Week 28: Moonrise over Chicago Harbor
Taken on Saturday, December 6, 2014. It had been a while since I had gone out to take a picture. The last time, it was of a boat in the harbor while I was trying to do some scouting for this photo. Unfortunately, the day I originally wanted to take this photo (Nov 6th), the weather was crazy and the winds and waves ended up tearing up a lot of the lakefront and even sunk a barge. So wisely, I waited until the next full moon to take the picture. (And hooray, I didn’t get swept out to sea!)
The top picture was taken at around 4:20pm, as the sun was setting. The bottom picture was taken at around 5:01pm just after the moon rose over the horizon. The downside of having moved to December, was the moonrise ended up being 40 minutes after the sunset, so because of the darker scene, I needed to boost the exposure when caused a lot of issues. (As you can see in the blurrier bottom picture.)
In order to emphasize the moon, I wanted to use the longest focal length I could, which meant a 300mm f/4.5 manual focus lens stacked with a 2x teleconverter and a 1.4x teleconverter. This makes it an effective focal length of 1000mm and the increased distance from the focal plane reduces the overall exposure by 3 stops, so an effective aperture of about f/13. Unfortunately, because of these limitations, and the decreased ambient light, my shutter needed to be open much longer (from 1/125s to 1/2s), and with the long focal length and heavy gear on my tripod, every little vibration resulted in major blurriness in the photo. Even after I switched out the lens to the 200 f/2.8 with and only the 2x teleconverter (EFL 400mm f/5.6) at 1/6s, and you can still see major blurriness in the photo.
So, while the idea was pretty solid, the execution was pretty terrible due to the conditions and limitations of my equipment. I’m definitely going to try this photo again, and will likely aim for next year’s supermoon (Sept 27th, 2015) when the moon will be about 14% bigger, and the moon rises at 6:32pm, 7 before the sunsets. I’ll bring a sturdier tripod, and keep my fingers crossed that the weather holds up so I can shoot at some reasonable settings, so it’ll look like that top picture with a giant ass moon (not my own) in the background!
Also, I made a timelapse, which you can see below…