Today, Tisen and I are on a mission. I’ve often said I wanted to go to the training hills some morning when I wasn’t flying in order to shoot. Today seems like the perfect day for that.
My plan is to arrive at the entrance to the training hills no later than 7:00AM so I have time to hike down the gravel road and get set up before sunrise.
As Tisen and I get on the highway, I have a clear view of the full moon. It’s still too high to make an interesting shot, but I want to shoot it before it sets completely.
Now I’m racing the moon. Each time we go up a hill, the moon disappears behind the mountains. I watch it set over a ridge on 4 separate occasions during our drive, only to reappear moments later.
As we enter Trenton, the moon is close to the ridge and I’m sure I’m out of time. But as I drive on down into the valley towards our destination, the moon rises up above the ridge, giving me more time.
Unfortunately, I pull over where there’s a bad angle. I hop out of the van, grab the tripod from the back and run up the road about 100 feet or so where the angle is better. I set up the tripod and run back to the van. Fortunately, my 100-400mm lens with the 1.4x teleconverter is already on my camera because that’s the only way it fits in my backpack. I run back to the tripod. The moon is getting closer to the ridge line; it’s already sunk behind some of the topmost trees.
As I get into position, I realize I didn’t grab my glasses or loupe and I don’t have time to get them. I turn on live view, enlarge the image, and stand back as far as my arms will let me to try to focus.
The moon keeps sinking rapidly. I fire off as many shots as I can before it disappears. When I play them back in my viewfinder, I think they look OK.
Much later, when I view my moonset shots on the big screen of my computer with my glasses on, I almost spit a mouthful of beer on my screen. I didn’t realize my vision was quite that bad!
Besides not having focused properly, I also had too slow a shutter speed so I’m getting movement blur in the moon. I also have had some movement in the lens. I don’t recall it being that windy, but that’s a possibility.
This leads to the age old question: you’ve blown the shot, now what do you do with it? I probably should just delete these images, but I decide to see how far photo editing can go. I used Aperture, Photomatix, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements (the majority are from the latter) to see just what can be done with a completely blown shot of the setting moon.