Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 WEEK 12: Super Moon!

And wasn't it just?

Despite planning ahead and deciding to hit the Coal Harbour side of Stanley Park for the big moonrise I made a huge error and learned an important lesson...

Always, I repeat, ALWAYS check and double check what you have in your kit bag and don't assume that your memory regarding what was is in it the last time you used it is correct in terms of what's in it now.

It was quite a walk to the area on the seawall where I decided to set-up, especially lugging my camera bag and my tripod. My spirits were buoyed when I saw many, many more photogs set-up along the path, all their cameras trained towards the sails of Canada Place. "Ah-ha!" I thought, "My guess of this being a good vantage point was obviously spot-on given how many pros and ernest-looking hobbyists there are!"

So imagine my crushing disappointment when I cracked open my kit bag and found that sometime in the last 48hrs I had removed my 250mm lens... The longest lens I had with me was a piddly little 50mm (albeit, the awesome Pentax Takumar 50mm). Oh well... Lesson learned. I'd just have to make the most of a bad situation.

This was my view across Coal Harbour at around 7.45pm. Shot with the Sigma 10-20mm at f/4, ISO 400 with a long exposure.

As 8pm came and went and everyone was looking from watches to camera to Canada Place the frowns began appearing at the lack of moon. I was furthest along the line towards the eastern point of the park and glancing further around the seawall through the trees lining Park Drive I suddenly noticed a peculiar orange glow steadily increasing behind Burnaby Mountain. Nobody else seemed to have noticed it. Nor did they notice when I picked up my gear and hurried around the corner for a better view.

The rise of the super moon was spectacular as it rose up through the low cloud over the distant mountains. In fact it looked less like the moon and more like a bright orange planet. This was my best shot using the Takumar 50mm at f/4, ISO 400

It's very, very challenging shooting the moon even when armed with the right lenses because it's so damn bright - to expose the moon correctly you then underexpose everything else in the frame.

Since this was my first time out at night with the camera, tripod and remote switch, I took full advantage of it and got a few other long exposure shots as I made my way home. The famous Stanley Park totem poles look far more interesting at night.

This is what those better prepared than me looked like as they gazed skyward.

This next one is I think my favourite of the whole night. Taken with my trusty Sigma 30mm.

I love the starry lens flare from the light atop the skyscraper under construction in this next one.

This is what happens when you take a picture with the shutter open for 2 seconds... In fact it was so dark it took 8 attempts because I couldn't actually see the tree through the camera in order to frame it right! Check out the Tron-like light streams in the background from the traffic heading towards Lions Gate Bridge. I've always wanted to try this and now that I know I can, I think I'll make a future blog just on long exposure night movement. Oh, and those white specs? Not dirt or grain but STARS!

Given how many lights are on in these apartments I'm guessing Earth Hour had passed by the time I took this picture.

Last but not least, when I got home I grabbed the 55-250mm and took this from the alley behind my building. Thanks Super Moon, see you again in 2029.