Shine on, Harvest Moon! September 20, 2021 was the date of the full Harvest Moon, and, surprisingly, we had a clear night in Rhode Island. Anticipating this, I did a little planning. With the help of a very useful app, the Photographer’s Ephemeris, I was able to find a location on the west side of Narragansett Bay so I could see the Moon rise behind Beavertail Lighthouse, located in Jamestown, RI. Going to Beavertail itself would be too close to get any useful separation between the lighthouse and the Moon. What the ephemeris does is show the direction where the Moon (or Sun) will rise (or set) when looking from any given location. Working backwards from Beavertail, I found the perfect spot. So, on the day before I went there. Unfortunately, my chosen location turned out to be on private property. Hearing voices from the closest house, I knocked on the door. A very gracious woman answered. I introduced myself, explained what I was doing, and gave her my business card. She generously offered not only that I could park on the property, but also invited me to walk farther down toward the shore. As it turned out, I needed to get closer to the shore to better align the Moon with the lighthouse. The next evening I returned with a friend.
The Moon rose behind the lighthouse (from our vantage point, at least), as predicted. I was using the equivalent of 1600mm, so the Moon looked huge on the screen. That was my intention. We watched as the Moon continued to rise and angle toward the south, thus separating itself from the lighthouse in the frame. As is usually the case with the Harvest Moon, the Moon was orange in color, due to the refraction of sunlight through the atmosphere. It was an impressive sight, for sure.
As I finished photographing and began to pack up my gear, we noticed the clouds and reflection in the water. That, too, was most impressive. Out came our phones so we could record that lovely experience. All in all, the evening was well worth the effort, and made more enjoyable by sharing with a friend.
Here are the results of my effort. For those of you who like detailed data, the camera was Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark iii; lens: M.Zuiko 100-400mm, with 2x teleconverter. Since Olympus cameras have a 2x crop factor, that’s 1600mm full-frame equivalent. Settings were 0.5 sec, f/12, ISO 800 for the first image, and 0.6 sec, f/18, ISO 800 for the second image. The third image was with my Google Pixel 3 phone, using the night sight feature.