Pern's Ponderings

Check here periodically for my musings on photography. In this space, we'll explore how I achieved particular photographs, tips and tricks to get the most out of your camera or even just my thoughts on the world at large. 

Lesson Learned

 The 2016 Harvest Moon peers through Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, Rhode Island. 

The 2016 Harvest Moon peers through Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, Rhode Island. 

When I first heard news about last year's Supermoon, I knew immediately the shot I wanted to make of it. I hoped to capture the massive moon rising behind Point Judith Light in Narragansett, Rhode Island. 

I knew that if used a large zoom lens, it would exaggerate the moon's size and emphasize just how truly large it appeared to the naked eye. 

Unfortunately, I set up my gear on an overlook that was simply too close to make use of my larger telephoto zoom, a Sigma 150-600mm, and slightly too far to the north of the lighthouse. I used my Canon 70-200mm F2.8L, but the moon rise too far to left of the lighthouse to capture the shot I had envisioned. 

I made the best of my night and captured what I felt was a wonderful shot of the moon just above the horizon. It now hangs in my home. I also made several other shots that I enjoyed. 

But I had missed "the shot." 

Fast forward to Thursday, September 15, 2016. My family and I were driving home from dinner and noticed the rising moon, nearly full. We knew the Harvest Moon would be full the next night, but I zipped down to the same spot as the year before to see what I might capture.

I was too late to get "the shot" again, but I used my time to survey the area and figure out where I wanted to set up for Friday's full Harvest Moon. 

Armed with the knowledge from previous attempts, and a handy app on my iPhone called Skyguide, which showed me where and when the moon would rise, I headed down to Fisherman's Memorial, probably a half-mile from the lighthouse and set up my gear. 

This time, I was far enough away to use my big lens, and the full 600mm it offers. About 30 minutes before moonrise, the area filled with fellow photographers, all hoping to capture their own interpretation of the lunar event. 

As the moon first peeked up over the horizon, I realized I was still slightly out of position. Fortunately, I had prepared for the possibility and already had all my gear in my backpack, ready to move. I knew I had some time, though, so I made an effort to recreate my shot from a year ago, this time with the moon appearing larger. 

After capturing that shot, I picked up my camera, still on the tripod, and traversed the rocks farther out onto a jetty to find the optimal alignment. 

Once in position, I waited for the moon to reach the right position and ... click. There it was. I had finally gotten the shot a year in the making.