This year marked a very special winter solstice (southern hemisphere). It was the first solstice since 1967 that coincided with a full moon.
I planned this event in order to witness the full moon rise over the Tygerberg Hill close to home. I saw that the moon was set to rise at 18:50. I gathered my camera and tripod and ventured out to the field where I planned to shoot from. However, I forgot that the predicted time was when the moon rises from the horizon and not over the hill. I didn’t want to leave so I waited until 19:30 before I saw any sign of the moon rising.
While waiting I even had a local police patrol van come to check why I was standing along an open field at night. I responded that I was taking photos of the moon, even though there was no moon in sight.
After waiting a few more minutes I saw a little bit of light reflect off a nearby cloud over the hill. Finally the moon was on its way.
Just before the moon came, I realised that my tripod was not holding my full camera set up. I decided to abandon the tripod set up and go with my bean bag as a stabilising option. To my dismay, I left the bean bag at home. There was no time left to go home and fetch it. Not wanting to miss the shot, I made a plan.
In the middle of the open, freezing cold field, I took off my hoodie to use it as a support structure. I was left standing, shivering in a flimsy T-shirt.
Finally, I saw the edge of the hill start to illuminate. I got ready to start taking the shots. It was incredible to see the full moon reveal itself over the brim of the hill. What astounded me more was how quickly it rises over the hill.
Within a very short time, the full moon had risen completely. I got a great shot of it while it was still within slightly polluted light.
It eventually broke through the pollution layer and showed its usual greyish tone that we are accustomed to.
Despite the cold, I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing this once in a lifetime lunar occurrence. It will sadly only happen again around the year 2062.