8-1-15 Moon Bow on the Cumberland - Some Where Down The Road

Well I think the video says everything I could say about this shoot. I was not sure what to expect from this shoot or the location. I was surprised at how many people came out to see the Moon Bow. There were literally hundreds of people at the falls on this evening. At one point there were so many flash lights going, turning on and off, flashing here and there that I thought it was at a concert or some other type of event, not at a waterfall in the middle of the night. I did get to talk to a lot of people and I had a lot of fun. It was a great adventure and I look forward to retuning to do it again...in the Winter! Yes, I have to shoot this in Winter with a good snow on...I think it would be beautiful...we'll see. I did want to talk a moment about how I captured these images. I was using a Nikon D300 with a Tokina 12-24mm F-4 and a Nikon 17-55mm F2.8 G lens on a Vanguard Tripod with a Benro Single Action ball head. I spoke on the video about a slow shutter speed. I was using a 30 second exposure @ F 4.5 @ ISO 640, which I recommend simply because it's dark and you want to capture not only the falls with that silky movement, but also the stars in the sky.

Now, if you go any slower than a 30 second exposure the stars will begin to track across the sky and look like streaks rather than stars. But you might want that effect. The hardest issue is focus. Because it's dark it's really hard to see anything in the viewfinder of the camera. This is where your knowhow comes in. On a Pro Lens there is a distance gauge that shows the distance of focus in Feet and Meters. At the end of this scale is the Infinity mark. This is where you want to be.

First I placed the focus on this mark and did a test shot and viewed it with a Hoodman Loupe so I could see if the Horizon was sharp. After that I backed the focus off and bracket the focus until I got it where I needed it to be and starting shooting. There's really nothing technical here, but you do need to understand your F-stops and Shutter speeds to effectively capture these images. For the Beginner, use a remote shutter release and a 30 second exposure @ F 4.5 @ ISO 640 -1000 and use a Tripod. I would keep the ISO as low as possible to reduce the noise.

A few recommendations:

1. Plan the shoot / Know your location / Arrive early - Stay late

2. A good LED flash light / Small and easy to handle

3. Dress for the occasion / on this night it was very nice nothing special was really needed

4. In Summertime use bug spray for the mosquitoes

5. A good hand towel / For drying your lens and camera off

6. A few snacks and water / it's a long night

7. Be Patient / A shoot like this requires you to wait on the Moon

8. Good hiking boots or shoes / it can and will get wet and slick I could add many other things here, but I think you get the idea. Just be prepared for your shoot because you'll be in the dark all night and you don't want to be out is so remote area and not have what you need.

Ok, that brings us to the end of yet another adventure. Stay with me as I plan the next trip Somewhere Down The Road.

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