Sturgeon Supermoon Over Kansas City

Over the years this has been one of my more frequent shooting locations.  I like the reflection of city lights and the moon on the Missouri River.  Because Kaw Point is at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers the river banks are extra wide allowing a greater exposure of the cityscape as it rests on the Southeast bluff that overlooks the West Bottoms.  This nicely frames the cityscape from South side of the Broadway Bridge to the Convention Center pylons, which is about a mile in length as you can see in the featured image.

This was a planned composition as shown by the screen shot of the PhotoPills plan found below.  If this is a plan you want to use, you can click and a download a copy of the KMZ file that you can import into your app.  This was a plan that I have previously saved to determine a lunar exposure and I have been waiting for this composition for years and perhaps several years will have to lapse for the sturgeon moon to align as was shot this evening.  A few days prior to the day of this shot, I visited the site and used PhotoPills augment reality module to confirm my plan and took this screenshot of the phone’s display.

This is a challenging shot because you must expose for the cityscape, city lights, moon, and add a long exposure for smoothing of the water.  Each of those then require some blending to make a composite image as shown above.  So, the EXIF data is really the value of the base image, which was the cityscape shot.  The included image of the Lightroom the histogram’s is provided to show the skewing to the left because the Brightness Value was a -4.54.  Knowing that this was a night shot I set the metering mode on the camera to average for the base image and recorded an Exposure Bias of 0 EV.  However, even with the image metering set at average on my Sony A7R5 the dynamic range between the darkest and lightest values did result in some clipping that is seen in the color wheel image where the white and black values exceeded saturation.  I tried recovering some of the blown out whites through additional exposures that were blended into the image in Photoshop verses using the Lightroom HDR function.  However, this was only at some isolated areas to return detail to the neon side on top of the Commerce Bank building and with the billboards. 

The water was a four-minute exposure at f/22, and ISO 100 with a 3 stop ND filter.  This was overlayed into the image through a layer mask.  The moon was shot separately at a f/11 aperture setting with a 1/250 sec shutter speed at ISO 102400 to capture it in focus.  Noise reduction using Topaz DeNoise AI was applied to minimize the induced noise from that high an ISO.



Picture Info
August 1, 2023
8:30 PM
Sony ILCE-7RM5
FE 24-240 mm
70 mm
30 sec
No Flash
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