Canon 300D, tripod
Sigma 24-135 at 119mm
ISO 100
f8, 1 second
Bad mood rising


moon cloud halo

This image actually bears some similarity to the Venus transit pics, in an interesting way. You see, the full moon is usually so bright that capturing it in any kind of detail takes a reasonably short exposure, but any surrounding details like clouds, trees, or even stars in the sky are too faint to capture in the same exposure. In order to get enough light from the clouds to show up without overexposing the moon, the conditions had to be just right – in this case, the moon is actually shining through a layer of clouds and being filtered in light intensity. Note the stats up there to the left – a proper exposure for the full moon in clear conditions is usually f8 to f11, 1/90 second at ISO 100. This image is 6 times longer than what would be needed in clear conditions, so the clouds are obscuring more than you might think.

They are also what contributes the best effect in the image, which is the faint coloration. It's subtle, but you're looking at a rainbow ring around the moon, produced by ice crystals in the clouds refracting light – note that blue is close to the moon, while the most distant portions of color are all orange and red. Thicker clouds served to obscure the ring and produce the more moody, ominous effect.

I had just returned with a rental movie when I noticed this great effect, and shelved the movie for over an hour while I experimented with the conditions. That's how it goes with nature photographers, so be warned if you're thinking of dating one...