Photographer captures one-of-a-kind moonrise, thanks to patience and absurdly long focal length (VIDEO)


posted Monday, April 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM EDT


Photographer Mark Gee has captured something remarkable with his DSLR in Wellington, New Zealand -- a moonrise that directly out of camera looks as magical as just about any F/X you'll see out of Hollywood. The trick to the almost surreally big moon in the sky? An absurdly long focal length and distance.

Mark Gee set himself up 2.1km (1.3 miles) away from the Mount Victoria lookout, and shot eight minutes of video footage, recording the moon rise into the sky, with the silhouettes of people in front of it. He shot using a Canon 1D MkIV,  a Canon EF 500mm f/4 lens and a Canon 2x lens extender. Combine the 1.3x crop factor of the APS-H sensor on the Canon, with the 500mm lens, and the 2x extender, and you get a whopping 1300mm equivalent focal length.

Gee recorded the video in late January of this year, and by his own admission it was "after a lot of planning and many failed attempts." The resulting video, though, is fantastic. It's completely unedited, the speed and size of the moon are exactly how it came out of camera. The extreme size of the moon and the silhouettes are due to to telephoto lens compression -- the same effect that you'll see take place during a dolly zoom. Even though the moon is in focus, it appears shimmery and soft due to atmospheric refraction.




In a blog post, Gee details a bit of how the shot came together, and even demonstrates just how far away he was from the peak he recorded.

Coincidentally, just as we've learned about this video, another similar shoot has come to light. This time a series of images recorded by a Swiss photographer of a cyclist silhouetted against the moon. Again, an almost identical shooting rig: a Canon 1DX, Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II lens and a 2x teleconverter for a 1200mm equivalent image -- albeit from a completely different part of the world.

(via Metafilter)