Missing the Moon

I am out walking late again.  It’s 11PM and the moon is full.  As I cross the street with Tisen, I realize I forgot to check the lunar calendar.  I’d been experimenting with shooting the full moon on the horizon.  It’s a more interesting subject that way.

Last August, I discovered the moon was rising behind the Walnut St bridge and attempted to capture people walking in front of it on the bridge.  This was a great concept, but the lack of a tripod led to poor execution.  Since then, I’ve only managed to catch the full moon in November.

Tonight, I look up and see thin, high clouds blowing across the sky, making me feel like I’m watching time lapse photography of a moon rise.  As the clouds pass over the moon, the moon forms a brilliant ring.  As the clouds and light continue to shift, the ring turns a glowing red.  Inspired by a much better photographer, I pull out my iPhone and attempt to capture a shot.  The first picture in the gallery is the best I could do.

A couple of lessons learned on iPhone photography:  1)  even the iPhone 4S with it’s new improved camera doesn’t handle night landscape photography well, and 2) if you’re going to try to get a decent shot of the moon with an iPhone, it’s best not to be holding the leach of a feisty dog while you’re shooting.  No matter how adorable Tisen is, he only assists my photography when he is the model.

About the time I realize I cannot possibly get a decent shot, the ring around the moon shifts from a glowing red to a circular rainbow.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Unfortunately, the colors do not show up in the iPhone shot and the clouds move on, the rainbow disappearing as quickly as it appeared.

As much as I want to return home to get out my DSLR and tripod, I know Tisen needs more time.  We complete our lap of the park until Tisen is satisfied.  Then, I rush us home as quickly as possible.  There is a huge bank of clouds blowing in and I’m sure I can get set up while it’s still passing over the moon.

I rush to grab my tripod bag.  I knock over a glass, drop the bag, and fall across the couch, waking my dozing husband.  After assuring him all is well, I get out my camera bag, pull out the camera, find the CF card and stick it back in the camera, attach the 1.4x extender and the 100-400mm lens, slide on the wireless remote, locate the remote, and snap the whole thing into the tripod.  I carry it all outside, locate the moon, position the tripod, and finally find the moon through my viewfinder just as the last wisp of cloud blows away.

All that’s left is the naked moon, overly bright and relatively uninteresting.  I’m fairly certain I can see the man in the moon laughing at me.