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The July Full Moon. July 4, 2012

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Taken Tuesday night, a bit too late for the landscape:

That is all.

That Time Of The Month. April 6, 2012

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Yes Kids, it’s That Time of the Month again: the moon is fat, and I’ve been on the hunt.

My best (and indeed only  effort) happened a couple of days ago, and quite by accident – I was hip deep in the Deerfield river, heading for a gravel bar to snag a sunset shot or two, when I saw The Gibbous One over my shoulder, dodging in and out of some artsy-looking clouds.  As soon as I got to Terra Sorta Firma,  I threw Gizmo on the box and shot this:

Not what I came for, but you gotta dance with the celestial bodies what brung ya.  😉


March (Moonlight) Madness! March 7, 2012

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So March’s full moon will occur on Thursday night, but I’ve learned to reach for Gizmo a night or two earlier, given the statistical propensity for Full Moon nights to be overcast, and also because the moon rises before the light leaves the land, allowing for scale, perspective and a better balance of exposures.

Such was the case yesterday evening, when my up-country meanderings were interrupted by the appearance of the risen moon through a stand of birches up in Hawley:

That one’s courtesy of Ollie, my Lens-In-Residence due to his 24-105mm zoom compositional flexibility.  I dug the red glow of the fading light on the birches and, after driving past this scene, backed up like a crazy man to snap this one off from my driver’s seat.

Then I swapped lenses, putting Gizmo’s 400mm bulk on the box, and headed for the valley.  Here in the hills, I’ve found, if you start up high you can descend below subsequent eastern skylines to photograph a number of “moon rises” set against varying backgrounds.

Next up was a re-rising moon over Shelburne’s Mount Massamet:

…and a bit later, from back up in Hawley, this surreal take on the moon-in-clouds meme:

I wasn’t really prepared for the shift in hues as the rising Earth-shadow enveloped the moon, but dug it nonetheless.

I’d headed back up-country to try to find a clear western horizon to catch the fading sunset, which I just barely did:

There’s something about the complexity of The Chase in full moon and sunset photography which approximates for me in a strange way the puzzle and anticipation of my former avocation, rock climbing.

Go figure.

At any rate, this stuff is immeasurably easier to share on Teh Webz.

A February Full-ish Moon. February 6, 2012

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I went hunting for a nearly-full-moonrise this evening (the charts all say it’ll happen tomorrow evening, but the skies were expected to be clearer tonight,) and had some success.

I’d gone out yesterday afternoon and taken bearings on the moon at various times, then back-plotted the moonrise and set my compass for tonight’s event.  I wanted to be positioned to catch the moon rising against an interesting horizon, which is always tricky, given that the moon isn’t visible ’till it rises!  That’s not the case with morning moonsets; one can see the moon as it heads for the horizon and get somewhere where the results are predictable.

Anyway, I’d hoped to get the moon rising behind the Mount Toby fire tower in Sunderland, but somehow miscalculated, getting it entirely missing the mountain:

Dang!  Not a bad shot, but so much for my Scientific Method!

Well, with the moon visible it was much less of a crap-shoot to get it breaking the skyline somewhere else, as long as that “somewhere else” had taller hills so the moon would “rise” again.  So I booked it to Shelburne Falls, where the looming bulk of Mount Massamet rose more steeply skyward, and tried again.

Prowling the higher Buckland side, I took a bead on the visible moon:

The palette was entirely different but not at all unpleasant.  So with an eye on the prize, I wound my way down into the village, cruising side-streets to get to somewhere which would let me shoot the moon re-rising behind the Mount Massamet fire tower in the above shot.

With a bit of aggressive driving and a spate of running through peoples’ front yards, I finally got this:

While I’m happy with these shots as blog-fodder, they’re not nearly of printable quality, which has me frustrated beyond words.  I don’t know if Gizmo’s 400mm length just won’t ever cut the mustard, or if I’m doing something wrong here.

I guess more research is in order.

A Cold Moon. December 10, 2011

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The December Full Moon has many names (as do they all:) Cold Moon, Snow Moon, Oak Moon, Peach Moon, Long Night Moon …

The list goes on.  Every Peoples has a reason for the appellation they apply to the twelve full moons of the year.

