Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 22, 2011

Sun and Moon

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 8:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hi everyone!  I’m back from Maine.  I took lots of pictures and have lots to say, and was having a hard time deciding where to begin.  So,  I decided to start at the beginning!  There’s an original thought, huh?  I’m still sorting through the 468 shots I took this past week, deciding what I’d like to share, but these are from my first evening at the cottage.  August 13th also happened to be the night of the full moon this month, so I wanted to be sure not to miss it this time around.  I checked the time for moon rise, and headed out about 20 minutes before that to get ready.  Luckily it was low tide, which made for plenty of room for setting up the tripod.  At Hills Beach in Biddeford, Maine, the tide goes way out:
sunset at Hills Beach

While the sunset isn’t quite over the water, it comes really close at this beach.

I waited patiently for the moon to rise while I set up my tripod and played around with different shutter and aperture settings.  Lots of folks were out walking, enjoying the warm temperatures and low tide.  One gentlemen stopped and asked me what it was that photographers are interested in in this area (he owns a house on this beach, lucky guy!)  I told him I didn’t know but I was waiting for the full moon.  He jokingly offered to “pose” for a full moon!  We ended up having a nice chat about the area – he’s owned his place for about 20 years, I’ve been vacationing there since my parents first took me as a child- and what a wonderful place it is for families.  His daughter and her children were there visiting him that day, and she showed me her lovely sunrise photos.  They were temptingly beautiful, but I am sooo not an up-before-the-sun kind of person.  I’d love sunrise shots but wasn’t sure I could drag myself up that early on vacation.

The moon finally rose above a small bank of clouds.  I took a few dozen shots at different settings and compositions.  This was my favorite of the batch:

Aug. 13 full moon over Biddeford Pool

After taking my moon shots, I turned my lens around for a few more shots of the beautiful colors left by the sun:
evening light

I had a couple more interesting “run-in’s” with the moon during the week.  On Wednesday of last week, the moon came up a bit later, but during the course of the evening the brightness was casting a gorgeous glow on the sand below.  I dragged the tripod out to the little sand dune in front of the cottage and again played with settings.  The brightness of the moon made it difficult for me to focus on, but I thought these two shots came out pretty well:

shiny moon

(10 sec., f10) The dots of light below are lights on the masts of sailboats.  I changed the settings to get a brighter shot here (30 sec., f5.0):

glowing moon

The next night, while we were down on the beach having a campfire and enjoying the distant fireworks of Old Orchard Beach, the moon rose in a bloody red color.  My family urged me, “take a picture, take a picture!!”  I knew I didn’t have the skill to capture that gorgeous color with so little light available, so I hemmed and hawed.  Finally, as we were heading back up to the cottage, it was higher in the sky, still glowing orange, so I gave it a try:
orange moon

This is but a whisper of its earlier color, and of course now I can’t help but wonder if I could’ve gotten an acceptable shot of the low, red moon.

So did I get up for a sunrise picture after all?  All week long,  I awakened around 5:30 am and took a gander out my bedroom window.  I could see the beautiful color, but I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed.  I considered taking the shot through the window, but I knew the screen in the way just wouldn’t do it justice.  On Friday when I awakened pre-dawn, I told myself it was one of my last chances, so get yourself down there.  I had no idea exactly what time sunrise was, but I walked down to my beach chair and plopped myself there and waited.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed the pre-dawn quiet – only the sea birds and gentle lapping waves making any sound.  I think for the first time in my life I actually saw the full orb of the sun creep above the horizon.  Here it is as it first peeked up:

and again as the whole orb was first visible:

sunrise, Hills Beach

Of course I played around with the settings again, not really knowing what I was doing.  I changed white balance around too, but none of the settings really gave the true view which I find curious.  The actual view surrounding the sun was more blue, and the bright color more limited to the area right in front of the sun, but nothing I tried presented that image.  I’d love to hear from anyone with sunrise-shooting experience about what settings and such worked for you, or about any thoughts you may have about why this picture didn’t show up true to my view.

I’ve got so much more to share with you over the coming days.  The start of school looms in about a week, so I hope to sort through my thoughts and images to present some more blog posts very soon!  Hope you don’t get sick of hearing about Maine!


  1. These are beautiful shots…you should be proud indeed! 🙂 you remind me, I really have to get around to posting vacation stuff….it’s been 2 weeks…just so busy!

