How Jake Hills Captured a Lunar Eclipse with a $100 Lens
There are few forms of photography which mystify me more than shooting the night sky. Not only does it require dedication, but it seems to require an attention to technical details which I’ve never seemed to possess. Unsplash is no stranger to beautiful photos of stars, the moon, and even the galaxy — yet Jake Hills’ photo of the blood moon is something unique in its own right.
I asked Jake how he got this composite shot of a lunar eclipse, and I expected an answer which involved a lot of specialized gear. However, that just wasn’t the case. Instead, he told me how he captured the night sky with a cheap telephoto lens and a whole lot of patience:
Sticking it out through a difficult shoot can be a challenge, especially when it feels like you’re not getting what you want out of it — but Jake’s photo is a perfect example of how sometimes the image on the back of the camera isn’t telling the whole story.
Jake took his photos at Telscome Tye, an area not too far from his home in Brighton. He went to this location to avoid light pollution, as the two nearest villages turn off their streetlights after midnight. This allowed him to get a clear view of the eclipse, but it also meant he was stuck sitting in the dark for hours.
Jake’s final image included seven photos of the moon overplayed on a wide-angle shot of the stars, but he took around 200 shots in total to get the correct images.
Looking back, Jake recognizes that the image could have been even better — but knows that the image could always be better. He reflects on this truth and gives some advice to anyone hoping to follow in his shoes. Here’s what he has to say for aspiring night sky photographers who want to give it a try themselves:
Feeling inspired? Find the image you want to capture, and follow Jake’s lead. Don’t be afraid to get a little cold in the process.