Monday, December 3, 2012

Chasing the Moon

Bill, Black Jack and I spent a significant amount of time this past week chasing the moon.  Actually, I'm not sure that Black Jack noticed that the moon was the focus of our attention, but she came along to share the fun on each of four trips out.  This post for Our World Tuesday begins with the 2nd trip since two photos from the first trip were shown in a previous post.

I love the moon but there were other goals for the project.  We hoped to get the moon, a bus and the Lions Gate Bridge in one photo for a young boy who is fascinated by all three.  That was achieved, but I discovered there is more to photographing the moon than first realized.  This may become a  lifetime project :)  As for Bill, he made it all possible.  He drove wherever he thought the moon might appear, looked after Black Jack and encouraged me throughout.  Thank you, Bill, for making this a memorable and very happy adventure.

Day 2 
Taken from the truck as we drove over the Lions Gate to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.

The moon was hiding behind some tall evergreens.  

Sometimes, it seemed to follow us, and other times, we seemed to be chasing it.  This was taken only a few steps further, but it was now behind a different tree and came out overexposed.  I tried and tried to correct that, and later read on a web site that the only way to get moon and scenery both correctly exposed in one shot is to put two shots together with a process called layering. I don't have photoshop, so that will have to be a future project.
Lots of people were walking their dogs and Black Jack had a great time in the park.  The moon seemed to shrink to a tiny speck above the bridge.

I changed to a big lens, but now, the surroundings disappeared.  

Lots of experimenting..

and lens-changing ensued.

Finally, we came back over the bridge.  Below, you can see one of the lions guarding the Vancouver side of the bridge. There was heavy traffic and all of the cars were stopped, so I slipped out of the truck and over the little fence onto.. 

the same path where I had biked back and forth to work for many years.  I had the idea that I would be able to get the moon behind the girders of the bridge but that wasn't possible.  I was totally safe, but this bus driver honked at me for some unknown reason.  Maybe he was just surprised to see me and worried I might jump out into the road for a better picture. 
This shot was taken at that location but the moon refused to come any closer to the bridge or to the bus.

Bill and I hadn't had much time to make a plan when I left the truck.  He was still in traffic on the bridge.  I kept walking along the bridge, and feeling frustrated that the moon was following me rather than lining up where I wanted it to be.  The traffic finally moved and Bill took the first exit after the bridge up to Prospect Point.  That had been our destination and he knew I would head there to meet him.  However, there was one complication.  That little exit road is unlit and really, really dark after the sun goes down. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.  There were many cars also taking the exit and I had to step off the road as much as possible.  Suddenly, I saw a little light bouncing along toward me.  Bill had taken his bike light that he keeps in the truck, and with Black Jack at his side, was coming to help me.  I couldn't see him at first, but let me just say the sound of his voice was the most beautiful melody I've heard in a long time :)  We made our way to Prospect Point where I took many photos, none of them very successful, so will just put one here for the record.  As we headed home a little later, we planned our next outing, and I thought, yet again, how lucky I am.

Day 3
This time, we went down to the seawall below the bridge.  The afternoon sun was fading as we parked just above the seawall, and I thought the light on the bridge was lovely.
Do you see that tiny little spec of light between the lower section of the X in the girder at the right?  That was our moon!
I zoomed in with the small lens and the moon came a bit closer, but the background was dull.

We walked up and down the seawall, waiting for the moon to shift.

A bus, the bridge, and the moon!  But..  who would know that was the Lions Gate?

Bill was standing behind me with Black Jack when this fellow came along.  He found us so amusing he asked if he could borrow my camera to take a picture of us, but that was a glass of good cheer in his right hand, and we had to refuse his kind offer.  We did have a fun conversation with him, though.  He was in a great mood and, I think, happy to meet us.  He was more than willing to pose when I asked permission to take his picture.

I kept looking up at the bridge as busses, cars..

and people passed.  I kept changing from small to large lens and also tried many different camera settings so there was a lot of variation in background colour.

Can you find the moon?  Hint: it's under the bridge again.

We decided to drive over the bridge to Ambleside Park, but I took one "artsy" shot first.  I challenge you again to find the moon.  Hint: it's more white than orange :)

At Ambleside, we loved the bridge reflections..

but again, it was tough to include the moon in the shot and it was getting really co-o-old!

Bill and Black Jack played in the rocks by the shore, but she was driven insane by the critters she knew she could catch if only we would let her go.  Bill asked her to read the etiquette sign, and she does love to sit in his hand, so she..

tried to pretend she was reading, but in fact, continued to look discretely towards the rocks.

I took one shot combining the old railway bridge with the Lions Gate, and then we called it a night.  We drove home in Bill's lovely warm truck, happy thoughts dancing in my head.

Day 4
We again tried the seawall, and got there early enough to observe the afternoon air traffic. 

Commuting cyclists reminded me of pre-retirement days.

The bridge was lovely, but the moon was nowhere close to where we needed it to be.

Back to Prospect Point we went, and there, the moon graced us with its presence.

Overall, I was pretty happy with this shot, but I finally conceded that it would require a little help from photoshop to truly achieve the original goal.  I'll be watching for good deals, and happy for suggestions from readers :)

My big lens shots, with the help of the monopod that Bill gave me, worked out pretty well.  I tried changing the hue to yellowy tones..

and blue tones, via Iphoto..

but in the end, I think liked the more natural colour best.  

Sometime after midnight, so officially, Day 5
The official full moon time was to be at six a.m. but I knew the weather would be cloudy, if not raining, by then, so this is the closest to a true full moon that I could get.  It was taken from my balcony sometime after midnight.

Thank you again, dear Bill, for making this adventure so much fun.  Thank you as well, much appreciated blog readers, for letting me share our "moon-chasing" adventures with you.  To learn about recent events in the lives of other people around the world, you can check out the Our World Tuesday web site.


  1. you did get some great moon shots, even if coordinating all subjects together may have been difficult. that bridge sure makes a great model!

  2. I can’t think of anything more fun that chasing the moon, Carol. It is funny how it moves right along with us ... as if in a never-ending game. The ones you took with the large lens look like big bouncing balls. The one with the two people silhouetted in the forefront is a rare shot among many great photos you took on this recent adventure. :)

  3. Oh, yes!! I love chasing the moon, too, Carol! And what terrific captures! I do love the bridge shots! What a fun evening!! Thanks for sharing!! Enjoy your week!

  4. Wow! What an awesome adventure 'chasing the moon' and fantastic photos ~ love your doggie ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

  5. I gotta learn how to get night shots like these!

  6. Chasing the moon sounds like a great title for a book. You certainly did a lot of chasing. On Kauai I tried to get a photo of the full moon through the palm trees, but it just didn't come out right -- but then again, I don't have your persistence. Great photos.

  7. Nice moon shots, but I really loved the photos of the bridge lights reflecting on the water.

  8. Wonderful series of shots, the moon shots are so great, I find that one of the most difficult shots to get!!As always your photos are lovely.

  9. I love your determination to get that all illusive photograph. I think you ended up with an amazing group of photos to illustrate your moon chasing adventure.

  10. Great moon and bridge shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  11. AH! Moon chasing sounds like a LOT of fun. I hope I remember to do that the next time there's a full moon. I think your venture was quite successful!

  12. Thanks for all the great photos and post

  13. Superb pictures of the moon and so many great pictures of the Lions Gate Bridge. I especially like the one of the lion at night.
    I the first shot of the bridge I think the cloud looks like a big dragon just openning its mouth.

  14. A great outing and I thought your photos were super.

  15. Beautiful images of the moon in various angles.