The photo on the bottom here is currently my screensaver at work. It is the result of the keen eye of Half Moon Bay Review photographer Dean Coppola, and also his keen understanding of light and exposure.
The photo was played big in color inside this week’s newspaper. We all love it. As a result, I asked him to talk about how he got that dramatic look with a scene that we all noticed as we were driving home last week. Take it away, Dean. — Clay
As I was driving home from work on Nov. 5, I noticed a dramatic moon rising over the coastal hills. I had seen on my calendar that the next day, Thursday, was the actual full moon, but Wednesday’s was pretty close. I knew I had to pull over and make a picture.
My first attempt (the one on top) was an overall exposure and gave a decent result, but I wanted more detail in the moon. I took a meter reading for the moon knowing that the rest of the scene would darken and look more dramatic. Those of you with camera phones or point-and-shoots can get similar results. Some point-and-shoots allow you focus on the moon and “lock” on that exposure, perhaps by pushing the shutter button halfway, then recompose to take in the entire scene. If you tap on the image – for example, the moon – with your iPhone, it will set the exposure to that light reading and the rest of the scene will darken. …
I made a few horizontal and then vertical photos and was happy with the results.
Sometimes when there is too much contrast between the highlights and shadow areas you have to make a choice. If you choose to expose for the lighter areas the shadows will darken. If you choose to expose for the shadow area the light areas can “blow out.” Both effects can give dramatic and interesting images if done correctly.
— Dean Coppola