Regardless of the name one chooses to call it by, the December Lunar Fullness occurred in the wee hours of this morning.  And knowing the low probability that I’d make it out of bed in the dink and the dank of the dark and frosty AM twilight, I snagged these half-a-night-short-of-full-moon shots last evening, with the light fading from the land:

It was predictably hazy, but clearer than the night before, so I was satisfied to get what I got.

Here the sky took on a rose hue as the sun dipped below the horizon:

The haze meant that I never got a really clear moon shot to share, but still, it didn’t entirely suck:

I missed the clarity of a colder, drier night, but dug the halo.

Now onward toward January, and the prospect of capturing that elusive crisp shot of craters and shadows.

Thanks to Gizmo and Ollie for these photos.  Good boys!  😉

A Pastel Moon. November 8, 2011

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Tonight’s nearly-full moon was tasked with rising through a hazy maze of moisture, and didn’t break clear of the clouds until it had long since escaped the frame of the horizon’s details.

That usually means the photo op is a total loss.  But in this case, the setting sun abetted my efforts by painting the banded offenders in a pleasing rose hue, so I snapped one off anyway:

It will never see a frame, but as blog-fodder, I’ll take it.

The forecast calls for increasing clouds culminating in rain, so that may be it for this month’s moon.

Moon Over The Deerfield. August 14, 2011

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This month’s attempt to photograph a rising full moon was thwarted by Friday’s hazy eastern horizon and Saturday’s thickening clouds.  Still, Friday provided this view of the Deerfield river just after sunset:

It’s not a true “moonrise” shot, the cold-hearted orb being too far from the horizon to use Gizmo and actually get much lunar detail, but still, the sight had a certain ambiance which prompted me to pull over and go through the motions.  This shot is courtesy of Ollie, my 24-105mm  L-series tele lens, which is my most compositionally flexible tool to date.

Time will tell if the crisper evenings of Autumn grace me with better luck.

A Beautiful Summer’s Eve. July 15, 2011

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Tonight was a beauty, warm enough for shirtsleeves and driving with all of the windows down, cool enough to keep the bugs at bay.  There were scattered patches of rain moving in from the west, which made for a lovely view of this potato field at sunset:

…and a bit later and some miles closer to home, a beautiful just-past-full-moonrise:

These cool nights generate copious river fogs; perhaps I’ll snag some shots of that tomorrow morning, if I can get my butt out of bed at 4:30 (no promises, though, as I’m up at 5 on weekdays for work, and I’ll be out late tomorrow night… Lord knows I’m in desperate need of my beauty sleep!)    😉

Two Moons. March 18, 2011

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Taken tonight, just before sunset, from the muddy fields along the Connecticut river in Northampton.

First, with a hillside of hemlocks and birches:

…and then, after running through ankle-deep muck with Gizmo slung over my shoulder, this one with the Skinner Park Summit House in the frame:

I’ll clean the shoes tomorrow; tonight I’m gonna look at these for a bit, then hit the hay.

G’night, my friends.

Consolation Prize. February 18, 2011

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I’m a loser, Baby, but don’t kill me just yet.

After getting skunked in my quest to capture a full moon photo Wednesday night I thought I’d get up early enough Thursday to catch moonset.

So with only four hours sleep I popped out of bed at 5am, microwaved a mug of joe and headed for the high country.  A very hazy moon was just ducking below the hills to the west, and I figured if I hustled I’d have a clear view of the horizon as Luna took her last bow.

But “clear view” was the kicker; turns out my hazy glimpse of Her Fullness was to be my last for the day.  The western horizon was a solid mass of clouds, and though I got to the vantage point I’d planned on, there was nothing to be seen of her.

All was not lost, though – I’d noted that sunrise would be about an hour after moonset, giving me enough time to get across Florida to Whitcomb Summit to catch that phenomenon, if indeed it was worth catching.  For some reason that spot has yielded some of the most amazing raspberry skies I’ve ever seen in the East, and most especially in winter.

I wasn’t disappointed.  The eastern horizon was just cracking a wry red smile as I arrived, and I had time to set up and snap away until I got this:

It was another iteration of the corrugated clouds of the night before, painted pink through a fortuitous gap between Heaven and Earth.

I did nothing to that shot in post-processing other than to bring the levels up; the clouds were moving quickly and a long exposure wouldn’t do, so I under-exposed it at two seconds.

As consolation prizes go, I was satisfied with this one.

Then I was off to brew a fresh pot of coffee and pitch another porch full of firewood.