It's a ball of rock 380 odd thousand kilometers from the earth and it's our only permanent natural satellite - something that orbits around the Earth. Every month as it goes through it's lunar cycle we get to see a full moon, as the sun sets on west, almost at the exact same time the moon rises in the east. Being totally opposite each other the sun's light reflects off the moon's face and we get to see it in it's full glory.
So what's the fascination with it. I don't know really - I always had a thing for it I guess, but I know exactly the moment when I've wanted to capture it. Few years ago I came across this video clip - Full Moon Silhouettes by Mark Gee aka The Art of Night. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to watch it now, and then come back right here :)
Like many people I was fascinated, intrigued, amazed and I was also wondering how was he able to capture this so beautifully. I became a instant fan of Mark, and have been following him since - he was also named Astrophotographer of the year in 2013. At about the same time - I had been looking into upgrading my camera - I had sold my point and shoot camera about a year back, and looking at an interchangeable lens camera, I saw a deal online and after reading a few reviews I brought my first "serious" camera. Since then I have been trying to capture the moon and the night sky (and everything else really)
Fast forward a few years, and back to a last month - Full moon July 2016. I have been thinking about capturing a iconic moon shoot, maybe against the city or another land mark. I had seen a photo from earlier in the year with the moon and sky tower - another amazing shot. There is a bit of planning required to get this sort of a shot, and also for the weather to play ball. I had started using a app called TPE - well known in the photography circles - it will let you know exactly where the sun and moon is going to rise and set, as well some technical data, that I don't fully understand yet, but it's a great tool.
Along with the planning there is also which day the moon is going to rise, weekday or weekend? Can I get to location after work etc, for the July moon rise - it was a Wednesday evening. And it was a fair day, I set my sight one of local east coast beaches - Castor Bay and try to capture the moon coming over Rangitoto. It was fantastic - and this laid the platform for what I wanted to do with City Moon Rise.
Initially I had thought West Harbour would be the location to get the shot from but TPE was saying it wasn't going to line up, I saw a piece of land sticking out on the map - Te Atau Peninsula! There is a walkway there, placed my marker and thought this could work. Now it was a waiting game for the next good moon rise, August came along and the weather started to break, we had a few days of great weather, full moon day was coming up!
Thursday 18 August - Full Moon. It was looking promising. Only one thing - it was a work day - sux! Moon rise was going to be 5.38pm, and Google was saying about 35 mins to the location. i.e. giving me 3 minutes spare to set up! And this is pretty much exactly how it turned out. As I got to Te Atatu Peninsula, I parked the car, rushed out with my gear - I knew I had to walk along the track a little bit to get the positing, but at this stage it was bit of a guessing game. There was a little beach - I decided to go right to end of this and setup my time lapse shot - I framed up and took one test shot, set up my intervalometer and crossed my fingers - I just let it go.
There was some cloud on the horizon, I couldn't see the moon at all. The time lapse was going, at this point I thought maybe this wasn't going to be the day. A couple of minutes pass and I see it - just a little of that moon behind the clouds and behind the Sky Tower!! This was it, I have my other camera on hand - change lens quickly and start taking handheld shots with this. At the same time a few locals are on there evening walk. One stops and tells me about the amazing sunrises from there especially with the early morning fog, he has not seen the moon yet. I point behind him and tell him about the moon - there is gasp! and a "wow" There is another photographer further down the path setup with tripod and all, say a quick hi as I carry on taking a few shots.
A lady in a car calls me over, she's eating her dinner. She tells me in amazement - "I just saw the moon right behind the Sky Tower!!" and stated she couldn't believe how fast it moved!! She asked me a few questions and then explained she didn't want to go home to eat dinner because she was so amazed by this sight.
I'm now a bit far away from my time lapse camera setup, it must have 20-30 minutes. I head back towards the beach, time lapse has finished in the way of the battery running out. But it's OK - I have about 300 shots and I have it - This is the City Moon Rise:
Getting back to what I've been focusing on for the year - has been my photography, and that is why I haven't signed up for events - main factor being time, if I'm not out there running events, you really do have to train for them and that would eat into my chances to do photography. I had opted to do weekend adventures where I get to combine photography and trails - which is what I've really really loved.
Xterra Waharau was my chance to see if I could do this at a event. I was armed with both my cameras, I only took one of them up running. The photo running pack - which is slightly bigger than your normal runners hydration pack, but still very compact and able to hold a hydration bladder, camera, lens and other things like jacket etc, especially for this event as there was compulsory equipment required - this one is serious! I'm getting used to running with this pack. The peak design clips - I'm also starting to use now, although the tripod mount did not work well with my Sony NEX-5R as I found out on the day - it has very odd angled tripod mount to maintain it compact size.
