First Light at Ebey’s Landing, Whidbey Island, Washington, 2016

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A black and white, long exposure photograph of the pre-dawn darkness along the shoreline of Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island near Coupeville, Washington.
“Before First Light, Whidbey Island, Washington, 2016”
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I got up and on the road earlier than needed. The moon wouldn’t be setting until around 7:00 AM, 45 minutes after the official sunrise. Not wanting to miss a potential photograph, I arrived at the Ebey’s Landing beach at 5:00 AM. The moon was still a good 20 degrees high in the western sky. It wasn’t officially a full moon, close enough though.

My goal for the morning landscape photography session was to capture the full moon setting over the Olympic Mountains and Admiralty Inlet. And if the conditions were right, a little alpenglow from the morning sun would be shining upon the mountains.

A black and white, long exposure photograph of the shoreline of Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island near Coupeville, Washington before first light on a clear August morning.
“Darkness Along the Shoreline, Whidbey Island, Washington, 2016”
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Since the moon was still very high in the sky when I arrived, I shot a few photos of the coastline and beach along Ebey’s Landing in complete darkness except for the light of the moon. Focusing my lens under these conditions was a challenge. To the best of my ability, I chose a visible object that was close to my hyperfocal distance and focused my camera on that.

As civil daylight broke, multiple vehicles showed up and the occupants set off for an early morning hike (which is very beautiful hike if you’ve never been here before).

A black and white photograph of the setting full moon on an August morning over Admiralty Inlet as viewed from Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island near Coupeville, Washington.
“Full Moon Over Admiralty Inlet, Whidbey Island, Washington, 2016”
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It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time (if I wanted to capture the photos I had visualized). First, in order to capture the moon setting over the Olympic Mountains, I needed to be much further South on Whidbey Island. Next, I needed to be photographing on a morning that the moon is setting during the “blue hour”. Once the sun rises, the moon gets washed out by the sun and filtered by the haze that is present at about 5 degrees above the horizon.

Even though I didn’t get the specific photographs I set out for, I did get a few I was happy with. Plus it was a beautiful Summer morning to be out on the beach during sunrise.