A few weeks ago I was in Cullercoats and noticed the moon looking particularly large, hanging over the bay.
I happened to have my Fuji X-Pro3 with the 23mm F2 ‘Fujicron’ lens with me in the car, so I parked, grabbed the camera and rushed back around to the north end of the bay overlooking the beach to take photos.
The 23/2 lens was the wrong lens for capturing the scale of the moon as I perceived it in person, but ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’ and all that, so I worked with what I had.
Quickly deciding the view from the top of the cliff wasn’t going to be the best, I walked down the stairs behind the RNLI station and out onto the harbour wall.
As I walked (somewhat gingerly) along the slippery wet wall, I noticed the moons reflection in a puddle ahead of me and had to stop to compose the image.
Again, without the right lens setup I was never going to get a detailed image of the moon looking as big as it felt in person but this one turned out alright.
The light was dropping fast but there was a lovely magenta cast to the sky and a general warmth to the light that’s always difficult to bring through realistically in a photograph.
From the end of the wall, I got the next image: landscape orientation this time, with no foreground object other than the sea wrapped around the opposite harbour wall and calmly filling the bay. The glow of the sky reflects in a muted but pleasing tone on the water, while the moon hangs just above the wall, peeking under a passing cloud.
A few frames later and starting to work back along the wall, the moon disappeared behind the clouds and I focused the remaining usable light on looking back inland to the West.
The setting sun was long gone behind the horizon from this vantage point, though still cast a lovely glow through the cloud cover that again reflected beautifully in the calm water of the bay below me.
This was a hard image to balance without knocking out all contrast from the frame. In person, the highlights in the sky were glorious but not blown out, while the shaded beach was darkening but still very viewable. That’s because our eyes are so good at making rapid adjustments as they dart around a scene, while the camera has to take everything in at once, and attempting to recreate the full feeling of balance I had while there would only create one of those mushy-looking ‘HDR’ style images that were so popular a few years ago.
Instead, I had to settle for raising the shadows enough to pull some detail back while protecting those highlights. In the end, I like the tonal balance of the water but the top half of the frame feels a bit weak.
All in all though, a nice little set of three images born of jumping on the opportunity, even with the wrong lens for the job. It gives me a bit of experience to perhaps plan for similar conditions in the future and come better prepared. This was a totally unexpected but lovely evening session: twenty minutes or so to catch the light and the moon before it was gone, then back to my original plan for the evening.