Earlier this year I was at a wedding when I saw an amazing moon rising from the horizon. I had no idea that night that we were in for a supermoon and had no idea at that time what a supermoon or harvest moon actually was. I instantly had this idea to create a silhouette with the bride and groom in the moon. Unfortunately the bride and groom were having their meal during the moment I saw it and by the time I had worked out what I was going to do it was too late.
When I got home I researched into supermoons a little more and discovered we were going to have 2 more this year. I decided I wanted to plan to capture my children silhouetted in the moon so I began putting things in place to capture this. September 9th was going to be the best chance I had at capturing what I wanted and I picked The Roaches as a good location as it has high points and good all round visibility.
I downloaded an app on my phone called SkyView which shows stars and planets as well as trajectory of the moon. I went up to the roaches a few days before but it was cloudy and there was no sign of the moon. I had a rough idea of moonrise but I had no idea how far away the equator was from the hills in the distance. I knew I needed to capture the moon at 800mm or closer to make it large enough to fill the camera sensor. The longest lens I own is a 200mm prime and that wasn’t going to cut it. An 800mm prime lens costs about £10,000 so I wasn’t going to be buying one of those anytime soon. I decided instead to rent a 100-400mm superzoom and a 2x entender from Lens 4 Hire giving me an effective focal length on my full frame camera of 800mm. I knew I would have manual focus only but that didn’t matter as my subject wasn’t moving much.
So september 9th came round and all day the weather looked a bit cloudy but at 7pm as I made my way to the Roaches the sky began to clear and I started getting excited. My kids had swiming until 7.30pm so I got up there beforehand and picked my location. I needed about 130m between where I was and where they would be stood in order to capture them in the frame how I wanted. I hadn’t had a chance to practice how big the moon would be around them so there was a little bit of guess work involved but I could have moved back or forward if I needed to to capture what I wanted to get. My kids arrived and my wife and I got them in place.
Then it was a case of playing the waiting game. I knew the moon was scheduled to rise at 7.40pm but I didn’t know how long until we would see it from where we were standing. We waited, and waited. It got to 8.09pm. I checked my iphone app and it looked like we should have seen it by now. But nothing. It’s way too hazy I thought, maybe too cloudy and its behind clouds. I talked to my wife on the phone (130m is a little too far to be shouting :-)) and we decided to call it a day. It was already past their bedtime. Just as they stepped off the rock and was about to head back to the car the tip of the moon came up from over the hill. My kids went crazy shouting “the Moon, the Moon”. We watched it come up a little and then as it peaked above their heads my wife put them in the position we had practiced. They did it in one go. A perfect gentle kiss just like I told them. The hand holding was my wifes touch.
I captured the frames and then I just smiled. I was so happy I had managed to capture it the way I had it in my head. A perfect unique moment. I spend a lot of time trying to capture beautiful photographs for other people and this was one was just for us 🙂