A season of personal sunset/moonrise rides

Over the past several years I’ve led Sunset/Moonrise rides during the warmer months. On the night of full moon, sunset is roughly around the same time as moonrise, so I’d choose an end spot with both a good west and east view. When I lived up in Woodlawn, I usually ended up going to Broughton Beach on the Columbia River–it has excellent views, and was only five miles from my house. Now that I live close to Mount Tabor, I wanted something less out-of-the-way. I discovered that the new Cully Park fits the bill, and is under four miles from home.

Moon rising on Halloween 2020, captured from Cully Park. Camera: Minolta SRT-101. Lens: MC Celtic f/3.5 135 mm 50mm Film: Kodak ColorPlus 200

I was looking forward to another great season of leading Sunset/Moonrise rides, but pandemic put a damper on these plans. Pandemic wouldn’t stop me from going solo, or bringing Emee along. We generally go to Cully Park, but a couple times hit up Mount Tabor to mix things up.

And amazingly this year, it seems like the full moon aligned with good weather! We’ve consistently hit up most of the full moons since March. There’s only a few we didn’t observe: April (though I did watch the moon rise from my house), June (I think the weather wasn’t good) and July (which was on the 4th, a bad day to watch a sunset/moonrise). The nice weather lasted into October, where we got to see two full moon rises, even the one on Halloween!

All these sunsets and moonrises gave me ample opportunity to practice film photography. For much of the year I used either of my two Pentax IQ Zooms, which gave decent results. I’ve also used my Olympus XA2. Despite the lack of a “bulb” setting or remote shutter release, the combination of self-timer and maximum 2-second shutter speed in low light on the XA2 when used with a tripod gave me some good shots as well.

For the Blue Moon on Halloween, I decided to try out the Minolta SRT-101. I had purchased a Minolta Celtic f/3.5 135 mm telephoto lens and I wanted to try it out. It worked well, though if I really want to capture the moon in detail, I need something a bit longer. A decent 300 mm lens is on my wish list. Hopefully my shots will be better next time, as long as I remember to bring a cable release instead of hoping I don’t shake the camera too much on the long-exposure shots.

I don’t know if I’ll do any more sunset/moonrise rides this year. The combination of colder temperatures and the increased likelihood of rain or cloudy conditions means the chances are slim. But I’ll be back next year, hopefully with a nice long lens!

Mount Hood from Cully Park. Sunset/Moonrise Ride, 31 Oct 2020

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