Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Smoke And The Moon Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

12 November 2018

Around eight o'clock last night we peeked out the picture window. The smoke from the Northern California fires has invaded the Bay area since Friday, making it difficult to breath.

Moonscape. The waxing crescent moon descends beyond the smoke.

During the day, the sky is a uniform gray. You can't see the ocean that, on a clear day, sparkles just a few miles away. At sunset the sun gets redder and redder as it descends, as if it's about to blow its top.

When we got to the window, the moon was going down. Obscured by the hazy smoke, it was an unusual orange instead of white. And while we don't have much success shooting at night, we thought we'd give it the old college try.

After all, our alma mater had just defeated USC for the first time in 14 years. Never say never.

So we put the Nikon D300 on our steadiest tripod, took off the circular polarizer on the 18-200mm Nikkor, turned off image stabilization on the lens and manual focus as well (the hazy smoke make autofocus impossible) and lined up the shot.

For the exposure, we opened up the aperture to f5.3, which was wide open at the 112mm focal length we'd zoomed to. ISO was set to a safe but helpful 400.

It was just a matter of determining the shutter speed.

We decided to use Bulb mode, opening the shutter and then closing it manually, counting out loud. "One California, two California," was all it took. Although we tried a few variations while we were set up.

We processed the image in Adobe Camera Raw, making just a slight color temperature shift.

We've published a lot of sunset shots of this view but this is the first time we've done a night shot with the moon, obscured as it is by the smoke of other people's lives.

Their suffering is what has been in our thoughts.

BackBack to Photo Corners