Glenn Randall Photography

Extraordinary landscape photography from Colorado and the West

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Lunar Eclipse over Longs Peak



Lunar eclipse over Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker, seen from the summit of Twin Sisters, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Lunar Eclipse over Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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 April 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 was full, then continuing through the eclipse until moonset. 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 (see this blog post for the details), I decided the best shooting location was the summit of Twin Sisters, where I could photograph the moon as it slowly traced an arc over Longs Peak.  The catch? The summit of Twin Sisters is nearly four miles and 2,500 vertical feet above the road, and I would need to arrive on the summit around 2:45 a.m.


I knew that a big spring storm had dumped about eight inches of fresh snow on Rocky Mountain National Park, so I allowed plenty of time for the hike. I lay down at 8 p.m., dozed lightly until 9:15 p.m., drove to the park, and was snowshoeing up the trail by 11 p.m. I had estimated the approach would take 3½ hours, but deep drifts at timberline slowed me down. With the trail almost completely obscured, I headed straight up but guessed wrong on which of the knobs looming above me was the true summit. I ended up on the wrong side of the actual summit and had to scramble over large, snow-covered blocks of talus and through cliff bands to the top, arriving only 25 minutes before I knew I had to start shooting. As soon as I finished dialing in my composition, I began clicking off frames. For the next three hours I shot a bracketed set of images every five minutes as the moon slowly went into eclipse. Dawn light was spreading across the sky when the moon, still partially eclipsed, dropped below the western horizon. A few minutes later the sun crested the eastern plains, and I started down.


As I was descending, I ran into an ardent amateur photographer from Fort Collins. He had left the road two hours later than I had, without snowshoes, and had to fight through the timberline drifts on foot, reaching a good vantage point too late to shoot the full eclipse sequence. I was glad I had made it in time despite my route-finding error, and even more glad to get home and collapse into bed after a 29-hour day.

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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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