I did an art show out in Ames last September and decided to stick around the area for some photography after. The date coincided with the big “Super Moon Eclipse” that had everybody excited, and while that rare event wouldn’t happen until later in the evening I noticed that moonrise was supposed to come just a few minutes after sunset that day. It would be a good opportunity if I could manage to pack up my show tent and merchandise and get away from the city lights before dark.
Not being real familiar with the area and knowing I’d have no time to scout and little margin for error, I called on my friend Tim for advice. He’d gone to Iowa State and isn’t one to waste four years holed up in a dorm room, so I knew he could point me in the right direction when it came to the Story County outdoors. Basically I needed a place with an open view of the Eastern horizon, and far enough out of Ames to escape the street lights yet close enough that I could get there fast.
Tim knew just the spot and recommended I head to the prairie of McFarland Park. It really couldn’t have worked out better. I got to the park just in time to speed walk out to the vantage point Tim had suggested, found this tree to provide a complimentary foreground element and got my tripod set just as the first sliver of moon began to emerge.
I really get a kick out of nighttime photography. It’s both exciting and challenging and something I really want to start doing more of. Be it with the moon, or lightning, or Milky Way scenes there is so much potential for creativity and unique images once you get dialed in on the technical aspects. I look forward to honing those skills and adding more after dark imagery to my lineup soon.
-And in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t shoot the eclipse that night. I was coming off a pretty crazy stretch of shows that month, along with work, the Iowa City Farmers Market and a wedding that same weekend. I think I’d had like 5 hours sleep in three days at this point and I was spent. The eclipse happened around ten that night and I was well off to la-la land by then… However, I did shoot for about an hour at dusk before calling it a night, photographing the moonrise then some prairie grass silhouettes. Below are some additional images from that evening.