Phil's blog

I hope you enjoy this video 'The Moon in Motion', with footage of the 'Great American Eclipse', captured from locations in Idaho and looking over the Tetons on 21st August 2017. Music by my talented friend, cellist and composer Kristin Rule:

Best viewed with the lights down and the music up on the biggest screen you have. 

It has taken me all of the nearly two years since this international expedition to develop and apply the specialised eclipse image processing and video editing techniques required to create this. The video features footage from 7 out of 12 cameras I had running on the day. Read on to find out more..

The view from Table Mountain of the Great American Eclipse; 21st August 2017, looking towards the Grand Teton and the Teton Range. Three days prior to the eclipse I hiked up to the summit of Table Mountain (3,387m/11,100ft) and planted an automated camera. A day after the eclipse I hiked up to the summit again to retrieve my camera, only to find out that the whole exercise had so nearly been in vain.

I’ve been fortunate to have my hands on an early version of the Sky-Watcher CQ350 mount since before its release in December 2022.

Functionally the CQ350 is easily described as an EQ7, sitting between the well-known EQ6 and EQ8 family members. But in form it is considerably different from either of those mounts, adopting a centre-balanced approach common to iOptron mounts among others. This places the equipment weight more centrally over the pier or tripod. There are further significant differences under the hood, which has led to the new ‘CQ350’ name rather than suggesting it is simply a hybrid of the existing mounts.

I booked myself in for foot surgery six weeks before this lunar eclipse, signing up only after confirming with the surgeon that I would be 'good to go' for an astrophotography expedition - a road trip across Victoria or into neighbouring states to find clear skies.

Third time lucky, yet still not without significant natural and man-made challenges. Our adventure in via Snowy Plains Firetrail for a week of snow camping at Cesjacks and O'Keefe's Hut and ski touring back in the Jagungal Wilderness.

3% ain't much of a solar eclipse, but when it's all you've got and it happens at sunset, it's still worth a shot or three. And a couple of days away and several night's rehearsing.


With lockdown #5 complete, I finally got to start some winter leave and headed straight for Mount Beauty, via Bendigo for the now mandatory pre-resort entry COVID test. I got in three days skating at Falls Creek, before Tim and Eric joined me for a much anticipated ski tour. 

Wednesday 26th May 2021 would be the first lunar eclipse in three years, although it was only barely total, with the Moon completely inside Earth's shadow for just 14 minutes or so. But as usual, I would bite off more than I could likely chew.

Composite image with Moon correctly positioned relative to Earth's shadow


Shooting Stars Camera List

The Field Guide in the Shooting Stars eBook includes a short description of how to find ten most commonly used settings for night sky photography of the moon and stars (astrophotography) on all of the following cameras.


Updating your Shooting Stars eBook

If you have purchased Shooting Stars eBook previously, you can update to Version 4 with the entire new section on 'Tracking the Stars' - an introduction to long-exposure astrophotography, and image processing, with the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer or other portable equatorial tracking mounts.

Referring to your existing copy of the eBook, use the title of Page 24 as a 'Promo Code' in the shopping cart (not case sensitive), for a 75% discount and get your updated copy of Shooting Stars for just $4.95. 


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