Capturing the Blood Moon // Blood Wolf Moon

Hi there! I have had so many inquiries about this photo I took of the Blood Moon the other night I thought I would do a blog post about it. First of all, nature is awesome. I can’t believe how lucky we are to experience moments like this. As I was posting real time on my Instagram stories I had people asking me, including my Mom, where is this happening? Ummm… outside… it’s happening outside, it’s the moon. It’s a total eclipse of the moon. I couldn’t stop laughing at that question, but then it made me think, how disconnected are we from nature? Being outside and taking time to peace-out cures all things. Depression, anxiety, fatigue, you name it. Nature is just downright good for the soul.

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I have to give a huge credit to Chris, my love, for telling me to do this. As an artist, and we all go through this, the lies we tell ourselves. I really thought that because this has been done before I didn’t need to create this. But what I was missing was that I’ve never done this before and I’ve never gone through the process to make it my own, and you know what? I had a whole lot of fun creating it, posting it live and then seeing the recap and love from all my friends for doing it. Not only that, this image has tied together a whole series of images I’ve been working on that I didn’t know fit together until now, I’ll talk more about that at the end of this post, for now just the specs.

This is the final product of the Blood Moon from January 20, 2019. To create this image I used my Canon 7d and Tamaron 28-300mm. I’ll be the first to tell you that you don’t need the best equipment to create an image like this (my equipment is 10 years old). This is also a composite image (4 photos were used and combined in post i.e. PhotoaShop). Also, if you like tips like this let me know! Heck, let me know if you don’t like it. I just want to know where your interest lies and if I should continue sharing photo tips like this.

I photographed the moon hand-held with my 300mm zoom lens to the max. I found my focus point a touch back from infinity. This is what the actual un-edited image looked like. ISO 100 at f/14 and 1/100 sec. *Anything slower than 1/60sec. you should use a tripod for if you want to avoid hand vibration.

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Then I made a couple minor editing adjustments in Lightroom, boosting the exposure a stop, adding a little bit of contrast and removed some of the shadows. I also removed the chromatic abberation in Lightroom then cropped it to look like the image below and imported it in into PhotoShop.

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I repeated this process a total of four times (for each individual image). It was 6F outside here in Chicago so I didn’t stay outside long to take the images. I kept going outside to check on it about every 15-20minutes to see how it had progressed. Here is the series of photographs to show you the progression. This is also how they looked when I imported them into PhotoShop. I could have cropped them in PhotoShop but made the personal choice to do so in Lightroom and I’m just use to working that way.

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Getting the exposure right for the blood moon (image below) was a different story. The shadow was so dark across the moon that I couldn’t get a good image without a tripod. I photographed this at ISO 1000 with f/6.3 at 0.8 sec. The image is not as crisp as the previous images due to the higher ISO and longer exposure, but combined in one image I still think it tells the story well.

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Once I had all of the images open in PhotoShop I used one as my base layer, then I selected just the moon, using the square marquee tool (I chose this tool because the background was the same in each photo and it didn’t matter if I had part of the background selected). I sized them all relatively the same and placed them in a row. Again the final product.

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As I mentioned above, this image has tied together a series of images that I had been working on. I tend to obsess, in a good way, to get to a point where visually things connect for me. It’s gotta have that POP, I almost can’t explain it because it is a feeling. So these are just a few observations that I’ve been tying together. Some of them are as recent as last weekend, and some from this past summer.

I don’t have a printer at home, so I’ve been connecting these together to post on Instagram, at least that’s where the process started. I’ve been using an app called UNUM to lay it out. Now I might be giving away my next Instagram posts by showing you this, but that is besides the point. These are resources that have helped me to visually collect something that feels graphically powerful to me and it got me so excited that I re-vamped an entire gallery on my website: LIFE.

I also like to listen to music when I’m editing and some of that may have a direct response to what I am seeing. My inspirations here in this moment are Maggie Rogers (Dog Years!), Gregory Alan Isakov (San Luis) and Phosphorscent.

That’s my mad-hatter process for the digital age. This is not always the process I use, sometimes things are done on a whim but I’ve been trying to connect the dots lately and build a series. It’s something that I’ve felt compelled to do and that’s where it stands for now.

As an artist another thing that I have struggled with (for years and ongoing) is speaking and writing about my process, and communicating it others. I have over 20 years of experience behind the lens and so much of it has become a comfort for me that I just doing it, my only hope is that I can finally start saying those things out loud so that they can help YOU. So lay it on me, let me know what you think. Did you like this post? Should I post more photo tips?