Twice a year the moon rises (roughly) at the eastern horizon; it happens at the full moon closest to each Equinox. With the Mall set up on a east-west axis, that means the moon visually align itself with the major monuments and buildings of the city. Because it rarely rises on that axis perfectly, the sight seems to always be different.
Phil, who has been taking these pictures for a number of years, came away with a great one this time. The first thing you notice is the orange coloring of the moon; that happens because the light the moon is reflecting is going through more of the Earth’s atmosphere than if it was at the apex of the sky. The atmosphere scatters the light and redshifts it (if you check out an earlier shot the redshift is more evident). But beyond the quirky rules of physics, the shot is well framed; with the Capitol dome fully visible, the size of the Washington Monument evident, and even the beautiful dome of the Natural History Museum. And then there’s the moon in the Reflecting Pool, which seals the shot. It’s certainly a gorgeous enough sight to keep one in love with DC!
There are many ways a photograph comes into existence, artistically speaking. A photographer can simply leave everything to chance; just got out the door one day, and find a photo in what is presented to him or her. Or a photographer could plan out a shot ahead of time. If one goes this route, it’s amazing what details a photographer can control, such as the placement of celestial objects. As humans have known since ancient times, the moon and sun follow a predictable course through the sky. While this information is normally used for assisting with farming and keeping time, it’s also possible to use it to create striking photos.
Take ep_jhu’s photo above. Knowing the time and placement of the setting full moon allowed him to catch Luna as it was setting against the city’s skyline. The photo gives a fascinating scale for both moon and buildings. In fact, the shot is very reminiscent of Ansel Adam’s famous Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. It is a simple and stunning, well planned shot.
And if you’re interested in planning out a moon (or sun rise) shot, I can recommend the Photographer’s Ephemeris. It will give line of sight views on the tracking of both the moon and sun, along with all three times for settings. A well informed photographer could not ask for more!
If you were pleasantly asleep last night from 1:30 to 4:30am then you missed the lunar eclipse. No worries because WeLoveDC’s Flickr photo pool, NASA and Huffington Post have you covered with a robust recaps, videos and photos of the celestial event.
The total lunar eclipse coincided with the 2010 winter solstice, an combination of events that had not happened for 400 years and will not happen again until 2094.
Yesterday had the potential to be a squee-worthy afternoon for DC photographers. The first day of autumn meant the possibility of spectacular light as the sun set directly along the east-west axis of the city’s streets during an event we have come to know as DC Henge, and shortly after that, the harvest moon was set to rise in alignment with the major monuments along the mall. Both are twice-yearly events that drive the photographers wild, but to have both happen on the same day is pretty unusual.
So of course, something had to go wrong. In this case, storm clouds conspired to obscure the moon until it had risen well past the Capitol Dome, and haze kept the sun’s brightest rays a bit dimmer than we’ve seen in recent days. But, because there is always a silver lining in every cloud, that storm gave up some spectacular lightning bolts for the photographers conveniently already in place along the mall. Below the jump, a collection shots featuring the moon, the sun, the storm and other signs of the apocalypse: Continue reading
When I spotted this picture in the pool last night, I knew it had to be the featured photo for the week. As you might have noticed, we have a thing for the Statue of Freedom sitting atop the Capitol (if you haven’t noticed, look at the logo).
Erin has been taking pictures of the moon rising from and around the Capitol grounds for a few years now. Each is stunning, and in some ways iconic. We see a lot of shots of monuments and official buildings in our photo pool. Most are good pictures, even if we’ve seen the like of them before. But the moon rising over the Capitol dome is special, requiring dedication and timing to get. And we love rewarding good effort, around here.