Moonrise, Mississippi River, Mud Lake, Iowa

Yesterday we had a full moon and finally I found the time and weather conditions that allowed to photograph the moonrise over the bluffs on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River. Sunset was about half an hour before moonrise, not enough to have a red glow on the bluffs but still good to have a little bit of ambient light. When I planned the shooting I actually had a composite in mind. First a shot that was exposed for the ambient light and second a shot that would be exposed just for the moon with some details on the surface. Both would be merged in Photoshop to make a picture that shows close to what the eye really sees. The contrast is too high to have it both with just one click. I did all this and then, last night at the computer, I didn’t like the outcome. Instead of, I present you a photo that was shot right when the moon showed up on top of the bluffs, still during the civil twilight period that can produce some amazing blues. No, it doesn’t show the details of the moon for said reason, but they were not really visible anyway because of that hazy cloud around the moon. Love the role of the clouds in this image, it makes all the difference to some of my other trials.

I set up the tripod at Mud Lake, right at the entrance to the little marina. When the daylight faded away the buoys that mark the access to the marina started blinking, a fact I totally forgot and first wasn’t too happy about. But looking at the results on the camera screen I saw that it had some potential to be part of the story telling.

So how did I know exactly where the moon would appear over the bluffs on the other side of the river? I’m using THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EPHEMERIS®, an app on my phone that shows exactly, for example, where the sun goes down or the moon comes up, with times and a lot of other helpful data for landscape photographers. Highly recommended! There is also a free web version that can be used in your computer browser, which I think is good for planning a photo shoot at home. Here is the link to the website: https://www.photoephemeris.com .