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WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG!


Last nights Super Moon was a great opportunity to take some interesting images if you knew where to be and when. The trouble is we are all quite rightly facing restrictions on our daily movements which makes planning a shot more difficult.


I have had an extremely long couple of days at work, which I won't go into any details about and ended up rushing to be in position last night. I knew what time the moon would transit the top of Helmsley church and I also knew by the forecast that we should get a hazy view due to the high clouds. What I hadn't checked was what focal length I was going to need in order to obtain the shot. I knew that I would need at least 400mm to enlarge the moon and create the effect that I needed - or so I thought.


For some reason, I decided to take the 400mm prime lens with me, 2 camera bodies, one cropped sensor and a full frame, plus the tripod. I remember thinking before I left the house that I should really take the 70-200mm lens and the 2 * extender to be on the safe side but then got distracted and forgot all about it - big mistake.


Sure enough when I got into position the 400mm was too long and it was impossible to create the shot I wanted. I didn't have enough time to go home and get what I needed so had to quickly come up with plan b. When shooting a panorama you have to have the tripod perfectly level which was easy enough to do. You also need to make sure the camera is sat level on the ball head so when you move left to right or visa versa the image will stitch together in post processing so long as you have enough overlap on each image. I usually have about 25%. Dead easy in the daylight and when you are creating a horizontal image. Not so east in the dark, especially when you have to shoot vertically and even harder when shooting at 400mm with a moving object ( the moon)


And yes you have guessed it, it proved to be an almost impossible task. The moon was the easy part, getting it correctly exposed and sharp. The church was something totally different At 400mm these was very little in the frame and trying to line things up on the tripod was a nightmare. I knew it wasn't going to work when I was out, so quickly resorted to taking a few hand held images which I hoped I could stitch together in Lightroom.


The end result ........... above is the image I created and its totally fake in that I had to stitch 2 images of the church together to get any sort of foreground interest. The alignment was so far off that it looks to have created a lot of chromatic aberration and it isn't sharp. The moon in when they were put together was just a white over exposed mess which would have been impossible to clone out and blend together. What I have done is blend the moon into the image and place it over the overexposed part of the image. I then needed to adjust all sorts of settings to try and make an image that looks semi presentable and fairly natural. Has it worked - not really, the image looks ok on social media when looking at it on a phone. On my 27 inch iMac, it looks so fake it is untrue. But a valuable lesson has been learnt!


This brings up an interesting debate about post processing. I have absolutely no problems in people getting creative in photoshop to create a composite image and the sharing it - so long as it is clearly stated that it is a composite image. It is not something that appeals to me, although I have to admit that it does help in learning how to use photoshop. The biggest issue that I have is when I see posts where someone states that it is what they captured when it is clearly not possible. 2 reasons for this, firstly other photographers may then chose to visit a location only to be really disappointed, secondly why lie about an image that isn't real - just be truthful and let others admire your artistic work. I remember having a big debate with someone. couple of years ago who had posted an image of the galactic core of the Milky Way above Whitby Abbey and they were adament it was a real image that they had taken a few days before. The took great lengths to tell me their camera settings and how easy it was. The trouble was, the galactic core of the Milky Way wasn't visible from Whitby at that time of year, even if it was then it would only be visible in the southern skies and the images was of it in a vertical position facing north west which we never get and finally there was no light pollution from Whitby which again if you know where the Abbey is in relationship to the town you know it would be impossible.


Anyway that's enough of a witter on this morning. Stay safe everyone.


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© 2020 By Steve Bell Photography