The summer days are gone too soon
You shoot the moon
And miss completely
And now you're left to face the gloom
The empty room that once smelled sweetly
Of all the flowers you plucked if only
You knew the reason
Why you had to each be lonely
Was it just the season?

We remember when we went after everything we thought we could make real. We tasted from so many plates and dreamed so many dreams. Anything was possible before we began to rest on our limitations. There were no limitations in those days. We wondered why things weren't happening the way we thought they should be happening. So many things fell between the cracks. We got older. We got wiser. We lost that glimmer we used to have in our eyes. There was a time when we saw reasons for looking to each other but then those reasons became more cloudy. Things became too hard and we couldn't fight against those things the way we once had. Once upon a time we sat in your room and just talked for hours about who we were. Now we wonder if that is even who we still are. We wonder if we even know ourselves. It is even harder to know if we still know each other, but there is something to be said for rediscovering each other again. The leaves still turn outside your room. The seasons change.

Now the fall is here again
You can't begin to give in
It's all over

If we were to say that it was over then perhaps it would be easier. We never said that. We merely walked away. There was no debate and there was no measurement of reasons. We let time create a divide between us and now we fear crossing the bridges that connect us across the years. It is true that we both had reasons for going off in our own directions. You refused to let anyone save you. I refused to let any one person control the tides of my life. As we negotiated each other at arm's length I kept myself busy in the world of lesser mortals. They gave me something you never could. You knew that and you encouraged me. All the while there was a growing pain in my heart that became the only wound I could never heal.

When the snows come rolling through
You're rolling with some new lover
Will you think of times you've told me
That you knew the reason
Why we had to be lonely
It was just the season

Times change and so do reasons. The walks we take are too short along the length of the long pier we've been granted. There is still time. There is always time until our dust decorates the landscapes of the places we once knew and the places that once knew our lives. Whether reality is an absolute or only an abstract concept, there will always be...

Lyrics by Jesse Harris
As recorded by Norah Jones
On the album Come Away With Me
Which they tell me won a metric shitload of Grammy Awards

In 1974, 16 people died in Phnom Penh when soldiers shoot their guns in the air during a lunar eclipse to frighten off the monkey that was thought to be eating the moon...

psst... This isn't the topic that you're supposed to write about...

Oops... Take 2...

Shooting the moon is when you try to take all the points in a hand when the object normally is to avoid... why are you looking at me that way? Oh... photography... right... Take 3...

Photographing the Moon

The first thing that people think when they look at the moon in the sky is 'black sky, long exposure'. This is not the right thing to think in most cases. The key thing to realize is that the moon is a sunlit object (and direct sunlight at that)... just the sun isn't in the picture (or sky) most of the time. As a sunlit object, the the rule of thumb for the proper exposure is that similar to the sunny 16 (the proper speed to photograph a sunlit object at f/16 is 1/ISO).

The sunny 16 often gets you in the ballpark for photographing the moon. The moon has an albedo of 11% (reflects 11% of the light that hits it) making it slight darker than the 18% gray card (standard tool for metering light). Realizing this, the rule of thumb becomes the "Lunar 11" after the camera has been opened up a stop to compensated for this.

Photography by the Moon's light

This is the exposure most people think of when they are photographing the moon. By the light of a full moon with a clear sky consider an exposure of 4 minutes at f/4 for 100 ISO film. Others recommend a 1 minute exposure at ASA 400 at f/1.8. This is just a starting point though.

Photography by moonlight is something to try, though it takes patience. There are only 36 days/year where the moon is bright enough - and thats given that its a clear sky (do not try this in Seattle).

Realize, that the light of the moon is on the order of one millionth (thats 1/1,000,000 or 1e-6) as strong as sunlight. This is the range where the light meter on the camera has absolutely no clue at all about light at this level. You have to guess. The estimates at the top are good places to start and work with the assumption of your first photos won't come out at all. Furthermore, bracket these photos. When doing a 5 min exposure, also do a 10 and 15 minute exposure. This takes time, but it helps assure that at least one photo turns out. Being off by a minute or so is not a big deal here - it's less than a third of a stop.

Photos of this type have glassy, beautiful water. The light is often cool, the shadows are blue tinted. Even though all that we see is shades of gray, there are just as many colors at night if one was to wait around long enough to expose them.

Double Exposure

Ever see those prints where there is a city scape with a giant moon rising? These are done with double exposures (I know, I've shot a city scape with a rising moon and its not that big unless you have a very long lens.)

These days, the double exposure of the moon can be done in three different ways:

  • On film
  • In the darkroom
  • In Photoshop

On Film Double Exposure

In camera, the first photograph should be done with a wide lens. Key in mind to keep the black sky in the location where the moon should be. The scene should be one with enough light so that the exposure is metered correctly - cityscapes work well. After exposing the first frame, switch lenses to a long lens and take a picture of the moon placed in the frame where it is in the previous dark area. The second frame should be shot with the lunar 11 rule mentioned above. Make sure to compensate for the multiple exposure - again, this may take some practice.

An alternate method is to use a mask to mask out the sky. This doesn't require any adjustment mentioned above beach each segment of the film is only getting lighting for one photo.

In the dark room

Many photographers have rolls of film of just the moon in the frame - various placements in the sky and phases. When needed, the photographer can pull out a frame of the moon and place it in the print quite easily - a bit of darkroom magic and there are two frames.

In Photoshop

This is really the only choice for digital photographers - only a few of the highest end cameras allow for multiple exposures on the same frame. This is mostly a matter of selecting the image, copying it to the new image, and pasting it in while doing some cleanup (dodge and burn).

Be warned that with double exposure you have to be aware of the moon and its phase compared to the placement of the moon in the sky. I have caught some photographers doing this... "You've got a full moon at the horizon near the sun... thats not the way it works". To which they admit that yep, I got them. Furthermore, some people don't like absurdly large moons in a photograph - others do (I am of the first group).

For information in taking photographs of the Lunar Eclipse and more data regarding focal lengths and exposure times, see Lunar Eclipse.
(There are a large number of sites out there on photographing the moon with double exposures - do a Google search for "moon double exposure")

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