I’m living in this apartment since more than 10 years now. And it is now more than 10 years since I saw a full moon rise over the lake for the first time. I was stunned, loved the view and took a picture with a crappy cell phone. Never since I saw it rise over the lake again. I either missed it, or wasn’t at home, or it was cloudy.
I don’t think the full moon rises like that first time very often. It seems to happen mostly in Winter that a full moon rises over the lake during the blue hour. End of December, I was in my apartment, looked out of the window and saw a dramatic full moon between fast moving clouds. I scrambled for my camera, but by the time I had it ready and mounted on the tripod, the mood was hidden behind clouds.
The next evening, I was at the lake with camera and tripod, only to learn lesson number one of moon photography. The time when the moon rises shifts dramatically from day to day. And by the time it was up, blue hour was long gone.
So I went to the internet to find out the next date this would happen and found a webpage, which shows the sun’s and moon’s path for a given location as well as the time they rise and set. It even tells you when the golden and blue hour start and end. Neat, isn’t it? You’ll find this marvel here: http://jekophoto.de/tools/daemmerungsrechner-blaue-stunde-goldene-stunde/index.php
So it was decided. Sunday January 27, 2013 it would be. I watched the weather forecast, afraid it would be foggy or cloudy that day. And guess what, it sure predicted overcast weather for this evening, so I decided to give it a try a day early. The moon would not be completely full yet and it would rise almost an hour before the blue hour started, but at least it would be visible.
And so I was at the lake, waiting for the moon to rise. And then it silently rose over the hills. For the first time in more than 10 years, I saw it rise over the lake. Only this time I was there with a decent camera, trying to capture the moment.
On that evening, I learned some more lessons about moon photography.
- This thing is bright! I mean, daylight bright. The only way not to overexpose the moon was to shoot it at 1/2 second, f11 at ISO 160 as it was rising and on a clear night, once it is fully up, you want to shorten exposure time even more.
- The moon is a fast moving object. For one shot, I took four exposures, a short one for the moon, one at 16 seconds, one at 32 and one a bit longer than a minute. It took me maybe 4 minutes to take the shots, but if I flick through the pictures on the computer, I see the moon move through the picture! So forget about HDR, you’ll need to blend these exposures manually.
- Finally, it is bloody cold when you are out shooting the moon in January. So next time, I’ll be wearing gloves. I really will.