Tag Archive | Moon

Happy Accidents

In life, they say it’s good to have a plan, a strategy to help achieve the goals or tasks we set for ourselves.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Without a plan, I all too often find myself orbiting around my own brain wondering what to do next.  Having a step by step, actionable list of things to do is helpful to me and essential to keeping me focused and on task.

But that’s really only feasible from the business side of my photography, not the artistic and creative side.  Sure, when a sunrise needs to be prepared for, many things can be mapped out and counted upon.  I know the sun WILL come up and I know WHERE it will rise.  I know the bridge that I want to photograph or make photos from will be there, potholes and all, because hey, this is Pittsburgh.  But there are factors that are beyond control.  Traffic getting to the city, complete drear and cloud cover (again…Pittsburgh), or my 6 month old baby needing me at 6AM so I’m late for the sunrise are a few that spring to mind.  These circumstances render a plan completely useless, causing photography to often take on  “take what you’re given” mentality.

Often times, this take what you’re given approach ends up feeling a concession.  You can’t get what you planned or hoped for so you settle for something different and presumably not as good.  In my experience though, different is better than good.

Other times, luck prevails, the weather cooperates, and the stars align.  Or in my case, the planets do.

The weather in Pittsburgh this last week of January reached record breaking lows and can only be described by most as brutally cold.  The meteorologists said stay inside but what I heard was the rivers are going to freeze.  Time to make a plan.  So I did.

And what did we just learn about plans.  They change.  The river was frozen, yes, but not nearly as much as I’d anticipated…or hoped.  I’ve seen it completely frozen over several times when temperatures weren’t nearly as cold.  Most of the river was still flowing, but with large chunks of ice slowly floating along.  So I went with a long exposure to convey the motion of the floating ice contrasting with the static ice that was building along the bank of the river.  Cool.  Pun intended.

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What I wasn’t accounting for, or expecting, is what I’m calling a happy little accident.  And I was lucky enough to catch 3 of them!

If you look at the photo, you’ll see the moon and two bright stars.  Normally I’m pretty in tune with where the moon is going to be, but I read my app wrong and was surprised, pleasantly, to have it in such a pleasing spot for my intended composition.  Happy accident number 1.  But those two bright stars, it turns out, are actually Venus and Jupiter.  This was totally unplanned for, I must admit.  They are a tiny, yet impactful, morsel of photographic tastiness that you were completely unaware of but privileged enough to not only see, but include in your photo in a meaningful AND intentional way!  Happy accident number 2!

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…and happy accident number 3?  Well, I was lucky that Uranus wasn’t also in the picture!

You can read more about Jupiter and Venus HERE

West End Moon – POTD

Earlier today I posted a poll over on Facebook to find out what folks would rather see…a photo of the Super Moon or a photo of the fog that rolled through last week.  I was expecting a Super Moon landslide but the fog held it’s own and the surprising contender wasn’t even an option…BOTH!  The Super Moon ended up winning so here it is! West End Moon - Pittsburgh Skyline Photograph Last night was an exercise in patience mixed with opportunity meeting preparation…or as some might call it, a bit of luck.  I spent a good hour on the West End Bridge waiting for the super moon to rear its 14% larger and 30% brighter head.  Just as the sun was beginning to hide and the moon should have been popping out the clouds moved in.  I could see the writing on the wall and it wasn’t a story I wanted to read.  I stayed anyway.  The clouds were close to the skyline so I thought maybe I’d catch the moon further in its arc above the city.  Luckily, though, the clouds parted and the moon was quite visible from the time it peaked above the skyline.  Thanks to some prior planning I knew where the moon would be rising and positioned myself accordingly.  When the moon finally came out to play, it glowed with a brilliant pinkish hue at first and turned to orange as it continued to rise, eventually turning bright white as you would normally see.  It rose very quickly and it was quite challenging to work the scene, but thanks to that bit of preparation, I was able capture a few photos of the beautiful scene before me.  As a photographer, a little preparation mixed with a little luck can take you a long way!