Waiting for the Harvest Moon

The setting sun paints an orange glow to the sky and hills beyond the bay as we wait for the rising harvest moon.

Thank you to everyone who joined me on the Camera West Photo Walk yesterday evening to photograph the rising full moon over Rat Rock Island. We had a good group of shooters and the conditions were perfect – no wind or fog!

Right on schedule, the harvest moon rose over Rat Rock Island and the hills above Pinole.

Kenny shoots from a bluff over Rat Rock Cove at China Camp State Park in Marin County.

Harvest Moon over Rat Rock Island

If interested in joining us for future photo walks, check out the Events link on the left side of this page. You must sign up early because they all fill up quickly.

See you on the next one!


September Photo Walk : Full Moon Over Rat Rock Island

Moonrise over Rat Rock Island

For our September photo walk, Michael is leading us to a small beach near San Rafael in Marin County where we will photograph the full moon as it rises over an island with a very unique name : Rat Rock island.

On Thursday evening, September 19th, the moon will rise just as the sun is setting giving us a rare opportunity to have detail in both the landscape and the moon. This only happens one day a month and on this particular day, we will be lined up perfectly to get an image similar to the photo above.

There are a few tricks however to get clarity in a moonrise photo so Michael will be on hand to help guide you to come up with photos you will be proud of.

Waiting for the moon from Rat Rock Beach

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Cost  : $25.00

 We must limit this to just 12 participants so sign up soon!

Call or email Michael at Camera West in Walnut Creek for more info or to sign up.



Rat Rock Island Moonrise

Canon 1DX, 200mm, ISO 200, .3 sec @ f11. Metering mode on aperture priority with a -1 EV

Yesterday was one of those rare days when the moon rose at the exact same time as the sun set. And on a small, sandy, strip of beach in Marin County, about a dozen Camera West friends joined me to document the full moon.

I’ve always wanted to get a photo of Rat Rock Island, situated a hundred yards off the shore of China Camp State Park near San Rafael. I’ve seen some beautiful photos other shooters have made of this island with a strange name and I wanted my own.

As part of a full moon project I started last year to get me out shooting again, I checked The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) to see how the moonrise was shaping up for this month and to my surprise I saw that the moonrise & sunset times matched. (What makes this so special for you the photographer is that for a few minutes, it is possible to get detail in both the moon and the landscape.) Rat Rock Island came immediately to mind and when I checked the map within TPE, I saw that it was going to work. The moon would rise directly over the island!

The Photographer's Ephemeris showed that the moon would rise directly above Rat Rock Island at 5:26pm. The blue line indicates the direction of the rising moon, the other lines show sunrise, sunset and moonset.

Prior to sunset, we all got our cameras set up, including David Cheung in the foreground.

As the sun sets behind us, we all wait patiently for the moon to make its appearance behind Rat Rock Island seen in the distance.

As the moon appeared right on time, we all clicked away.

We all had a great time until an unseen park ranger spoiled our fun. Turns out the park closes at sunset and with an annoying bull horn from the road above, he announced our cars would all be ticketed if we did not leave immediately. But no worries, we all escaped with no fines and some great pictures of Rat Rock Island.

If you are interested in attending similar photo outings like this one, be sure to check the events link on the left of this page. Once a month I lead inexpensive photo walks and we are always offering some great workshops throughout the year. Be sure to check them all out!

Want to shoot the next moonrise? Check out this previous blog post I wrote on how to shoot a moonrise photo, and this link for the landscape photographer’s best friend : The Photographers Ephemeris.