Harvest Moon at the Rock of Dunamase

August 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I haven’t blogged in while due to disgracefully letting life getting in the way of photography! But I have done a few shoots over the summer and I’ve lined up some posts on these.  This one is from near Port Laoise last Friday night. I was travelling back to Dublin with the family on a fine evening and we thought it would be good to stop somewhere interesting for a picnic. But where?  I’ve driven the road to and from Cork so many times - but always in too much of a rush to get know its interesting features.  Anyway herself suggested “that rock near Portlaoise??? “ Oh yes – the Rock of Dunamase – the ruins of a huge 12th century Norman castle and a far better spot  for our subs & pizza’s than the Midway car park!

Although it’s only 46m (151 feet) above the surrounding land, it provides spectacular views of the Central Plain of Ireland – I’ll show the best of these images in a future post.  As the sun set, however, I realised that the rising Moon  would be just behind the castle – as seen from the Ballycarroll road back to Junction 10 on the M7 motorway – even if  staying on for these shots would expend quite a few brownie points J. 001-Rock-of-Dunamase-JCoveney001-Rock-of-Dunamase-JCoveney

The first shot is from the road itself and I took it with my Canon 70-200 f4 lens at 200mm for 1/25th of second at f11 and ISO 200 – and mounted on tripod.  The f11 aperture gave enough depth of field to get both the castle and the moon – some 363,000km (225,600 miles  from Earth at its nearest point – in focus.  It was taken about six minutes after sunset. This is the processed version that was shot in RAW. I was able to bring out the detail of the Moon and landscape using the almost HDR capabilities of Lightroom’s tonal controls. I also used the radial filter to further adjust the exposure of the Moon and enhance its face.  Compare it with the out-of-camera version!

002-Rock-of-Dunamase-JCoveney002-Rock-of-Dunamase-JCoveney

 

The second view was taken about 35 minutes later from the adjacent newly harvested cereal field. As the twilight progressed, the light dropped dramatically by about nine stops and the exposure was 15 seconds at f11 and ISO 200 at 38mm using the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 EFS lens.  By this stage, retaining detail in the Moon would result in the landscape being totally blacked out – so I don’t worry about blowing out the Moon and expose for the landscape. In fact, I like the starburst effect generated by the small aperture.

003-Rock-of-Dunamase-JCoveney003-Rock-of-Dunamase-JCoveney

It was certainly worth the stop at this spectacular setting. If Lord of the Rings had been shot in Ireland, if would have made a great location for Weathertop!


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