Every so often, a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself. At the time I took the photograph above, I had no idea it was a once in a lifetime shot. Titled “Crescent Moonset”, I took this shot almost on a whim while driving home through Cherry Creek State Park in Colorado. I had my camera as I was looking for wildlife, particularly deer, before the sun had set. It was only a couple days after new moon, and it was following the sun down below the horizon quickly. As it was early November in 2010, it got dark quick. As I was watching the moon set, I decided to take a shot with my at the time new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens. I’d originally purchased this lens for the purposes of photographing wildlife, but on this night I realized its potential for photographing our lone satellite.
As I was experimenting and framing, getting the hang of things, the moon sunk lower and lower towards the treetops of a horizon-spanning bank of trees. In the last few moments before the moon slipped entirely out of view, I captured the truly once in a lifetime shot above. The cold air had crystallized water vapor in the atmosphere, creating an almost eerie hazy halo around the moon that gave rise to the encroaching silhouette of the leafless treetops. The sun shining on this new crescent moon brought to life the features of it’s surface, dotting the terminator with a chain of craters and highlighting mountain ranges.
This shot was featured in Soundzine, an online magazine of photography and poetry, in the February issue of 2011 (Issue #12). The entry, both poetry by L. Ward Abel, and my photograph, can be viewed here.