Moon, Metroparks, and Pizza

Moon, Metroparks, and Pizza

Wednesday the 27th, 2021. I got in my car and made my way to Huron Meadows Metropark in hopes of catching a sunset. The conditions were good and I had found a new spot using google maps that I was quite excited about. I got to my location early, as any photographer should, with time to walk around and prepare for the sunset. The conditions looked promising and the forecast on weather.com backed it up. When I stepped out of my car however, something unexpected had caught my attention in an Easterly direction, the Moon. Yep, in amateurish fashion I was completely unaware of my proximity to the coming full moon. I now have all full moon dates saved for the rest of 2021 🌒 🌓 🌔 🌕 🌖 🌗 🌘. Although the full Moon wouldn’t be until the next day, the sight before me was just as impressive and a pleasant surprise. I may have been ignorant of the lunar cycle, but I was prepared for the unexpected, so I swapped out my 16-35mm f/4 in favor of the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 which would be much more suitable for capturing the Moon in the environment I was working with. You ever go somewhere to take photos, step out into the parking lot and immediately start snapping away right then and there? Doesn’t happen often does it? That is exactly the luxury I had on this day, it was nice. The sunset never panned out but I left the park feeling pretty good with the events that had transpired. After I finished taking pictures, I sat in my car eating pizza as I watched the Moon ascend to the heavens. Success.

© Stephen Carmickle – 400mm – 1/800 – f/5.6 – ISO 640

Thursday the 28th, 2021. The big day. The day the Moon would shed its full radiant glory upon all of us ungrateful mortals. Yeaaaah…… It was cloudy. So I sat in my car and finished off more leftover pizza. Next!

© Stephen Carmickle – 400mm – 1/800 – f/5.6 – ISO 1,250

I’m actually pretty disappointed it was cloudy that day. The Moon rose 10 minutes before the sun was going to set which could have possibly made for some interesting results. I’ve always imagined a shot with colorful sunlit clouds surrounding the Moon, but that would have been too perfect so obviously it didn’t happen. I knew there was a chance it would be a dud so I went somewhere close by, Kensington Metropark. I chose a spot with a clear view to both the East and West, prepared for a moonrise and a sunset, but instead got neither.

© Stephen Carmickle – 135mm – 1/400 – f/5 – ISO 500

Friday the 29th, 2021. The day after the full Moon. It was set to be a cloudless night, so there would be a clear view the moment the Moon poked its head over the horizon. Lake Erie Metropark was the stage I chose to capture this night’s lunar performance. If you couldn’t tell, I really like the Metroparks. I find the drive down to Lake Erie Metropark to be quite enjoyable, at a certain point it becomes very relaxing without too many other cars on the road. The location of this park was ideal for the shot I had envisioned because there is little obstruction along the horizon and a large body of water for a reflection. As I arrived, so did a handful of others with the same idea, we all chose our spots in the parking lot as if pulling in to a drive-in movie theater. Luckily, before I left I found one more slice of pizza I had missed in the fridge, made it really felt like I was getting ready to watch a movie as I sat in the car eating pizza waiting for the show to start.

© Stephen Carmickle – 155mm – 1/60 – f/5.6 – ISO 800

The Moon was going to rise an hour later than the previous day. Initially I was not super excited about this because I like the blue sky background and it was far too dark to include any environmental details. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, so that’s what I did. Even though I didn’t get the shot I was hoping for the day before, I am really happy with the final product I did get. The brightness of the Moon contrasted so well with the darkness, blocking out everything in the vicinity, creating a minimalistic feel on a smooth black canvas. It is ironically the lack of environmental detail that made this shot what it is. The reflection on the water was the most surprising part for me, the edges leading vertically are nearly perfectly straight and no other details of the water can be seen anywhere else. Thanks Wolf Moon.

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