Could’ve Been Great

There are times when everything just falls into place beautifully and you exceed your own expectations.  Then there are times like tonight.

At 8:15, I start gathering my gear.  Wireless remote shutter release attached to camera, check; 100-400mm lens with 1.4x extender on camera, check; lens foot secured in tripod, check; CF card in camera, check; reading glasses on head, check; warm layer of clothes added, check; beer in hand, check.  Time to head up to the roof.

By the time I get set up and in position, it’s 8:30.  Five minutes to moonrise.  I start looking for signs.  There is nothing.  The moon is always late here in the valley.

I start trying to focus on something in the vicinity of where the moon should rise since I have to focus manually and there is very little time to catch the moon as it rises.  Unfortunately, the maximum aperture at 560mm is f/8.0.  There’s not enough light to focus using the LCD and it’s impossible to tell if I’m in focus looking through the viewfinder.  I shoot, check my shot, try adjusting the lens in one direction or another and then shoot again.  I do not recommend this method of focusing.

When some light starts appearing above the ridge in what must be the only clouds in the sky, I get excited.  I go through the shoot and focus exercise several more times, hoping to get something sharp by accident.

The moon starts to appear and I go into a slight panic.  Now there is enough light to use the 10x magnification view in the LCD to focus, but I can’t seem to get the sharpness I want.  The moon looks sharp in 10x magnification before shooting, but when I review my shot, the focus is soft.  It’s not good.

Part of the problem is that I’m overexposing the moon.  I want to allow enough light to capture the great clouds around the moon with all the color–it looks like an amazing sunrise.

About the time I think I’ve got an exposure and focus that will look good, the camera suddenly stops working.  Now I am really panicked.  The moon moves so fast that when you are focusing on it at 10x magnification, you can watch it move in the LCD.  I am about to miss the rest of the moon rise.  Once the moon is above the horizon, the show is over–it just looks like a big hunk of moldy cheese.

Just when I decide I’m going to go order that new camera after all, I try removing the remote shutter release.  Sure enough, the camera start shooting again.  I get just a couple of quick shots of the last trees in front of the moon before it turns into floating cheese.  Then, I head back downstairs.

So close to that great shot I’ve been chasing!  Maybe next month.

Today’s Tisen shot is also not a sharp shot, but his stuck lip cracks me up too much not to share it anyway.


4 responses to “Could’ve Been Great

  1. There was a beautiful full looking moon scene out last night here. I wanted my son to go down the way and get a picture but I realized that he was caught up with his own world last night and probably wouldn’t have wanted to spend ten minutes of his time to snap a shot of it. But he did take a couple of pics of Sasha. I told him to wait and take more after he gives her a good bath today.

  2. Pingback: What the . . .??? | nomadicmainstream

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