Have you ever looked up at the moon at night and witnessed a big rainbow like halo around it?
A few nights ago, we had just that spectacle above Cedar Key and the Low-Key Hideaway. Funny that when you’re known as an avid photographer, when some sort of spectacle is taking place, your phone will ring with text’s coming in and people sending you messages to go outside and look up at the sky. Multiple people stopped by the Tiki Bar that night specifically to tell me to come outside and look at the moon. The Lunar Halo or Lunar Corona as it’s officially called is due to Hexagonal Ice Crystals high in cirrus clouds that scatter moonlight to our eyes in such a way that a halo sometimes appears about the moon.
I loved the messages and love that others want to share such a spectacle with someone they know will enjoy it as much as they do. My only problem was I was working the Tiki Bar and Cindy was inside getting items ready for a Yard Sale her and Cris from Island Pizzeria were putting together. So I couldn’t ask her to come watch the tiki bar so I could go get my camera and set it up on a tripod.
When trying to take a picture of the moon at night, you’re not going to get any images that’ll be usable unless you’re using a steady tripod. Luckily for me, there was no wind tonight so I knew I could get some good shots once I closed the bar and could have the back yard to myself.
Once the bar was closed, cleaned up and all the beer was stocked, I went inside and grabbed my tripod and camera. I hooked a remote shutter release to the Canon 5DMKII and took a few test shots. I found that a setting of f/7.1 with a 30 second exposure was giving me just what I wanted. My ISO was set to 400 which was giving me a good black sky. I tried a few at a higher ISO which was making the stars pop out good, but it was distracting from the halo which is what I was trying to make the focal point.
Once I knew what my settings would be, I spent the next hour wandering around the yard playing with different views I thought would look cool. I went inside and grabbed my flashlight to try some light painting, which is something I promised myself I’d try and work more on this year. Here are a few of my shots I thought came out pretty neat.
Here is one shot where I just used a cabbage palm tree as a foreground subject with the Moon Halo as a feature
Same shot, but I used the flashlight to Light Paint the cabbage palm. Sort of a neat effect
Moon Halo set above the Tiki Bar with the interior lights turned on. At a 30 second exposure, these lights that are normally very dim almost are overexposed
Since the lights inside the tiki bar were being overexposed when turned on, I turned them off and lit the side of the building with the flashlight. I think I like the overexposed look better because of the glow it gives in the yard. Which one do you think looks better? Would love to hear feedback so when I have a chance to shoot a scene like this again, I’ll know which one people prefer