The Moon and light trails / by Greg Gallinger

Last night I set out with two different photos on my mind: a well exposed shot of the nearly full moon; and a slow exposure shot of cars and the street.

For the Moon shot I used a 200mm prime lens, and a Manfrotto video monopod. I set up in a parking lot with a clear shot at the Moon. The night was right, there wasn't a single cloud in the sky and the moon was full. I've attempted to photograph the Moon before during a waning gibbous, but I wasn't satisfied with that image. The Moon was too small in the frame, you can make out some detail on the surface, but not enough for my taste. I was eager to make another attempt with a longer lens and the aid of a sturdy monopod.

Of course like anyone who has attempted lunar photography, I still can't get enough manification and 200mm seems to be the minimum focal length needed to see a decent amount of detail on the Moon. It would be interesting to try a variety of extenders and longer lenses to capture different phases of the Moon.

For the second photo I walked around trying to scope out a good location to take the photo from. I remembered the Misericordia parkade where I previous shot light trails and decided setup on the top level. From the north western corner of the roof I could see Cousin's and a decent perspective of Sherbrook street.

I played with a couple of lenses, starting with the 200mm prime already mounted on my camera. Even with the monopod the longer lens was tougher to keep still resulting in shaky light trails and blurry buildings. I eventually settled on what is quickly becoming my favourite lens, the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 Ultra Wide. The wider perspective meant I needed to keep the shutter open longer in order to catch suitable trails of light from the tail lights of the passing by. I can't quite remember what aperture I was using, one of the drawbacks of the Rokinon is that it doesn't record aperture on the camera so the Exif data isn't much help, but I believe I was shooting at f8. My ISO was 100 and the shutter was set to to Bulb mode. Now all I needed was some cars.

Waiting for traffic is slightly ironic given my usual displeasure with motor vehicles, and Winnipeg's obsession with them. However for the shot I was looking for I needed them, the more the better, prefereably driving fast. I stood perched on the roof of the parkade experimenting as each cluster of traffic went by until eventually I couldn't feel my fingers and feared dropping my gear as I leaned out over the edge. It was time to go home and review the images I captured.

I was pleased when I saw a few that turned out, but like with the Moon shot was left even more eager to improve.