This week I joined the Meetup.com organization “Shoot Miami” for a group shoot of the harvest moon. When we first arrived we had calculated the moonrise time and position from several astronomical websites and were extremely confused when the time came and went without a moon. After all the moon isn’t a Miami Bus; you should know when and where it is. Finally the moon popped out over a cloud which was blending perfectly into the sky and our night of moon shooting began.
The above shot was inspired by the work of another photographer that night. He discovered this great angle which allows the rising moon to backlite this lighthouse-beach-lookout while a soft light from a nearby high rise gently filled in the facade facing the camera. I was just lucky enough to copy his location idea with my camera, which in the great tradition of photography means I can show it as my own.
In many of these shots the moon appears almost sun like. This is due to the long exposure time. Imagine filling a bottle of water at a sink; if you open the faucet all the way then the bottle fills quickly; if you open the faucet only a little then it takes a long time to fill the bottle. Either way you end up with a bottle of water. In this case you are filling the film with light. In broad daylite it only takes a fraction of a second to fill your bottle, but at night there is only a trickle of light, requiring the use of longer shutter speeds. The image above was a 120 second exposure.