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Sometimes things do not go as planned and one has to jump on an opportunity which comes along. August 29th was a “super moon” – the moon was as close to earth as it gets on its elliptical path, hence a very large moon should be visible. I took the opportunity, packed my Nikon D800 with the Tamron 150-600 telephoto lens and headed out on a motorbike. It was a coincidence that I took my friends Moto Morini Granpasso. He went on vacation and before his departure he said to me: “If you want to take the MoMo” -that’s how we call the bike between us- “out for a ride, feel free.”

So I started my journey into the evening, heading for a point where I could watch the moon rise over the horizon. The sun was setting and as I roamed the Hanover countryside a scene struck my eyes. To my right a vast open field stretched, freshly harvested and plowed. Two huge overland powerlines stretched towards the horizon and between the masts the sun was descending towards a glorious, golden finale of the day.

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I saw the bike on that field before my inner eye that moment. I just HAD to drive on that field and start shooting. It was luck I rode an enduro, if I had taken my Yamaha FZ6 Fazer the option of going into the field would not have been a good idea.

So I traversed onto the field and drove roughly 150 m over the soil. What a wobbly experience if you have never driven offroad before. I kicked out the sidestand and jumped off the bike. The sun set slowly and I had to work fast. Throwing the helmet and my backpack into the semi-dry mud I wrestled the camera out of its compartment and started shooting.

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And that is what you get – a golden sunset. Note that I did not move the bike during the shoot. As I used a 150-600 mm lens I had to shoot from a few dozen meters in order to get your framing. Moving a few meters from left to right made quite a difference in terms of having the sun in the shot or not.20150829-Granpasso-DSLR-003
The preferred shooting format is landscape orientation. But sometimes switching to portrait mode can be interesting if there is something in the background that is worth looking at:20150829-Granpasso-DSLR-002
The lighting situation is complicated – remember you are shooting against the sun ! Usually that would mean firing your flash to counter the sun but I did not have a flash with me. It would not have been useful anyways, since I was shooting from a distance due to the tele lens. I chose a shutter speed of 1/1000 s @ f/8, ISO 1.250 (sometimes 800 as I use Auto-ISO). Matrix metering usually gives you an underexposed foreground, so I shifted to center weighted spot metering and focussed on the bike. The results were ok, but all the images you see here had to be crunched through Lightroom. Editing included raising the dark areas to bring up the foreground and a tad lowering the lights.

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The golden light effect of the sundown is only visible from a certain angle – when shooting against the sun. To demonstrate this I ran around the bike and took an image from another angle (remember – the bike has not been moved between the shots). The image blow is more of a “meh”-type. Nothing special.

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Running around again, capturing a last glimpse of the sunset:

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That was a very fulfilling shooting. It was not planned, but I saw an opportunity and took it. The resulting images are my reward.

And here is a special treat for the “I do not have such a good camera, I can’t take such pictures”-fraction. The two following images were shot with my Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. I used the standard camera app with HDR mode enabled. The results are very impressive for a smartphone I must say. Please note that these images are out of camera (except the watermark). No level, color or whatever adjustments have been applied (you can’t say that about the DSLR images).20150829-Granpasso-Smartphone-002

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Bottom line: If you see a good opportunity, don’t hesitate to change your plans.

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