Lunar Eclipse



I planned. I studied maps. I tracked weather forecasts. I used various tools to try to estimate where I should be to get a special composition that I had in mind. But after all of the planning there was still only a chance that it would go as I hoped. I had a second choice of where to go, but I took a chance, because what I had in mind would have been in my opinion at least, really good, but it was a chance that didn't pay off.

My old adversary the weather decided to get in the way again.


I went to a location close to Chasseral in Bern. A place that if the weather had been good, would have given me a view of the moon rising around Eiger and Mönch.


It wasn't though and it didn't.


There will be another one in January 2019, so there will be another chance. It will of course have to be from another location as the alignment will be different in January, so planning will start again soon.


Another point that I was very much made aware of was the need to go somewhere that is not directly reachable by car. I went to several locations in the end, some that I have been to many times before, at similar times, and not seen a single person. But this time there were so, so many people everywhere I went!


Now although my original plan didn't work out, I did manage to get some images of the eclipse. With both the A7 and the GFX, which is still offering me some new perspectives.


The title image is one of them. This was actually taken the day before at Chasseral when I went to take a look at the location, but the sunset on the night was very similar.


Apart from one image in the last post, this is the first time that I have consciously framed a composition around people. I've never been comfortable taking pictures of people I don't know, in fact I'm not very comfortable taking pictures of people I do know either, so this is definitely something new.

Back to the eclipse. I had arrived in good time at Chasseral, and so had a lot of other people. Picnic blankets were out, kids where running around, barbecues were lit and a herd of cows were coming up the hill and making their way peacefully right through the middle of it all. Apart from the cows, this is the opposite from what I tend to experience at a location. I am usually completely alone.


In the distance the mountains that I wanted to see could be seen, but there was a haze in the atmosphere that I didn't like the look of. There was an hour to go, so there was still time for change. I got everything set up, then sat back and waited, watching more and more people arrive. While waiting I took advantage of the new perspective that the GFX is giving me. Just up the slope was a father and child with a telescope. The composition through the grass appealed to me. Even though I was quite nervous taking it, I thought that it would appear as though I was possibly taking a macro shot of the grasses and not one of them, so I went for it.


The next two images are of this story, I've kept two in the post as I'm not sure which I prefer. They are best viewed large, and as they are taken with the GFX they can be viewed really large!


By the time that the moon started to rise, it was clear that I wasn't going to see the composition that I had hoped for. The clouds and haze were worse and it didn't look like I would get to see anything from this location for at least the next hour. It was time to make a decision. If the traffic went well I would be able to make it to another location; I decided to give it a go.


On a positive note, with the recent weather not dropping below 30°C, I was happy to be at a location in which I could wear a jacket for a while!


After leaving, I drove towards Waldenburg. I would occasionally see the red moon in one of the mirrors, wishing that I had left a little earlier, but still happy that I was experiencing the event and driving down unusually empty motorways.


Up at an even for daytime crowded Waldweide, I took a few shots of the moon, but with nothing for the foreground and the full eclipse coming to an end, I moved again back down to the village.


(You may experience some strange pixels in the black of the images. I'm not sure why this is happening, but I'm looking into it)




I had to wait a while for the next shot so that the moon came into alignment with the tower of the ruins. By this time the eclipse was half over but exactly this in combination with the perspective of the tower and the flag pole adds to the effect of the image.



The next two shots were taken the night before the eclipse, the first in Chasseral at the same time as the title image and the other two in Waldenburg.





One final image of the moon taken with the Sony A7 mk3 using the 100-400mm with a x2 tele-converter.





Although I didn't manage to get the image that I was after, I am still happy with the results. There will be other chances though, maybe not with the blood moon from the same location, but there will be other chances and there will be other subjects, other compositions and I now know that there will always be new perspectives.