Full Moon over Longs Peak
Full Moon over Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Careful planning is a hallmark of my approach to landscape photography. One example of planning that I use in all my workshops is calculating the best day to shoot the full moon setting over Longs Peak from the summit of Twin Sisters, an 11,000-foot peak on the eastern outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park. April 20th this year turned out to be one of the three best days in 2019 to make this image, so I got up at midnight and hiked to the summit on a snow-packed, icy trail. As it turned out, I had allowed too much time for the hike, so I arrived on the summit nearly two hours before sunrise, in time to shoot Longs Peak illuminated by moonlight. Then an orange glow began to develop along the eastern horizon. Although the forecast had called for clear skies, clouds began gathering as the glow intensified. A spectacular lenticular cloud over Longs Peak lit up orange as the moon dropped below a band of pink clouds just left of the summit of Longs Peak, exactly where Sun Surveyor had predicted it would be. Delighted at my good fortune, I shot until the light faded and the moon vanished below the horizon, then slipped and slid back down the icy trail, berating myself for not bringing micro-spike traction devices for my boots. Although I had shot the full moon setting over Longs Peak on three previous occasions, none had been even remotely as spectacular as this one. For more information on how I made this image, please see my blog post The Making of Full Moon over Longs Peak.