Airplane crossing the Moon

400mm  f/7.1  1/500sec  ISO400
Yesterday evening I was relaxing at my balcony when I noticed the rising full Moon at a nearly clear sky. During that time there were a lot of airplanes approaching our nearby airport. This was my chance to capture a scene I was looking for a long time: An aircraft in front of the Moon. While one plane after another was crossing the scene the Moon came up higher and higher. I was grabbing my camera and tried out some settings in preparation for the right moment. Moon and airplanes came closer and closer.

400mm  f/7.1  1/400sec  ISO400
Then it was my time. A first airplane was crossing the Moon in it's upper half. I took several shots so I catched it before and while entering the Moon, while completely in front of it and while and after leaving. The scene I like most is the one where the plane is leaving the Moon. You can even see hot air blasting out the engines. A second aircraft was soon entering the scene. This time it crossed the Moon at the center line. Again I took several photos, but this time I managed to capture it right in the Moon's center.

400mm  f/7.1  1/400sec  ISO400
A third airplane was reaching the scene, but unfortunately the Moon was too high already. I didn't expect the Moon to rise that fast. The whole action took about five minutes and I only got two chances for my long awaited scene. Today the sky will be overcast again and thus the earliest next chance would be in a month. In the end I'm quite proud with the results, but the photos are not of a quality that I would accept as good. The scene is great and the blue hour gives it a special touch. But the photos are not that clear and very noisy, although the ISO value was not that high. A layer of thin clouds reduced contrast of Moon and sky. The scene is great but the image quality could be improved.

The camera settings: For Moon shots I use my excellent EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L zoom lens which is mounted onto my EOS 500D camera. Since it was blue hour with enough light I chose P mode and let the camera calculate aperture and shutter speed automatically. ISO was at a fixed value of 400. For stabilization I used a tripod.


fredamans said…
Beautiful photos! The moon and plane look so close, yet I know they are not. Brilliant!