2014 08 18: July and August Super Moons

This year there are three Super Moons in a row; July, August, and September. As I live near Mt. Rainier, I decided to find a location that would give a good vantage of the moon rise and shoot each of the Super Moons from the same location.

The July Supermoon image I selected was captured at 9:48 pm, July 13 near the crest of the mountain on the southern side as you look at it. The rise began earlier in the evening as it slowly appeared first about a quarter way down from the crest on the southern side. As it began to rise, the moon took on an orangish color from the haze on the horizon.

The photo I chose for this post was taken with a 300mm lens.  I must admit, if there was a way to make exposure errors photographing the moon that evening, I made every one of them from an extremely high ISO (the camera was set to Auto Iso); shots where the mountain was absolutly gorgeous but the moon a brightly over exposed orb, with any hope of detail forever lost,; to a moon perfectly exposed with every detail gloriously evident but the mountain a black void on the horizon. While most of the shots (in my opinion) were hopeless and destined for the electonic waste bin, the one below was workable.

The August Supermoon was taken at 8:52 pm, August 10 from the same location. Unlike the July Super Moon, the August Super Moon rose from behind the Cascade Mountain range just to the north of Mt. Rainier.

This time, I did my home work. My ISO was set to 400 (unlike the Auto ISO at 10,000 in the July shoot), I bracketed just in case, and ensured each exposure was correct. It did make a difference and I achieved my “pre-visualization” goal of catching both the moon rise and Mt. Rainier in a single frame. Part of my pre-visualization of the shoot was to have the moon in rich detail and color with Mt. Rainier a fainter image with good definition and I feel I suceeded in capturing the image I was looking for.

When I arrived Sunday evening the Cascades and Mt. Rainier were shrouded in a heavy haze. The mountain was visible but I was unsure if the haze would allow the mountain to be photographed as I wanted to. Not only was the mountain hazed over but also the Cascades to the north and south of the mountain.

I set everything up and waited. As the evening grew darker the haze began to diminish and soon the the north of Rainier, the August Super Moon appeared from below the Cascades and I began the shoot. I stayed for about an hour longer until I knew I had what I was looking for…and I believe it’s a good photo.

Next month, weather permitting, I’ll be out for the September Super Moon. Wish me luck and I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Tools: Nikon Df, Nikkor 300 (July image) and Nikkor 80-200 for the August image.



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