I have this fascination with shooting the moon; specifically the full moon. My vision is this outsized orange globe emerging from the horizon, complete with craters and pock-marks that suggest the “man in the moon” face. I want the scene that takes my breath away; the one that makes all other moon shots pale in comparison.
Unfortunately, reality is a far cry from the vision. My plan requires the perfect location + perfect weather conditions + my availability during that half-hour period between sunset and moonrise on the night of the full moon. Despite some careful location-scouting, I have not found that ‘perfect’ location - the one with an unobstructed view of the horizon, which has an interesting compositional element, and one that allows access after dark.
Having missed several full moon events due to cloudy weather or afternoon/evening meetings, November 28, 2012 seemed to be my best opportunity in quite a while - I decided that one of the local forest preserves would do. My target shooting location was close to the parking area, which was close to the exit; essential criteria considering that closing time is an hour after sunset. That should provide plenty of time to see the moon rise, get my images, and get out before the gates closed.
At this location, I liked the unobstructed sight lines and the possibility of reflection off the water. The landscape was pretty wide open, giving lots of room for error in judging where the moon would emerge (one of my weaknesses in prior attempts).
The first hint of the rising moon was a very deep orange, large in size; but hidden behind the stand of trees off in the distance. By the time it cleared the trees, it was considerably less orange and somewhat diminished in size.
Shooting on a tripod, I was taking bracketed images that included 30-second exposures on the long end. I selected two of the final images of the shoot - before the moon rose high enough to cast its reflection on the water, and just as I was being asked to leave (a good twenty minutes before the official closing time). With some post-production compositing to merge the two exposures, further adjustments to enhance the mood, and with a little help from another of my many moon images, I came up with the result shown above. Not what I envisioned, but I kind of like it. Needless to say, there will be more scouting for locations, and definitely more attempts to shoot the moon. Any takers?