You know you’re getting old when…

On July 31 something happened that only occurs once in a blue moon: a blue moon. The moon doesn’t actually appear blue but the term refers to a full moon that occurs twice in a single month. It’s a fairly rare event happening roughly only once every 2½ years. The first full moon of the month was on July 2 making the one on the 31st a blue moon.

A full moon is really bright. Essentially, it’s illuminated with the same amount of light that falls on Earth during the day. That’s fine all you have to do is adjust your exposure for a daylight photo. The problem occurs when you try to exposure for the night scene on the ground at the same time. It becomes a trade off. Either you have a well-exposed moon with everything else dark or a properly exposed overall scene with the moon just a overexposed blazing ball of light.

Moonrise was at about 8:00 p.m. that evening which was perfect timing. The thicker atmosphere low in the horizon would likely block some of the moon’s brightness and there should have been enough ambient light during the blue hour to balance the exposure for the surrounding scene. With that, I planned to find some landmark, building or tree that I could shoot with the moon rising in the background.

I say “could,” “would” and “should” because that’s not how things turned out. I was on the early shift that day and I went home after work. I had a nice dinner with my family. It was still light out when we finished so I sat down to watch a little television before heading out. As many mid-50 something men do, I fell asleep on the couch. This wasn’t a light snooze but more like a being-put-under-by-an-anesthesiologist-before-surgery kind of sleep. I was out in seconds.

When I woke up is was past midnight. I gabbed my camera and stumbled out into the backyard. The moon was hanging high in the sky like a brilliantly white orb surrounded by an inky blackness. Although it wasn’t according to plans, I shot it anyway. I picked the moon-in-the-darkness side of the either-or equation. Even though it was now Aug. 1, technically it was still a blue moon, and that’s still a rare event

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