Back in June I was looking at the Wasatch mountains from my back yard as I watched the moon rise just above them at sunset. Seeing the full moon just above the mountains as they were bathed in alpenglow was pretty cool. All I could think of was how that would make a great photograph. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to get my gear and go someplace with a far less obstructed view so all I could do was enjoy the view for now. But the seed was planted!
Since then I’ve made several attempts to get that photo, but was thwarted by the weather each time. I’m actually amazed at how many sunset opportunities have been ruined by clouds since moving to Utah. I expected that in Seattle, but not here! This week I had 3 opportunities, Tuesday – Thursday, with Tuesday being the best. Sure enough the clouds rolled in ahead of the forecast to ruin Tuesday’s chance and I already knew Wednesday was going to be a bust with thunder showers predicted all day. That left last night as my last chance for yet another month. While it wasn’t the best night as the moon wasn’t going to clear the mountains until after the alpenglow had faded, it was better than not getting anything.
I knew I was going to need to get 2 exposures, one for the alpenglow and one for the moon. As I was watching the mountains start to be bathed in that beautiful alpenglow, the sun was starting to be blocked by a thin band of clouds casting a shadow over the mountains. Fortunately the sun cleared those clouds just in time to allow me to make a couple of good exposures of the alpenglow before it disappeared. Now it was just about waiting for the moon to rise above the mountains for the 2nd exposure. What I really wanted to do was a panorama of the full Wasatch range, but I just didn’t have enough time to shoot any more of the mountains while they were still bathed in alpenglow.
The question is how did I know that the last 3 days, were going to provide me the potential opportunity to get this image? I also know that Sept 24th – 26th will be my next opportunities with the 25th likely being the best night. If you read my post about shooting the Supermoon, then you have half of the answer in The Photographer’s Ephemeris. The other half of the answer is a program called Heavenly Opportunity. I’ll go into it in more detail in my next post, but basically it gives you a list of potential days that meet the requirements for a specific photo you’re trying to get.
For now, I hope you enjoy this photograph.