Total Lunar Eclipse
As Sunday evening advanced I was delighted to see that a bright full Moon[^1] was occasionally shining out from behind drifting cloud. It looked like there might be a good chance of catching the total lunar eclipse later on and so I dutifully set my alarm for 03:35 and headed to bed.
A few hours of comfortable sleep later and I was up, pulling on a few warm layers of clothing and then quietly descending through the sleeping hotel. The night porter looked momentarily panicked but I explained what I was doing and was soon out in the quiet grounds with just an occassional car on the A9 disturbing the silence. The skies were mostly clear but a thin mist meant the stars weren't quite as bright as I would have liked.
Nevertheless the eclipse was going on and looked fantastic. A dark, ruddy red moon hung above the pines low in the west. It wasn't ideal placement but I found a spot for the tripod and set about getting sorted. Using the lights on the drilling rigs moored in the Cromarty firth gave me a reasonable focus and I was soon snapping away with the 50mm lens - I hadn't brought my telescope with me on this occasion.
From the depths of maximum eclipse I watched the Moon gradually brighten as the sunlight slowly spread back across the surface. I kept taking photos, occasionally adjusting settings but mostly just enjoying the sight as my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness. The thin mist continued to cast a slight halo around the moon and its presence meant I never quite got a truly crisp photo.
As the crescent brightened and the red colour faded I decided it was time to pack up and head back in for a return to a warm bed as dawn slowly approached.
Author Alex Roddie captured some superb photos of the event from his home in Lincolnshire.