When the full moon rises over the Wasatch mountains, it looks like the biggest damn moon you’ve ever seen. You can see the silhouettes of the trees on the top of the mountain against the bright disk of the moon. It’s so difficult to photograph that I’ve given up. I have decided that it is far easier to paint what I see rather than try to wait for the perfect moment with my tripod on cold Salt Lake evenings.
Beauty is a form of genius–is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon. – Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
The main problem is the Moon Illusion. I see a bigger moon than the camera does. It’s an optical illusion that the camera can never capture, so my pictures develop a disappointingly small moon compared to what I remember seeing. I have seen photographs of our moon look just as spectacular as the real thing, but I can only think that they are altering the picture somehow.
You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in. – Arlo Guthrie (1947 – )
Last Monday, was a full moon. As I drove home on I-80, it was rising in the crevice between two of our mountains. It was a smoggy day, so the moon was fuzzy. The sun was setting in the west, so the misty clouds around it were a soft pink. It was the kind of pink that makes you think of stuffed bunnies and Easter. I was alone in the car and there was no one to share it with.
One cannot fix one’s eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy. – Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), Mansfield Park
By the time I got home, the illusion was over. The moon was high enough that it looked its normal size. The sun had finished setting, so the pink afterglow had evaporated. All that was left was the cold air and a greenish hue to the evening sky. I felt as if I was the only person in Salt Lake City to see the loveliness this month.