A Strawberry Adventure

Delta Lake State Park

The full moon was around 11:40pm on Saturday night. I went down to Bellamy Harbor in an attempt to capture the moon rising. I really didn’t have high expectations as the moon rise was the same as sunset. It would be almost an hour after sunset before the moon would appear above the tree tops. I’ll save that adventure for another post. This one is about the following morning…

Sunday morning I went to Delta Lake State Park for the setting moon. The same conditions applied though, the moon was going to set at the same time as the sun would rise. I was a little worried the sky would be too dark causing me difficulty with the bright moon.

I tried a few different views but in order to expose the moon properly I had to really darken the rest of the scene. I was getting a little frustrated. Although the sun was still about 30 minutes from breaking the horizon the sky was starting to lighten up. Come on! Don’t give up yet…

The Strawberry Moon
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1/3s, 61mm, f/8, ISO 400

Not my best. Not as good as I have done in the past, but it is starting to work for me. About this time I was startled by a guy bringing his kayak to the water. He was getting ready to go fishing. I was so focused on my adventure I didn’t hear him come up behind me. Now I know how people at work feel when come up behind them unexpectantly.

The moon was almost gone. I decided to go for the zoom shot. All the way out to 100mm to fill the frame (really wishing I had brought the 300mm with me). OK, I guess…

Almost Gone
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 2s, 100mm, f/11, ISO 200

I was ready to call it quits. As I started to walk back toward the car I had one more idea. I thought it would be cool to grab an image with the fisherman’s kayak. This one tells a story, or at least hints at one. This one made the morning adventure worth it…

Ready to Launch
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1.3s, 80mm, f/11, ISO 200

Oh, did I forget to mention, June’s full moon is the Strawberry moon. A couple years ago I had a great time trying to capture as many of the full moons as possible and learned quite a bit about them in the process. In case you missed the first Strawberry moon post, you can view it here: Strawberry Moon. You can also see more posts related to the moon using this link: Full Moon posts.

Moon Bright

West Canada Creek

This morning is/was the full moon. Commonly known as the Sturgeon Moon, but this one happens to also be a Blue Moon. Blue moons are an infrequent occurrence and typically can be one of two types of full moons. They can be the second full moon within a month, or in this case, the third moon within a “season” with four full moons. Summer started in late June and the first full moon was a few days later setting up this season to have a blue moon.

Rather than repeat my typical images at Delta Lake I took a chance and ran up to Hinckley to capture the moon setting over the West Canada Creek. OK, chance might be a little misleading… I checked the Photographer’s Ephemeris to see how the moon will be setting and it lined up well with the access landing along the creek and the dam diverting water toward the power plant.

To capture the moon and actually see it, you need to have quite a bit of light from the sun. The moon against a black sky is very bright and exposing for the moon darkens everything else. This is OK if you are after the moon and all its details, I was looking for the moon in a landscape setting. I didn’t quite get enough light. The moon was setting quicker than the morning light was approaching. So, I captured a bright moon over the water… still happy with it.

Moon Bright
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 15s, 34mm, f/11, ISO 800

It was a good morning. The sounds of the water relaxed me as I was working the scene. We have had an abnormal amount of rain recently. All the rivers and creeks are over-flowing. I could hear the water rushing over the Hinckley Reservoir spillway behind me as I was capturing the moon. I’m having a hard time remember the last time water flowed over the spillway. I could also hear the water flowing over the spillway in front of me filling the bypassed section of the West Canada with water. It was a little early for the birds but I did catch the sound of a coy dog or coyote (not sure which, didn’t want to find out).

After the moon slipped behind the few thin clouds I drove up to the reservoir for sunrise images. Those will be processed later and hopefully find their way into a post…

Buck Moon

Delta Lake State Park

I truly haven’t been paying close attention to the moon cycles. I realize I should be writing my thoughts down as soon as they occur. I read something interesting on the internet during the course of the day but when I get home, it is nowhere to be found. This really isn’t a new thing with me, passing thoughts do not go into permanent storage in my head (even when they should). I almost missed July’s full moon.

I guess I got lucky then on Saturday morning. I remembered Friday night that the full moon would be setting a little before 6am. With the sun rising only a few minutes before the moon sets, it would be a good opportunity for photographing the moon. I debated over locations. Based on the direction of the setting moon I could have ventured down to the Utica Marsh but was a little worried about the best location to leave my car. In the end I decided to return to Delta Lake and see if I could manage another full moon reflection.

This is the way to the image I wanted…

Driving into Delta Lake State Park I immediately spot the moon over the tree tops to my left. This is an area of the park that has a small “pond”. I have photographed in this location numerous times, a favorite spot during autumn for the colors of the leaves (Delta Autumn). OK, this is a good place to start.

Descending Moon
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 0.8s, 47mm, f/11, ISO 200

There is a lot more growth along the water’s edge than I would have liked for this view. The area where people fish is too far to the left and places the moon into the trees. I make a few exposures trying to decide the right amount of cattails to have in the foreground. I need to be quick as the moon traverses the sky rather quickly at the end of its nightly run. I get the image I wanted, now to move on to the beach.

