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The Supermoon Ruined My Night at Universal

Supermoon 19 March 2011 - 5x Crop
Supermoon - 19 March 2011 - 5x crop

Well, there it is folks. The photo of the Supermoon of 19 March 2011. Right. Along with the bazillion other photos of the same subject floating through the Internets. And the overhelming majority much better than this I'm sure. (Update: A pixel-peeping 5x crop is now available for your viewing enjoyment).

Same camera setup and same settings as used last night, with one additional setting: I turned on anti-shock and set it for four seconds. That allowed me to compose, focus, and then let the whole camera/tripod assembly minimize any vibrations for four seconds before the shutter actually opened. All in an attempt to maximize clarity. Don't see much of a difference, if any, but then it probably didn't hurt, which is a Good Thing...

There's just one nit I have with my image. Besides the fact it's small, the terminator has started to creep into view on the upper left edge of the moon. Go ahead, zoom in, and you'll see a little tiny bit of raggedness. Which means that it was completely full from some other part of the globe, not over Orlando. How disappointing!

Before I went rushing out into the backyard to make my supermoon snap, the wife and I went out on a date under a romantic supermoon. We started our special evening at Cariera's Cucina Italiana using one of the Groupon coupons my lovely wife purchased earlier this month. She's gotten to be quite the Groupon groupee, purchasing $30 meal coupons for $15, and saving us a fair amount when we go out for lunch and dinner. I like it because I've got the Groupon Android app, which allows me to simply show the coupon's bar code to our waiter, who then applies it right there. I'm so cool...

Into Universal

When we finished our meal we headed out to Universal to take in another group and another Mardi Gras parade. I took the E-1 with the 12-60mm. I wanted to see how an eight-year-old DSLR would handle night-time photography. As it turned out, not too well.

Blurry Dancer

The only photo from the entire Mardi Gras sequence I cared for is the mostly blurry one above. It's kinda-sorta artistic, in that the face is mostly recognizable, and you can say that the blur is motion blur, which alludes to the activity of the performer on stilts. Yeah. Right. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

After the parade had passed, we tried to head over to the concert and catch the rest of it (Universal starts a concert as soon as the tail end of the parade passes the outdoor stage). Unfortunately for us, we got multiple directions by the grumpy Universal security staff, so that we (twice) were trying to get to the concert via an exit. We finally got tired of the surly treatment by Universal security staff, so we ended the evening just walking around the park, where I took some so-called artistic photos, and then we left. I'm pinning all of this on the deleterious effects of the supermoon, especially the surliness of the security staff. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here's some of my "artistic" efforts from my Universal walk-a-bout in the dark.

Tassel Dancing

Mel's Drive-In Narrow

Mel's Drive-In Wide

Chili and Fries


If you want strong, contrast-laden images, the E-1 is your camera. All of these came pretty much out of the camera as you see them. I did desaturate the oranges and reds a bit to drop the glare and enhance the details, but overall what you see is what I got. If you want more detail in the shadows, then the E-3 or later cameras are probably better suited to this. In fact it would be nice to rent an E-5 and try this again. Or maybe I should just admit defeat and buy a Nikon D3s (Canon be damned). Or maybe I should finally break down and learn how to extract what I need using Photoshop and layers. Whatever.

Everything was taken with full manual control, ISO 400. I bracketed when possible, or used my gut instinct when I couldn't. My gut instinct was right about 50% of the time, which means I'll carry a quarter next time to make my decision process faster as to what settings to use in manual mode.

It's almost midnight again, and I do need my beauty rest. So until next time, sleep tight and don't let the supermoon bite.


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