Palm tree against deep blue sky with moon
Sunday Stills,  Themed galleries

Gallery: fly me to the moon

I have always been fascinated by the moon. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the 1960s, during the space race era. I remember vividly being woken by my father to watch Neil Armstrong’s famous ‘first step’; and the wonder I felt at being able to see these grainy images beamed into our living room from the silver disc I saw in the night sky.

Astronaut on the moon
Buzz Aldrin on the moon; NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Whenever I gaze up at the moon, I feel like I’m on a time machine. I am back to that precious pinpoint of time, standing on the foreboding – yet beautiful – Sea of Tranquillity. I could see our shining blue planet Earth poised in the darkness of space.

Buzz Aldrin

We have an interesting relationship with the moon. Although small it is close enough to earth to have an impact on our lives. It controls the tides through its gravitational pull as it orbits the earth. And some people claim that it controls other aspects of our lives in a similar fashion, tugging on us as it does the oceans. They blame it for insanity (the words ‘lunacy’ and ‘lunatic’ derive from lunar), for accidents, for murders and suicides. Such claims are dismissed by scientists, who tell us the gravitational force is too weak to affect us, but a belief in the power of the full moon in particular is hard for some to shake off.

Our ancestors gazed upon the moon and saw mysteries in its patterns of light and dark. A man in the moon, a rabbit, a buffalo … And of course in many mythologies it was regarded as a god or goddess. Even now, when we have seen its realities for ourselves, we continue to find it mysterious.

Photographing the moon

Capturing it on film however is not so easy, especially as I very rarely bother with a tripod. I can’t aim for precise focus on an object so far away, so instead I look for atmosphere. I’ve trawled through my archives to find a selection of my more successful / more interesting attempts, presented here for Terri’s Sunday Stills theme of ‘celestial’.

Almost full moon in a black sky
Taken in Newcastle one January
Three quarter moon in deep blue sky
Winter moon over Ealing, January 2018
Crescent moon in pale blue sky with twigs in front
Crescent moon over Ealing, December 2020
Moon half covered
Partial lunar eclipse, Ealing, July 2019
Orange moon in a black sky
Lunar eclipse, Ealing, September 2015 – close to totality

It always fascinates me when I travel closer to the equator and the crescent moon appears to have slipped to lie on its back, instead of sitting upright as it does when viewed from home in London.

Thin crescent moon in grey/blue sky
Crescent moon, Abu Dhabi, March 2018

I also like to include the moon in more general photos as in the examples below. I feel it adds an air of mystery. For even now when we have learned so much about our nearest neighbour, we can’t fail to be drawn to its silvery beauty and forget for a while that it’s really a dry and barren lump of rock.

Large stone head against deep blue sky with moon
Moon and moai, Hanga Roai 2016

One of these days I may get my act together, and I’ll get my rather rickety tripod out and set up somewhere stable so I can take some sharper moon photos. But for now these impromptu grab shots are enough to satisfy my love for all things lunar!

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