Chicago Moon

I got up in the middle of the night over the weekend to get a drink of water and when I walked by my studio window I saw the moon just hanging there, big as life. Not a particularly unusual event, but this night it just seemed remarkably clear.


I stood there with my water glass for a moment before I decided to photograph it. The moon was in a phase that is called waxing gibbous, which simply means it’s more than half way to full. I think the moon looks more interesting in this phase because when it’s not quite full, you can see more of the crater detail along the edge than when it’s full.

I usually shoot things like this with my camera tethered to my laptop, using my iPhone’s DSLR Remote to trigger the camera at a specific interval. Happily for me, I can set it all up in my sleep which was pretty much the state I was in.

I chose a good lens, moved my camera and tripod up against the window, covered it with black cloth to prevent reflections from the glass, opened Lightroom to accept the photographs and headed back to bed. I monitored the photographs on my iPhone from under the covers before I drifted off.

When I woke up the next morning I had hundreds of photographs of the moon tracking across the Chicago night sky.

Chicago Moon from Billy Sheahan on Vimeo.

I downloaded some audio from the NASA website from the recordings of the July 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing mission and found some conversations between the astronauts as they discussed f-stops and shutter speeds, orbiting the moon and seeing the details of the lunar surface for the first time.

A little departure for me as I usually photograph subjects a little closer to my camera, but it was a fun experiment, especially since I was in bed for most of it.

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