I haven’t posted anything from my store of favorite clouds in quite a while, and I’ve had this one on my mind for some time now. I hope you won’t mind another trip to Australia so soon after my last post, but it’s just coincidence that I made this shot on the same trip. It was January 30, 1994, and I had work to do near Gunnedah, in northeastern New South Wales. It had already been a busy day and a drive of a few hours to the new destination, and I had to get up very early for more work the next day. As soon as I’d written up the day’s report, I turned in as early as I could, which was about 11 pm. I had expected to sleep quite soundly until my alarm would sound at 5 in the morning, but something aroused me out of a deep sleep a little after 2:00 and I felt it drawing me outside my motel room. I stepped out, full of curiosity (and no apprehension at all), into the balmy summer early morning and looked all around for what had called me, expecting maybe some animal, but I didn’t hear or see anything—until I looked up. It was a mostly-clear night, but there was one small group of rather dense clouds that was moving slowly in a path that would directly intersect with the nearly-full moon, and the leading edge of the cloud had formed itself into an uncanny semblance of a face. Its rate of progress permitted me ample time to get and set up my camera on my tripod, dial in the approximate settings I wanted, and simply wait in a state of meditation for the merging of the face and the moon. The per- fection of the merger was a true gift, and I still get prickles when I think back to standing there with my head back (and, probably, my mouth open) in awe of this rare opportunity.
When it finally happened, I had time to bracket 13 exposures so that I’d be reasonably sure to have a workable final image or two. Oh, what I’d have given for some modern digital technology with a bit of instant review! I had no doubt at all about who had tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that something special was about to happen—it was surely Frances, my photo angel. Those of you who have been following my journeys for a while have heard me speak of her before. Metadata: Pentax PZ-1, T-Max 400 monochrome film pushed to ISO 500, Pentax Takumar 100-300 mm zoom lens, exposure 1 second at f/4.5. As you look around for possible photo ops, don’t forget to look up!
What a unique photo opportunity.
I’ve never seen the like anywhere or anywhen else.
That is fantastic!! Hey, can I borrow Frances for a little while? :)
I have passed on your invitation, Cindy–that’s the best I can do. She has her own agenda and can make sudden appearances when you least expect her. But let me know if she does for you. Stranger things have happened…
Whoa! I can feel the prickles, too! That’s intense. And a fascinating capture. You never cease to amaze me with your ability to get things together in time for these incredible shots!
Actually, although the ideal conjunction of the face and the moon lasted maybe half a minute, I had enough time to set everything up comfortably in advance, and even to bring a chair out. I remember very well sitting there and meditating on the blessing of being able to witness it, and to be content to know I was as ready as I could be and just patiently wait for it, rather than having to fumble for another fleeting beauty.
What an amazing sight! I would have been awe-stricken standing there too!
I think anyone in his/her right (or not?) mind would feel the awesome (in the old-time sense of the word) privilege to witness such an unusual natural phenomenon. I still can’t believe that I was able to, and I hope there are others in the area who were awake at that hour, for whatever reason, were able to share the experience.