Sunday, October 18, 2015
Moonrise over the Susquehanna, September 27, 2015
I spent some time on the Nanticoke-West Nanticoke bridge at and after sunset on Sunday, September 27, 2015. That was the night of the conveniently-timed (for the East Coast of the U.S., at least) total lunar eclipse described here. I wanted to catch the moonrise. I only had a vague sense of where the Moon would rise, within about sixty degrees, but I was hoping I would get some cool moonlight-on-water effects. As you can see in the image above, I did.
I wanted to get the moonrise because the Moon that night was going to be a "Supermoon," significantly larger than the average angular size of the Moon thanks to it being at its closest point in its orbit at the same time as being Full. This is something you can't really notice without some sort of measuring device, like an aspirin or pencil eraser held at arm's length - normally this will cover the face of the Moon entirely, but for a Supermoon it will not.
I had the timings of the Moon's rise memorized, but the appointed time came and went with no sign of it. I didn't realize until the next day that the time displayed on my camera was four minutes faster than the actual time, but even with such an allowance the Moon was distinctly absent. I began to suspect some supervillain had stolen it. Then it appeared, like headlights piercing the fog.
It had been above the horizon but hidden behind a thick layer of clouds. But that didn't matter: it was here now, and all was forgiven!
Until a minute later, when it vanished again behind another layer of clouds.
And so we began a waiting game, waiting for the Moon to clear the clouds and put on a show for me. After a few more minutes of being gawked at by passers-by who wondered why I was on the pedestrian walkway of a bridge taking photos of nothing, the Moon again broke through the cloud layer.
The Moon was safely clear of the thick light-blocking layers, so now it was just a matter of waiting for the sky to darken a bit to allow better images.
I posted my favorite photo of this sequence at the top of this post.
Finally, it was time to call it a night, head home, and get ready for the eclipse in a few hours. I grabbed one last image as I was getting ready to pack away the camera and tuck the tripod under my arm.
And so ended the first part of the evening's lunar photography.