Moon over Hataitai

F5.6, 1/160th sec, ISO400, Effective focal length 450mm

Tonight was close to a full moon, and as it rose over the horizon and cleared a bank of clouds I managed to capture this shot.

I’ve tried to get a shot like this many times before but I usually end up with a white blob on a black background. This time the fact it was only just dark and that the moon was magnified because it was close to the horizon all helped.

But this shot was still not what I’d seen through the viewfinder. Given the fact I was hand holding the camera and shooting at 160th of a second to minimise camera shake any detail outside of the moon was lost.

So with a little assistance from my favourite image editor, I’ve put together a view more in keeping with what I saw.

Of dogs and moon rises

Presenting two photos that you can only take when you’ve got the time. And that’s the great thing about holidays, you have the time.

The dog shot involved two tired girls and Jean acting as a wrangler behind me. It took about 30 shots to get the one I was looking for with Poppie staring down the lens and Bella on guard.

The moon rising over Nelson shot took time because I had no tripod and the shutter speed had to be quick enough to ensure a sharp shot but still have a reasonable depth of field. In the end I pushed the ISO to 800 and managed to hand-hold the camera steady for 1/30th of a second exposure. Then it was into Photoshop for some cropping, colour balancing and exposure work.

It’s great to have time for all this faffing about.

Partial Eclipse of the Sun

Today at 10:47am everything around our place went a little dark. The culprit was a partial eclipse of the sun – where the moon gets between the sun and the earth and we see the sun partially obscured. It was a little eerie as a beautiful sunny Wellington morning regressed to post dawn light and the temperature turned chilly.

To me it was the ideal opportunity to try solar photography. So my tripod, laptop and camera were set up in the front yard to capture the event.

Now we all know it’s not a good idea to look directly at the sun. Well it’s an even worse idea to look at the sun – even one partly obscured – through a camera eyepiece when a 300mm zoom lense is strapped on the front.

In fact, almost 6 hours later, I still seem to have a mysterious spot of intense white light obscuring part of my vision.

But, good news, I actually got a shot or two and after a wee bit of Photoshop correction it’s a fair representation of the event – nothing spectacular, but up close an eclipse is, fundamentally, just an eclipse.

Having said that, I probably could have simply generated the same thing in Photoshop and saved myself the temporary blindness.

For those who are into the detail, this shot was taken at ISO 100, f32, 1/8000 of  a second.

Summer is almost here

It’s been a while since the last Toscanakiwi post. Maybe that can be blamed on the end of winter – that period of the year where the worst of the bad weather is over but still the sun won’t shine and the days are more rain and wind than anything else.  Good news – spring has finally arrived and from last Sunday daylight saving commenced. Suddenly the days are longer, the temperature warmer and every plant in the garden is growing as fast as it can.

Last weekend we travelled to Nelson on the northern tip of the South Island for a family birthday. If there was any doubt about the arrival of spring, the afternoon spent sitting on the deck looking out over the Waimea Inlet to Tasman Bay and beyond was proof enough. It was a fantastic weekend – thank you to our wonderful hosts and, once again, happy birthday to wee James.