Supermoon

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that the biggest and brightest full moon of the year happened Saturday night. This “supermoon” passed closer to the earth than usual, and as luck would have it, the orbital path had it appearing on the east coast right as the sun was setting. Who could pass up the opportunity to try and photograph such an intriguing phenomenon? Not me.

I bundled Lori and Jack into the car and we headed to Bar Harbor for a quick bite to eat before beginning our moon-hunt adventure. The Thirsty Whale on Cottage Street was pretty lively with some sort of Cinqo de Mayo/Kentucky Derby combination party going on, but we enjoyed the atmosphere and the food wasn’t bad either. I had done my homework using the Photographer’s Ephemeris – a cool piece of free software that tells you when and where the moon and sun are going to rise and set on any particular day – so we had a good idea of what we wanted to do. The big questions was… would the clouds that had accompanied us on our drive from home dissipate in time to allow for a clear view of the moon?

We took a quick spin along the Loop Road so that we could reacquaint ourselves with the ocean and feed the soul. We pottered around the rocks at Otter Cliffs for about half an hour before heading to our chosen viewing point… Cadillac Mountain. As we started hiking down the South Ridge Trail, we could see that there were some clouds stubbornly hugging the horizon, but we figured that even if they hung around for moonrise, the views would still be spectacular. I love this trail.

We were enjoying what was actually a pretty nice sunset when, right on schedule – plus about 10 minutes or so due to the low band of clouds – the supermoon appeared high and bright over the Atlantic. I stopped making sunset photographs with the wide angle lens and hurriedly attached my longest lens – a 70-200mm f4. I had borrowed a 1.4X magnifying convertor from a friend a while ago to shoot Sam’s rugby games and had neglected to return it, so I slapped that on too and was now at 280mm.

If you’ve ever seen those cool “huge moon” shots, they were captured with way longer lenses than I have access to, so I was going to have to settle for what I now had on the camera and see what I could get. Using a wide angle lens would have rendered the moon – super as it was – like a tiny speck… definitely not what I was aiming for. I quickly found something to help frame the composition – for those of you familiar with hiking in Acadia, the granite cairn will be recognizable. I made a couple of frames, and then the moon climbed higher in the sky and ducked behind more clouds. Feeling a little chilly, we decided to call it a night and hiked back up the spine of Cadillac Mountain in the waning, but still beautiful, twilight.

Did anyone else photograph the Supermoon? If you did, please share a link to your photo in a comment below – I’d love to see your version.

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39 thoughts on “Supermoon

  1. I was hoping to get it, but we had an engagement. By the time I was out, it was far up in the sky. Yours looks nice, particularly with such a great foreground. So when does this happen again?

    • David Patterson

      Apparently it’s only once a year that it gets extra close like this. To be honest, it didn’t seem any bigger than a “normal” full moon, but then again we didn’t see it rise, and we weren’t on the horizon (where and when the optical illusion of it being bigger was supposed to have taken place).

      • I have a friend in LA who got a nice picture of the moon when it was lower and bigger.

        I have searched and searched, trying to figure out the phenomonon of the harvest moon in general. Even a weather prof I had did not really have a satisfactory explanation for why it appaers so huge. But one source said if you get something round in your hand (like a ring) and hold it at arm’s length with the moon within the borders of the circular object, it will be the same size then as it is with the same tool holding it up to the moon higher and brighter in the sky.

        It is an optical illusion. But one that still has me baffled. I have tried it and it is true, but it makes no sense. That tidbit wa free!

        • David Patterson

          Thanks for the additional info. I don’t get it either, but am happy to go with the flow and enjoy it 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. For a while it didn’t look like we were going to see the moon, but once it rose above the bank of clouds we got a nice glimpse.

  2. I was so hoping you’d be out moon hunting and taking photographs! Also, “reacquaint ourselves with the ocean and feed the soul”…I just love that.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Dena. Though I wasn’t really all that successful with photographing the big moon, we had a great time getting back to some of our favorite places.

  3. Also, http://www.flickr.com/photos/gghouse/7000705862/in/photostream

    It was taken with my handheld Kodak camera – the mosquitoes were too horrific to stand outside with the tripod (which I have yet to figure out to use) so that’s all I got.

    I remember many moons ago (nicely placed pun!) my mother and I were driving back from Gainesville east toward Jacksonville and encountered the Super moon. She argued it was the setting sun…until I convinced her it wasn’t the sun as it sets in the west and we were driving to the Atlantic Ocean! It was easy to be confused because it truly looked like the setting sun, blazing orange and just breathtaking. I’m lucky to have ever seen anything like that!

  4. That’s a beautiful shot. Love the “mini-stonehenge I was so looking forward to seeing the supermoon but we had a very overcast night in NY. I admire your dedication to photography and your blog.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. Bummer about the clouds… we were nearly socked in too. That little cairn is only about two feet high, but as I scrambled to find something relatively interesting to use as a complimentary element, it just seemed right 🙂

  5. I was beginning to despair of the skies ever clearing (after five days). Almost drove up to Cadillac myself and then got busy with something else. Ah, the Thirsty Whale…..good pub food! Sounds like you had a great day with the family. Great pic and did you notice how bright Venus was?!

    • David Patterson

      I did notice how bright Venus was… pretty amazing – maybe it was just the lack of clouds that got me so excited! Long week weather-wise, so it was great to see the skies clear. As we enjoyed the view from about half a mile down the South Ridge Trail, the top of Cadillac actually got socked in with clouds too.

  6. I saw the supermoon and it did appear a bit larger than usual, but in comparison to all the photos I’ve seen about it, my view was not that spectacular. Thanks for sharing your photo though. I’m a big fan of your photography. Cheers.

  7. Hello David, I managed to get a few nice shots of the moon over on the west coast of Canada as Mark as just mentioned. What a great connector he is! Your post and request was passed on to me by Mark Mendonck and I really enjoyed reading your moon story and the accompanying photograph. Pleased to meet you 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Nice to “meet” you too. Mark is quite the connector indeed, and I too enjoyed your post and photographs.

  8. I am not living under a rock – but I have been busy celebrating my son’s confirmation: So no big moon experience for me 😦 – Actually I did not hear about it until the day after…

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