#52WeekProject: Moonrise over Chicago Harbor


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…

#52weekproject: Week 27 – A Boat at Sunset

A Boat at Sunset


Week 27: A Boat at Sunset

Taken Monday, October 27th, 2014. I took my sweet time posting this photo, although, I’m just behind on blogging in general.

On this excursion, I went out trying to scout for a picture I was planning to take the following week. The photo I was planning on taking was a shot of the full moon rising on the horizon, with the lighthouse in the foreground using a 300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter. Using The Photographer’s Ephemeris, it would have been perfect with the moon rising around 4:46pm on Thursday, November 6th, and the sun setting around 4:38pm, which would probably have given enough ambient light to illuminate the lighthouse and not have everything else be pitch black. Unfortunately (and anti-climactically) though, on November 6th, it was majorly hazy and there were huge waves on Lake Michigan, that actually tore up the Lakefront path pretty bad, so I didn’t end up going to take the photo (and I got stuck at work a little later than planned anyway).

I think I’m going to try again on the next full moon, December 6th. We’ll see what the weather is like then. But I digress.

Anyway,about this photo. Nothing spectacular about this photo, but I just really like the light. Just the hint of orange sunlight touching the boat,  the slightly choppy dark blue waves, and the vibrant red sail. Compositionally though, there’s no real balance to it. The boats directly behind it are a little distracting as it jumbles up with the mast. Ideally, if those boats were a little further to the right, it would definitely have balanced the photo out better. If I were a more dishonest man, I would have just photoshopped this photo and placed some photos to the right. I mean… It’s never too late, I might revisit this photo someday and do just that.

So what do you think?