Glenn Randall Photography

Extraordinary landscape photography from Colorado and the West

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Lunar Eclipse from Grand View Point



Lunar eclipse over Monument Basin from Grand View Point, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Lunar Eclipse from Grand View Point, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

A lunar eclipse is a rare and magnificent sight, but photographically, it’s a challenge. Although the moon looms large in our perception, it’s optically quite small, subtending an angle of only half a degree. Filling the frame with the eclipsed moon requires a telescope. As the lunar eclipse of September 2015 approached, I decided to take a different tack and shoot it by making a series of photographs five minutes apart, each with the same composition, starting when the moon rose, then continuing through the eclipse until the moon was full once more. I would then put all the images together in Photoshop to show the progression of the eclipse.


I knew such an image would be better if I could place my series of moons over some dramatic landscape. After a lot of planning, I decided the best shooting location was Windy Ridge, in the Mosquito Range near the hamlet of Alma. Unfortunately, the forecast called for cloudy skies, so I made a last-minute decision to head for Grand View Point in Canyonlands National Park. After searching along the rim of Grand View Point, I selected a composition with a twisted, weather-beaten Utah juniper in the foreground and Monument Basin in the background. The next problem was composing the image precisely. I knew the position of the moon in terms of altitude (angle above a level horizon) and azimuth (compass bearing) for each phase of the eclipse. I used a tripod-mounted Brunton pocket transit to position the camera so that the moon would rise near the bottom left corner of the frame, arc up and right across the frame without intersecting the tree, then exit the frame near the top right corner.


The moon was already partially eclipsed when it rose into a clear sky four minutes before sunset. Every five minutes, I fired off a bracketed set of images, varying the exposure as the moon moved through the phases of the eclipse. One thin cloud partially obscured the moon just as the total-eclipse phase was ending. Then the moon emerged from the cloud and sailed on, finally exiting the frame around midnight.


From moonrise at 7:04 p.m. to the end of the partial eclipse at 10:27 p.m., the eclipse had lasted over three hours. During that time the color of the sky varied from the pale blue of twilight to near-black. When I assembled this image in Photoshop, I chose an image taken shortly after sunset when only the brightest stars were visible to provide the background of land and sky behind the series of moons, and created the image you see here.

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Glenn Randall Photography  |  2945 Colby Dr.  |  Boulder CO 80305-6303 | Office 303 499-3009  |  Mobile 720 320-7126

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I offer over 100 images on this site, in four or five sizes each and as many as five different presentations (loose, matted-only, framed, gallery-wrap canvas, and gallery float). It is impossible to keep every size and presentation of every image in stock at all times. Accordingly, most of the items I offer for sale on are hand-built one at a time as customers order them. It normally requires between five and ten business days to complete an order, but it may take longer if I am on an extended shoot. Shipping time is in addition to these figures. To get specific information about delivery time for a particular item, please call 303 499-3009 or email me. I will do my best to accommodate rush orders. Thanks for your patience!

All photographic prints, regardless of presentation (loose, matted-only, framed, etc.) are delicate and require careful packaging to be shipped safely. Accordingly, all online purchases will have a 15 percent charge added for shipping and handling. This shipping charge only covers shipments to the continental United States. Please contact me for a quote on shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or to international destinations. If you would like to pick up your print at my home office in Boulder rather than have it shipped, please call 303 499-3009 (office) or 720 320-7126 (mobile) to complete your purchase and make arrangements for pickup. Alternatively, I can deliver prints in the Denver metro area for $1.00 per mile based on round-trip mileage.

All matted-only and framed prints larger than 24x30 inches, all gallery-wrap canvases and gallery-float prints larger than 30x40, and all framed panoramas wider than 30 inches, are too big to be shipped via FedEx ground and too big to fit in any standard-size art box. While these prints can be shipped, they require a custom-made crate and the cost is exorbitant ($300+). I strongly suggest that all customers who live outside the Denver metro area and who wish to purchase a print larger than the maximums specified above buy the loose version and take it to the custom frame shop of their choosing. Loose prints can be shipped rolled at the standard shipping rate of 15 percent of the retail price. I will gladly provide detailed instructions to the framer on the moulding I use and my preferred method of mounting and framing the piece.

I use elegant hardwood frames on all of my framed prints. The image above right shows the frame I use for the smallest framed size of this image. I use proportionally larger frames with the same color finish for larger prints. The moulding shape will vary, depending on the size. For more information on the frames I recommend for different size prints, please visit my framing page.

Studio Moulding frame 353-125 cherry Studio Moulding Forte 4934 mahogany-finish picture frame Studio Moulding Forte 4834 mahogany-finish picture frame

I allow returns for a full refund (minus shipping) for 30 days from the date of delivery if you are dissatisfied with the print. You are responsible for the cost of shipping the print back to me, including the cost of insuring it for the full retail value, and the print must arrive in salable condition for a refund to be issued.

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