Moon Halos

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.

Moon_Halo (3)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.

Glowing_Bottle_WallOnce 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.

Moon_Halo (4)Here is one shot where I just used a cabbage palm tree as a foreground subject with the Moon Halo as a feature

Moon_Halo (5)Same shot, but I used the flashlight to Light Paint the cabbage palm.  Sort of a neat effect

Moon_Halo (2)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

Moon_Halo (1)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


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6 Responses to “Moon Halos”

  1. Lela JohnsonJanuary 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    These are fabulous!!!

    • Pat BonishJanuary 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Thanks Lela! Glad you enjoy them!!

  2. EddieJanuary 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Hey Pat, Great shots as always! Thanks for sharing your camera settings too. It helps us wanna bees with some homework assignments. Lou, Pauline, Joy and I had a great time last weekend. Appreciate the hospitality and comfort of the LKH.

  3. Sally BrowningJanuary 29, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    The halo shots are fantastic !!!!! Can’t say which I prefer since the shots are different and very pleasant …. Certainly very unusual……
    Have been meaning to write, I have followed your blog for a long time…. Enjoy the way you write as well as the photography ……. Lots of super insights and info along the way…….. Hope some day to stop and visit …..
    Spent time visiting Cedar Key way back in 1954 and many times after that years ago……My Dad was very familiar with the area and owned land in Levy and Citrus Counties….. Those were very rustic areas as you can imagine….. Thanks for sharing your adventures there….. Sounds like your business is going very well and a relaxing meeting spot enjoyed by many…..I will continue to follow all the FUN you and Cindy have along the way…… SallyB

  4. Dave EisenbeilFebruary 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Cool halo shots, Pat! We had the same thing going on up here too! I really like the light painting as well. Of the two shots of the tiki bar, I prefer it with the lights on. I agree that the glowing effect makes for a better photo. It would be interesting to have someone else do the painting from different positions, changing angles in relation to the camera just to see what the outcome would be. I think playing around with different temperatures and colors would be equally intriguing. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!! I really like the bottle wall shot too!!


    • Pat BonishFebruary 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks for the great ideas Dave! I’ll have to bring Cindy in on this one and see what we can come up with

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