The Full Worm Moon bathes Motif #1 in moonlight
The Full Worm Moon Beckons
Yesterday’s moon was known as the “Full Worm Moon.” According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac: “The Full Worm Moon was given its name by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.”
Ahhh… Hello Spring!
The Moon… The Sun… The Tide…
People usually notice a full moon on the rise while driving home from work, or sometimes through a window in the evening while watching television. When you’re a photographer, however, a full moon is an event. It beckons us. It’s pull is magical. We plan for it.
The Moon Doesn’t Just Rise
What many people don’t realize, however, is that moonset is just as exciting as moonrise. The deal breaker for some people is simply the time of day that moonset occurs. That time varies from day-to-day.
This year’s Full Worm Moon had me out the door at 5:00 a.m. I wanted to make sure I had allowed for travel time, parking time, walking time and setup time. The moon has its own schedule. It waits for no one. Better to be too early than too late when photographing it.
Rockport Harbor and The Headlands
This year in Rockport, Massachusetts, the Full Worm Moon was scheduled to set at 6:21 a.m. A quick check of The Photographer’s Ephemeris program showed me that the moon would set over the town behind Rockport Harbor and appear directly between the harbor’s two wharfs when viewed nearby from The Headlands.
Two Shoots In One
Sunrise was scheduled for 6:33 a.m. Again, a quick check of The Photographer’s Ephemeris program showed me that the sun would rise behind Straitsmouth Lighthouse when viewing from the opposite side of The Headlands. All I would need to do was be fast on my feet and get to the other side in time to set up for my shot. As you can see, the hustle was well worth it. The colors were breathtaking.
The blue hour of sunrise provides a beautiful backdrop to Straightsmouth Lighthouse
Know The Tide
The tide is also an important thing to check when shooting along the coast. High tide versus low tide can greatly affect such things as shooting perspective and reflections. Getting down low in a tidal pool at low tide will garner a shot much different from one taken from the top of a rocky cliff. Which is better? That’s up to you! I say try them both. Step outside of your typical shooting zone and see what new perspectives you can personally witness and capture.
Preparation — An Important Thing To Remember
When checking the times for moonset or sunrise, remember the horizon and surrounding terrain. Setting times refer to when the sun or the moon is no longer visible on the horizon. Rising times refer to when the sun or moon first becomes visible on the horizon.
To shoot the last of the Full Worm Moon here in Rockport, I knew that I had to be ready long before the moon actually set. I needed to be in position before the moon disappeared behind the elevated tree line in the distance.
Moonset is perfectly aligned between the harbor's two wharfs
My iPhone Apps
While some of the reference programs I used for this shoot (such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris) are readily available on computer, I like to have them with me at all times. That’s where my iPhone comes in handy. Here are the links to the specific apps I used to plan this shoot.
In Case You’re Wondering…
The next full moon is April 25th and it’s called the Full Pink Moon. If you’re in the Rockport area, moonset is 5:26 a.m., sunrise is 5:45 a.m., and low tide is 5:09 a.m.
And Don’t Forget…
Conversely, don’t forget to consider the times of a full moonrise and sunset. When both of these events occur close together, the shooting possibilities are again only limited by your imagination and perhaps the speed of your feet.
Warm weather is coming! No more cold weather excuses. Get out there and capture the celestial magic!
~ Liz Mackney
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