December’s Cloudy Moonrise

Shooting wide-field is for sure not my specialty, but the view I was treated to on December 13th was just too beautiful to miss out on. Upon leaving the office, I saw a wonderful a rising Full Moon piercing through the clouds, low above the eastern horizon. The Moon was surrounded by a beautiful halo caused by thin cirrus clouds. Furthermore, all this was nicely framed between some barren trees which gave it a sort of an evanescent and mysterious look.

Just by chance, I happened to have my mirrorless camera along. Therefore, I pulled up to the side of a country road and started shooting, both short exposures to preserve details on the lunar disk and long exposures to capture the faint halo. Some technical details:

  • Sony A6000 mirrorless camera, 200 ISO, 1/2 s + 1/25 s exposures.
  • Sony 55-210 mm zoom lens @210 mm, f/6.3
  • My car’s hood served as a nice makeshift tripod :-)

This view reminded me of one of my favorite poems, “Canto Notturno di un Pastore Errante nell’Asia” (“Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd in Asia” by Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi:

“Che fai tu, luna, in ciel? dimmi, che fai,
Silenziosa luna?
Sorgi la sera, e vai,
Contemplando i deserti; indi ti posi.
Ancor non sei tu paga
Di riandare i sempiterni calli?
Ancor non prendi a schivo, ancor sei vaga
Di mirar queste valli?”

“What doest thou in heaven, O moon?
Say, silent moon, what doest thou?
Thou risest in the evening; thoughtfully 
Thou wanderest o’er the plain,
Then sinkest to thy rest again.
And art thou never satisfied
With going o’er and o’er the selfsame ways?
Art never wearied? Dost thou still
Upon these valleys love to gaze?”

I really enjoyed this unexpected opportunity, and hope you’ll enjoy it just as much.

The takeaway from this experience? Always bring your camera along, ’cause you never know! :mrgreen:

Moon (large FOV)

Moon (large FOV)

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