Come for the moon, stay for the show

Come for the moon, stay for the show

I arose this morning to see a large, glowing orb hovering on the horizon.  No, this is not a journal entry for someone who has a close encounter of some kind.  Rather, it was my simultaneous realization that the skies were clear and the full moon was on its way down to the horizon.  I checked the U.S. Naval Observatory sun and moon data page and learned how much time I had before the moon set.  Just enough time for a quick cup of coffee.

My original intent was to go to Point Woronzof, a rather accessible, high point along the coast with an unobstructed view to the west … and a convenient parking lot.  As I was approaching the hill that leads a driver down to the point, I noticed a side trail off to the right I had never explored before.  I quickly pulled over, grabbed the gear, and headed off.  What I discovered was an even better vantage point – higher than Woronzof, but with a long ledge to the east that gave me a good view of the downtown skyline (which was obscured in fog).  I had my regular gear in my Lowe Pro Orion II (one Nikon D300, a 12-24mm lens, 24-85mm lens, and 70-200mm lens, along with an assortment of GND filters and Moose Polarizing filters).  I had also grabbed my Nikon 500mm manual focus lens as well, knowing it was the perfect lens for larger-than-life moon portraits.

The moon went down fairly quickly after I got there, so I spent my time exploring the ledge and the view.  Taking advantage of the low light, and using my polarizing filter to take away two more stops of light, I captured some long exposure landscapes to show the movement of the inlet ice moving out with the tide.  I captured some images of the Chugach Mountains, as well as the opposite direction with the Tordrillo Mountains and Mt. Susitna (“Sleeping Lady”).  I found a nice, stand alone tree with all sorts of gnarly character that was perfectly situated for some of the compositions.  To balance out the exposures, I switched back and forth between my 2-stop and 3-stop Lee GND filters.  Knowing that there was some fresh coffee cake waiting back for me at home, I packed up and headed back for home once the alpenglow had surpassed its peak in color.

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