Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Photographing the 2016 Supermoon




The moon shines bright over Walker Lake


Catching a big moon rising over the mountains at Walker Lake is always a special thrill and what can be more exciting when it is a Supermoon.  

When I learned of the Supermoon that was to be in November, 2016 I kept checking the weather and hoping for a clear night with calm wind.  Sure enough, the weather was just about perfect and I only needed a lightweight jacket. 

The moon was forecast to rise at 5:21 PST, so I arrived early to my favorite viewing spot and got all set up with my heavy Bogen tripod as level as possible on the rocky mountainside.  

The sun had already set but was casting enough light to give subtle color to the thin clouds.  While I was waiting for the moon to rise, I took an exposure of the Gillis Mountains creating interesting reflections on the still water with a shutter speed of 1/40 second at f/5.6. 


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Approximately 17:43, 5:43 PST, the supermoon began to peek over the Gillis Mountains to the east of Walker Lake; I adjusted my shutter speed up to 1/60 second. 


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I decided to photograph with my Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 zoom lens so that I could crop in on the moon and then zoom out for a wider angle view.  On Manual Mode, I bracketed the exposures so that the highlights in the moon would not be overexposed.  I then adjusted the mountains and water to appear lighter with post-processing in Lightroom. Once the moon was up over the mountains, I increased my shutter speed to 1/200 second to adjust for the brightness of the moon.  


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The moon gained just enough elevation to begin its glow on the calm lake water.  



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Ascending a little higher and the moon glow streamed across the water.  


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One final shot on this November 13th night and I exposed for 1/400 second as the moon rose behind clouds. 


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I returned for a second try on the following night of November 14th however the moon came up later at 18:39, 6:39 PST and the sky was growing dark.  Without the additional light falling on the landscape from dusk, I had to decide whether to expose for the bright moon or the dark foreground.  I exposed for the bright moon at 1/400 seconds and allowed the landscape to go dark.  


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The best time for moonscape photography is to catch the moon when it rises and the sky is light enough to show the details in the landscape.  I follow Intellicast.com not only for weather updates but also to keep informed on times for sunrises, sunsets and the phases of the moon.   


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So until the next exciting photo event, when I strive to outwit, outplay, and outlast what nature sends, subscribe to my blog and follow my photo-explorations to see where my adventures will go.  


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With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.





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