Full Moon Over Coastal California Hills

Posted by Don Smith (California, United States) on 19 July 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

Generally speaking, the best time to shoot a full moonrise is the day prior to the actual full moon. Now I know there will be an exception to this rule every so often, but in general terms, shooting the 99% moon works because its rise time is very close to sunset time.

This image is a good illustration. I photographed this moonrise a day following my last post, and a day prior to the actual full moon. From my location, I knew this moon would rise exactly 12 minutes past posted sunset. Moon and sun rise and set times are always based on horizon. For me, azimuth is meaningless unless I have something to compare it with where I am standing. The reason I like shooting the moon close to sunset/sunrise times is because the light values in the scene (from the bright moon to the trees) would all be within 6 stops of light (the amount of light my sensor can actually capture).

Having my time dialed-in (from a pre-scout the evening before), I was free to concentrate on composition. I opted for a telephoto look and used my Canon 400mmL f2/8 with a TC-2x teleconverter (effective 800mm on my Canon 1Ds full frame sensor) so I could compress the moon with the hills and trees.

I love shooting moonrises just as they peak their head over the horizon, especially if I can get a tree nearby to give a sense of scale. The moon is still catching the last warm light rays of the setting sun, thus explaining its warmish cast. The size of the moon always looks big on the horizon as we have scale and depth clues available from the surrounding terrain thus creating an illusion of size. This has been proven in research and is termed the Ponzo Illusion after Italian researcher Mario Ponzo.

My only post preps used on this image was a slight warming of the dried grasses using Nik Viveza, and some strong sharpening with Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0, utilizing the "structure" command to help sharpen the texture of the grasses. Both of these pieces of software are intregal pieces of my daily workflow. If you would like to purchase them, please use my code listed below to receive a 15% discount.

My Website: "how to" articles, 2015 WORKSHOP LISTINGS, galleries, stock photos, and more...
www.donsmithphotography.com

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
2/5 seconds
F/16.0
ISO 200
800 mm

full
moonrise
coastal
hills
dusk

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