Friday, March 9, 2012

Full Moon over the Capitol

While living in San Francisco, I was always inspired by Chronicle photographer Frederic Larson's full moon shots. I was lucky enough to sit in on presentation Larson gave to SFBAPA. His full moon photography is not the result of chance encounters. Instead, he methodically researches when and where he needs to position himself to create a preconceived photograph. 

I have wanted to give Larson's method a go for years and finally got around to my first try on Wednesday evening. All things being equal, I'm pretty happy with the result. Actually, I was just happy the moon came up when and where I had planned (more or less). It might be considered cheating that I had my friend Jesse along. He teaches map and compass navigation classes (thanks Jesse).

Of course, being a first try it was also a learning experience - a later moon rise would have been better. The sky exposure changes rapidly as the sun sets. There is a big difference between this shot and those taken only seconds earlier, when the sky was still pretty bright. There was not enough contrast between the moon, clouds and sky in the previous pictures. Even at this exposure, it would be nice if the moon popped a little more. A darker sky would make that happen. This technically isn't full moon. The full moon came up a little later on Thursday and would have been better, had I been able to see it through the clouds. 

I also knew I wasn't lensed correctly. The real oooh - aaaah shots require big glass, but before investing in or renting a 400mm/500mm lens, I needed proof-of-concept (and maybe a winning lotto ticket). Now that I know I can do it, maybe I can convince the family CFO, I need a new lens, maybe, hmmmmmm...

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