Full Moon?

Moonrise D-09-02-09-0133

Moonrise, Lincoln Memorial

Every so often, the full moon will rise perfectly aligned with an architectural icon, rewarding photographers who happen to be in the right place at the right time.  Such an opportunity may occur on November 6th here in Washington, DC but only if the weather forecast is wrong.  The prediction calls for an 80% chance of rain, which means that an opportunity for an image like the one above is slim.

The above image was taken on February 9, 2009 and while conditions were not perfect, we still had a chance for a nice image. (Technical data: Nikon D200 on tripod with 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens extended to 112 mm; exposure: 2.5 sec. @ f/7.1, ISO 200)  On that night, the time of the moonrise was 42 minutes after sunset, which is usually a little later than perfect. Tomorrow night, the moonrise is scheduled for only 6 minutes after sunset, which is a little earlier than perfect.  In addition, the location of the moon will be slightly to the left (north) so one would need to be a little farther south to get the same proximity with the Lincoln Memorial.

About five years ago, it was difficult to calculate the right time and place to catch the moon as it broke the horizon line.  You needed to know how to use a compass, something that was invented 800 years ago. But the appearance of “apps” such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris have made this quite easy. So check your weather forecast, and if the prospects are favorable in your area, get out there with your tripod and get the shot.

20 thoughts on “Full Moon?

  1. Tech nology is really helping those once in a lifetime shots. I wish you luck with the one today and the one from 2009 looks great. I like the clouds across the moon it adds a little bit of depth to the sky.


    • Thanks very much. I did go down for the attempt on Thursday night but it started raining just about the time the moon was supposed to come up. So I packed up and headed back to the car. That’s the cool part about chasing the moon–it can be an elusive target so when things do go right it can be very exciting.


  2. Hi Robin, Research and planning are important for those “once in a lifetime” shots, othertimes we head out and make the best of what we find. How did the shoot go, any luck finding the moon? It is going to beat the shot from 2009, the image is wonderful.


    • Hi, Janice: Thanks for the comments and interest. No, it was not a productive evening. I got to the location on time, it was completely overcast and my little weather radar app showed that rain was approaching my position ( I was about 600 meters south of the 17-mile marker on the Mount Vernon Trail). A few minutes after the moon was up (but nowhere in sight), a light rain began to fall and it was time to pack things up and head back to the car. December 6th is the next full moon, but it rises well to the north and a different plan will be needed.


    • Thanks very much. I appreciate the nice words. As you can see from the previous comments, it didn’t work out this time. The next time this location might line up correctly is in October 2015.


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