Thursday, 22 August 2013

I found the moon

Dear Reader,

I live in the Sydney basin, between the mountains and the sea. A large percentage of all Australians live within 200 km from the ocean. In the convict settlement days the first settlers survived with the aid of supplies brought in by boat, so maybe the sea is in our collective subconscious? That and a fear of the wide brown interior!

From birth the knowledge that the sun rises over the sea has been in my subconscious but I had no idea where the moon rose. Much reading and googling brought the knowledge that the moon, like the sun, rises in the east. The times and exact location vary with the rotation of the earth and the orbit of the moon but moonrise is opposite where the sun sets.

I've been trying to get a decent photo of a landscape with the full moon with the equipment I have, that is, a 18-135mm lens before I add a 200mm telescopic lens to my kit. I headed up the mountains and stopped at a tourist information centre and had a chat with a local as to the best places to see the sunset. I did not want to sound too crazy, like 'Hello I am a mad hobby photographer learning her thing and I'm chasing the moon...' The helpful guy said the sunsets up there were a gentle fade into a blue haze because of our forests of eucalyptus trees but that one great place was Govett's Leap Lookout which faces east. Ah Ha!
Edit:  It is actually a good place to photograph the sunrise but all I heard was the word 'east' ..

After a bit of meandering through the sights of Katoomba I headed further and arrived at Govett's Leap and watched a pretty but very subtle blue/pink/cool blue sunset. I set up my camera and tripod and remote cable and keyed in the settings and I waited and.. waited. Other tourists came and went. The car park is just metres from the lookout. It is very accessible. The light kept slowly fading and I wondered if indeed I was in the right place. The temperature kept dropping and the tourists left. I was turning around looking for a moonrise and wondering if I had got the location wrong when another photographer arrived and said 'What are you looking for?' I said ' Would you believe the moon?' He said 'You are in the right place'. It will rise over that ridge in about seven minutes. We chatted and then there it was, a red glimmer behind the ridge and then the full moon rising.

Regarding the settings I used a slow shutter speed and underexposed for the moon. I used an ISO of 1600 which in retrospect was too high. Next time I'll go down a bit but as far as moons go, this is my personal best. Watch this space!

Edited to add:  I have posted this at Sky Watch Friday link here


  1. Det er et meget flot billede :-)

  2. Love your photo! I think you have captured the moon wonderfully :)

  3. Hi I love moon shots, well done with this one. I must try some more sometime lets hope they are as good as your one but somehow I doubt they will be
    please visit my Promote Thanet Blog

  4. I loved reading your story, in addition to your moonrise photo. Even with the 1600 ISO, you have a marvelous capture here. From one amateur to another, you are going to have much fun over the coming years with your camera! :-)

  5. Lovely scene and a beautiful capture of the moon! Have a happy weekend!

  6. Hello skywatchers!thank you for your comments. Oz Girl I am having fun already.