Lunar Eclipse over the Continental Divide
Total lunar eclipse of May 15, 2022, over Longs Peak and the Continental Divide from the summit of Hallett Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
From a photographer’s perspective, the moon is tiny, with an angular diameter of just 0.5 degrees. To make the moon a meaningful part of your composition, you either need a long telephoto lens or you need a lot of moons.
That’s why I decided to shoot the May 15, 2022, total lunar eclipse as a “string of pearls” image. The basic idea for such an image is simple: lock the camera down on a tripod and make one exposure every five minutes from the time the partial eclipse begins until the partial eclipse ends, then place all of the moons into one image that shows every phase of the eclipse.
Although simple in concept, creating such an image requires meticulous planning. I needed to know the position of the moon at the beginning and end of the eclipse, then identify a place where I could observe all phases of the eclipse occurring above a dramatic landscape. In the end, I chose the summit of Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park as my shooting location because it offered a spectacular view of Longs Peak and the Continental Divide when I looked southeast – precisely the direction where the eclipse would occur.
Executing my plan after I made it proved to be even more arduous than I expected. You can read the full story of how I planned, executed, and processed this image in my blog post, The Making of Lunar Eclipse over the Continental Divide.