Sunday, May 6, 2012

On the Hunt for a Super Moon

It's a super moon!! It's going to be 15% bigger, closer, and cooler!! I was really excited when I thought of all the amazing shots I was going to get of this moon. It was on schedule to appear at it's fullest here in California at 8:35 pm. I was going to be there to catch it all on "film".

So, we went to dinner with Grandma and Grandpa at El Torito to celebrate Mother's Day early with Grandma and what better day than Cinco de Mayo! Mexican food and Deep fried ice cream. Anyway, on our way home we saw it, the most fantastic moon we've ever seen! 

Where should we go?? I have to go home and get my camera and long lens (135mm fixed LOL).  It's going to be amazing!!! We talked of going to the beach so I could get the moon and it's reflection on the water! Wait, I live on the West Coast, the moon is in the east. How about a mountain top!! Where can we drive to get to the top of a mountain? The kids were full of fabulous ideas of hiking and climbing and going on an amazing adventure! Oh no, it seemed like it was getting a little bigger than I had planned.

That afternoon I was thinking about not going to dinner because I was starting to feel under the weather. Now I'm going to go mountain climbing at night while holding a camera and tripod. Well, we decided to go to the water tower behind our house. Steve said it was a hard steep climb but HE SAID IT WAS ON A PAVED ROAD. So I said, ok lets do this thing!

We grabbed our stuff and parked in the shopping center. Steve even carried my tripod up what seemed like an ok road that traveled up a steep hill. As we approached the top he flashed his flashlight on a little dirt trail and said this is where we take the trail... What??

What is this dirt trail you speak of?!!

I immediately went into a tail spin, seriously when even you know you're being a jerk, it's bad.
I whined and cried all the way up, no exaggeration (even for me). I just kept climbing and breathing and whining, and breathing and saying bad words. Poor Steve just patiently listened and lead the way up through the sage, weeds, shrubs, snake holes, passed all the vicious wild animals who were waiting to eat us in the dark. Emma helped out by reminding us several times that coyotes are nocturnal.

When we finally made it to the top I was amazed at the view of the moon over the Cleveland National Forest. It really was spectacular and all that whining was ridiculous, as usual. Anyway, I set up and took my first picture and it was exactly what I knew it would be, a black background with a white dot in the middle of it! 

I know, right? It's amazing!

Ok, how about less exposure:
Hmmm, lookin' high and tight.
with more detail...
Longer exposure:

Ok, now it's just becoming the sun.

Clearly I am not the astronomical photographer of the group. PS If you've ever noticed, I really like shoot things in detail and up close, now you know why I'm a detail girl. However, this would be my best shot of the moon:

It's actually my best shot of any moon ever. So, yay!

Then in true form I'm distracted by the shiny lights on the other side of the hill top:

 Look! It's the AmPm!

And Wells Fargo Bank! I had no idea
the wonders I was going to see here
from this fabulous hill top!

We began to walk back down the hill and back onto the paved road. I was feeling better and actually pretty stupid for being a jerk, even though Emma was now crying that she wanted to go home because coyotes are nocturnal.

It was actually a pretty good adventure and I had touched the button on my camera a couple of times and my heart was now beating with a burning desire to shoot more. I started taking pictures of the dark, hoping later to see scary eyes looking back at me. Then we passed a couple walking to the top of the hill towards the water tower. Paying very little attention to them we continued on our descent.  As we approached to bottom of the hill we noticed a couple of teenage boys playing with glow sticks. What? How could anything be more fabulous? I wondered if they'd let me take pictures of those things! And they did! But wait, what I didn't tell you was they were spelling out the word PROM for the couple we passed as we were coming down the hill! How cool was that? The boy half of the couple took the girl up to the top of the hill while his buddies wrote the word PROM on the ground below in glow sticks. That way when she got up there she would see it down below and he could ask her if she'd go with him to prom. How darling is that?? To me, waaaay better than any super moon ever.

Here are a couple of pics of the glow sticks:

Well, that was fun, and it was a good adventure. The girls hopped in the truck and I thought I'd try just a couple more shots of that moon because now it finally reached over the hill top. 

How about through the trees?

 Hmm, creepy and a lot of moisture going on now...

Longer exposure gives us MOON FLARE!
awesome, right? WOW!

Longer exposure yet, gives us a "strange
set looking scene" from 1960's Star Trek. So Weird!

Ok, now I'm thinking, what? get out of the car ladies! We're on to something here, It's daytime in my camera. Lets see what happens!

Homemade supermoon...

What happens if you just walk through the scene very slowly but not lit?

This happens. You're invisible, except for some very 
faint feets. This is what you would do to shoot a very
busy city street if you wanted it to look like no one
was there... How's that for a photo shoot idea?

So we ended the night playing with light painting as we've done before but each variable makes it a bit different. This time we were doing it with an exposure that made it light as day and still the light registered. What a fun night it turned out to be and an excellent adventure and it all lasted for about one hour.
It was all fun and games until the flash light died...


Amanda's trials:

Emma's Trials:


 This would be the actual dying of the flashlight:

Super Moon, not so much. Super fun time with my family, as usual, YES!


  1. Holy Cow your shot of the moon is FANTASTIC!! Definitely worth the hike! Actually I like all your shots of the moon in all their varieties!!

    Those are crazy squiggly light flash thingys kinda cool!

    Good job!

  2. Thank you!! We had fun and have been laughing about the hike all day. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Really great post & a great shot of the moon. I was walking Tundra last night & saw our Super Moon, it was a very deep orange with thin cloud stretched across it, I was going to grab my gear, that was still all together after a shoot I did earlier, somehow got side tracked then old man fatigue took over & it never happened. I've always wanted to get a great shot of the moon for my office wall, I'm a bit of a funny one but after many years on the road I've come to think of the moon as an old friend looking down on me where ever I am in the world. Perhaps tonight I should make a date with Mr Moon & I'll try not to mess up the shot like usually do :)

  4. Jonathan, do it, just do it! It will be wonderful!
    I was feeling old lady fatigue, but all the younger folks pulled me along...explains all the whining

    Thank you for stopping by! All the best