Was really bummed we weren’t going to get to see the super full moon here in souther California. I was working during the most important part, which is when the moon is just barely rising over the horizon and gives us the optical illusion that it’s larger than life. I’ll just have to wait another 13 or so years to give it another shot! Well, that’s actually not true, during full moons, you can see this phenomenon every time, so I’ll have plenty of chances to try to capture it.
For about an hour or so the moon crept above the clouds so then I scrambled to get my equipment together. I was cursing myself as I couldn’t find the AAA batteries for my intervalmeter, which allowed for time lapse shots. After a pathetic 7 minutes of scrambling and searching, I finally got my act together. (Note to self, get better organized). I decided to go with two cameras, and a bevy of lenses. I knew that if I went straight for the moon with no context, it would make for a boring shot. Don’t get me wrong, the moon is fantastic, but the moon in itself, with no context or frame of reference isn’t quite dramatic or visually interesting enough to hold anyone’s attention for very long.
I went with a 1dsII, set at small jpg, and set my exposure and shots for 1 every 5 seconds. I noticed the clouds were moving fast, so I adjusted it down to 1 every 2 seconds. With the other camera, the T2i, I went for video. I’m still new to the whole video scene, and I realized why am I doing a time lapse for something moving relatively fast, when video would better capture it. The things I learned are, equipment is key. And so far mine is somewhat inadequate to shoot a slider reel at such long distances. The slider, and the mounting has to be stable and secure. Since I went with a budget slider, it was somewhat wobbly. So there was a lot of camera shake during movement, which is evident in the video.
Secondly, for the first time, I’ve realized an actual use for the mirror lockup feature in the cameras. Mounted on a tripod, as the shutter was sounding off at 1 frame every 2 seconds, each time the mirror slapped against the body and it shook. Oh yeah it shook pretty good. By locking up the mirror, it will prevent this shake as the camera willl continue to take shots with the mirror in the up position, mitigating movement. (I didn’t set this, as I was too lazy).
And the last thing I learned was to appreciate the human eye more. Generally to capture the moon, you’ll notice a lot of photos look like it’s a giant star, or the sun. It is very bright. But when you do this, you can expose the surrounding clouds. So to get the moon, you have to stop it down a lot, but in doing so, the exposure omits the clouds and the context. Typically people composite the shots and shoot 2 frames. In video, I don’t have such luxuries (at least not the cheapo post processing video software I use). So it’s one or the other. I realized the eye gets all this data, exposes correctly for the moon, and the surrounding areas perfectly.
Plus to see the moon closer, you go with a longer lens. 200, 300mm. But you don’t see anything else. So if you want the scene, you go with 24, 50mm, but then the moon looks super tiny. I still haven’t figured out the perfect lens to use on the moon to capture both size and context. I’m not sure if it’s even possible without compositing shots.
So yeah, usually doing photography allows you to appreciate many things in life.