|Don Smith Photography's Blog|
Full Moon Over California Oaks
If you have followed my blog with any amount of regularity, you have probably heard me talk about making some of my best images literally within a 20-minute drive from my home. Perhaps it is the familiarity with my surroundings; regardless, I really enjoy just hopping in my car with my cameras and going for a drive.
With today's image, I had actually had a bit of a plan to shoot a moonrise amongst some of the beautiful oak-lined rolling hills in the Diablo Range just east of my home in Hollister, California. I used a program developed by Stephen Trainor called The Photographer's Ephemeris which allows a photographer to see the position of the moon/sun rise and set superimposed over a topographical map. All times and pertinent data are listed. It's a cool little piece of software that actually helped me capture this image with some sense of confidence!
It is a free download as of now as it is in beta form, and it works on both a PC and a Mac. If you are interested, please click this The Photographer's Ephemeris
This image is a combination of 5 images run through Photomatix Pro HDR software. You can download a fully-functional version for a free 15-day trial period by clicking on the link below. Please use my code if you decide to purchase and save an additional 15%.
My goal with HDR is to try as best as I can to make the image look natural - as I remember seeing it. I think this image succeeds on all levels. Without it, there would have been no way to hold detail in the moon as well as the foreground (as was also the case with film) as sensors can only capture 6 stops of light, whereas human visionary systems allow us to see 11 stops. The rising/setting moon is approximately 1 1/2 stops less than full daylight. This particular moon had been rising for 55 minutes prior to me seeing it appear above this hill. In essence, I reset the moon by driving higher up the road from my initial location. I loved the lyrical sweep of these two oaks and knew adding the moon as a third element would allow for stronger visual tension. Odd numbers are a stronger combination than even numbers, perhaps due to the symmetrical width/height dimensions of the rectangular frame we place around them. Moonrise/sunrise and moonset/sunset times are based on a flat horizon. As always, I'd be interested to hear what you think.
As a side note: I still have some openings in next month's Summer Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula workshop. Please send me an e-mail if you would like additional information! Gary Hart will be assisting me with this workshop.
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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III