Supermoon at Bryce Canyon

I was so delighted to discover that I would be at Bryce Canyon National Park during the rise of the supermoon. On a trip like this I was bound to be somewhere great but Bryce Canyon with its hoodoos was ideal.

This was my second attempt at photographing a supermoon. When it happened last year my results kinda sucked but this time I was more prepared since I’ve been practicing my HDR technique.

This is Thor’s Hammer at Sunset Point.

Thor's Hammer, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

It made me laugh a little when I saw a few photographers out on the same trail with their iPhones comparing their complex apps that calculated the exact position of the moon and the track it would take. All you really need to know is the compass degree where the moon will rise.

One thing to remember is the difference between true north and compass north, known as magnetic variation, and compensate for that. Magnetic variation is different depending on where you are on the earth. On the west coast of Canada it is about 17 degrees but in Utah it was only 11 degrees. But don’t forget, magnetic north isn’t where it used to be. It changes by about 1 degree every 3 years on the west coast of Canada.

That might sound complicated but it’s really simple. You just subtract 17 (or 11 if you’re in Utah) from the “true” degree.

This is about the only point where my boating knowledge helps my photography other than getting me to cool locations!

Ideally I wanted the moon to be a bit lower in the sky for my image, but there was a band of clouds in front of the moon at the time so I waited a bit to get a clear shot.

What? It doesn’t look “super” big to you? That’s because it isn’t. I detest those images where people blow up the moon so big that it looks like it is about to ram into earth. They make me want to scream and go running for cover.

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    • says

      Hi Len, that’s too bad about the clouds. That has happened to me so many times when I have planned a full moon shot. But it worked out this time. Thank you very much for your compliment.

  1. says

    NICE, Anne! The moon looks pretty super to me, and comp and light are both splendid. If it were mine, I might back off the HDR adjustments in the foreground rocks a bit, they seems a bit too gritty to my eye given the lighting of the scene. But that’s just a small nit in a great shot!
    Jackson Frishman recently posted..Chimayosos PeakMy Profile

  2. says

    Gorgeous composition Anne! And I also appreciated the info about magnetic calculations. I’m embarassed to admit that in our boating havigation, I’ve been subtracting 22 degrees instead of 17 – now I’ll know better! Thank you!
    Laurie MacBride recently posted..Look But Don’t Touch!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Laurie, you probably have a chart that says 22 on it :) I think mine says 19 and I’ve had them for 8 or 10 years. I know I should buy new charts but really how much can the rocks and islands move? haha. No, they really do add new stuff to the charts all the time, but I haven’t invested in a new set yet. Thanks for your compliment on the moon image!

      • Brian says

        A hand held GPS, not the kind for navigating in a car will give the location of the sun and moon as well as your position and the direction of true north.
        Using Google earth and one of the many web sites that gives the time and direction of sun rise/set and moon rise/set. allow you to plan your shot ahead.
        I recently used that combination to set up a group shoot of the latest moon rise. Everything worked out as the moon rise occurred just after sunset when the eastern sky was showing the pinks and purples. The only thing that went wrong was the weather. A blanket of cloud covered the eastern sky occurring the moon totally!

        You can have everything planned down the the last detail and still be messed up by the weather. Murphy was an optimist!

        • says

          Hi Brian, thanks for the tip about the GPS! I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone out to shoot the moon and been faced with that blanket of cloud you mentioned. One can only try! Thanks for your visit and comments.

  3. says

    Very nice picture, the moon looks beautiful. I love your two ebooks “8 types of natural light” and “before the shutter” they are well explained you really are a professional photographer….thanks for sharing your words. Love it!


    • says

      Hi Martin, thank you very much! I’m so glad you have found the two ebooks helpful, that means a lot to me. I really enjoyed putting them together and there are more to come!

  4. says

    Always strange how the moon seems bigger when it is just above the horizon. The Super moon didn’t look a lot different over here, I have to say. This is a great composition Anne. The moon is in exactly the right place, fantastic foreground.
    LensScaper recently posted..A new addition to our familyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Andy, I actually looked that one up at one time but it is all an optical illusion. I didn’t believe it until I actually took out my ruler one day and measured the full moon at the horizon and then later measured it when it was higher in the sky and it was exactly the same. It’s just when we have objects immediately in the foreground it makes it appear larger. Some of those images where you see the moon right at the horizon and the photographer used a telephoto lens are actually real moons. But when you see and image with the moon high in the sky and it is massive, that’s just not right. I think they look dumb but I guess a lot of people like them because I see it all the time. Thank you very much for your compliment on the composition, much appreciated.

  5. says

    What a breathtaking scene here, Anne. Absolutely beautiful!
    I agree with your statement about the moon’s size being an optical illusion. Once above the horizon, it really lets us know just how expansive the sky is. 😉

    Lovely shot!
    Jimi Jones recently posted..1938 FordMy Profile

  6. Phillip Rubino says

    Great pic Anne! Was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing some of the technical details to help me learn(sorry if I missed that somewhere). Camera, lens, exposure, processing, etc. Thanks!

  7. Zack Wajsgras says

    Amazing picture. Would you mind sharing the aperture an exposure settings? Just curious. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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