I approached last night with excitement. The night before I had taken an ok pic of the ‘Super Moon’ rising and felt this night I would dial it in even better. I had the bright idea of not just using my camera, but also a telescope. Could I possibly gain an even more detailed visual and then somehow use the camera through the telescope lens…yes, some rigged up, amateur setup…to get a unique results?

I experimented during the heat of the day. I soon realized my usual, life time haunting, problem. My mind. I can see a possible solution, but I rarely can calculate the details. The conceptual dynamics are thwarted by the calculations to pull it off. I have muddled, faked and dodged through math, algebra, spreadsheets and budgets this far. Of course, that does not stop me!


I set up the telescope (I had not set it up in decades) and ‘dialed in’ on a tree a block away. Good there was a tree branch and leaves. I then  grabbed the camera and tripod and placed it over the telescope lens to see what was what. I took a pic and the above image resulted. That was promising. It  could only get better in the dark, more clarity, more details. Right?


Anticipation, excitement…Maybe, just maybe, I had something here. The appointed time arrived. Oh, I could see the huge, yellow edge of the moon pushing just above the trees in the distance. I was in the front yard with the camera/tripod and the telescope/ancient tripod.  

Wow! It really was spectacular. Something I usually see in October..the giant harvest moons. I commenced to fiddling around trying to find the moving moon in the telescope. Long story short…the whole experiment turned into fire drill as the moon quickly rose. Nothing was clearly in view and I wasted time trying to combine keeping the moon in the telescope eyepiece and positioning the camera/tripod over the eyepiece to get a shot. 


As I checked the results, I noted nothing too detailed in the image. I had not spent enough time experimenting with the different powered eyepieces for the telescope. Sigh. Attention to detail, if not in math, is one of my stronger (OCD) traits. I realized  the moment was lost for this experiment and opted to use only the camera.

I soon noticed that a dark haze was before the moon as it rose. The Rowena wildfire to the East and the hot, East winds down the Gorge had pushed the smoke into Portland. Right away, things seemed less detailed than the night before. I snapped shots as the moon rose, timing the shots as it moved between intruding power lines. Note to self, scout out an unobstructed view next time.

full moon-August 10 14-photography-smokey-SwittesB

The resulting images were sepia tinted from the smoke, I imagine. The experiment, I have shared for two reasons: partly humor and partly a reminder to pre-plan better if the object of the effort is a fleeting moment. I wanted to take the shots as the moon was low in the sky and bigger. I self imposed a degree of stress here and it really wasn’t necessary. I will play around with the telescope and actually learn how to use it and see if a camera-tripod meld is even doable with my equipment or spare myself the fumbling around. Fun memory for the ‘photofumbler’.