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The Sky  I've always been interested in the sky.  The stars weren't as much of a mystery, once I'd read about nuclear fusion; but they still held my eye.  This was despite living in an area where, over the years, the stars steadily disappeared, obscured by the haze and lights of a growing population.  I had my telescope as a boy, but not an especially nice one, and I'd always wanted something better...

And so, when I heard of the impending lunar eclipse, I grabbed my camera and tripod, and drove off into the hills.

click each photo for a larger image
Well, the results were pretty horrible.  I'd strongly underestimated the effect of contrast differences between the bright of the moon and the darkness of the landscape.  Even tripping my flash several times during exposures only brightened the land near me; you can just barely make out the black outline of the ridge, where it meets the sky. hi-res version
Further, it was much too easy to overexpose the full moon, with lens artifacts turning it into a six-pointed star, with additional floaters here and there.  A lot of the photos looked like they came straight out of science fiction.  Here the moon was very close to the contrail from a jet plane.
Another shot from science fiction.  The eclipse has already started, and the moon is passing through another jet contrail.
I also had a couple of technical problems.  My long zoom lens tended to unzoom itself when pointed nearly straight up; murder on long exposures.  I managed to improvise a shim from a piece of cardboard.  Another major problem was camera shake; even bolted to a sturdy tripod, the weight of my lens combined with a teleconverter (2X zoom) made the camera shake at the slightest touch.  My Nikon camera can't use a standard mechanical cable release, I didn't have an electronic release, and I'd left my manual camera at home.
Of the 3-1/2 rolls of film I burned through that night, only one good photo of the eclipse surfaced.  It's a bit blurry, and the details of the still-lit lunar surface are all washed out.  I suppose I'll have to take it.

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