Capturing the Strawberry Moon

The full moon hangs over the Truist building at dusk in AtlantaThe Strawberry moon over Atlanta

An Exciting Full-Moon Shoot

Wow! I'm super happy that my friend Lauren pays attention to the moon. She called Monday and asked if I wanted to go out and shoot that evening because there was a Strawberry Moon. 

This is the first time since I got the new LUMIX lens that I've had a chance to capture a full moon. The lens is 14mm - 140mm on the crop-sensor LUMIX, which is similar to a 28mm - 300mm on my full-frame Nikon. 

It's not the "perfect" lens for capturing the moon but it's pretty good and I was anxious to try it out. 

Lauren has an app that helps her pinpoint where the moon is coming up and the arc it will take as it traverses the sky. It's a bit like math which is offputting for me but one of these days I need to get it and learn how to use it.

Finding the Spot

Lauren says she struggles with the app but she did a fantastic job on Monday night.

She found just the right spot for us, which is a favorite spot of mine already.  It's a nice view of the railroad tracks with the city in the background. Monday night also featured the Strawberry moon!

There's a lot to capturing the moon if you want it to look right. The best shots of the moon - those shots where the moon looks huge - are taken from far away from the subject with a telephoto lens zoomed in - like an 800mm.

My lens is about the minimum you can get away with and still get a decent shot. 

My 140mm (300mm) isn't that powerful so it fell short, but I was still happy with what I got. Because neither one of us has even a 400mm, we couldn't get super far away from the city skyline to get that huge-looking moon. 

The weather was smothering hot out. Thankfully, there was a nice little breeze on the bridge. 

I was in a hurry when I was opening my tripod, not paying attention, and ow-wee did I ever pinch my finger in the tripod.

Yikes. I may have said some nasty words. It hurt bad and started bleeding. Note to self - carry Band-Aids!

Even worse, at the end of the evening, I did it a second time to a finger on the other hand.

Note to self - pay attention when opening AND closing the tripod. I've had my tripod for years and have rarely been pinched and then it happened twice in one night. Guess I was paying too much attention to the moon.

It's called the strawberry moon but that doesn't refer to the color, though it does have a red-orange cast to it. It's called the strawberry moon because the Algonquin Native American tribe refers to it as such due to it being a full moon coinciding with strawberry harvesting season. 

I'm always learning something new. 

The Final Shots

After we left the bridge and were driving home, we made a quick stop on the side of the road because the moon was right next to a couple of buildings and it looked great. It's super tough getting the moon to intersect with the buildings for a perfect composition. 

First, you have to figure out where the moon is going to be (remember the app?), then you have to know how tall the buildings are and figure out where you'll be standing.

Then you have to get the shot before the moon moves, and it moves fast. 

You can't take long exposures of the moon because it moves too fast. You'll end up with a blurry moon. 

I have mad respect for people who have the time, patience, equipment, and ability to figure out where and when to be in the perfect place to shoot the moon. I imagine some people get pretty obsessive about it. 

I'm just super happy I had a "good enough" lens and Lauren was able to figure out a place that worked. I actually finally got some great in-camera compositions of the moon. 

I was so excited about it that I forgot to take some shots just of the moon for use in some of my creative edits later!

Oh well - next time!

See you between the raindrops!


I've got some more shots to edit and then I'l figure out which ones I want to add to the website