Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Mooning Over It

Well, I finally got my shot. For awhile there, I thought it just wasn't meant to be.

Attempt #1 was at my parents' farm with the rising moon, only to have my battery die just as I framed the perfect shot.

Attempt #2 was back at my parents' place with a fully charged battery. I made the mistake of deciding  to shoot in raw for the first time, later realizing that I have no way to get pictures off my camera. Apparently you need a plug-in to read the .NEF files in Photoshop which also requires an upgrade to CS5. If anyone out there can tell me I'm wrong about that, please do. Upgrading is not an option at this time.

Attempt #3 was in my front yard just as the moon was setting behind my neighbor's farm. I just didn't have enough time to set up my camera. Plus, I don't really know how to optimally set it up anyway.  I got the best shots in that I could before the moon disappeared, and covered all my sins with texture.   The results weren't great, but it does have sort of a Halloween-ish feel to it:

so close

Attempt # 4 was a bit more planned out. I did some research on the web, determined roughly what manual settings would work best and set my alarm for 4:00 in the morning so I would have plenty of time to set up. Pulled my battery out of the camera to recharge it while I wrote my morning pages (something I have done daily for years), and played around on the interwebs.

After obsessively compulsively checking the position of the moon every 15 minutes, I decided it was time. So, I grabbed my camera and went to the charger.

The battery was not on the charger.

The battery was not in my camera.

I had no idea where my battery was and the sun was rising with enthusiasm.

No couch cushion or bed covering was left unturned as I ran around the house like a mad woman alternately coaching myself to calm down,  berating myself for being such a scatter brain, and offering up desperate prayers.  Please me where my battery is!

After at least fifteen minutes of this, I finally found it.

It was in my home office floor about three feet from the charger. The only thing I can figure is that in my 4:00 a.m. pre-caffeine stupor I must have walked into to the office and dropped the battery on the floor.  Then two hours and several cups of coffee later, in my over-caffeinated panic state, I failed to notice it was in plain view all along.  Luckily, it didn't really need charging.

This could be the early stages of "old timers" disease, or I've fallen under the spell of the full moon. Lunatic seems to be the appropriate term here.

Nevertheless, I got some great shots and learned a good deal about the manual settings on my camera, etc...

In the interest of full disclosure, I will make a confession here.  By the time the moon had set as far down on the horizon as shown in Attempt #3, the sky was much brighter than it had been the day before.   I caught the moon as it set, but there was little detail of the surface still visible from here on earth.

So, I did a little Photoshop cheating and took one of my more detailed captures of the moon in the darker sky and put it where I wanted it, using the multiply blend mode to create the right effect.  I did more adjusting after that, and I never write down or remember my "recipes."  I really should do that.  The healing brush tool was wonderful for getting rid of pesky power lines in the horizon.

Oscar Wilde said, "No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be an artist."  That is one of the things I love best about the combination of photos, textures, and manipulating images through Photoshop.  It helps me see what I want to see, or what I saw in my mind's eye.

Still, I struggle with feelings of not being authentic or talented enough to just take a good picture and have it stand on its own.  I'm not alone in this as I've read a good many blogs where photo artists grapple with concerns over talent vs. technology.

In the end, all I see is art. It makes me happy.

I like happy.

Updated to add the featured image was linked up to the 52 Photos Project on 10/5/2011.


  1. Oh, I like happy, too! Leanne these images are wonderful. Your creativity with post processing impresses me. This is art.

    Had to giggle when I read that you think you're a "lunatic". Just blame it on the full moon...all kinds of things happen under it's influence.

  2. LeAnne beautiful work. What version of Photoshop do you have? If you have a newer camera you just may need to update the raw file to read your camera information.

  3. Thanks Deborah and Linda!

    Linda, I'm using CS4. I've tried to convert using scripts and no luck. I finally got the NEF files off the camera using Adobe Bridge, but Bridge failed to convert them even to DSG format.

  4. In CS4 go under help and updates. Should be able to update to read your camera files. What camera do you have?

  5. Here is a link also.

  6. Thanks so much Linda! I did the updates and was able to run the script to convert the files!! I appreciate your help on this one. There were a couple of keepers in there, so I'm glad they could be converted.

  7. You are most welcome. I only shoot in raw . You just have much more control when processing the photos that way.

  8. Yes, that's what I understand. I'm anxious to see now what I can do with processing raw photos. Your processing is so awesome. Maybe it will help me take things to the next level.

  9. LEANN, I really enjoyed reading about all of your antics in trying to capture your moon shots. Amazing how much like me all of this sounds. The more photography i do, the more I love it. The greatest fun ever. Keep up the great work! Love your blog. Jeanne

  10. this photo is stunning! YOU are an artist! I have also come to love post processing because of my e-courses with Vivienne and Bella

  11. BEAUTIFUL! I'm quite the "Lunatic" myself. I LIVE by the moon. Yet, I can NEVER capture it. It always eludes me. These are absolutley stunning. You are an artist, for sure. We are lucky to have the technology to assist us with our visions of how we see things. It does not take away from the beauty, it only enhances it and makes it our own. Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. Wow Leanne, this is absolutely amazing. And I think you are a wonderful photographer!!!

  13. I'm vigorously nodding my head with all the "bravos" and "brilliants." And I'm glad someone steered you to the link -- I had the same problem when I started shooting in RAW, but the Adobe patch fixed it.

  14. Worth all your efforst ~ Awesome shot! Wow! thanks, namaste, Carol (A Creative Harbor) linked with 52 Photo Projects

  15. What an amazing photo! Love the story of how you got it, too, makes me feel much better now about never having been able to get a good moon shot. This is the perfect contribution to 52 Photos :)

  16. These shots are amazing! Beautiful circles.

  17. Oh, this is absolutely stunning, and I loved reading all about the process of getting the shot. As for "talent vs. technology" I really wish the two weren't made to seem mutually exclusive. While it is, of course, always worth learning everything we can technically, the post processing can be its own thing altogether. As you point out, ultimately, it's just another tool for showing the world your vision and for creating art out of raw materials. Furthermore, I'm sure there's a way to capture all the detail you wanted right in the shot, but honestly, if this weren't a great photo to start with, I don't think any post-processing trick could take it to *this* stage of stunning. I can only hope to take a photo this technically lovely one day!

  18. WOW and tripple WOW! These moon shots took my breath away. Simply stunning, well done you x

  19. Absolutely stunning. Beautiful shots ~ thanks for linking up this week.
    The moon is a perfect circle :)


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