Crater Lake Moonset

You all have likely been flooded with interesting interpretations of this week’s lunar eclipse, popularly heralded as a “blood moon”.

I know I have.

Like many others, I was awake all night to shoot it.  I was in the perfect spot for it and had a fantastic view of the entire process.  The difficult part is that the path of the moon was separate from anything of interest – the Milky Way, ground objects, etc.

Based on the images that I have run across since then, plus watching a neighboring photographer, I should have set up multiple cameras with different lenses, then created a composite image of preternatural proportions.

Not my thing.

So I stayed in place, waiting for an event that I knew would work out as I planned it – the sunrise/moonset a couple of hours after the eclipse.

Crater Lake Moonset

While orbital mechanics did their thing and the moon set where I expected, there were a couple of surprises.  Specifically, how the new sunlight illuminated the northwestern rim of Crater Lake, focusing attention on Hillman Peak*, while its shadow swoops into a gentle curve below the full moon.  Later, while not visible in this image, the shadow of Mount Scott, some two miles behind me, shrank down the rim wall, almost perfectly mimicking the slopes of Wizard Island.

I suspect I’ll share that one next.

But I must say that the colors were not a surprise.  Seriously.  The colors are absolutely astounding at Crater Lake, regardless of the time of day, regardless of the season.

Absolutely astounding.

It was a cold night, as the gentle westerly breeze across the lake was funneled up the rim wall and right into our faces.  It was so strong that in order to get reasonably sharp images, we had to take to extraordinary measures to stabilize our tripods and cameras.  I wish I had taken a picture of the setup, as words can’t describe it.

Just as words can’t describe the entire experience.

That’s why I take pictures.


*Hillman Peak is at 8,159 feet (2,487 m), while the lake level is at 6,200 feet (1,890m).  It is the highest point along the rim.  So for those of you that are about to break out the calculator, that’s just under 2,000 feet (700m) of rock face that you are faced with, some 6.2 miles (10km) distant.

It’s not a small lake.

But it will make you feel small.

And that’s a good thing.


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