It was full moon last night. And although the day had started off cloudy, by evening, the sky had cleared, and the air was crystalline, with the stars like brilliant diamonds against the darkness. Close to 11pm at night, needing a break from working on the computer, I set up my tripod in the back garden.
As soon as my eyes had adjusted to being outside, I realised that the moon was so bright that the leaves of the plants and the blades of grass on the lawn were almost aglow in the silvery light it cast. It struck me as even more extraordinary because the moon is not a source of light: it ‘merely’ reflects the light of the sun, which was now somewhere below the western horizon, far out of my line of sight.
Thinking of it like that made it feel quite magical.
I played with the settings on the camera, trying to capture the perfect shot of the moon between the leaves of the big Rhus tree.
It proved tricky.
The moon was almost directly overhead, which meant that I had to kneel on the dew-damp grass. I got a crick in my neck, trying to squint at the preview monitor from below. The cold and wet knees business wasn’t conducive to lingering on the grass, so I moved the tripod onto the paving next to the pool. But now I really had to make sure that the camera was screwed tightly onto the top of the tripod so that it wouldn’t fall, or I’d be in deep trouble.
And I soon remembered that the problem with long exposures and big apertures is that the slightest movement will blur the picture hopelessly. So I tried to use the handy 10-second self-timer and kept my hands away from the camera… hoping fervently that the screw holding it to the top of the tripod was tight enough.
Just when I was trial-and-error-ing towards the right combination of aperture, exposure and shutter speed, the wind picked up, catching the top branches of the tree.
Oh, and my battery light started flashing, and shortly afterwards shut down the camera.
So this is the best shot I got. Under the circumstances, I’m very happy with it. 🙂
And then, because it was just too beautiful outside to go to bed just yet, we went for a moonlight stroll around the block.