So along I went, I started off well, but eventually started to walk as the climb started to get tougher. We get to the first lookout point, and it must be about 400m above sea level, this itself is a great view looking out to the firth of Thames - I stop for a while, bump into Jenny's friend Vicki, she says she recognises me from the photos I post. This makes me smile for sure. We come into aid station - this is the junction for us "super long" competitors to turn off to go right to the top. I see Steve at this aid station, stop for a while, chat and take a selfie (sorry Steve it's out of focus - I need to work on that selfie game) Steve is a big inspiration - he's part of the Total Sport team that put these events together. He's a awesome runner, like really really awesome and gets to go to run in places I can only dream of at this stage, and most importantly a super awesome guy.
Leaving the aid station, off we climb now to the hardest part of course, I go past Ronald, but he overtakes me later - being on the trails is all about experience! I find myself running behind another guy, who's setting a really nice slow pace for me. I actually enjoyed this, and makes the climb not too bad and I had plenty of time along the way to take a few snaps. As we get close to Trig K - Mark from Total Sport is there checking off numbers, I stop by, take a selfie (look at the focus - nailed it!). He tells us it's another 5 mins to the top. Ingrid and Reti have now caught up to me from the last aid station, we get to the Trig, climb the viewing platform and take in the views from the top of Auckland! It's spectacular.
A few more minutes up there and I'm on the way down. I've lost the guy I was behind on the way up and Ingrid and Reti are also long gone. So for the last 10km of the journey, I'm mostly behind a lady and, in front of a guy, I play tag with both of them as I slow down to take a few photos and speed up to my pace again to catch up. This is where I really feel stink that I wasn't able to keep with any of the BBCM crew, like last year, and knew my "training" was not great. Gone are the days of running 5min/km with my ex work mates at lunch times, which was only 12 months ago! Though one thing I'm finding is - huge improvements in endurance and recovery, I can spend a lots of hours on my feet out there, with little fuel and the recovery is great as I was running 10km at the pub run the next day, albeit very slow!
Anyhow I was able to speed up a little on the downhill sections. We come back to the junction point where the aid station is, Steve is still there - I have good chat with him, I'm done with my camera put in my bag and try to find the source of the jiggling sound in my bag, later I find that I had left my keys and the lens cap in this bag and not put in my drop bag - all the rush at the start line reminds me just have to sort this stuff out the night before really.
It must be a good 5 minutes stop at the aid station, anyway I'm ready to go again. It's a great downhill run from here, there's another little viewing point - I do stop, but no photos this time, just stand there and take it all in. And then I catch up to that lady in front, pass her and I'm on the way down down down. The trail is now mostly gravel, we cross over a stream - nice to wash off those shoes from the mud. Hit the last aid station, now only 2.5km from the finish. This part is very lonely, only part of the trail I've had nobody around me - apart from some New Zealand wildlife - I get very close to a Fantail, spot a Tui or two and also a very tiny and cute Tomtit - that was the best sight; I quickly remind myself I was running a event!
I would normally stop, try to get my long lens out and try to capture these sights. I've noticed from my time on the trail I've been able to spot these things better now, and the advantages it has brought to my photography, the speed at which it takes to notice and capture one of these moments. Trying to predict the light better, as it comes through the trees. Still lots to improve on as blurry shots and just even sweat on the front element on the lens is a issue!
As we come down - the finish line has changed from last year, now further down near the entrance of the park, so going through here was very dead and eerie - absolutely nobody is around! There a short little hill, and short track before I pop up into the finishing chute. There's encouragement from a woman on a line, loved that. And then a absolute great feeling as I hear the BBCM crew cheering, shouting and clapping as I cross the finish line - high fives all round. That's the best finish I've had, so great to have such a awesome crew who waited for me for so long. I think I was about 10 minutes slower than last year - who cares! I was so pleased for the rest of the crew who had put some great efforts in training and banged out awesome times - these guys are absolute legends.
It was great to be on the trail again, climbing up to the highest point in the Auckland region - Kohukohunui. @totalsportnz Xterra Waharau - It is super tough, we go from sea level to 700m - that's about 3 times the height of Mt Eden! ? - Kohukohunui - Waharau Regional Park, Auckland, NZ ? - Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm, f/13, 1/160s, ISO100 ? - Lightroom
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That moon doh
The magic. kunalkumarphoto.com http://ift.tt/2a5cNQ5 fb.com/kksnap Music: http://ift.tt/2a00jGt
When a local is telling how awesome the sunrise is with the fog in the morning; and I tell them I'm here for the moon rise and tell them to turn around - and the reaction on their face: "??? wow, the moon" I'll have to return for that sunrise though ?? ? - Te Atatu Peninsula , Auckland, NZ ? - Sony NEX-5R, 18-200mm, f/6.3, 1/60s, ISO100 ? - Lightroom
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Take in all the senses. What you don't see, feel, hear. The waterfalls crash down into the water, as the moon reflects down. Half way up the hill I hear a distinctive sound, I've heard it before - it's a Morepork - NZ's native owl. I look up and it's sitting up on a branch, it's the first time I've seen one that close! The light is much better with the sun setting later and later and that moon almost full, as it gets darker out on the west you see the planets Venus, very bright, Mercury and Jupiter. ? - Gills Reserve, Auckland, NZ ? - HTC Desire Eye ? - Strava / Instagram
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