Full Moon Mist

Pentax 645z with 300mm lens
4 seconds @ f/8 @ ISO 6400

It was the night following the September, 2014 full moon. Actually, 3:45am. I had woken up briefly, and before going back to bed I looked out of my bedroom window and saw a soft low mist hanging in the valley. What made it especially lovely was that the mist was illuminated by the light of the still almost full moon. There were only thin fleeting clouds and the moonlight was almost bright enough to read by.

Torn between wanting to get back into my warm bed, or get a possible shot, I threw some clothes on and went out into the chilly and damp middle of the night, tripod and camera with long lens in hand.

A few test frames nailed the exposure, and then as I was considering how to frame it I saw the lights of an oncoming car cresting the distant hill. During the few seconds of that exposure the traffic lights at the rural road intersection flashed from red to green. Between the moon and the car and traffic lights I couldn't have lit the scene better if I'd tried.

I went back inside, checked the files on the computer, pumped my fist in the air – knowing that I'd nailed the shot – and went back to bed. 

Raw file

Post processing was mostly minor, but extensive. With such a high-res file, and the thought of making a large print, I want every centimeter of the shot to be right, so in addition to some general tonal and colour adjustments I used brushes in Photoshop to do some local work. Only a slight bit of noise reduction was needed, as I've found that the 645z has very low noise at ISO 6400. But, since so much of the shot was down several stops below that, in virtual darkness, a bit of NR was needed.

100 % crop

RRS TVC-34L tripod was used along with an Arca Swiss Cube head.


This image and its analysis may be discussed on the LuLa Forum