[Wednesday, October 8th.] The alarm goes off at 5:10 AM. We both jump up and rush to the window. YES! There is a beautiful full moon in the western sky and no clouds on the horizon. BINGO. We are going to be able to shoot the full lunar eclipse.
As we look closely, we can see the eclipse has just started. The upper left side of the brilliantly white moon has a dark smudge. At this point, I don’t think you’d even notice the eclipse had started if you weren’t looking for it. We scramble to get dressed and hurry across the street towards the dock with camera equipment and Mick, of course. Michael sets up behind the dock so he can frame the shot with the dock jutting out into the sound. And we wait. Or really, I wait. Michael is already taking shots, checking his exposure, the angle and doing whatever magic he does to create beautiful pictures.
As the moon continues to sink slowly towards the horizon, the shadow marches across the moon and more and more of it becomes obscured. This is going to be a dance between dark, light and the horizon. In a perfect world, we’d be shooting this in the Central time zone so the eclipse would be completed before the moon slips below the horizon, the sun would be coming up 1 hour later and it would be still be dark at the end of the eclipse. Or, the eclipse could have happened yesterday when the moon was higher in the sky – but yesterday, clouds covered the entire horizon so the moon would have sunk below the clouds before we saw the eclipse. So, for us, for this event; this is the perfect world.
As the eclipse continues to conceal the moon’s light, everything gets darker and it becomes much harder to see anything other than the moon. The water turns into moving darkness, we can no longer see our house outlined on the horizon. It’s hard to believe that 25 minutes earlier it felt almost like daylight because the moon was so bright. The moon turns more orange and then red as the eclipse progresses.
As Michael continues to shoot pictures, a couple of interesting things happen. Since the dock is directly across from a side street, lights from a car coming up to the stop sign shine out towards the sound. The headlights perfectly light up the dock, exposing the dock in the darkness and creates a beautiful contrast to the dark sky. Later, behind us, the eastern sky starts to light up with the early dawn and a heron flies from a nearby tree and perches on the dock. This gives Michael an interesting, additional subject in his view finder.
At this special time – when the moon is getting darker as the full eclipse approaches and the sky is getting lighter with dawn, the moon actually seems to disappear. Although if you stare hard, in the exact place you know the moon must be, you can still see … something. And then it is gone – not below the horizon yet, but the sky is too light and the moon is too dark to even pretend we can see it.
Time to pack up and go get some breakfast. We were so lucky that the sky was clear and we were able to witness this beautiful eclipse.