Photographers' Blog

Harvest Moon rising

London, England

By Toby Melville

“Moon, Daddy!” exclaimed my two year old daughter excitedly from the rear seat as I drove her back home from a day with the childminder. “Where’s the moon?” I inquired as I concentrated on navigating through the evening rush hour on the busy roads of west London. “Over there: moon!” she repeated.

I knew it was a full and so-called Harvest Moon that night. I had a 500mm lens and decent enough 2 x converter in the trunk of the car as the every-ready back up emergency news set up. But the afternoon had been grotty and drizzly so not for the first time I had pretty much abandoned ideas for ‘full moon’ shots for another month.

But she was right: as I sat at the traffic lights in an interminable line, I could just catch a glimpse of the huge glowing orb peeping between clouds and houses. So, now the dilemma again of plenty a photographer when features and news just don’t happen between pre-determined working hours or ‘on-shift’. Continue home and then do the cherished fun evening routine of bedtime stories for Junior, followed by wee glass of wine and dinner? Or go moon chasing?

This time the picture hunt won. Mom was already home, and happy to do the bed routine for our daughter. I promised not to be long (heard that one before!), dropped off Little One, turned the car around, nipped down a couple of well used short cuts, all the while seeing the moon rising higher, darting between clouds and the wonderful dusk blue starting to turn blacker with the moon growing brighter and brighter. The race was on, and opportunities were fading fast! Plane lights flickered as they came into land ever nearer to the moon’s path as I drove away from home, close to Heathrow airport, one of the world’s busiest.

I hadn’t enough time to go to any of the buildings that might work well with the moon rising behind as it was already too high, and I wasn’t close enough to get to the right areas of London. So planes it was.

Attempting to shoot the moon

By Luke MacGregor

With very little understanding of astronomy but with the aid of a phone app, I began a three evening attempt to capture the moon with the Olympic Rings. The rings have been hanging iconically on Tower Bridge for the London 2012 Olympic Games and it was suggested to me that a full moon should – at the right angle – cross through them.

Day One – Having planned to be in the “perfect” spot on London Bridge with a good view of the Olympic Rings further up river and using the app information, I waited for the moon to rise. However the horizon itself was a little cloudy. When the moon eventually showed itself about 10 minutes after the app’s moonrise time it was off to the right hand side of the bridge. I hadn’t taken into account that the moon wouldn’t rise in a vertical line but would travel across the sky. So, by a combination of it appearing late through cloud and miscalculation, I was totally in the wrong place. I rushed carrying the tripod with a heavy 400mm lens attached and the rest of my camera gear hanging off my shoulders – running off the bridge, down several flights of steps, and to the path alongside the River Thames to try re-align the moon with the rings. However, the moon moves surprising quickly. I couldn’t manage to run far or fast enough in time to get the image before the moon rose high, over and above the bridge.

Day Two – Armed with my 400mm, only a monopod and less gear, ready to run after the moon should I be in the wrong location again, I returned to London Bridge. A recalculation had been made. The moon was rising later and at a slightly different angle to the night before. From my previous mistakes I knew that when the moon was on the horizon it needed to be to my left in order for it to move across through the rings. However, to my dismay, the rings were not there. As Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge (i.e. the carriageway lifts to allow boats through) it had raised in preparation to allow a vessel through. I waited just in case they might be lowered, taking in the misfortune of looking at what would have been the perfect shot – that didn’t happen.

A star that shined for me

By Ueslei Marcelino

It’s always a challenge to photograph nature, and the moon is certainly a part of that. Everyone at some time has looked at that giant orb shining in the sky.

In recent months I felt the urge to try my hand at photographing it. The simplest way is to record the moon up there alone, suspended in the dark. The hardest is to capture it with something in the foreground that can cause more visual impact.

This July 3 I had already identified a place where the moon would appear, so all I needed was that interesting foreground object. My chosen place was at the Pantheon of the Fatherland monument, in the political center of Brasilia between the Planalto presidential palace, the Supreme Court and Parliament.