Driving to the parking area for the the beach I get a glimpse of the moon suspended above the playground equipment. Oh, I can’t let that view go. Luckily, I’m the only person in this part of the park because I might have driven a little too fast. Time is slipping away…

Playful Moon
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 0.3s, 100mm, f/11, ISO 200

I wanted the moon big behind the playground. I walked back up the entrance road far enough to use the 100mm end of the lens and still achieve the composition I wanted, the one I saw minutes ago driving in. I little more height would have allowed me bring more of the reflection into the image but the framing is the important aspect of this image. I wanted to have the moon amongst the equipment to add more depth. Right, time is slipping… on to the beach.

Remembering the Strawberry Moon in June I head toward the right side of the beach and start looking for interesting foreground elements. I didn’t need to search long. If I can get the camera low enough I can use one of the benches along the walkway. Now which one do I want.

Relaxin’ Moon
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 0.4s, 61mm, f/11, ISO 200

There it is, the one I want. Sitting slightly askew. I want to break up the horizontal lines to create a little tension in the image. It might be an unconscious thought but the brain is not going to like the lines of the bench back not in parallel with all the other elements in the image.

I decide I need to focus stack this one as I could not setup the tripod far enough away to achieve good focus throughout. I focus on the bench and then quickly focus on the moon. I will bring both images into Photoshop to combine them into one. Next! Time is slipping…

I had already done the lifeguard station with the moon in June. But the reflection is calling to me. OK, this one will be different because the station is in the water. Right, logic can be twisted when a reflection is involved. I setup the tripod low again to give the chair as much height as I can. Bam! Got it.

Saving Moon
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1/5s, 100mm, f/11, ISO 200

This one is simple, the reflection is the goal. The low height of the camera to the water stretches out the reflection as far as possible. Should I switch to the 75-300mm lens to enlarge the chair and the moon? No, leave a little breathing room for the moon. Enhance the isolation with the extra sky. Time is slipping… one more?

Although it might be a repeat of June I head down the path toward the point. Maybe there will be something new. Wait, is that a fishing boat under the moon. Luck favors me this morning. Please don’t move, please don’t move…

Buck Moon
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1/5s, 100mm, f/11, ISO 200

That’s the one! The image I was searching for this morning. Sometimes you can plan for the image you want, other times you have to see it when it presents itself to you. I probably would not have captured this one if I didn’t walk down that path toward the point. I’ll take the good luck when I can.

This is the Buck Moon, at least according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The time of the year when the antlers of male deer are in full growth mode. Other names for this moon include Salmon Moon, the Berry Moon, Raspberry Moon and the Thunder Moon. With the sun rising in the East and the moon taking on the magenta color, I can definitely see this one being the Berry Moon

Strawberry Moon

Delta Lake State Park

On Thursday the Strawberry Moon made an appearance. It was also a supermoon, depending on which interpretation you follow. A supermoon is when the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth. I’ll leave that debate to other people, me, I wanted to try to photograph it.

June’s moon is known by other names as well; Berries Ripen Moon, Blooming Moon, Green Corn Moon and the Hoer Moon. The one I found interesting is the Honey Moon, which is a European name. June was traditionally the month of marriages, with the month being named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Following a marriage comes the “honeymoon” which may be tied to this version of the Moon’s name (from The Old Farmer’s Almanac).

I didn’t want to capture the moonrise as I thought it would be too bright against the night sky. My best opportunity would be when it sets on Friday morning and I could go to Delta Lake for a few interesting views. Luckily for me I can work from home if I need to so I would be able to explore Delta Lake for this event and still be online for work at my usual time.

I arrived a little early to the park and I was worried my plans were going to fall through as there appeared to be a layer of thin clouds above the horizon causing a fairly bright halo around the moon. I walked down to the beach to survey my opportunities. I grabbed this first image before deciding I would ride out this event with my finger’s crossed…

First Look
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 6s, 15mm, f/11, ISO 200

I was using my 12 – 100mm lens knowing I wanted the extra compression to bring the moon closer, and bigger, into the frame. Now I needed to find the right foreground element. As I walked up and down the beach the cloudy haze was beginning to dissipate and my hopes for a clear view of the moon were growing. I backed away from the water and extended the lens to its full 100mm. The next image was better…

Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1/10s, 100mm, f/11, ISO 200

Behind me the sun was starting to rise but there was a large layer of clouds in the eastern sky and they were turning a brilliant pink color. This color was being reflected into the western sky. My chances for something good were starting to increase. I continued my search for an interesting foreground. The high winds we experienced recently toppled a few trees in the park. One, on the right side of the beach alcove, was leaning into the water. I couldn’t get far enough back to utilize the full zoom on the lens but you can see how the colors were staring to change…

Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1/13s, 61mm, f/11, ISO 200

Alright, it was getting interesting. My best view was going to be back on the beach. The lifeguard chair will have to be the foreground. The sky was at its peak colors and the sun light would be bleaching out the moon very soon. I double-timed it back to the beach and was rewarded with this image…

Strawberry Moon
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, 1/25s, 100mm, f/10, ISO 200

Mission accomplished! It was great being out early in the morning. I need to do more of this type of adventure. I don’t know why I always feel like I’m doing something wrong if I’m not one of the first people at work. I need a brain reset… and maybe some strawberry shortcake…