What is it about the night sky that fills us with wonder? For me, it’s thinking about the impossibility that I even exist on this tiny, fragile, blue planet in the incomprehensible vastness of the universe. Yet, here I am, part of the rhythm of the universe, and I am thankful.
This photo is of the supermoon last week, rising above a small barn near our house. A supermoon is when the full moon occurs when its orbit is closest to Earth. This was the third supermoon of the year, with another one to happen next month. July’s will be the brightest of them all.
The concept of this photo occurred to me the afternoon of the full moon. I wanted to capture the moon while it was low in the sky and in a gap in the tree canopy, directly above the barn. Creating the photograph I had in mind would require some planning, and I would need to use a technique called focal length blending. It’s a common technique for experienced landscape photographers, but I had never used it before. I had a few hours in which to read and watch some YouTube videos to learn how to do it.
First, I had to determine if the arc of the rising moon would even pass through the gap in the tree canopy. I used an app called Photopills to help me plan the composition. Using the app I was able to confirm that I would be able to see the moon in that gap at a certain time if I set my tripod up in a specific spot.
Placing my tripod and camera where I had determined they needed to be, I took a photo of the barn and trees during what photographers call the “blue hour,” a time just after sunset during which there is some interesting light. On this day, the blue hour was actually only 12 minutes long.
An hour later, the moon rose to exactly where the app told me it would. I put a longer lens on the camera and, leaving the tripod in the same spot it had been, I took a second photo, this one of the moon. I processed both photos separately, and after some trial and error, I was able to blend the two photos to make this one.