This was taken from Two Rivers Bridge early in the morning just before sunrise. I was walking across the bridge to the park trying to get pictures of the sunrise over the Arkansas River. I was about a quarter of the way across when I happened to turn around to see the moon over the tree covered hills. I quickly set up my tripod and took several shots.
The one minor challenge I faced was the lighting. The moon was still significantly brighter than the rest of the scene, which gave me three options: expose for the moon and let everything else go dark, expose for the surrounding scene and let the moon become overexposed, or use the HDR technique to capture the complete range of tones.
Of these options, I chose to expose for the surrounding scene and overexpose the moon. Normally, letting highlights become overexposed ruins a photograph, so why did I make this decision? Because I keep a number of photographs of the moon that are properly exposed, I knew I could replace the overexposed moon with on that was properly exposed. I could have used HDR, but I was concerned that with the movement of the moon, the final photograph would not look realistic.
To make the replacement, I made a rough selection of a properly exposed full moon (since the original moon was full) and copied and pasted the selection into the photograph. I then moved the new moon into the proper position in the image and used one of the blending modes in Photoshop to combine the selection with the rest of the photograph. This took a little trial and error before I found the correct blending mode that would seamlessly merge the two images.
I then opened the image in Nik’s Silver Effects Pro to convert the photograph to black and white. I selected one of the presets that got me close to the final image I had in mind, made additional adjustments to the settings until I was satisfied with the result, and saved the image. The outcome is an image that is one of my favorite pictures because it reflects the kind of artistry I endeavor to create in my photography every time I make a photograph.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 55mm, 2.5 sec, f/11