This blog isn’t all about showing off all my stunning photos or how much knowledge I have about photography. It’s about the process of learning photography and part of that process is creating photos that suck.
One thing I have learned for sure is that learning can be a very frustrating and painful process!
I had this experience recently in my attempt to photograph the supermoon. You have to understand how much preparation went into this to appreciate my disappointment. In order to be at the right place at the right time I determine when the full moon will rise near sunset, the azimuth of the moon, and where I have to stand on shore to get a certain feature in the foreground. I have botched this by failing to take into account daylight savings time and by forgetting about the magnetic variation of a compass (don’t tell my boating students that!)
The supermoon happens when the full moon rises at perigee. According to NASA, “The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee — a near-perfect coincidence that happens only 18 years or so”. The moon is 14% larger and 30% brighter.
Last weekend when the supermoon rose I was ready. I really wanted the moon to be behind the masts of the sailboats so it is obvious it isn’t photoshopped on from a different image.
I finally got all my calculations correct and the moon rose right into my frame. And I still missed it.
Now that a few days have passed I can look back at it without steam coming out of my ears. But I have to admit I really dislike images where the moon looks like someone took a lighter and burned a hole through my negative (overexposed moon). And its even worse when the moon is an oval shape (exposure too long and records the moon’s movement).
So what did I learn? Big moon=good; Bright moon=bad.
I think the whole thing would have worked out better if the moon rose before sunset and it wouldn’t have been soooo bright in the sky creating such an extreme dynamic range. Check out this example of the supermoon in Washington. It is an official NASA photograph. They must have a really good camera 🙂
For me, the best shot of the night happened before the moon rose.