Monday, March 21, 2011

Thacher Island Super "Perigee Moon"

I had set a target to go shoot Thacher Island at moonrise for several months. Either I would not be paying attention and miss the full moon or I would be at work when the sun was setting only to find it 30 degrees above the horizon while driving home without my gear or it would be cloudy.

This month, I decided to pay attention since it would be Saturday and I would have the freedom to be DSC_0013-1where I wanted to be, when I wanted to be there. My big dream was to catch the moon rising over Thacher Island. Let's face it. If you just want a picture of the moon, you can shoot it anytime it is visible. But I wanted something special such as having the moon between the Twin Lights on Thacher Island. Besides, this was going to be a special full moon.

According to the folks at the observatory that publishes the moon gadget that I use, the last full Moon so big and close  occurred in March of 1983. The perigee (closest point of an elliptical orbit) is 50,000km closer to the earth than the apogee (furthest point). In this case, the perigee was within an hour of the the time of the actual full moon.

In great enthusiasm, I got up Saturday morning and the sky was clear and it was supposed to stay that way. Around 10:00 the clouds rolled in and it was raining and sleeting in Ipswich where I was running an errand. Disappointed, I did not give up and bided my time. By midafternoon the clouds thinned and by 4:00 the sky was 80% clear.

I left the house at 5:00 pm and headed over to Annisquam. "What?" I can hear my local followers gasp, "Have you lost your mind? Annisquam is on the west side of Cape Ann, Thacher Island is on the east." Well, let me explain. This super perigee moon is giving us some pretty high tides and with high tides come ©2011 ShootingMyUniverselow tides, which means a great time to head over to Annisquam. You will see why I did this in a couple of days, stay tuned.

I headed over to Rockport at 6:00, thinking I would just go over to my favorite spot. It is a midpoint so if I needed to scamper to a more advantageous spot, I could head south or north and be where I needed to be in 5 to 10 minutes.

Well, it turns out that when I got there, there were two vehicles there already. This was unusual because it was typically butt cold and what nut would be out freezing when they could be sitting in a warm home with a glass of wine?

There was a couple on the rocks, literally, not figuratively, and I saw that they were trying to get a picture of themselves with the landscape in the background. The woman set the auto timer, put the camera on a rock, pushed the button and scurried over the scree to her companion. I've tried this. It takes a pro. I often volunteer to take pictures for a couples in such circumstances. This is much better than having them remember the picture as the time they sprained their ankles on the rocky shores of Cape Ann.

I chatted with the couple and the man said, "Oh we saw it come up last night just to the left of the north tower." "Sweet", I thought to myself, "I've ©2011 ShootingMyUniversegot a damned good chance of pulling this off!" This was fortunate, because of what I will tell you next.

I set up my tripod on a stable rock and bided my time, rehearsing my camera sets in my mind and going over what I needed to remember as the event will unfold. Then I noticed that there were people coming in by twos and fours. Wow, this wasn't just a photo shoot, it was a happening! I hope he was right about where the moon was going to come up because my plan of scampering to the north or the south has thoroughly been shot in the ass by all these people driving to this spot. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to move my car!

The blush band is the sky was gone and twilight was upon us. The sky was turning indigo, then heard someone on the knoll behind me say, "Here it comes!" And sure enough, it popped up to the right of the North tower!

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse


sheila lynch said...

fabulous moonrise next to the lighthouse, your work paid off!

texwisgirl said...

NICE JOB! Beautiful!

had to laugh at "butt cold". :)

Kerri said...


Rusty said...

The best laid plans - worked! Wonderful planning, great photograph. ATB!

MaineBirder said...

The last photo nearly made me drool, great capture Steve!

Martha Z said...

What we do for art. I would have had to travel several hundred miles to see the moon that night so I didn't try.

Sylvia K said...

OH, Yes, Steve! It did work indeed! What fantastic, awesome, breathtaking captures and the last one nearly knocked me out of my chair! That is SUPERB! How thrilling to be able to get a shot like this! Have a great weekend!!


J Bar said...

Marvellous shots.

The Travel Diva said...

just gorgeous!

syel said...

worth all the wait and trouble :) that's a fantastic capture! :)

clavs said...

wow! awesome!

Kim, USA said...

Such magnificent scene. It's worth the wait.

Sky Watch Friday

eileeninmd said...

Well planned and a gorgeous capture! It was a beautiful moon. Fantastic post and photos.

Eric said...

Super shots of this Super Moon, Well done!!

Greetings from NL


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