I hate to admit this, but I live and die by my Outlook Calendar. If it’s not in my Outlook calendar, I won’t remember it. You should have seen me when I found out I could sync my Outlook Calendar between home and work computers and my phone… I was positively giddy (yes, giddy). One of the most important things I have in my Outlook Calendar are the dates of all the full moon rises for the next gazillion years (and of course my wedding anniversary!!). I absolutely love photographing the moon and I try to never miss the full moon rise (or my wedding anniversary).
I’ve found that the best time to photograph the full moon rising above the landscape is usually 1-2 days before the actual full moon. Why? Because that is when the moon is bright enough to see, but not too bright to be overexposed when photographing the landscape. The tonal range, or dynamic range, of the moon and the landscape 1-2 days before the full moon is small enough to be within the range of most digital cameras. This means for awhile on these days, you can expose both the moon and the landscape in 1 photograph and get detail on both. Often at the peak of the full moon, the moon rises above the horizon too late after sunset and a photograph that shows detail in the moon is going have the landscape too dark. Conversely, a photograph that shows the landscape at normal brightness is going to only have a “hole in the sky” for the moon (the moon will be severely overexposed).
It’s fun to photograph the full moon all alone in the sky with a large telephoto lens, but it is even more interesting to compose a scene with the moon rising over an interesting landscape or beside some interesting object. I’m always on the lookout for an interesting places to photograph with the moon. For this particular moon rise I headed to the Pottawatomie County Fishing Lake #1 with a friend. We were hoping that the lake would be still and we could get some nice reflections of the moon rising over the lake. Alas, Kansas decided to be windy on this evening (I know, hard to believe it would be windy in Kansas). So being the adventurous types, we bravely headed on down the highway and happened to find a cemetery which we thought might be an interesting place to photograph the moon rising over (its not as creepy as it sounds, most cemeteries are beautiful places).
While waiting for the moon to make her appearance, we had a chance to photograph a nice sunset as well. We even managed to sneak in some photographs of the moon back at the lake on the way home. All in all a very good evening.