On Friday, I discovered that we were going to have a full moon this weekend and I wanted to try and capture it using my new lens. Unfortunately, the weather has not been very cooperative the past few days. So, tonight I happened to look out and see a break in the cloud cover and the moon rising over the horizon in it. I figured I had a good 20 minutes to get my gear together and run outside to snap a few shots before the cloud cover got to it. The Moon was gorgeous, very large, and a nice rust/orange hue to it. I got everything together, beat foot outside, set things up and began to try and get a properly exposed photo. About 15 minutes passed and the cloud cover reached the Moon and I realized that my window of opportunity was over.
I immediately headed inside, transferred the photos to my computer, and discovered that not a single was was very good. They were either improperly exposed or not as sharp as I thought they should be. After a few minutes I realized why they were not sharp. It was the very reason the Moon had that awesome hue and looked so large. I was trying to photograph the Moon when it was near the horizon, so I was seeing the Moon through a lot more of the Earth's atmosphere than I would have if the Moon had been directly overhead. The atmosphere not only magnified the Moon, and gave it that beautiful hue (caused by the particles and pollutants in the air), it was also distorting it.
I think my Girlfriend was the smart one, she stayed inside and enjoyed the Moon rise from the warm confines of the house. I'll know better the next time.
In the meantime, I'm going to do a little research on photographing the Moon, and search for sites like this one to get some tips on getting decent photos of the Moon. You can find a table showing this years Moon phases by visiting Astronomical Applications Department of the US Navy .
I'll try again next month! (That is if the weather cooperates)