Lunar Eclipse at Devils Lake

At 3:15 the alarm went off and I donned my clothes and was ready to hike up onto the rocky eastern bluff of Devils Lake. With a headlamp to my head and another one at my waist, the climb seemed less scary then it did during the daylight scout hike. … With the light only on the trail ahead I couldn’t see the rocky cliff beside me, so I sauntered on as if on flat ground.

Nearing the top, the eclipse had started .. it was a wonderful experience to ‘participate’ with the moon. In other words, I felt I was moving with the moon.

I’d done my homework beforehand. I knew the azimuth of the moon at different times through the eclipse, when the full eclipse would be and where, and also how high in the sky it would be. All the planning is great for predictions, however nothing beats actually being there to really know. In other words, all the great planning can’t adjust for real time experience. … That said, I was a bit more south east than straight east on the cliff and the east cliff was quite a bit higher than the west cliff (where I was seeing the moon) .. so I made the decision to hike back down rather than stay atop. It was tough to see the moon as it traversed more and more to the right. I knew that by the time it was fully eclipsed that I wouldn’t be able to see it on my south east bluff.

It was a good decision. As I headed back down there were a few perfect spots and I had the time to photograph them both, with the moon staying in full eclipse for nearly an hour.
The second was my favorite though, with the moon through the trees. Because of the timing of this eclipse we were starting to see nautical twilight ..and though our eyes still saw darkness the camera picked up just enough of the light to show detail in the pine tree.

Again, it was quite the experience to be moving with the moon. As I descended my cliff, the moon was setting and coming out of full eclipse back into a partial eclipse. The result was quite beautiful, as it exposed just the top part of the moon, the bottom portion left in shadow. Now at ground level, I was able to photograph this beauty .. it almost looked at though it were a crescent moon flipped to its front.

The sun was waking behind me. I had just enough light to reveal hints of color in the fall foliage of the bluff, while not over exposing the moon.

The moon slowly sank behind the bluff .. I knew had I been on top of that east bluff, if a more easterly position had been possible, I’d still be seeing the moon quite a bit above this bluff. But I was happy with this point of view. … and I was happy with the experience I had descending from my perch above to see the views in between.

Soon after the event a woman ran up to me as I stood still looking out after the vanished moon. She was chilled with excitement. I had heard voices from the bluff and now I had a person to associate with the voice in the dark. Just a few other people shared this exact place during the eclipse. It was nice to share a few words. It will certainly always be a treasured experience.

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