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Moonbow at Cumberland Falls

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Thread started 16 Aug 2008 (Saturday) 12:52   
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rdricks
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There are very few waterfalls in the world where Moonbows regularly occur. The waterfalls have to be oriented in just the right direction. And a full moon must be in place.

Cumberland Falls in Kentucky is one of those places. Last night we dicided to pack up the gear, drive the approximately 80 miles, and see if we could get lucky with the light. There was a pretty good haze in the air, and we had pretty much given up on seeing the moonbow. But as long as we were there we took some night shots of the waterfall. The exposures were 5 to 15 minutes, depending on ISO and aperture. After all, these were taken between 9:30pm and midnight.

Here are a couple of the night shots.

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3244/2767812321_cae3c7cfde.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3240/2767812007_4e7262a27d.jpg

Just as we were about to pack it in, the haze cleared and the moonbow was visible. With the camera the colors are captured. With the naked eye it appears more as just a light colored arc, without the distinctive colors. And with the long exposures, the background is definitely lighter than the eye really sees.

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3062/2768658676_94b7302c65.jpg

All in all, a good evening.

Post #1, Aug 16, 2008 12:52:52


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SamHunter
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5 to 15 minutes? Or seconds?

Post #2, Aug 16, 2008 12:54:33


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rdricks
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Minutes. I started with a two minute exposure, and the image was completely black. This required a sturdy tripod and a lot of patience!

Post #3, Aug 16, 2008 12:55:43 as a reply to SamHunter's post 1 minute earlier.


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SamHunter
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Sheesh

Post #4, Aug 16, 2008 13:19:45


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marjnap
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You were luckier then me I only had an S3 when I was there and didn't get any keepers. It was so crowded on the rock by the falls I couldn't setup a tripod. Did you take the other ones from the trail? It is beautiful in real life, but the moonbow didn't show up until about midnight when we were there. It was worth the wait.

Post #5, Aug 16, 2008 13:35:33


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jbdavies
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Cool looking shots! Is there a way to see bigger pictures of these? :)

Post #6, Aug 16, 2008 14:22:41


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rdricks
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We walked down the trail a ways for the waterfall shots.

The main area was very crowded, but it was almost 12:00 when the Moonbow was visible, and a lot of folks had given up by then. And a lot of them that remained looked quickly at it, then walked off.

The funny thing was a lot of people were actually trying to "find" the moonbow with their flashlights. I got a good laugh at that.

If you click on the pictures it will go to my Flickr page where they are posted. I don't have real large files out there though.

Post #7, Aug 16, 2008 20:48:15 as a reply to jbdavies's post 6 hours earlier.


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Darsk47
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rdricks wrote in post #6121100external link
The funny thing was a lot of people were actually trying to "find" the moonbow with their flashlights.

LOL :rolleyes:

Interesting shots - nicely done.

Post #8, Aug 17, 2008 05:36:46


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rdricks
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Between searching for the moonbow with flashlights, and trying to photograph it using the built-in flash on the point and shoots, it was a rather amusing evening!

Post #9, Aug 17, 2008 18:42:37 as a reply to Darsk47's post 13 hours earlier.


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jacuff
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I was up there the month before to photograph the moonbow. I'll probably go up there again this month or next month. Since it was in July, the moon doesn't rise above the trees until closer to 11:30. We got up there at about 6:30 that evening. Walked around a little to check it out and eventually planted ourselves on the main overlook by 7:30. By about 8:30 or 9:00 is when it started to get crowded, but if you want to setup a tripod, better to do it before the masses show up. Be prepared to have people shining their flashlight to see it or using their flash to photograph it. Most of my exposures were between 2 minutes and 5 minutes. During that time, people around me would ask how they could get a photograph of it. It maybe took 10 minutes for this one lady to believe me that it was impossible for her to get it with her camera.

IMAGE: http://www.justinacuff.net/potn/553961-1.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.justinacuff​.net/potn/553961-1.jpg]external link

How did the 15 minutes exposure turn out? I would think that's too long since as the moon rises higher in the sky, the moonbow also moves. Wouldn't the colors start mixing in together?

Post #10, Oct 02, 2008 15:14:50


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rdricks
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The shots in the first post are the 10-15 minute shots. The third shot (moonbow) was about 8 minutes. I wish I had a wider angle with me, I was using 28 for that shot. (Needed the 17) So I do not have the shot like yours with the falls too.

The 8 minute worked fine with the moonbow. The 15 minute shots were the upper ones, of the falls from the lower vantage points. Because I was using f/8-f/11 I needed the longer times without upping the ISO too much. With the long exposures I was worried about introducing too much noise.

What exposures were you using on your shot? I like the greenery. It was almost worth going just to see everyone try to get the shots with their pocket cameras and cell phones, with built in flashes!:lol:

Post #11, Oct 02, 2008 15:29:09 as a reply to jacuff's post 14 minutes earlier.


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jacuff
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Gotcha. Getting the falls for 15 minutes sounds reasonable. The above shot was a 3 minute exposure at f/4. I have a similar shot with a 4 minute exposure. At first glance, the only noticeable difference is the rock in the lower left is illuminated from several different flashes. I tried a few shots at f/8 and f/11, but found the f/4 shots just as good. f/4 just seemed to be better since it would decrease the amount of time for someone to shine a light or flash during the exposure. There was a guy with a really bright halogen spot from the lower observation platform. He was the most annoying.

I wonder what it will be like with fall colors. I'm also hoping that since it will be much colder at night time, the crowd will be a little smaller than when I went in the summer time. Probably wishful thinking though.

Post #12, Oct 02, 2008 15:56:38


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rdricks
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I actually did not have too much problem with the flashlights. There were a lot of people with them, but since I was using 15 minute exposures, the light was negligible in the overall exposure.

When we went the crowd really thinned about 10:30pm. Seems as soon as the Moonbow showed itself, people said ooh, then left! What a waste!

Did you use long exposure noise reduction? I ended up turning it off. The photos with it were better for noise, but with 15 minute exposures I was waiting 30 minutes between shots.

Post #13, Oct 02, 2008 17:03:28


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jacuff
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rdricks wrote in post #6425607external link
Did you use long exposure noise reduction?

No. I generally I always leave it disabled as well as high ISO noise reduction. Before it got dark and while I was waiting, I went ahead and took some pictures with my lens cap on to give me a baseline for noise removal. I pretty much knew I would keep my ISO at 100, 200, or 400 and my exposure times would be between 2 and 10 minutes, so I took some of the most likely exposure combinations to use for noise removal in RAW and post processing if the noise proved too much.

Post #14, Oct 02, 2008 18:00:41


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rdricks
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Thanks. That is a good tip - never thought of taking the exposure earlier. I'll definitely keep that one in mind for future trips.

Post #15, Oct 02, 2008 19:36:05 as a reply to jacuff's post 1 hour earlier.


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