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Sun and Moonset Over Monterey Bay

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 23 August 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


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A 5.3% waxing crescent moon seemingly loses the race with the sun as both set over a thick fog bank covering California's Monterey Bay. My original intent with this image was to capture a 5-frame pano, which by the way I did, but the finished image was a crop of the pano to give a bit more prominence (and a stronger visual placement) for the moon.

This sea of fog has been a constant companion for those of us who live along the central coast of California. Some have been bemoaning the fact that our true summer never really arrived, while others are enjoying the respite from the heat (I tend to reside with the latter half). Regardless, the fog makes for interesting photography as my workshop students discovered in my recently completed Big Sur Summer Workshop. We photographed under the fog, along its edges, and even above it at this location in Fremont Peak State Park which rises 3100 feet above sea level.

I captured this particular image a week prior to the start of the workshop while awaiting the cover of darkness for the Perseid Meteor Showers. Fortunately the thin crescent was visible enough to be juxtaposed with the setting sun as it seemingly melts into the fog. I used my Canon 24 mm Tilt/Shift lens (which helped me to create the pano). After I stitched five frames in Photoshop CS5, I began to play with the crop tool as discussed in my previous post. I simply place the crescent moon in the upper left quadrant (a stronger visual placement), which in turn created a diagonal link (implied line) to the setting sun that created some visual movement for the eye.

Lastly, I allowed the camera's limited vision to turn the foreground peak into a non-distracting silhouetted form that served as a base for the frame. The juxtaposition of the warm transition line of the horizon to both the cool blue of the sky and the cool blue fog allowed for some visual tension. Hopefully, the overall simplicity of this image is the key for its success.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/10 second F/16.0 ISO 200 24 mm

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