclipse chuck 3

Alek with his Canon 7D and 70-200/F/2.8 plus 2x TC - mouseover middle two images to see other views

2011 lunar eclipse alek 1

lunar eclipse alek 2

lunar eclipse alek 3

2011 lunar eclipse alek4

Sunlight starts to light up Longs Peaks as Moon disappears behind it - mouseover image to see closeup

lunar eclipse done

2011 Lunar Eclipse "kissing" Long Peaks, Colorado

2011 lunar eclipse colorado rockies longs peak
Photography Notes: As noted, a Canon 7D with 70-200mm telephoto lens with 2x extender was used for the moon sequence. Manual exposure of 1/100s, F/5.6, and ISO 3200. I didn't worry about white balance since RAW files are processed with ACR and then cropped & resized with Photoshop Actions. Irfanview was used to overlay the timestamp (Left Bottom at 10,500 & 0,200 with $E36868(%H:%M:%S) at 16 pt and then Right Bottom at 10,500 & 0,50 with $E36867(%Y/%m/%d) - www.komar.org at 12pt) and then Quicktime Pro generated the video.

It was much darker than I thought it would be, so I kinda "gave up" on doing the image sequence because I was at ISO3200 - in hindsight, I should have stuck with my plan. In addition, I should have set the shutter speed to 1/10s (or slower) and just given up on sharpness of the moon due to its motion ... but then dropped ISO so their was less noise in the overall image. Finally, bummer I wasn't just a little farther North and caught the moon setting right over Longs Peak. Oh well - maybe the next Lunar Eclipse! ;-)

Click here to see pictures of climbing Longs Peak, Colorado.

So the next morning, I went out to try to shoot the full moon setting over Long Peaks - setting up a little farther North and (unfortunately) a bit to the East at the bus park-n-ride at Niwot and 287 at 40.1022°N and 105.1044°W. Unfortunately, I had moved too far on the "angle" ... and the moon then set (299.0° at 8:01AM) to the North of Long Peaks - completely missing it - D'OH! ;-)

But since I generated a decent image sequence, I might as well upload here. Note that it was a little "late" - i.e. the sun was already quite high having risen at 7:12AM, so you don't see a big change in brightness. Plus we've had clear weather for several days, so there is a bit of haze in the sky.

December 11th, 2011 Moonset over the Colorado Rockies

On Jan 31st, 2018, there was another Lunar Eclipse ... plus SuperMoon! ;-)
So using the excellent Photographer's Ephemeris, I compared 2011 to 2018
Pretty sure this time I had the optimal spot to catch the eclipsed moon setting down the right shoulder of Longs Peak

2011 lunar eclipse colorado rockies longs peak tpe

2018 lunar eclipse colorado rockies longs peak tpe
I saw the partially eclipsed moon at 5:30AM but by 5:45, could tell there was some slight haze. Regardless, you can only hope for the best, so I drove out and while I could barely see the fully eclipsed orange moon, it was dimmer & less vibrant, so bad sign. I got a brief glimpse when I arrived at 6:20, but shortly thereafter, it was completely obscured by haze. So didn't even find out if I had the "perfect" spot and all I got was this (brightened) picture of Longs Peak - darn! BTW, this picture is misleading as it was quite hazy and the moon was never visible. Plus that low laying fog kept lifting and completely obscured Longs Peak shortly after this pic - D'OH! ;-)
2011 lunar eclipse colorado rockies longs peak tpe