To The Moon!
For some reason, I have a fascination with photos of the moon. And so, I keep trying to get a classic, good shot of the moon and, especially, a full moon. Last night marked July 2013’s full moon. I consulted The Photographer’s Ephemeris to get the moonrise time and direction, then headed out to a vantage point before the moon actually appeared. At least that was the intent.
One should get to your “spot” at least 15-20 minutes ahead of time so as to set up equipment (tripod, camera, lenses, etc.). And knowing what vantage point you want to use is, of course, helpful…and that was my main problem. I knew I wanted to get out someplace with a view, preferably with some height so I could look across a typical Illinois field with the moon rising above it. Minor success in my mind. Central Illinois is great for large skies but is not a place one gets elevated vantage points. And, the corn is VERY high right now (thanks to plentiful rains this summer), so shooting from the side of a country road requires a gap in the corn, or in the location I chose, a soybean field in the foreground. I drove southeast of town and got out on Yankee Ridge, a little moraine on the otherwise flat Illinois landscape. The soy bean field gave way to corn, then the horizon and the moon. A nice barn somewhere in that mix would have been great. I settled for a modern pole barn, not my preference, but given the time I took to search for an acceptable location and the waning time, I took what I had.
The moon came up right on time, at 8:06 PM to the southeast. A bit of haze on the horizon (typical for our humid summers) hid the moon for a while and gave me a little time, but it quickly rose in beautiful glory. Shooting images in automatic mode, on any camera, is bound to fail. That’s because the camera sees most of the landscape as dark and tries to expose for all that “darkness”. What that does is greatly overexposes the moon (especially a full moon), and it gets “blown out”, leaving a white or yellow blob in the sky. So, one needs to put the camera in Manual mode and then greatly push the exposure to the left (underexpose according to the camera’s meter). This allows the moon’s craters to be clearly seen. I am still trying to get a shot where the canyons and mountains really stand out. Maybe i don’t have a large enough lens although with a 75-300 mm and a 2x attachment, I think I should get plenty close (600+ mm at full extension).
Anyway, here’s my latest attempt.