Monday, June 24, 2013

Switching Gears in the Field

Happy Summer (officially) to my friends in the Northern Hemisphere!  This past weekend marked the summer solstice and the longest day of the 2013.  We had a special treat this year having a full "Supermoon" in conjunction with the annual event.

I went out days before with my iPad in hand using my Star Walk application to figure where exactly the moon would rise on the horizon.  After establishing where the "Supermoon" would make its appearance, I chose a foreground subject to place in the scene.  I went out on Saturday for a trial run, but since the moon rose while the sun was still high in the sky, the moon appeared quite faint.  So, I bracketed some images of my intended foreground and then waited until after dark to photograph a brighter moon.  After I shot the moon, I combined the 2 images digitally in Photoshop, placing the brighter moon over the place where the faint moon appeared in the frame and blended the 2 images together to create the scene I had envisioned.  The above image is what resulted from my efforts.
 The next night, the moon was to rise after sunset.  This was the best day to photograph the rising full moon because it would shine brighter at the darkening horizon.  I set up my 600mm lens on my 5D Mark III in my back yard looking out over the valley toward the city of Phoenix.  I saw bands of clouds low on the horizon and was disappointed that I would not get the image I had planned in my head.   However, I thought maybe the photo gods would be good to me and give me a peek of the full circle of moon at some point as it rose thorough my scene.  This is all I got:
 Not defeated, I switched mental gears thinking, "What if I continue to shoot JUST the moon as it rises through the bands of clouds and see what happens."
These were 2 of the results I achieved by keeping an open mind and switching gears in the field:

(I later converted them to Black and White because I felt the treatment lent itself more to the drama of the scene.) I am very happy with these two images that took shape creatively in the field!
This morning, I decided to make an image of my original idea and here is the result:
While I like the resulting image, my favorites from the weekend turned out to be the images that materialized after switching gears in the field.  What do you think?


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