During the recent full moon a couple of beautiful nights beckoned me to get out and photograph the moon rise. This happened to be a super moon which means it was closer to the Earth than usual during a full moon. It has not been this close on a full moon for the last 46 years so what does that mean for most people. Probably the most noticeable piece was the brightness. As long as the sky was mostly clear you could look out across the landscape and see it brightly lit up more than usual.
I went out on two different nights to enjoy this slightly larger and brighter moon. The first I was joined by one of my cousins also interested in capturing some photos of the moon. It was fun to try a few different ideas. In the picture above I knew of a leaning tree so I positioned myself to photograph it leaning towards the moon as if the gravitational force of the moon was pulling the tree. It turned out well I think.
With a brighter and slightly larger full moon the reflection off of the water made for a picturesque image. Calming to look at. It was relatively windy that night so the reflection takes on a different look. The light is more scattered making for a wider reflection.
One of the challenges I continue to work on is creating a moon burst with the camera. You’ve probably seen images that include a sun burst with rays spreading out across the horizon. I’m trying to create a similar picture using the moon. It’s a little more challenging because of the lower light available. The photo above gives you an idea and for the most part I like it. Getting the moon a bit sharper along with sharper rays would make this about perfect I think. Gives me something to work towards.
On my second night of photographing this full moon I was in place to see it rising above the trees. This is when I could really notice the larger size. At least I think it was noticeable but I haven’t watched the full moon rise in this particular spot before so there really isn’t anything to compare it to. Still it looks quite big across the horizon to me.
One of my attempts was to get geese or ducks flying in front of the moon. I was never prepared in time to get this as I was usually photographing the super moon and surrounding landscape when a flock came flying by and my camera settings weren’t quite right. By the time I changed them to capture these geese they had already made it by but after looking at the image in the computer it looked like these geese were pulling the moon. I thought that looked kind of fun so I decided to share it with you.
It’s time to continue on with the photography experiment. Taking pictures of the moon is not something that I’ve really wanted to do but is something that I tried while taking pictures of sunsets and stars. Using the information in Peter’s post about moon photos, I can attempt to take better pictures of this subject. Here are a couple of my attempts. The first one above was taken shortly after sunset so the sky was still pretty light making the exposure easier to get right for the moon.
This next one was taken a little while later as the darkness grew around the moon. I thought it was interesting to see how the sunlight displays the moon surface with the mountains and valleys which are evident in the uneven shadows. Also, the entire moon is visible in this shot but can be a little difficult to see. Exposure was a little high to really get the details of the moon in this shot. I’m sure I could work with it using editing software but the point of the experiment is to improve the actual taking of the photo.
Playing around with the exposure a little I got this cool moon burst. This was from changing the aperture and leaving all the other parameters (ISO and shutter speed) the same. I also like the lens flare and how it accents the moon burst. While this might be an unique way of capturing the moon, I don’t know if there is a good use for this type of shot. If so, I haven’t found it yet.
There was a partial eclipse of the moon on the night this photo was taken. I actually planned out parts of this night of moon shots. Earlier in the day I researched when the moon rise was and how that would relate to the timing of the eclipse. From that I looked over different places to photograph the moon. Once I chose a spot, I used Google Sky to determine where the moon would rise so I could set up the tripod and get the camera ready. There where many practice shots while checking over the settings. Finally the sun had set and it was time for the moon to rise. Cold was dropping in on me causing me to shiver making it a bit more challenging to make adjustments to the camera but that’s part of the fun isn’t it? Looking just below the top of the trees you can see the moon. Time to go to work. I was hoping to catch some nice moon reflections in the water at this location.
Right as the moon was getting above the trees, clouds moved in preventing clear moon photos right away. I wasn’t certain how long the clouds where going to cover the moon but figured I would wait awhile just in case. Finally the moon was rising higher in the sky and began to clear the clouds leaving a reflection in the water. Just what I was hoping for. Now where’s the eclipse. Where I was the eclipse had a very minor impact on the moon this night. You couldn’t really tell there was one actually. I continued to take pictures trying different shots and exposures. I never really got the correct exposure out in the field. This one is still overexposed to see any details in the moon.
While trying different exposures I did capture the moon burst again. I thought that was kind of interesting as it reflected in the water. In the moons reflection, fog was beginning to float across the water. Unfortunately it didn’t get as pronounced as I was hoping for once I saw it beginning to form. It was interesting to see it form at the shoreline and travel across the water.
In the photo below I wasn’t actually intending on photographing the moon. This was by accident while traveling in the Olympic Mountains in Washington. The purpose was to capture stars in a dark setting but, not doing my homework first, the moon changed that. Just as the sun set and the stars began to shine I had the camera set up and was about to begin shooting away when the sky lit up. Turning around I cold see a full moon rising over the mountains. So much for star pictures. The way the clouds where swirling in the sky lit up by the moon I decided to change my focus a little and take photos of the moon. Still a little overexposed but I wanted to get the clouds and the mountain in the picture so I wasn’t exposing just for the moon. More practice is needed for my moon photography. Eventually I’ll get the exposure right.