Moonrise and Sunrise

March 19, 2013

I recently attended a seminar by photographer Jennifer Wu, landscape and astral photographer from Sacramento.  And I was inspired!  I have always admired night photography, and with my new found comfort with long exposure I figured now is as good a time as any to go and give it a whirl.  I had tried casually a couple times before, but this time I did my research about the moonrise, the weather, sunrise... and I headed out to Hazard Rock in Narragansett.  

I arrived around 4:30am, just when the crescent moon would be breaking the horizon.  It was a nice clear night but I had only had until 6:07 before the sun would rise as well.  It was awfully windy and there was some serious surf going on.  High tide, plus near a new moon, plus the spring equinox approaching, plus high surf from a passing storm meant I had few options about where to stand and approach the rocks I wanted to silhouette.  So I had to stand just at the line where grass and beach rose bushes became rocky shore, and I went to work.  

Everything was changing so fast.  I had been shooting for no more than 20 minutes when my camera was needing adjustments for changing light my eyes couldn't quite pick up yet.  But I kept shooting, knowing that I should stay for sunrise as well.  I recomposed every now and again, tried a vertical shot, tried something around 24mm versus widest at 16mm... Then the sun peaked up.  And it was a beautifully light and pale morning (although you wouldn't get that impression from my exposures).  I wanted water breaking over the rocks backlit by this gorgeous pink and gold light, but the surf was tailoring off.  The tide was still coming in until 8am but the storm swell was gentler now.  I waited until I got those last few frames before packing up and heading home for a warm breakfast.

Back at the computer I still have some learning to do about night photography post production.  It doesn't help that I so strongly dislike high noise (which is inescapable for night images where you are often shooting at ISO 3200).  But I did my best, combined a few bracketed exposures, and here are the results:  Moonrise, Morning Twilight, and Sunrise!  All of these, plus a couple more, available as fine art at www.catebrownphoto.com.






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