Just Outside Your Front Door

I discovered again recently that amazing things often exist just outside your front door, no matter where you are.

Randy was a little moonstruck earlier this month.

It was Saturday, May 6, a little more than three hours after it had been May 5, about 3:30 a.m.

As often happens now that I am a full-time freelance photojournalist, I had awakened and started thinking about writing I needed to do. Words started dancing in my head, then sentences, then complete paragraphs, and by that time I was wide awake. So I figured I might as well commit them to paper.

As I was walking from one side of what should have been a dark house to my office on the other side, I suddenly noticed I could see quite clearly.

Somebody had left a light on again, I thought. But this light was different; it was aura-like, coming from all around instead of from one source.

Then I looked up at one of our skylights and was startled to see the night was nearly bright as day. I vaguely remembered a news report that said May 5 would see the brightest full moon of the year as our celestial neighbor passed closer to Earth than usual for some astrological reason.

So I quietly went out the front door to a view that could have been featured in a dozen different movies.

High and to my left, just below treetop level, was the biggest, brightest moon I’d seen in quite some time. It was nearly centered between a V-shaped gap in the trees.

A view of May's "super moon".

It hung there like a silver dollar on steroids, a perfectly round, glowing ember. I was in awe.

My photographer’s instinct kicked in, and before I got too moonstruck, I headed in for my Nikon and tripod, remote shutter release, flashlights and flashes. My Nikon battery needed charging from shooting I’d done the day before, so I grabbed my smaller, simpler Canon digital while that was in progress.

As it turned out, the perfect view was three steps out of my front door. I hooked camera to tripod and set it up. I went back in for a cup of coffee; moments like this were made for that first cup of morning coffee.

Then I started shooting. I used different techniques to capture the moon as it quickly made its way across that gap in the trees; it was moving fast. I even caught it blurring in some of the longer-exposed shots.

I could see I needed to get this quick or lose it, because once it got to the other side of the gap, it would be lost in the trees.

I used flashlights and long exposures to light up the trees in the foreground. I used open flashes to illuminate a broader scene. I was in a shooting frenzy using all the low-light techniques I could remember on such short notice before the shot disappeared in the trees.

As the moon began to touch the far side of the gap, I changed position a little to buy some more time. I was able to snap off a few more shots before it melted behind the Georgia pines.

But the melting started a whole new show. The “brightest moon behind the Georgia pines show.”

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