Mount Magazine
August 8 & 27, 2006

Thanks to this obsession with visiting and photographing those “places that must be seen”, I’ve learned that the rising of the full moon is one of the most awesome spectacles in nature.  I’ve also learned it’s a regularly occurring event that’s fairly easy to experience. Once a month the full moon rises, always in the East, always in the evening, and usually within a half hour of sunset. What I have NOT learned is how to take a picture that comes anywhere close to capturing the magic of a full moon; but I continue to try.
I drove to Mount Magazine on Tuesday, August 8 to hopefully catch the full moon rising from Bear Hollow at precisely 8:09 PM, five minutes before sunset. The katydids in the trees along the trail were making a loud racket. When I reached Fringe Point and got out my compass I realized the moon would come up behind the very mountain I was standing on. I looked around for options and noticed farther up the hollow a big bluff with a flat top. I continued up the trail and guessed exactly where to turn right and walk down the hill to the top of that bluff. (I later learned the spot was named Bear Head Bluff).
Soon the moon rose above Fringe Point and I went to work taking pictures. I had a new 400 mm lens that let me  zoom in close too.
I realized it had grown pretty dark and I’d better start heading for the truck. I had gone to the doctor that day because of a nasty cough that wouldn’t go away, and was on some pretty strong antihistamines and antibiotics. By the end of the short but steep walk up the hill to the trail I thought I was going to throw up! I hadn’t been on a real hike in three months, and the meds, the August heat, and the exertion were teaming up against me. But once on the flat trail I was OK.
I went on quite a few photo road trips in August, usually not walking very far from the truck. On Sunday morning the 27th I returned to Bear Hollow to meet the sunrise. I intended on going to Inspiration Point, but mistakenly stopped one bluff short. The pre-sunrise clouds were gorgeous (pictured at the top of this page) yet the bluff top was so small I could not maneuver to get a dead tree limb out of the picture. A Serviceberry tree behind me had shed a lot of its leaves, some of which were quite colorful.
I hiked over to the bluff I had found back on the 8th, marked in on my GPS receiver, then hiked back to the truck. Before heading home I drove around the top of the mountain and noticed a patch of purple thistle flowers alive with butterflies. I put an extension tube on my 400 mm lens, which allowed me to zoom in on the butterflies from a distance that did not disturb them. Still they moved around so much it was tough to get any decent shots.