Moon Madness

We all know what happens when sunlight hits a prism,  it creates rainbows projected on your walls.  Do you know what you get when moonshine hits them?   Very subtle shades of blues and purples.   Hmm, if the sun creates RAINbows, than I shall call my night prism projections ICEbows.

Yes, it is true. I am mad about the moon.  I always have been.

The Artifact:  MaplewoodPressMoonLetter6  Written by me as a child.

There is nothing more beautiful, more mysterious, or more spellbinding then a large glowing bright full moon with wisps of dark clouds sliding across it.  I can sit for hours just gazing upon her.  Don’t get too comfortable.  She doesn’t sit still for us.  She rides across the night sky, so you best keep up with her!  My favorite viewing place to see the moon for any length of time is on the shore.  There you can see the moon leap out of the water and for many hours with an uninterrupted view.maplewoodPress06

I can’t even remember when I started trying to photograph the moon. Probably with my first camera. It has become a wonderful obsession. As I have progressed through different cameras, the ability to capture her has improved. Now I can see the lovely texture of her “skin” in my photos.

I try and photograph her day and night!MaplewoodPressMoon06c


When photographing the moon, you have to keep in mind that the time of her rising and setting can vary each night.  She likes to be tricky.  Best to consult a moonrise chart.  You can find those on-line.  Believe me, I have messed up many times trying to catch her when she first rises.  And she does not stay still, you have to keep that in mind and use a quick shutter speed. I don’t mind her tricks, that is half the fun trying to keep up with her!ArcherAtwoodSuperMoon

Below you can see what a few days later can mean. Snooze, you loose!


In the nighttime photo  you will notice the moon’s details are not there. I was using the type of camera where I couldn’t adjust the exposure and that is what you get, a blob.

When I am looking up at the moon, I think about all the people of the world looking up at her, too.  The people now and all the people down through the ages gazing up.  That thought totally sets my head spinning!!

Speaking of spinning, the earth and moon are in what’s called a synchronous rotation.  That means we always see the same side of the moon.  That sounds boring.  Not really. If you look carefully, the moon does tease us by varying that face a little, and the name for that is libration.  The reason I know that term is because I got curious after looking at two photos I took at different times of the year.

See the slight differences in her “face”?



I wonder if my lifetime passion for the moon is rooted in my genes that come from ancient Celtic people.  They started their festivals at dusk, and their calendar months began with full moons.  Many of their sacred places are tuned into the moon phases.  Now that would be fun, turning our modern calendar into a moon phase one.

Do you think people’s moods are changed by the waxing and waning of the moon?  Many think so.  That’s where the term lunatic comes from.  Actually that term had a few meanings, but the most popular belief was because the full moon could make one go mad, or act mad.  Or it could make you get sexy/silly under the brightness created in the middle of the night by the moon’s shine.  Which brings me to another myth that more babies are born on a full moon.  This is what I think of that myth: I think Momma and Poppa got all sexy looking at a full moon (acting like a couple of lunatics) and created Junior, starting him/her down that trail to the last pregnancy month (forty weeks actually), to be born back on a full moon.

Some ancient people worried that if you allowed the full moon to shine on you while you slept, you would go mad.  Well that explains me!  I go out of my way to make sure the moon shines through my window and lands on my bed and me.  AND that brings us back to the prisms hanging in my windows, capturing Icebows.

May you always find the moon an inspiration and a mood lifter.  Don’t be afraid to get a little wild and “mad” under her smiling face.  Who knows, you may see me out there, dancing under the moon, and attempting to get that perfect picture of her!


This article is copyright © Atwood/N.A.M. 2016,2020. All content and images are copyrighted unless otherwise noted. Please do not use in any form without request of author. Links to our articles, short quotes with credit, and associated links are allowed.

Update: Since writing this article, there has been a follow-up posted: Moon Madness: Part Two: Moonrise: August 2016. It includes some more great photos.


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