Super Moon At The Conciergerie
What excitement as I set up my equipment in advance of the arrival of the Super Moon. Well, in my case it was because of the moon, but in the case of the thousands of Parisians around me, it was the annual Paris Plage event, which now extends along the right bank of the Seine down to Pont Neuf.
(Click on the image to view on a black background)
Azimuth, Time and a Map
Careful planning is required to line up the moon with the landscape of your choice. In my case, knowing in advance that this was going to be a “generational” appearance of the moon, I reverse engineered my preferred camera position by using the “Darkness” app on my iPhone to get the time and azimuth of the moon’s rise. From that, I used a map to decide which Paris monument might offer the best chance of framing the moon while it was relatively low in the sky, still optically “large” and not too bright against the surrounding sky and buildings. Luckily it rose just prior to the Paris late Summer sunset.
For those reasons, I declined Sacre Coeur and the Louvre and chose an angle of sight down the river Seine at the Conciergerie, a building dripping with history, which was a terrible dungeon during the French Revolution. I was not perfectly well served, however, as I bit my fingernails hoping that the cloud on the distant horizon would allow the moon to appear. So it did, but only about 10 minutes after moonrise, preventing me from capturing it at its optical-illusion largest, when it was right on the horizon created by the bridge.
The 5 Bridges
This is a favourite spot of mine , which allows a penetrating view down the river, such that you can see five bridges appearing, nested one within the arch of the other. I prefer to crop the view tighter than this, in order to focus only on the bridges, but in this case I was trying for a Harry Potterish inclusion of Hogwarts, oops, the Conciergerie.
Many viewers may find the image too dull, depending also on the set up of their computer screen, but I have a weak spot for moody, gloomy images. I find them more interesting.
The Moon of Doom
This has nothing to do with vampires and werewolves, only the curse of the brightness of the moon to photographers. I have blogged on the complexities of this previously and the settings in the technical section reflect the precautions needed to get detail from both the moon and its surroundings, given a camera’s limitations with dynamic range.
The main precautions involved use of a telephoto lens, spot metering and a reasonable speed. The manual settings and tripod were more aimed at acuity of the final image, given the subject and lens choice.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G with extender
Focal Length: 195mm
Focus Mode: Manual
Shutter Speed: 1/200s (Mirror up)
Auto Focus Area Mode: Single
Exposure Mode: Manual
Exposure Compensation : +1 EV
ISO Sensitivity: 640
Mounted on a Tripod with lens collar tight
Copyright Paul Grayson 2014