02 July 2012

The Pursuit of Moonrise

There's nothing quite like watching a full moon rise. Fine, almost full, it's officially full tomorrow. But tomorrow the moon will rise about an hour and ten minutes later and that's no good for the photograph I wanted to make.

I'm not sure I got the photograph I wanted this time, but I believe they are the best I could've gotten with the gear I have and the atmospheric conditions available. (I haven't looked at them yet.)

Next time I'll look for a full moonrise an hour and a half before sunset. With any luck there will be clouds, but not right on top of the hills. Also I think I'll give in and wear bug spray.

Even so, I had a lovely time. While driving to the boat ramp, I saw a fox cross the road and then run alongside it to give me a really good view.

As I pulled into the drive to the boat ramp, there was a rabbit sitting in the road. It hopped out of the way as I approached.

When I scouted where to set up my tripod, I came across a family of ducks that jumped into the water and splashed about the river while I waited for the moon.

There was a pickup with a boat trailer parked further back so I made sure to set up out of the way if they came back while I was shooting.

I took some photographs of spectacular multi-hued clouds over the hills.

The mosquitoes were a bit bothersome, but not as bad as they might have been. I'd changed into long pants which I tucked into long socks. I'd tucked my shirt into my pants (something I rarely ever do), put on a long sleeve t-shirt, and a hoodie which I zipped up and raised the hood on. Hopefully the mosquitoes didn't make it through all my layers; they were certainly trying though. May have a few bites around my neck and head but feel OK for now.

I was a bit early, so I got back in my car to avoid the bugs and took some notes in my moleskine.

The clouds were obscuring the hilltops a bit, so I couldn't tell if I was seeing the first sign's of moonshine through them or if it was just the sun hitting the clouds. I got out to be ready.

An SUV pulled in and an older gentleman got out and asked if I knew where a particular pond was. I felt reasonably sure I knew (turns out I was correct), and I gave him good directions to it.

"What are you going to take a picture of?" he asked.

"I'm waiting for the moon to rise."

"Oh, that'll be good. It should be a golden moon tomorrow." He turned to leave and said, "Thanks for the directions."

"You're welcome."

The moon rose a bit later than I'd calculated (actually I think Weather Underground's moonrise time for today was off a bit), but I was ready. It started rising maybe a minute after he'd driven off.

Unfortunately, the cool clouds had nearly all dropped behind the mountains to the other side of the world. The last one disappeared as the moon rose.

I took a lot of photographs because the moon moves quite quickly from the first moment it's visible to when it clears the horizon. I also shot various settings because I couldn't expose well for both the sky and foreground at the same time.

After a while I heard a boat coming up the river. It looked like a rowboat and it had a small motor. As it approached, the man in it called up, "Hello!"


"I wondered what you were photographing but then I came around the bend and saw." He gestured towards the moon.

I smiled and said, "Yeah."

I expected him to pull in to the ramp, but he just kept going upstream.

The moon was getting further from the hilltops, so I contemplated how it would look if I were to wait and shoot more. The camera I use doesn't have a lot of zoom reach, so I decided it wouldn't achieve what I was going for.

I packed up and saw another rabbit as I drove out.

No matter how my photographs turn out, I know I did my best with what I had and I loved seeing all the critters. And hearing that crazy loud bullfrog.

Two years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #21

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