May 9, 2011

Super Moon over Boston Skyline

Post sunset is one of my favorite times to take photographs. I regularly go out and capture the Boston skyline at twilight on days that I am not occupied hunting for nature photographs. On 19 March 2011 there was another expected and exciting twist: The super moon phenomena was expected in Boston. A super moon is known as a new or full moon occurring at the same time the moon comes within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. According to NASA the full moon on 19 March 2011 nearly coincided with the moon's arrival at its closest point in its orbit around the Earth, resulting in the biggest, visible full moon in North America in two decades. I was pretty hyped up about this event and ahead of time checked the weather forecast multiple times: clear skies were predicted ... perfect I thought! Way too early I made my way over the locations I frequently visit. First I stopped on the BU bridge but was not happy with the location. I didn't even bother setting up and instantly walked back to the car making my way over to a more dependable location on the Cambridge side of the Charles river. One photographer already positioned himself near the Pierce Boathouse and was ready to go. In the morning he scouted the sunrise to figure out where the moon would make its dramatic appearance this evening. I thanked him for the info and moved on a little bit further downstream. I like this location the best because it separates the Prudential Center landmark from the surrounding buildings. However, in this photograph I had to leave the Prudential Center out of the photo to achieve a more pleasing and frame filling composition of the Boston skyline. This super moon photo over Boston shows the John Hancock building, Harvard Bridge in the foreground, parts of Boston downtown and Beacon Hill to the left of the frame. In order to overcome the contrast between skyline and moon I had two combine two photos, one exposed on the moon and the second metered on the skyline. In the old film days we used to do a double exposure and combined it in one print. Now-a-days photoshop takes easily care of the same thing. The aperture for the skyline photograph was set to f/7.1 resulting in a 4 second exposure time. The 4 seconds of shutter speed was sufficient to produce a nice blur of white traffic car headlines on Harvard Bridge. The moon was exposed a f-stop of f/7.1 at 1/100 seconds. In the post processing steps I removed dust spots, minimally adjusted lighting and color saturation before sharpening the image. The next super moon to watch November 14, 2016 ... mark your calendars!