September 15, 2009

Shoot the Moon

The entire time Mike and I were in California there was a bright, nearly full or full moon in the sky. And without a cloud in sight, some nights the moon cast an almost twilight-like feel to the night sky. I kept trying to capture the moon in all its California glory, but I just couldn't do it justice.
When Mike and I went hiking near his mom's house, we set off around 7:00. The sun had already set, but we had enough time to get out and enjoy the early evening hours before it got too dark.

As I stood on the top of the hill we climbed, the moon was showing bright on the horizon.

It just didn't look bright in any of the photos I took. It was way too small. I could have zoomed in, but with my wide angle lens the moon still would have been a dot on the horizon. Then I put my photographers hat on. And I tried this.

So what did I do you ask (since Kelsa and Lexi you asked)? Well I zoomed in and then manipulated my camera's two main settings. I set it for a longer shutter speed and a smaller aperture. For any laymen/non-photography nerds, I can explain it this way.

The moon was by far the brightest thing in the sky. It was the only light source. Since it was so much brighter than anything else around, I metered my camera so it read for the brightness of the light of the moon, not for the entirety of the night sky. That reading immediately darkened everything else in the scene. With that set, I made sure that my shutter was open for a longer than normal amount of time.

In the first photo in this post (the night scene), my shutter was open for 0.050 seconds (or 1/20 of a second). In photography, that's considered a long time. I try not to shoot below 1/60 second. In that first light trail photo (second in this post) as well as the photo below, my shutter was open for one second.
In the second my shutter was open, I moved my camera in the directions you see of the light trails. The camera caught my movement because the moon was the only light source. As the shutter was open the moon's light was burned onto the image in the shape and direction I moved my camera.
For my last try, I set my shutter speed for 2 seconds. As soon as my shutter opened I started moving my camera lens in a clockwise motion. The result was this:

It should be said, this certainly is not my original idea. Plenty of incredible photographers have executed this same idea to much more impressive results. I honestly was just happy I had the foresight to remember this trick and recreate it in my own little way.

That is all for my photography lesson. Tomorrow, My Favorites: Part Two.

1 comment:

kelsalynn said...

I think it's AWESOME! I love it! I love that if it were on a wall, someone would say, "Oh, that's a cool picture." and then you tell them it's the moon and they're even more impressed!

Good thinking girly!