    Comment by Kanniduba — August 22, 2011 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, KD! Would love to see your vacation shots – I’m sure they are fabulous.

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  2. I think you did very well on all of them. No complaints here. 🙂

    Comment by Bob Zeller — August 22, 2011 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

    • Very kind for you to say, Bob. I’ll have some shore bird shots coming up soon!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  3. For not knowing what you were doing, you did a very good job. You’ve captured the moon in many ways you night owl. 🙂

    Bravo on enjoying a sunrise.

    I think the haze really affected your shots. Not sure why you were not picking up the colors you were seeing. The sun itself is a very bright red/yellow which will dominate the image. A wide angle of the scene might have picked up the blue.

    Now, you might want to look at your photos so you can duplicate them anytime in the future.

    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — August 23, 2011 @ 6:05 am | Reply

    • I knew a little bit about what I was doing. I was sure to re-read yours and Brian’s full moon posts and jot down settings before I left for vacation.
      I did take a few wide shots too – the color is somewhat different, but still not quite what I saw.
      Did you mean look at my photos EXIF in that last sentence? 😉
      Thanks Scott!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 9:53 am | Reply

  4. LOVE the moon reflecting on the sand (the first one – gives a more mysterious feeling). What a pretty sunrise! I don’t have any experience with sunrises yet…. can’t make myself get up that early on a non-workday… This looks like the kind of place I would love to go with my camera for a week, very picturesque!! 🙂

    Comment by Photo By Holly — August 23, 2011 @ 8:26 am | Reply

    • I like that mysterious feeling too – thanks, Holly.
      It’s funny, when I am at the beach, I find it easier to get up (not necessarily for sunrise though – in Maine, that far east, sunrise is even earlier) – I think it is because I don’t want to waste a minute of my day!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  5. These are all beautiful shots, but I love the last one. I am a sunrise person whenever I’m at the beach. (I don’t know why I can’t duplicate that behavior here at home!) It’s a beautiful capture. I agree with Scott. The haze probably had something to do with not getting the colors. I’ve found, too, that with sunrises the camera just doesn’t seem capable of picking up all that our eyes see.

    Welcome back. 🙂

    Comment by Robin — August 23, 2011 @ 8:50 am | Reply

    • Thank you Robin. I’m happy I made the effort for the sunrise – and as I was saying to Holly, sunrise is that much earlier in Maine, so an effort it was!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  6. Good job, Karen!!! I was just commenting the other day how life would be so much easier for me if I were a morning person (which I am most definitely NOT). Bravo to you for fighting the urge to stay snug in bed and experiencing something new and beautiful! 🙂

    Comment by milkayphoto — August 23, 2011 @ 9:53 am | Reply

    • Thank you Tracy(my sister-in-clinging-desperately-to-summer!). The beach is a motivating factor for me for sure – maybe if I lived near you I’d be more of a morning person!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 9:58 am | Reply

  7. Welcome back!! Great shots, Karen! I have yet to really try my hand at night/moon photography, but you have inspired me to try. 🙂

    Comment by tedgriffith — August 23, 2011 @ 11:55 am | Reply

    • Thanks Ted! It is nice to be inspirational from time to time!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  8. What a selection to start with Karen, and kudos for getting up for the sunrise shot too… Like you, I also try to avoid that whenever possible.. lol… I tend to be lazy with white balance settings etc in the camera though, as I always shoot in RAW, which then allows you to chop and change settings to your hearts content on the pc, and get pretty much the exact colour you saw at the time… Loce your 30sec moon shot though, as you’ve got the beginnings of some star trails there too.. 🙂

    Comment by FS Photography — August 23, 2011 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

    • RAW – yes, one of these days I will have to give it a try. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love post-processing – not! 😉 I didn’t even see those tiny bits of star trails til you pointed them out! Thanks!

      Comment by Karma — August 23, 2011 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  9. ALL of these are gorgeous! I’m glad you didn’t make us choose a favorite…. and I’m soo glad you decided to get out of bed for the sunrise shots, it was well worth it, wasn’t it? 🙂

    Comment by thedailyclick — August 24, 2011 @ 8:46 am | Reply

    • Thanks so much Michaela. It was worth it, but I won’t be doing it again any time soon! 😉

      Comment by Karma — August 24, 2011 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  10. […] (Remember how I mentioned how the tide goes waaaaayyyy out here? ) […]

    Pingback by Mainebows! « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — August 24, 2011 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

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