Patience and the moon

25 August 2013

A friend asked me the other day about my photography, whether I just took photos of anything that came along, or whether I planned photos ahead. The answer is that they are generally planned well ahead, sometimes years, may years. I have ideas in my head for pictures, usually born of something I saw a fragment of once, or have thought about. But of course while I am trying to orchestrate these on “film”, lots of other opportunities come along. When I have my camera with me I am always looking, framing, seeing little cameo scenes, or watching for dramatic or subtle light to make something special.

For years I’ve had a mental image of a photograph at sunset on the night of a full moon. The late afternoon sun emblazons some cockatoos against the deep blue sky as the moon rises behind. I’ve been working on trying to get this for quite a few years. I’ve seen all the elements but not together. Full moons occur twelve times a year, sometimes 13 or 14 if you have one or two blue moons. While I can find out when the moon is going to rise I can’t know exactly where it is going to come up, only somewhere in an easterly direction. So I go out the night before the full moon to see where it comes up, and scout for the right angles, backdrops and foregrounds. Unfortunately I can’t predict when are where there are going to be clouds. These are more of a problem when in front of the sun than the moon, even a 20% view of a full moon through the clouds would be quite spectacular. So I continue to hunt on the evenings of full moons, figuring that if I keep at it, one year I’ll get something like what I’ve dreamed up. In the meantime I’ve got some fine cockatoos in the late afternoon sun and some lovely moon rises. But those damn clouds are clearly going to make this one a long journey…

IMGP7538 - Redbanks Conservation Park, Galah ANZANG
Moonrise near Kapunda - Kapunda

I took on a shorter term project a few months back when I was in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I’d seen a wall with some graffiti, including “walking the dog”, and thought it would be cool to get someone walking their dog in front. On day one I only waited across the road for half an hour but got nothing, on day two I waited an hour and a half, standing in the same spot for the whole time before I finally got close to what I wanted, “close but no cigar” as they say. Alas I had to leave that one there, but if I ever get back to Ljubljana!….


I have some great images that came by without warning, and were beautifully rendered in a fraction of a second and then the moment was gone. However, the most enjoyable ones for me are the long term ones, there’s a certain extra sense of satisfaction that one gets from the accomplishment of a long term project resulting from planning and persistence.


Aim for the stars you might get the moon

You can’t always get want you want, but you get what you need

Aim high and enjoy!


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