I noticed the moon was big when I was unloading the van last night. Wife Lila pointed out that tonight was the Night of the Blue Moon and suggested we go to a nice place on the beach for dinner and to watch it come up.
Just like when I shot the full moon over Tower Rock last month, the cloud show at sunset was arguably better than the moon. Click on the photos to make them larger.
One minute the clouds were white.
Then the sky caught fire
In a matter of seconds, it was like someone had touched off a massive brush fire in the sky.
The sky got angrier
Just before all the color disappeared, the sky got angrier.
The moon made a brief appearance
I was chomping away at my dinner when the server came over and pointed up at the sky. According to my handy-dandy Moon Phase program, it wasn’t supposed to rise out of the ocean for another 12 minutes or so, so it caught me by surprise.
It made a brief appearance, then was eaten by the clouds, giving me an excuse to turn back to my food.
Here comes the storm
A heavy thunderboomer was off the coast moving to shore. I kept trying to get a good lightning shot, but most of the flashes were well to the north of us. This was the best I could come up with. It didn’t begin to compare with this video I shot of a storm out to sea.
So, it wasn’t a GREAT night for full moon pictures, but it was a fun evening. The company was good, at least.
Mother, Friend Anne and I hit the Thebes Courthouse just before sunset, just in time to watch a slow freight rumble across the railroad bridge.
Sky kept changing
Every time we would start to get into the car to leave, the sunset would change color or shape.
Courthouse has spectacular view
We didn’t see the famous “green flash” when the sun disappeared, but we didn’t feel cheated. Here are photos I’ve taken of and from the courthouse over the years.
Most of lowland Thebes was covered with Mississippi River floodwaters this spring. I noticed in the fading daylight that the roads had been graded and there was a big pile of mud off to the side of them, so I assumed they were clear when I drove toward the river.
Big mistake. A brief downpour had turned the mud on the road to something slicker than ice. I knew I couldn’t stop or I’d never get going again, so I tried to keep it slow and straight until I got to a point where I had to make a right turn. I was able to kick it around, but about 75 feet down that road, the car went into a slow-speed skid.
I used all the techniques I had learned over years of winter driving. At the last second, I cut the wheels to the left and tried to use the front wheel drive to pull me out of the slide, but we ended up bumping up against the curb, which stopped us.
I give my passengers credit. Unlike Friend Jan, who would have been pounding on the dash and screaming, “We’re all gonna die!!!” Anne sat stoically and braced herself for the impact. Mother said she’d have screamed, but she was busy biting down on a pillow to keep from doing it.
We exited Thebes no worse for wear, but it took me three bucks in the car wash the next day to get all the mud off.
If Facebook is any indication, everyone I know in Southeast Missouri took a picture of the first sunset of November 2012. I saw some nice light playing over fields and barns on the way home from Perry County, but most of the time I was looking directly into the glare of the setting sun every time the road took a twist to the west.
It wasn’t until I was coming up on the light at the U.S. 61 and I-55 intersection that I had a chance to actually look at the sky. A second after I grabbed my camera, the light turned green and I had to go. Still, there was enough time to snap off a couple of frames.
I wonder the the driver of the pickup speeding by on the Interstate appreciated the sky or if he (she) merely pulled down the sun visor to block the rays, more concerned with feeding the belly than the soul? Click on the photo to make it larger. (Unless, of course, you’re headed to the kitchen for a snack.)