Thursday, 1 October 2015

Fly Me to the Moon.......

There are certain global events which happen from time to time that grabs everyone's attention and the blood red lunar ellipse  of the "Super Moon" was one of them. So last week, I found myself on the pavement just outside my house, looking up into the night sky with my Sigma 120-300mm attached to my Canon 1DmkIV. Alas I couldn't get the whole rig to sit right on the pan and tilt head of my manfrotto tripod. It was like stirring mud. Every move I made, the tripod countered it. However much I tried, it simply refused to work. And then this happened:

This is the second of two shots I managed to grab of the plane "flying to the moon".

Lucky for me,  I had consulted google before setting out on this particular night time adventure because until then I had no idea how I was going to photograph a full moon. I've said this before and I'll say it again. Knowledge is power. If you don't know how to do something, ASK! So the first thing I did, even before setting up my camera, zoom telephoto upon a unruly tripod was to focus, frame and set my exposure.  This alone took a few minutes and was very hit and miss but once I was happy, I locked in all the settings and was just about to move my eye away from the viewfinder, when I spotted it!. Something was moving fast across the face of the moon and in that instant, I tripped the shutter, twice. The rest was pure instinct and luck! I was in the right place at the right time and with the right equipment. And thank you Sigma for the miracle that is Optical Stabilization. Words cannot describe how happy I am with the results. I didn't set out to get this shot but the opportunity came along and I grabbed it. I really wanted to shared  my happiness. Alas unbeknown to me,  my neighbour and keen amateur photographer, Emin, was busy across the road in his back garden doing the same thing and pointing his camera skywards. So when I phoned to inform Emin of my good luck, he told me to come round pronto! We spent the rest of the evening, enjoying each others company but still I couldn't  get my tripod to work and so off came the Swiss Acra plate that I had fixed onto the tripod mount of my Sigma Bigma. Still no luck! Then we swapped tripod's to see if that would fix the problem, only to discover that it wouldn't. This moon was quickly driving me to madness. Time flies when you're having fun and soon it was time for Emin to go bed and for me to return home but the night had only just begun and 3.00am in the morning saw me making my way to up the hill to Alexandria Palace for a better view of the moon turning red. I was far from alone. Here I met Canadian, Kevin Skeoch and his family with his Nikon prosumer DSLR and I was flabbergasted by what I saw on the back screen of his camera compared to mine. 

The Blood Red Moon taken from Alley Pally, North East London.

We were both shooting at 6400asa, except the files coming out straight out of his camera were smoother, had more detail and little noise compared to what I was getting.  The difference was stark and clear for everyone to see. Canon, when are you going to finally get your act together and give us a prosumer DSLR that I can actually use in Low light? WHEN? Thank you FujiFilm for the miracle that is the X-Pro 1. The low light performance of this revolutionary digital rangefinder camera puts that of the 1DX into a cocked hat. Just a shame that mine is in for repair...........Oh and the next time I point my Bigma skywards for a bit of night time fun under the stars, I'm going to be using one of these things:

The best accessory for mounting a Sigma 120-300 onto a tripod, the Wimberley Gimbal.

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