Crescent Moon behind the Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge - Planning for Photography

February 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Minimize your need for luck...

Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonArthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonA crescent moon rising behind the Arthur Ravanel Jr Bridge in Charleston South Carolina.

A few days ago, my better half and I went down to Charleston for a little post-Valentines day fun.  We stayed a night in Charleston at a pretty nice hotel called the Ansonborough Inn.  It is located pretty close to the bay, and pretty close to my planned photography spot...

The photo I had in my head before I went down there, was a nice crescent moon sitting nicely near the Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge the connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant.  

I see TONS of sunset photos of this bridge all the time, and for good reason!  It really is a pretty bridge, and in the twilight hours it is lit up and really stands out in the scene.  I knew that the bridge would not have all of its lights on at the time I was going(pre-dawn) because they turn them off at about 10 p.m. to not disorient the turtles.  But even with the lights shut off, it would still be more than visible due to the lights from the city of Charleston.  

Planning for my photo was a little bit tricky, requiring me to actually explore a little bit before the morning I would be shooting.  This was pretty easy because my wife really likes naps... so once we got checked in, she hit the sack for a while and I took off for some spots I had scoped out on the Photographer's Ephemeris and Google Maps.

Here is what I was working with before I went down there...  I started by using the Photographers Ephemeris to get a general idea of where I should be when the moon was set to rise. The light blue line is moonrise, and the light yellow is sunrise.

photographers ephemeris south carolina photography workshops After deciding on a place to go, I used Google maps to see where I may be able to get access to the place where I would shoot.  The two screen shots below are close-ups of the upper left of the above image.  In the first photo, it looks like a car or something is blocking the access to the dirt road.  I realize that this is not real time, but i was kind of concerned that this area may be private and they try to keep people out.

The second image is of an access point that is pretty much in an alley.  I figured that if this was the place I chose to go in, I would be going in of foot, leaving the car in the alley.

google maps screenshotplanning for photography To research a little further, I pulled up the closest spot that Google Maps Street view let me look at for the second image...

street viewplanning for photography The area looked easily accessible.  So when I finally had the chance to come down and look at the area, I parked up near where the red car is in the above image.  I was able to get out into the fields real easy, only having to cross one locked fence(the legality of things is really never a factor in my decision making... bad, i know).  But once I got out onto the field, I saw where I could drive in and park on top of a small hill.  The road in the first image was more accessible than I thought!  This was a real relief because the alley in the above photo is riddled with trash and seems to be a not-so-safe area to leave a car.

After getting a good scope on where I would be the following morning, I headed back, grabbed the wife, took her out to Vickery's in Mount Pleasant for dinner, went to bed, woke up really early, headed out to my scene and shot away...

Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonArthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonA crescent moon rising behind the Arthur Ravanel Jr Bridge in Charleston South Carolina. I was really concerned that I would be coming home with nothing, because just as I got there the moon disappeared into the clouds, and the darkness made it so I couldn't tell if/when the moon would reappear.  Fortunately it came in and out of view, and the clouds added a nice glow to the moon.

The combination of white balances was frustrating, especially for a guy like me who likes to use Photoshop as little as possible!  The light being cast on the bridge was an orange-ish color, while the street lights on the bridge where bright white.  Add in a sky that is supposed to be dark blue and you've got yourself a challenge...

I opted to keep the orange light on bridge and the blue sky correct and somewhat sacrifice the color of the street lights.  I did play around with the white balance on different exposures, never really falling in love with any of them, but liking them all...

Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonArthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonA crescent moon rising behind the Arthur Ravanel Jr Bridge in Charleston South Carolina.

Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonArthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge Crescent MoonA crescent moon rising behind the Arthur Ravanel Jr Bridge in Charleston South Carolina. Due to some trees, I was really stuck in one spot on top of a small hill, which really limited my compositions.  But, that is ok since I really only wanted one shot anyways:)   Thanks for looking!


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