On the day of Vincent Ledvina’s college graduation, the stars aligned to create a truly spectacular photo. Well, it wasn’t the stars as much as it was the Moon and the Earth; an awe-inspiring total lunar eclipse happened on the same day as his ceremony. For about 85 minutes on Sunday, May 15, 2022, the Moon was completely in Earth’s shadow and transformed into a reddish-orange orb. Ledvina, who had just earned his bachelor’s degree in astrophysics, saw it as the perfect time to snap a picture in his cap and gown.
The solitary photo shows Ledvina standing in the middle of a road in Grand Forks, North Dakota, not too far from the Canadian border. There is no light pollution around him, and we can see the countless glittery stars and the Moon directly overhead. Ledvina was planning on taking a photo of the eclipse anyways, so he thought it was the perfect opportunity for a unique grad photo, too.
“I personally have never seen any eclipse grad photos, so I thought ‘why not?’ and drove out to the middle of nowhere with my regalia and my camera,” Ledvina shares on his Instagram. Much to his luck, the Moon did align with the road he stands on, although not until later in the eclipse phase.
Once Ledvina made it to his shooting location, he had to figure out how to shoot the portrait—despite some challenges. “We were shooting next to a small church which had a bunch of floodlights lighting up its property, so I have some shadows being cast on the ground if you look closely,” he explains. “It was necessary to capture two shots for this shoot because as you can see, the sky is pretty noisy, and there’s no way I would have appeared sharp with the wind blowing and me not being able to stand still for long exposures (I never can).”
Scroll down for more of Ledvina’s stunning astrophotography.