This photo was taken actually on 11-10-19, but I just recently finished processing it. The location is looking at Duzel Rock with obviously the full moon coming up behind it. On top of Duzel Rock is a fire lookout tower.
So a little back story. When I got out of the Army back in the late 70’s, I worked a summer as a fire lookout at this tower on Duzel Rock. I needed a job and found this one and actually enjoyed it. As you can imagine, great views from here although it is secluded and very seldom visited by anyone other than the lookouts. I’ve wanted and have recently tried to return up there for some more photography, but the road to the tower traverses some private property and they have since installed locked gates and don’t like visitors traveling through.
So I thought the next best thing was to try and photograph the tower from down on the valley floor in Scott Valley. The mountain is visible from most of Scott Valley although you can’t get very close to it. So as you can imagine, a decent photograph isn’t really possible, at least not the way I had hoped. I considered different ways to try and take a photo with the lookout tower as a point of interest without much success. Then I thought about the moon rising up behind the tower. I planned on using a long lens and with photo compression, I was hoping the moon would look big coming behind the tower.
I tried to research the possibility of catching the moon and tower together with different apps such as PhotoPills and The Photographers Ephemeris to see when the moon would cooperate with what I was planning. I made a couple of attempts previously without the use of the apps, without success. Using the apps, I thought I might have a chance and ventured out. I went to the spot the apps showed would work, but of course, a different hill was in the way and blocked my view. Apparently, the two would just not come together as I had hoped.
Frustrated, I considered my options to get the shot I had hoped for. I know you can move things around in Photoshop with layers and masks and things. Unfortunately, I knew very little about Photoshop and don’t know how to accomplish what I wanted. But I thought this might be a new goal to finally try and learn Photoshop or at least some of it. I know it is a beast, but I only need to learn some of it to hopefully accomplish my goal. Since I was out anyway, I took photos of the moon and the lookout as separate photos. I was hoping that someday in the future I would figure out how to merge the photos and create my vision.
Now fast-forward to the current time. I have been watching some Photoshop tutorial videos and think I have learned “enough” to accomplish my goal. After some trial and error – okay – a lot of trial and error, I think I can do it. I go back and find the original photos and am able to successfully create my first successful composite photograph! No, I did not enlarge the moon for a more dramatic effect. These are the two photographs I took at the time, both with the same focal length. Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually see the moon come up from behind Duzel Rock like I wanted, but I am happy with the results. This was what I was hoping to see if the two had cooperated. If you are one of those who don’t like this type of art, then look away. I don’t think this will be my focus for future photographs, but it is something to consider if a similar project comes to mind and I can’t get it all with one photograph.