A view of my world in Central Illinois and places we go.

May’s Supermoon

A couple of weeks ago, on May 5th to be exact, we not only observed a full moon, but a full moon in perigee (perigee being the moon’s closest approach to earth on its elliptical orbit about us). I patiently waited for the evening moon rise, with great hopes that we would have  clear night. I was not disappointed. Good friends Martha and Jacque invited several of us out to their rural residence (the Keinerosa!), northeast of Urbana for an evening fire, potluck (it was Cinco de Mayo, to boot, you see), and moon viewing.

There was a bit of haze along the horizon, as well as a tree line, that caused us to have to wait until the moon was up a bit. Nevertheless, I got some decent photos. Taking photos of the moon is, for me, a tricky business. It absolutely requires a tripod and some experimentation with exposure length. One might think that it requires a long exposure, but in fact, a full moon is reflecting A LOT of light. The surrounding blackness, however, confounds a camera’s internal light meter and I find I am “under-exposing” (not really) the shot  just so that the moon is not over-exposed. Otherwise, one gets a very bright moon with no detail of this bright object in the sky.

What was interesting is how the color of the sky and moon changed as the moon rose higher in the sky. See for yourself in the images below. Total elapsed time between the first and last photo is only 12 minutes. This first one is fuzzy and not well-focused.

All images taken with a Canon 7D with a75-300mm and 2x multiplier. All images at 800 ISO, f/8-f/11, and exposures from 1/30 s (most) to 0.6 s (last photo)

Same photo enlarged.

This image gives an appreciation for the landscape and a more-or-less unmagnified view of the rising moon, viewed across the neighboring farm field to the tree line.

Same image as above, but enlarged and enhanced.

Pretty dark sky now.

It was a beautiful night, and as the moon rose higher, it was quite bright, casting moon-shadows around us. There will be a full moon on our last day in Italy (before we depart from Rome). I hope to capture an image or two with some timeless, iconic backdrops of  Rome’s skyline (perhaps the dome of St. Peter’s or the Colosseum or…). I’ll have my tripod ready…in the meantime, here is a link to some truly outstanding lunar images http://www.lightstalking.com/moon-photos

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