Another busy summer month with only one trip out for the early morning light to show for it. But the shots from this month are far more involved than that. This lone shoot was the result of planing that started months ago, maybe even last year. I’ve been spending a bunch of time during my scouting trips looking for compelling compositions in locations that would correspond to celestial events. This scouting was combined with a fair amount of computer planning time and countless mid-day test shoots to get ready when the time was right.
And the time was right on June 19th, 2016. But the weather wasn’t. On my perfect day we were socked in with clouds. So I “settled” for the next day and this is what my plan looked like moved one day later.
The blue line is the direction the moon would set as it passes over the Cattle Point Light. The red pin is the approximate location that I needed to set up my camera to get a silhouetted shot of the moon behind the lighthouse. It’s an approximation since this doesn’t take into account the difference in elevation between my camera height and the height of the horizon where the moon will ultimately set. And this elevation change has a significant effect.
The problem with being a day late was the sunrise.
Here’s a summary of the moonset and sunrise times for the 19th and 20th.
Moonset: 5:01 am
Sunrise: 5:09 am
Moonset: 5:47 am
My “perfect” day, the 19th, had the moon setting 8 minutes before sunrise so I would have had a lovely twilight moonset. But one day later the moonrise occurred 38 minutes after sunrise.
And as the sun rose the moon started to fade and loose contrast. Here is the moon at 5:36 am.
20 June 2016 – 5:36 am Sony a6300 + Sigma 150-600mm C +1.4x teleconverter 1/60 @ f/9 iso 400 612mm (35mm equivalent: 912mm)
But by the time the moon had reach my planned location where it silhouetted the lighthouse it was almost a half an hour after sunrise and the impact of the moon just wasn’t what I was looking for.
20 June 2016 – 5:41 am Sony a6300 + Sigma 150-600mm C +1.4x teleconverter 1/80 @ f/9 iso 400 840mm (35mm equivalent: 1260mm)
So, as happens so very often, I’ll plan on revisiting this shoot again. When the time is right. Well provided mother nature approves.
And one quick footnote: All of these shots were single exposure captures. There is no Photoshop magic going on here. Although Photoshop would have made the whole effort much easier. But then where’s the fun in that.