Thursday, February 5, 2015

Feb. 3 Moon

A few days after trying to take a picture of the moon from the top of Shiroyama hill, I decided to try again because the sky had cleared up and moon rise was scheduled for about 4:45 PM, making for a decent daylight shot if everything worked out. Figuring that it would take a while for the moon to clear the neighboring hills, I took my time, with a side trip to Terukuni Shrine to catch the last few minutes of Setsubune. I got to the top of the hill at 5, and was joined by an older guy with a great big Canon camera, also there for photographing the moon. We talked for a while, and eventually he pointed out that the moon was already well above the horizon. It took me close to a full minute to find it, since it was still so pale compared to the surrounding sky. I tried taking a couple pictures right away, but the results were boring.

As the moon rose higher, I started playing with exposure times to see if I could bring out the surface features. This did work, but it gives the impression that the sky is darker and closer to night time than it really is.

As I took photos, other people started showing up. At one point, we had at least 10 guys at the observation desk, largely because we're so close to getting a full moon.

This is more of a "true color" picture for that time of the afternoon.

And now it's not.

I was so set on taking shots of the moon that I kind of ignored the volcano next door.

The observation deck had gotten too crowded, and I couldn't get any shots of the volcano without having tree branches getting in the way. So, I carried the tripod and camera 2 blocks over to the front parking lot of the Shiroyama hotel, where I pretty much had the area to myself. But, now I had to compete with the Christmas lights that hadn't been taken down yet.

It was about 6 PM now, and the moon was reflecting off the bay.

I took a number of close-ups of the moon during the afternoon, but the ones early on were too faded (the details weren't showing up) and the later ones were just too bright (even with the exposure times dialed way down). But at about 6:15, the conditions were just right. To try to control things as much as I could, I had the big camera on a tripod, and set the timer to 10 seconds. This let me release the camera for the shot, giving it time to stop jiggling after I let go. I haven't seen much in the way of accessories for the CoolPix here in Kagoshima, but I'll buy myself a remote trigger if I find one.

I went in to the hotel so I could get to the fountain plaza. I tried getting artsy with the lighting, spray and moon position, but the fountain timer kept turning the spray off just as I was framing my shots.

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