Anyone who is anyone knows that today was what has been dubbed a “SUPERMOON” (imagine a deep ominous echo when saying that). Ok so it may not be “anyone who is anyone”, I’m not even sure what the hell that really means, but I digress. For those of you who have no clue what the hell a supermoon here is a simple explanation. The moon’s orbit around out planet is not circular, it is elliptical. So at some points the moon is very close (perigee) and other points it is very far away (apogee). This year on March 19th 2011 the moon will be the closest it has been in 18 years, 356,577 km (221,566.7 miles). Still a ways away obviously, but the perigee and the full moon coincide with each other (this may always be the case, again I am not an astrophysicist). I promise that is all the teaching I will try to do in this post. Hopefully you learned something. If not, well I never said I was a teacher either. Because I like photography and I also would like to get a cool shot of the moon, I decided to try and take some good pics of this supermoon.
I figured that one of the best places to go and take these photos would be Odiorne State Park in Rye, NH. Jess and I found out about this place from my friend (and co-worker) Adam. We went to his wedding there last year, and it was an awesome place, both for the wedding and to just go and relax and take photos. Because the park is right on the beach I figured it would offer a perfect view for the moon coming over the horizon. Jess and I both went out there to take pics, we got there early of course so I could setup. While we waited Jess said I should take some pics of the sunset which was behind us over some marshy land. I set up the tripod and started taking photos. The shots I think came out best are in this post of course. The tripod worked fine and I played with the lenses just because I had time. I stopped after a while and moved the tripod to the rock wall facing the ocean so I could get ready for the arrival of the supermoon. I started out with my crappy old kit lens from the old Canon Digital Rebel, a 13-55mm lens. The tripod was acting a little weird and it would hold the camera the way I had it aimed at the horizon. It kept slipping a little and the camera would be pointed at the ground more. I thought it would be ok anyways and kept snapping away with the crap lens as the moon crept over the horizon. It was an amazing sight to see. The moon was some color between orange and red. It started as a sliver on the water, and grew. The moon actually moves much faster than I thought, but when you have a good point of reference like the horizon it must be easier to see that. As the moon climbed higher I realized the lens just wasn’t working well, and the tripod seemed ok, so I went and grabbed my big lens. The Canon 70-200mm f/4. It’s a great lens, although I wish I had the f/2.8 IS USM II version instead. As soon as I got it attached and on the tripod, the camera’s angle slipped pretty far, and I was taking pics of the surf at the edge of the beach, not my intended target, the supermoon. I fixed the angle again and tried taking a better shot with a little longer exposure, and as soon as I took my hand off the camera, it dropped again. I tried tightening the grip on the tripod and it was just spinning freely in my hand. It would not grab hold and keep the camera positioned at all. I had to give in to gravity and the crappy tripod and pack it in. I did not think to bring my other tripod, it’s smaller and even lower quality than the one I had with me. It can’t really hold the big zoom lens very well as it wasn’t designed for a real camera. I was truly pissed off and disappointed that I was not going to get the awesome shots I had wanted. My tripod had failed me when I needed it most.
Tonight’s event, the failure of my tripod, has pushed me even further down the road of frustration with my photography. It seems that I am constantly trying to take photos that I just don’t have a good lens for. Now I am not going to be able to take any photos where a tripod will be necessary unless I buy a new decent one. I’ve spent so much time, and money, on this hobby and lately it’s more frustrating than…whatever a hobby is supposed to be. I want to keep trying, but a decent tripod isn’t cheap, and lenses certainly are not cheap either. I’ve found some decent lenses I would like to add to my collection, and these are “inexpensive”, but I still cannot bring myself to put the money together to buy one. I don’t know if I should just cut my losses and sell the gear, or if I should keep trying, or what. For now I think the camera will go back to sitting by the door while I figure it out. Unfortunately the photos of the supermoon are all so horrible, I think I will just be deleting them (and trying to forget they ever happened).