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Step Away From the Camera!

This past September I was driving through an early autumn radiation fog, on my way to work, when I noticed the moon just over the crest of the hill on my left. I thought of the farm field around the corner a half mile ahead with the hope that the moon would be visible somewhere above that field. I knew it should be, but I just was not sure exactly where. I quickly slipped out of autopilot mode from my commute to work and into planning mode. Predawn light: tripod, increased ISO. Full Moon: long lens. Long lens: remote control (if you don't have a remote control use the 10 second delay on your shutter release). Of course, the planning was viable for one reason, I always have my camera with me! YES that it is hint for all you budding photogs!

I turned the corner and drove about a hundred yards, there it was coming down over a distant hill, right next to a tree that had yet to start showing any autumn colors! I pulled over to the side with my moves being duplicated by the car in front of me. As I did a u-turn to park on the other side they just drove off, probably realized they didn't have their camera with them!

Jumping out of the car I quickly setup the camera and was ready to shoot only to see the moon start fading behind a layer of fog on the horizon. I decided to shoot anyway with the hope that maybe, just maybe, if I bracket the shots, I could salvage some light from the moon in Photoshop. After taking several shots I began to notice the bottom half of the moon getting brighter. I stepped back from the camera to get a clearer look and sure enough, there it was! The layer of fog did not extend all the way to the horizon and the moon was breaking out the underside of the fog at full brightness! Oh Mother Nature was being nice today!

As I started going back to the camera I realized that the Belt of Venus was visible right outside of my cropping zone. For those who do not know what the Belt of Venus is, I was included in this group before writing this article, it is the pink band visible in the sky just above the dark blue or greyish blue band of the Earth Shadow. The Earth Shadow! That's what I said after simply trying to research a pink band in the sky! Apparently the Earth casts its shadow on its atmosphere at both sunrise and sunset creating the darker colored band in the sky.

OK, enough of the Science lesson! Realizing the pink band was just outside of my crop zone I adjusted my lens to include the band in my shot. Below you can see what I was shooting before and what I shot after stepping way from the camera.

Scene before stepping way.

Scene after stepping way
showing the Belt of Venus.

So remember, in the future, when you are clicking away, take a few seconds and step away from the camera because you just never know what might be just outside your cropping zone!


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