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Full Moon In Greenland

Full Moon, Scoresby Sund, Greenland.
200mm lens, 1/800 second @ f4.5, ISO 2200

Next year I'm returning to Scoresby Sund in Greenland on a wooden schooner! It sounds incredibly enterprising, but all the arrangements are being handled by Better Moments in Denmark, a provider of world-class photography tours and workshops. I'm being hired with Magnus Elander to lead the voyage which is entirely within Scoresby Sund, so no fear of rough weather or sea sickness (we fly in from Iceland and I have another shorter tour there as well)!


As this photograph shows, the sound is surrounded by towering peaks and dotted with icebergs - it's an incredible location to shoot. I shot this from Aurora's Polar Pioneer a few years back when we were lucky enough to have both perfectly clear weather and a rising full moon. Mind you, the sun doesn't go down until very late, so this was probably taken at around 10 p.m. 


The challenge we have as photographers is retaining detail in the moon. As you will see from the original photograph before processing in Capture One, the raw file retained a hint of detail in the moon, but it required a number of adjustment layers to darken down the sky and, in so doing, darkening the moon as well. 


To see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article.

Processed raw file before adjustments.

The 200mm lens gives the moon its size, although to the naked eye, it seemed so much larger - an optical illusion I am assured. I also waited for our ship to move past the iceberg so that it was positioned in the corner of the frame. It's always a bit of a risk to wait too long because while that particular iceberg might be correctly positioned, another could come into view and ruin the composition!

All the adjustments were done in Capture One. Capture One's 'Local Adjustments' are very similar to the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom, and both can do a lot of what layers achieve in Photoshop. Using a gradient tool, I applied four different Local Adjustments to gradually darken down the sky, reducing the contrast of these layers as well to ensure the gradation was very subtle.

To bring up the cliffs, another Local Adjustment used the clarity tool to reveal the form in the rock. I find when applying a large soft brush that corners can be problematic - such as the cliff point on the water, bottom left. My approach is to brush right over it, then switch to the eraser brush, but with a much smaller size so I can erase the mask to create a better fit. It works a treat!

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to USA, Arnhemland, Georgia/Armenia, Iran, Greenland/Iceland and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!


Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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