Perigee Moon Rise Time-lapse


As many of you will know, it was the so called ‘supermoon’ last night which is an astrologer’s made-up name for what astronomers refer to the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system (ref, but see also this link which is a very nice clear explanation of how it works, with great visuals) which is when the moon is at it’s closest to earth. In this case, yesterday was the closest that the moon and earth will pass in 2013, resulting in a larger appearing moon. I consulted the twilight calculator (a very handy tool for photographers) for the time of moon rise and degrees away. I decided I could shoot the moon rising behind Trial Island. My plan was to go to Clover Point with a compass, find the perfect spot so the moon could be seen coming up behind the lighthouse on Trial Island. But, I thought I should do a trial run the night before, and the angle for that was about right for Harling Point to line up with the light house. And thus, on Saturday evening I took a test series. I did not use a compass, as it was a test after all, and there was some low cloud to the east which as it turned out knocked out the first 20 minutes of the moon rise. Without a compass I missed the exact spot the moon appeared, but with the cloud it was evident where the moon was really rising and I could reset the tripod and catch most of it, and learn for the next day.

When Sunday rolled around, so did the clouds and sadly no moon was visible last night. Thus what you get is Saturday’s experiment, a nearly full moon, not quite at perigee and 20 minutes after actual moon rise so my title is only true in that I took a time-lapse sequence. As it turns out, I think Saturday was the best day to shoot as it moonrise coincided with sunset in a way that was very good for photography, as you can see in the video below. There was also a spectacular sky in the west with sunset, that I could not photograph as I only have one camera, but after this series, I took a few shots of the last of the sunset as well, which will be shown on a future blog.

The image above is taken after the video below and is an HDR compilation of 3 brackets and one edited image. To view the video click on the image below – I recommend that you then click on the Youtube logo on the video and view it at full resolution as videos tend to run poorly directly out of WordPress.


You can see posts about other timelapse videos I have shot here.



Canon EOS 5Dmkii, SMC Takumar 200mm/f4 m42 mount lens, ISO100, f16. Stepped down from 1/50th second to 1/6 second during course of shooting, then corrected with “Holy Grail” method in LRTimelapse.  412 stills shot at 5 seconds apart (between 8:54 and 9:28pm) with the aid of a Pixel TW-282 timer. RAW files edited in Lightroom 4, further processing in LRTimelapse and finishing touches in LR4 from which it was exported using the side-show module and LRT presets for 23.97fps video.

Still shot above is taken after the video, same equipment, 3 brackets at +/-2.0EV, the dark bracket copied and darkened another 2EV to bring out detail in the moon, then all 4 images HDR processed through Photomatix, and then LR4 and Topaz Clarity.



23 thoughts on “Perigee Moon Rise Time-lapse

  1. Pingback: This Many Great Photography Links May Cause Lightheadedness

    • Thanks a lot Ken. The technical problem with this one is that I forgot about the crop ratio for video and had to choose between more of the moon rising, or the beautiful reflection of the moon sliding across the water along the bottom of Trial Island. I panned down at the end just for a hint of it. And, had I a slightly shorter lens, I could have got it in. I have a Takumar 135 which I have never actually used, but it would be a bit too short for this scene.


  2. Pingback: Angled Cloud | burnt embers

    • Hi mithriluna – thanks so much for the comment, and follow! I am glad you like this post – it has a lot of elements that please me too, like the lighthouse with a light blink.


    • Thanks! It would have been nice to get this kind of imagery with the timelapse, but with all the changes in exposure, and the brighter sky at time of moon rise it was not possible.


  3. Pingback: Contemplation | burnt embers

  4. Terrific presentation here, Ehpem! I particularly love that HDR image of the moon over Harling Point! Beautiful, my friend. We were totally socked in up island, too, so I didn’t manage to capture anything myself. It’s a bit of a bummer when these things only happen once a year typically. Anyways, what a fabulous presentation here, totally top drawer!


    • Hi Toad! Thanks so much. I really lucked out by going out to test my methods a day early. And the sunset was spectacular, as you will see in today’s post.


  5. Pingback: Sunset Moonrise | burnt embers

    • Thank you Lynn, it really accentuates the angle that the moon moves across the sky – another thing that it is easy to not really notice in real time.
      Did you notice my garden timelapse of a few days ago, the macro of ants drinking from the stem of an iris? I thought it might interest you in particular.


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