Is The Pink Moon Really Pink?

Recently I've been asked how I got the shot to look the way it does. Being a photographer of the real world, I feel that my images should appear as true to life as possible if that is what I am intending to capture. With the tools we have today, ex: Photoshop, I feel it's up to the individual photographer to create whatever appeals to his or her 'eye' and leave it to the viewer to decide if they like it or not. 

So I will give you a little inside peek into my capturing of the "Pink Moon" and you can decide for yourself or not, if you see it as pink.

Here are two RAW files (unprocessed, SOOC-straight out of camera) that were captured at the rise of the full moon on April 7th. You will see the time is only a few seconds apart. The first one below was captured at 1/50 of a second to get a correct exposure. (Or as close to correct as the camera allows).

The second file was underexposed because of the faster shutter speed of 1/320 of a second. Obivously underexposed, as the sky gradually turns dark blue, not within a minute like this would suggest. In this RAW file you can see the slight pink tinge of the moon due to underexposure.

The next image shows the adjustments made in Adobe Camera Raw. My first step is to hit Auto and see if I like what it does, then tweak the sliders from there.

Then when it looks good to my eye, I open it in Photoshop. As you can see, I don't see a Pink Moon. But the supermoon in April was called a Pink Moon, and according to the Farmer's Almanac the name Pink Moon comes from the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to North America, the phlox subulata, commonly known as creeping phlox or moss phlox, which was also called 'moss pink'. 

From there I cropped the image to draw the eye from the bridge on the left to the moon on the right, following the rule of thirds as closely as I could. 

When in PS, I duplicate the layer, then added a Hue/Saturation layer to remove some of the red circle around the moon. It wasn't enough, so I duplicated it and it looked good then. Then I made a layer again of the image by using CASE (Control/Alt/Shift/E) and added some selective sharpening to the moon interior and the steel of the bridge to make them pop a bit more. And that's it! Saved as a JPG at 300ppi.

And now it's ready to print "CN Train Bridge No 9" (also known as "Pink Moon")  A nice metal print would look wonderful in the right location, wouldn't it?  

Watch for more posts coming soon. The next one will have the APPs I use to find the perfect location for a shot like this one. Stay tuned!

Until next time,

Terrill