Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday Vignette: In the moonlight

The week before last, I was struck by how bright the moon was in the cold, clear skies. In a bout of insomnia, I went outside at about 11pm to test the limits of my camera. This was prior to the big freeze last week, but there was a touch of frost, making everything sparkle in the moonlight. It was magical, if rather chilly. Thanks as always to Anna of Flutter & Hum for hosting Wednesday Vignette. I'm stretching things a bit, as this is a series of nine pictures, rather than one vignette, or even a handful.

Here's what I managed to capture before low clouds drifted over and darkened the light beyond the ability of my camera to compensate. This is one of the few instances when my bulky camera falls short of an even bulkier DSLR and lense set. I can't set shutter speeds slower than 15 seconds, so I couldn't get these images quite as bright as I would have liked. You may want to dim the lights to fully appreciate these photos, and I highly recommend viewing on a large screen and clicking on the photos to enlarge them.


At least the moon was easy to photograph. I didn't even have to use my slowest shutter speed, as I did in the photo above.

Late fall isn't really the traditional time for moon gardens, those being heavily dependent on white flowers and silver foliage. I do have a few white flowers, such as the Hutchinsia alpina below, and the white-flowered Erica in the next photo. While I did increase the amount of silver foliage in my garden this summer, they are all still rather small and made less of a visual impact than the light frost.

The moonlight caught the frost and made everything glow.

Frosty plants glitter in the moonlight. It's even better in person, shifting your view to watch the sparks of moonlight shift. I'm just glad that they showed up in these photos.

The fog began to move in as I was shooting, catching the moonlight and making a glow in the air, though it made the ground dimmer.

A much-photographed trio this summer: Yucca filamentosa, Cistus 'Mickie', and Convulvulus cneorum. It even looks good in the moonlight. I love when the moon is so bright that you can see colors, but the colors are altered by the pale moonlight.

Geranium robustum was one of the best that night, being a pale, silver-grey to begin with. It was also one of the most sparkling plants.

But I think my favorite plant of all was Yucca filamentosa. The highlights and shadows formed by the spiky leaves was very dramatic, accented by the bright white filaments catching the light randomly.

I hope you could see these well enough. It was a bit of an experiment.

13 comments:

  1. A nice set of photos. I had to go out at about 11 p.m. every night when it was frosty to turn on the propane heater in the greenhouse. I saw lots of sparkles like what you tried to capture here.

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    1. I should get a propane heater to serve as back-up for the electric heater that was included with our greenhouse kit. I worry constantly about a power outage or malfunction leading to frozen plants.

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  2. Those are quite lovely Evan, well done. I have to admit I got a little cold looking at them. I'm such a cold wimp that great frosty photo taking opportunities always pass me by.

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    1. Haha! I'm just trying to freeze you as much as possible so when you actually go outside it will feel warm. No, normally I'd much rather be inside when it's cold, but sometimes the inner shutterbug takes over. The full moon just made it worse.

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  3. stunning photos - I have never seen moonlight pics before...good job! The garden feels sublime in the moonlight, doesn't it?

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    1. Aw, thanks, Tamara! They look a lot better on my big screen than they did on the 10-inch screen I wrote this post on. I love moonlight, and the glittering frost added even more magic to it. But after an hour of shooting in the cold, I was ready for warmth!

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  4. I love how the ice crystals caught the moonlight! You did well getting good shots of the moon too. There's so much electric light here (from the harbor and the cities beyond), it's nearly impossible to get crisp nighttime shots (especially with my little point and click camera).

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    1. That's why I love living in the country. Well, one of the many reasons. Thanks, Kris!

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  5. Gorgeous photos! I can feel the cold and magic of the night!

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  6. Eery. Mystical. I know what I'll be trying next time the moon is full.

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  7. Eery. Mystical. I know what I'll be trying next time the moon is full.

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