Trying to lasso the moon: Matt's Memo

When I first glanced at tonight's full moon it was sitting just off the eastern shoulder of the Syracuse University campus as I looked toward the south. The glow of the sunset to the west had shaded the surface of the moon in an orange which nearly blended with the official on campus color.

I had my digital SLR in the car with me. Past experience taught me to put the longer lens on the camera. Without a tripod handy I chose a faster shutter speed to avoid blur or shake. I shaded down the aperture. I grabbed an image of that orange moon right out of the sky.

The problem was the photo lacked perspective. There was no foreground detail or recognizable building or familiar façade. I decided to drive off Prospect Hill on Syracuse's north side in pursuit of the moon over...somewhere. I thought about the moon over City Hall, the moon over the Carrier Dome or the moon over the Hall of Languages on the Syracuse University campus.

I knew I had to keep my back to the west to find the moon in the east. I drove through Clinton Square. Not enough elevation to see the moon. As I reached Adams Street south of downtown I looked toward University Hill and caught the moon over the iconic Crouse College building. Before I could pull the car over the moon had moved.

I kept driving toward campus and caught a glimpse of the moon passing over the Dome diving toward the horizon. As I tried to get closer the moon seemed determined to duck and cover behind multi-story buildings and hills. For an object that typically appears so static in the sky it was bobbing and weaving tonight.

Too much time had passed. I never did find the ideal juxtaposition with a structure of interest. I returned to the television station. Guess what was waiting for me as I pulled into the parking lot looking toward the University again. The moon. It had guided me back.


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