Photo Credit: NASA
Lunar eclipse of January 2020, known as chandra grahan in Hindi, is all set to start at 10:37pm IST tonight. The celestial event marks the alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, and the penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible from India this time. The total duration of this eclipse will be 4 hour and 5 minutes, and most parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe will be able to see it. Photographers love to take pictures of the Moon and capture the oddities that the lack of light brings. While shooting with a DSLR is a relatively easy task, to get great photos of the lunar eclipse through a smartphone camera is a difficult job.
The phone's camera has a smaller sensor compared to DSLRs, and don't offer as deep settings as one would prefer. However, the smartphone camera technology has evolved massively over the recent ears, and the handheld device is now capable of taking detailed photos. Multiple lens integration and features like optical image stabilisation (OIS) help in taking stable and clear photos even when you zoom in. Photography has also evolved and users can now play by the strengths of the phone and take beautiful photos of the celestial event. We share a few pro tips to help readers take good photos of the Moon during the lunar eclipse 2020 tonight – using their phone's camera.
In order to take beautiful lunar eclipse 2020 photos, consider travelling to a more heightened area that offers a clear view of the sky, without any man-made obstacles coming in the way of the frame. If that is not possible, look for interesting scenery nearby, like a tree, a tall building, or a reflection that you could include in your photos of the Moon. Essentially, head to a place that offers you fodder for good mise en scene. Also, try getting there early and setting things up so that you're ready before the eclipse begins.
We strongly recommend carrying a tripod along to take the photos of the moon. Handheld photos often come in shaky, especially when your shutter speed is slow, and try using a remote shutter or the self-timer feature on the phone to take the photos, to avoid any shake whatsoever.
You can also consider attaching an external telephoto lens to help capture a good shot. While phones come with built-in zoom functionalities, the end result often compromises on detail, and isn't as crisp as one might want. These external telephoto lenses offer longer focal lengths allowing for no loss of detail even when you zoom in. You can buy these lenses online or offline, and brands like Olloclip and DMG can be considered.
To capture the moon and highlight the changing lights on its surface, it is recommended that you use HDR mode on the phone. This mode essentially takes a slew of photos at different exposures and then stitches them together to give you one image with good contrast and colour. Just make sure that you aren't losing a lot of detail in the process.
Furthermore, using Pro mode inside the Camera app is highly recommended. It allows photographers to tweaks ISO, shutter speed, focus, and aperture to best suit their needs. While taking photos of the Moon, keep the ISO level to light and the shutter speed to slow. Adjust these settings multiple times until you find your desired result, where the Moon doesn't appear too bright or too dim. Also, manually focus on the Moon by tapping on the viewfinder, and adjust the exposure to get better end result.
There is no point in using the flash, as the Moon is too far away and it absolutely doesn't serve the purpose. In fact, it could spoil the photo further, so keep the flash off at all times.
You can even play around by using Burst mode to get the best photos, or use time-lapse feature instead. This feature captures footage in a fast forward manner, capturing the entire eclipse in a short span. All you have to do, is select your frame, and press start. The phone will capture the whole event on its own.
If you want to get more details, try shooting in RAW format. If your phone doesn't support it, you ca use apps like Pro Cam or Camera FV- 5 for this purpose. RAW images are bigger in size, so ensure that you have free storage space as well.
After all the photo-taking is done, ensure that you properly edit these photos using apps like Adobe Lightroom, Pixlr, or PicsArt Studio.