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Moon Lick [5_009717] | by Steven Christenson
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Moon Lick [5_009717]

I've been very happy with "The Photographer's Ephemeris" by Stephen Trainor and even more so after putting it to the test. Since my success with this and other shots, I teach an approximately monthly webinar on how to "Catch the Moon" (or the sun).


I dialed it up to see where I needed to be to capture the full moon rising over the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, San Jose, California and it found the correct spot! Well, I found it using the tool.


I did have to make an on-site adjustment since I started on the wrong "dome" (see the one at the lower left? yeah, that's the Shane Dome, the one I placed the TPE tool on - but the western-most domes are found on the summit in the main building).


The tricky part is getting the altitude of the moon to match the altitude from the viewing area and then checking the sight line.


I have been up Mt. Hamilton Road and even to Joseph D. Grant park before, but didn't remember where - or if - the James Lick Observatory was visible from Grant Park.


For this particular exercise I first noticed that the moonrise over the observatory would have been visible from the extreme Northwestern edge of Lake Cunningham - many miles away... but I wanted to get a little closer - but not too close.


After some trial locations I realized that a good choice was Halls Valley Lake (called Grant Lake on some maps) because there was plenty of room to move North and South along the lake if an adjustment was needed AND there obviously wouldn't be any trees directly ahead. When I arrived and realized the Shane Dome was barely visible I knew an adjustment would be needed so I walked up the slight slope of the lake shore and waited for the first sign of the moon. It showed up EXACTLY on schedule and allowed me to run and position the camera in time to catch what looks like a new "dome" over the building (see below).


For a larger image click here.


I threw a "digital gray" gradient over this image, corrected the white balance and increased the contrast. The image below is "uncorrected.



© Copyright 2009, Steven Christenson

All Rights Reserved.

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Taken on October 2, 2009