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Wednesday, 09 November 2022


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I remember 40 years ago, I shot a full moon on every frame of a roll of B&W film, using the rule of thirds placing the moon in the upper two intersections alternating left, right, left, right. I used a telephoto lens and used the sunny-16 exposure to maintain detail in the lunar surface and to keep the sky totally black which allows for subsequent exposure.

I later reloaded that roll (after rewinding with leader out) and shot moonless night cityscapes with a wide-angle lens to exaggerate the disproportionate scale. It was trial and error, but when it worked it was pretty neat. This was photo shop before there was digital photo shop.

I later got more into reality and stopped trying to alter what was before me, but yeah, a moon can improve a bland scene.

This post had me checking roughly how many moonrise photos I've "Blipped" over the years. A few:

Ah ha. This moon position - size thing explains why my photos look so good on the camera's LCD and so bad on my computer's monitor.
TOP has answers for everything.

Way to go on the moonset! I tried to get that Tuesday morning - and failed. But I got this the night before.

@ robert e:

Check this out: < https://amazingsky.files.wordpress.com/2022/11/total-lunar-eclipse-wide-view-nov-8-2022.jpg >

Fun with Perceptual Vision Zoom - Visual Accommodation

Get hold of a camera phone capable of performing a 10x digital zoom, Mike’s note taking iPhone 13 Pro for example. Any smart phone capable of at least a 10x zoom will work.

Hold the phone at a typical shooting distance, run the camera app and pinch to zoom onto something close (~1 meter away) like a coffee cup until the screen image shows the cup as the same size as what you see directly – as if the phone screen were a small sheet of clear plate glass. Note the zoom factor (I get ~4.7x for example).

Now do the same with a distant object like a mail box across the street or the top of a tall tree down the road, and note the zoom factor (I get ~8.8x for example).

Running this demonstration among friends we consistently see an approximate 2x camera phone zoom ratio between near and far focused subjects.

For more fun: Make two photographs of an object, one each using the near and far zoom factors, focusing on something round or spherical maybe three meters away. Compare the size difference of the object in these two photographs – compositing them into a single image is instructive as insight into the moon illusion.

Unfortunately the moon is much too bright to display clearly focused on a smartphone, so the mystery of the moon illusion remains mysterious.

And, yes, 70mm - 90mm (35mm equiv) matches what I see visually in my angle of view.

Stay curious,

- Eric

Apparent size of the moon ...

There are no official rules as to how close or far the Moon must be to qualify as a Supermoon or a Micro Moon.

The following definitions are used at timeanddate.com:

Supermoon: A Full or New Moon that occurs when the center of the Moon is less than 360,000 kilometers (ca. 223,694 miles) from the center of Earth.
Micromoon: A Full Moon or New Moon that takes place when the center of the Moon is farther than 405,000 kilometers (ca. 251,655 miles) from the center of Earth.
A Super Full Moon's angular size is 12.5%–14.1% bigger than a Micro Full Moon, and 5.9%–6.9% bigger than an average Full Moon (in years 1550–2650).


I just want to say, "isn't photography great for getting you off your butt?" I can see myself trundling down the hill to the lake in my slippers too. That is part of the joy of photography, for me. It gets me off my butt. I tend to wander the woods looking for photos. I don't know if I'd do that if I wasn't carrying the camera. I'd be missing a big part of my life.

That's a lovely moonset photo, Mike.
If you take another look at Adams' signature image, you'll see that the moon itself is quite small in the composition. And he used a 24" lens on his 8x10 camera, the equivalent of an 85mm lens on FFD or 35mm.
The landscape the moon rises over in that picture is quite spectacular, and Adams generally printed it quite large, which also helps. And of course, he did lots of work in the darkroom to get the result he wanted.
But a real key to that picture's success (as in your moonset) is that there is light in the foreground. A little study will reveal that the "Moonrise" negative was made the day before the full moon, so the sun is still up to light the subject, just the opposite of your moonset image. Another common factor between your two pictures is that both were seen in an instant, and made very quickly before the light and subject changed.
And remember, next month you can try it again!

Mike - In your adventures with the new Sigma, are you using a filter for the shots you have posted? I seem to remember you talking about shooting with a yellow filter in your film days. The brief metadata doesn't say and the detailed metadata is just too damned detailed for me to tell. :)


Yes, I'm using a Tiffen Deep Yellow filter now and I just ordered a Heliopan #15 dark yellow. The later is expensive and available only on special order, but the Tiffens are made by sandwiching a gel filter between two disks of clear glass and the Heliopan is dyed optical glass. --Mike]

I went out to leave for work this morning and saw Mars right next to the just-past-full moon. I debated about getting out the camera and the 150-600, but the fact that it was 30 degrees F helped me decide to go on to work.

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