Supermoon – Catch me if you can

By Chris
The Supermoon. Once every 14 months – Val di Fassa, Dolomites (Nikon D90, 200 mm, 10 sec, F3.5, stacked)

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Twilight Micro-Adventures

The Supermoon comes around after every 14 full moons. “A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth” (source: WIKI)

It was a challenge for me to try catch the magic that comes with it. Night sky photography isn’t just taking your camera out and snapping the photo. Getting the right settings, the moment, the right composition, having the right lens, the right tripod, the right angle, the right motive, loaded batteries, the right weather, getting there at the right place at the right time. The best times are when everyone’s busy throwing zzz s in the air, while you are still up and out freezing …and cursing at every photo that doesn’t work out.

Catching the supermoon recently became a micro-adventure for me. I was on my own. I wasn’t there at the right time, nor was I at the right place. But I did have a plan. And this plan went every direction but right. First, the Supermoon came out way too early. I expected the moon to appear somewhere around 10 pm, but instead, it popped up shortly after the sun went down. Panic! My equipment was not prepared nor my settings set right…and where did I place my head lamps? By the time I was ready, the moon soared up high in the middle of the darkness. How unspectacular! And then it started to rain.

Disappointed, I packed up and took off for a quiet spot to spend the night. 1.5 hours later, I ate my self-made sandwich and fell asleep to the sound of raindrops hitting my rooftop and the consolation that I would not be missing anything in the midst of the fog and clouds.

Something woke me up in the middle of the night. I looked out, I could see everything. It was so bright at 2:30 am. The clouds have cleared, the sky was twinkling with stars and the moon shone mighty bright. I crawl out from my cosy down sleeping bag and set up everything again. Tripod, camera, headlamps, down jacket, beanie to brave the cold 4°C (in summer!) and looked for the perfect place to start. The first picture came, then the second, third… suddenly I was wide awake. I couldn’t stop.

The night was like day, the supermoon shone so strong – Roda de Vael (Rotwand) 2803 m, Dolomites (Nikon D90, 18 mm, 25 sec, F5)


Other curious moments:

Encounters in Tirol

A few weeks earlier, I found a perfect setting right before a lake. The night came, I strolled up the lake with all my equipment and headlamps and stopped! Glowing eyes staring at me. For a moment I wasn’t sure what they were. But soon, I realised they were cows, and relaxed a little. I built up my tripod and started preparing the settings. That was when the whole herd started to move towards me. The bravest of them came up next to my cam and sniffed the lens. (Damned! How could I get them clean again) I moved the tripod somewhere else. She followed. And every time I moved, she placed herself right before my lenses. Desperate, I then started talking to her, whispering nice little things, which I thought she might want to hear. She stood motionless, and I heard a loud thump in the soil. She laid right in front of me! It was only then I knew, that I was accepted by them. I now was one of them. Moooo, the cow whisperer.  I respect these big creatures. You never know, when you should really start to run.

Reflections – Tirol, Austria (Nikon D90, 17 mm, 30 sec, F3.5)

Climbing the Dolomites

It was one of the coldest nights we had this summer. Minus 1°C at 9 pm, altitude: 2100 m. The night will not be cosy, not with our thin summer sleeping bags. We were caught unprepared. But I was brave enough to make it quick session and get all the goodies I was looking for. My first Milky way. Viola

Passo Giau, Dolomites (Nikon D90, 17 mm, 30 sec, F3,5)

When hungry

There are days when the climbing is long, the days are short and the next guest house is 25km away. And you find out at the last moment that you’ve emptied your edibles without getting new ones. Those were the nights, I had to settle for just a simple pasta and the river water would’ve added all the spices.

While others have a beautiful van, we have a car that houses everything. Tabe, chairs, stove, shower. And when it has go quick, we leave them all inside.
We have a car that houses everything. Table, chairs, stove, shower. But not tonight. (Nikon D90, 17 mm, 10 sec, F3.5)