Did you know that last weeks full moon wasn’t just any ordinary full moon, but a ‘super’ moon?? That’s right, and not only that, but it was one of the most ‘super’ moons you can get. A super moon is a full moon at the closest position of the moon along its orbit around the earth. What made this super moon one of the most super ‘super’ moons possible was that the exact full moon happened within an hour of the closest point of the moons orbit. It can’t get much more full than that!! The difference is hardly distinguishable unless compared to a regular full moon, but it was still a pretty cool astronomical phenomenon. On June 23rd the moon was 356,991 kilometers away. If you would like more information about super moons, check out my source on the topic at http://earthsky.org/tonight/is-biggest-and-closest-full-moon-on-june-23-2013-a-supermoon .
Now, I have to admit that this full moon photo wasn’t taken on June 23rd, but just a few days before, but its pretty close!! I was on a bike ride with my dad coming back from the city and we saw the beautiful sunset, so we pulled over at the lake to watch it. Fortunately I had my camera so I was able to capture the gorgeous colors! Then when we turned around, we saw the beautiful full moon glowing over the city. Having not had a lot of success shooting the moon in the past, I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, so I had to try a bunch of different exposures to make sure I captured all of the detail of the face of the moon without letting the reflection of the sun completely blow out all the details. It really helped that it was right at dusk so we still had come light and color in the sky in order to keep a faster exposure. I ended up hand holding my Nikon D600 with the 70-200 mm at 200mm at f/4 ISO 200 1/400s. The sunset picture was taken at 28mm f/8 ISO400 1/100s.
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Savannah Georgia was just a quick stop along the way to break up our 17 hour drive back to Cedarville from Del Ray. We had heard a lot of cool things about it and being that we were passing through a little after dinner time, we thought it would be worth checking out. And it was! I think most of the guys would agree that we shied we could have spent more time there. The town had a very old and historic feel to it with no building over 7 stories tall and the brick and cobblestone roads. We also happened to land there on a very lively evening. Right before we got there, the town had just finished up their Shamrock 5k so everyone was out donned in their crazy green clothes and out having a good time. Everywhere we went was packed. One thing we loved was how open and airy everything was too. There was live music being played out in the streets, people eating outside, and rooftop patio bars that people could look out onto the street from. One place we loved was the candy shop right next to our pizza place. It felt like we were in Willy Wonkas chocolate factory. They were making taffy right in front of us and we saw this whole system of how the taffy got made and transported to its place in the store using conveyor belts. We also got a lot of free samples there. We ended up eating at Vinnie Van GoGo’s pizza place. This was one of the coolest restraints I had been to. It was one of those places that you could barely move in once you were inside because it was so tight. They were tossing pizza dough and making the pizzas right in front of everyone. I regrettably didn’t end up getting any good pictures in there because it was so tight and there was hardly any light in the place so you’ll just have to believe me that it was a pretty sweet place! Its something that you would more have to experience anyway because of the whole atmosphere of the town and its location. After our pizza we walked around the town much, and since I was sick of carrying around my 30lb. camera bag, I just brought my camera with the 28-75 mm lens. I completely forgot to even grab my tripod which is accessory number 1 when shooting at night. So I had to really push the limits of my new cameras ISO and use makeshift tripods such as railings and stone pillars. We were also kind of rushed so I wasn’t able to set up some shots that i wanted, but it is definitely a place I would like to return to someday to capture more of the old town feel! Quite a contrast from Miami just a few nights ago. After our brief visit in Savannah, we continued our drive all the way back north up to Ohio which took about 11 more hours. We arrived at about 10 am, and we had lost about 45 degrees from what we had in Florida 😦 It was a great relaxing vacation though, and I am glad I rush ordered my D600 so that I had it for this break! There were a lot of great opportunities to use the extra power of it during the week. I hope you enjoyed seeing some shots of our trip throughout the week! Thanks for following along 🙂
These were shot with my Nikon D600 with my 28-75mm f/2.8. As I mentioned earlier, I forgot my tripod, so I was shooting at 1600-3200 for most of these. And look at how little noise there is! Very happy with my new camera.
Night photography requires a lot of patience and a methodical and thought out set up. There is simply not enough light to just point and shoot and get a quality image. And because so much goes into each shot, I like to put a lot of time into the composition before I set up the shot. I will often walk around with one eye through the viewfinder so that I know the limitations of my lens as I am setting up a shot. When I find something that catches my interest, I will then pull out my tripod and set up the composition. Then I need to find the proper exposure. I will try to keep my ISO at about 200 or lower when shooting buildings because I know my subject will stay still so shutter speed will not be an issue. Then I try to keep my aperture at about f/8-11 to keep the entire structure nice and sharp. So given those constraints, I usually end up with about a 2-4 second exposure. With that long of an exposure, I will want to minimize camera shake as much as possible. That requires a bit more than simply using a tripod. With my new D600 I have the capability of locking up my mirror. That function lifts the mirror to expose the sensor so that when the picture is taken there will be one less vibration to possibly cause camera shake in the frame. Another technique I use to reduce camera shake is using a remote shutter release. This is a system that you plug into the GPS socket in your camera that allows you to capture the shot without touching the camera and when your shutter is open more than a 50th of a second, that extra little shake caused by pressing the cameras release could blur your image. So that is how I captured some of these night scenes, and hopefully you can appreciate a little bit more of the process it takes to capture that detail in the limited light. To make a night shot interesting, I usually am looking for a mix of direct light and the ambient light that lights the scene. For a great shot including both the ambient light and the city lights of the skyscrapers as seen above, you need to go right after dusk. There is about a 30 minute window from where the sun is setting and the city lights are turning on that are great for this ambient look. Yesterday, we arrived in Miami just at sunset so I dropped some of the guys off at a restaraunt and drove immediately to this island where you get a great view of the skyline. I worked there about an hour testing exposures and bracketing a bunch until the sun was completely out of the picture and complete darkness had settled in. I took about 100 exposures from the same general area just hoping that in the end I would find one with a great mix of city light and setting sun light. The one you see above I think did the best job at capturing both. There are a lot more shots that I hope to ultimately stitch together and do some HDR techniques to to get some more unique shots. Can’t wait to get to those!
After watching that beautiful sunset over Miami, I went back to downtown Miami to join the rest of the guys at Cien Montaditos. Every Wednesday they have dollarmania where every sandwich on their menu was only a dollar! It was a bustling place and we were all pretty satisfied with the variety of sandwiches we got at this little Spanish restraunt. We spent the rest of the night just walking around the city checking out some of the sweet street art and the amazing architecture! Miami was an awesome city!!
These were shot with my Nikon D600 with my 28-75 mm f/2.8.
The top night shot was taken at 28mm with f/11 ISO200 with a shutterspeed of 4 seconds.