Full moon over the Golden Gate bridge

» Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Featured, postcard, San Francisco

Last night, it was going to be full and to rise above the North tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. After looking at the moon position, I did conclude that the moon would be aligned with the top of the tower with the Transamerica tower in the middle of the opening. The image above shows what my vision was. A very unusual hot weather is in effect in San Francisco right now, which meant that it was still in 70s at 9pm last night and there was no chance of fog and clouds to block the view of the moon. The combination of those factors had attracted a large number of photographers on the Marin Headlands, literally I was waiting for moonrise with 12 other photographers.

Taking pictures of the moon is a bit tricky. First the moon moves quickly in the sky. Second there is a very short period of time when the moon is not too dim compared to the ambient sky and you can barely see the moon in the sky or not too bright, when the moon is simply a white round object. Remember that cameras don’t adjust the same way our eyes does.

I knew that the moon would rise about 12 min after the sunset, which was good to get a darker sky and being able to get the moon as it was rising. The moon would be above the tower 38 minutes after sunset. That was my mistake, it was too late, the sky was almost black and the moon was just a white circle.

This image was captured 17 min after sunset, and the moon luminosity was well balanced with the sky and the city.

Moon rising on the left of the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge

Moon rising on the left of the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge

21 min after sunset, this was the limit where the moon was starting to be too bright compared to the sky.

The original image of the top post.

The original image of the top post.

36 min after sunset, the moon was almost aligned but then it was a bright circle in the sky.

Moon aligned with the top of the North tower.

Moon aligned with the top of the North tower.

So how did I ended up with the image on top? Simply I moved the moon digitally in my image. Before anyone says that’s cheating, realize that my goal was to create a piece where the Golden Gate Bridge would frame the Transamerica Tower and hold the Moon at the same time. The Moon did not cooperate fully (as full as it was). Some people would use collage to give life to their vision and as much as I try to capture images as close as possible to what I really want to express, I sometimes use tools like Photoshop to concretize the vision I had.