A Special Place and Time
Standing amongst the fragrant sagebrush, damp from a recent dusting of snow, I waited for a special lunar event. If I my calculations were correct soon I would see the moon rising between a narrow slot in the rock formations in front of me.
Anxiously I waited for the moon to appear. Conditions were perfect. Warm colors light lit up the high desert landscape and the air was fresh, cold, and clear.
The time of the event had arrived, yet the moon was nowhere to be seen. Hmmm? I should have seen it by now. A disappointing feeling sank in. I must have made a mistake in my calculations. My thoughts were quick and searching as I wondered what went wrong and what I should do to see the moon.
Somewhere the moon was rising quickly out of my view. It was not going to wait for me to figure things out. Quickly I moved my tripod to the north a couple of meters, nothing… Ok, then lets try to the south. Bingo, there she was in full glory beautifully embraced by the wind sculpted rock!
Hurriedly I photographed La Luna just in time. It all happened so quickly, taking about a minutes to disappear behind the rock tower. Just moving a few meters changed my entire perspective, and determined whether or not I could see the moon. It was a game of peek-a-boo with the moon!
I wondered how many other beings had witnessed the full moon between these towers over the millennia ? Were the early inhabitants of this area, Native Americans, so in tune with the moon that they anticipated this event? The ancient Chaco culture, not far from here, were very aware of solar and lunar alignments and able to predict the solstice and equinox. I would not be surprised if the ancient ones were cognizant of the full moon rising between these towers.
This experience was rewarding for me. On the one hand it always feels great to use physics and math to predict a natural event. On the other hand I am humbled by how small I feel on this planet, who together with its moon, move forward through space and time independent of man.
(c) Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Ed MacKerrow / In Light of Nature Photography
My notes for planning the photograph, “Lunar Embrace”