Blood Moon Over Red Square

Harvest Moon
Spoiler Alert! This is not the Blood Moon. Do not be fooled. I took this picture in August 2015, when smoke from the wildfires in Washington State turned the moon orange. PHOTO BY RYAN BELL

Act One: A Good Idea

The Blood Moon over Red Square. How cool of a photograph will that be?! It’ll make photographic history.

On the night of September 27-28, 2015, there was a lunar eclipse. The earth’s umbra cast a red glow onto the moon, creating an effect called the “blood moon.” At least two people believed it was a religious omen, heralding the end of times. Another 500,000 hoped for a cool pic on Instagram.

Google says it’ll turn bloody at 4:15 a.m., Moscow time. The fireworks will last for two hours. Cool. That’ll give me enough time to fill, like, 2 compact flash cards. 2,000 images? No problem. Whatever it takes to capture “the one.”

It did not occur to the photographer to check the weather forecast.

What time should I set my alarm? The Metro doesn’t run that early. I’ll give myself 30 minutes to walk downtown. Add in time for brushing my teeth…

(1.2 minutes)

… guzzling a glass of juice…

(7 seconds)

… and obsessing over what gear to bring.

(24 minutes)

3:15 a.m. ought to do it.

Act Two: Walk in the Dark

The alarm went off and the photographer hit snooze for ten minutes.

Alright, let’s get this show on the road. Time to make something amazing happen.

The photographer looked up at the sky. It was overcast. He ignored this fact, and donned headphones as he fast walked down the road.

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