"Pac-man" and how I made the shot

This was shot one morning on the way to work. The only manipulation done is cropping and basic color and level corrections. No copying and moving seagulls around. Still, it is one of the few photos that I feel I have deliberately made, not just shot.

There were three things happening on the sky this morning. An ok sunrise, a very clear and nice moon and lots of seagulls flying in v-shape. They all flew in the same general direction, so I decided to try to get a shot of them in the same frame as the moon.

I did some test shots of the moon, and set an exposure that would not blow out the highlights and maintain a fairly fast shutter speed (1/200). This meant opening up my aperture (f/5.6) which was ok since both objects were at infinity. It also required me to push the ISO to 800, just about the limit to what can be made decent again in Lightroom with my 450D.

With the exposure set, I decided on composition. The shadow on the moon made me put it in the lower left corner so that it would open towards the center of the frame.

The next step was to wait. Every minute or so a bird flew into the frame, but nothing special. Until this small strip of birds arrived. I had seen them coming in my left eye that was not looking through the camera and shot a short burst as they flew through my frame. This one was the one most pleasing.

Finally in post I decided on a non-standard crop to make the moon and birds form a diagonal line from corner to corner. I did some minor adjustments to bring out clarity in the moon and pull out a bit more blue in the sky and thats it.

Comments? Questions?

PS. Thanks to +Martin Valland for naming the photo.
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