The full moon of November is known as the beaver moon. My ephemeris told me that the beaver moon would be setting just a few minutes before sunrise on Wednesday morning. If I positioned myself at the northernmost tip of Bowditch Point, I could watch it set behind the main span of the Sanibel causeway. I set my alarm - 5:10 a.m. I could catch the moonset before going in to work. As I drove to the beach I couldn't find the moon. It wasn't where it should be. How does one lose a moon? By the time I got to Bowditch Point, I realized that it had already set. I must have looked at the wrong date. Okay, so, maybe the sunrise would prove fruitful. I doubled back, parked the car at a meter on Old San Carlos, grabbed the 300 and started the steep walk to the top of the Sky Bridge. No time - I walked briskly, carrying the big lens on my shoulder, breathing a bit heavily by the time I reached the crest. I need the exercise, I tried to convince myself. The sun made its appearance directly behind a pair of distant buildings, the only buildings on that part of the horizon. I could just see its upper limb emerging between them. Those buildings didn't use ta be there. I repositioned myself quickly, for a little better vantage, to get the sun out from behind those pesky buildings before it rose too high. The sun came up through a low layer of clouds and then rose into a clear sky. And that was it. [300mm, ISO 200, f11. 1/125]
Thursday morning was the correct morning for the moonset I had been chasing. So there I was again before beginning my work day, at Bowditch Point about three quarters of an hour before sunrise and half an hour before moonset, The sky was clear. The moon was there, over the bridge where it was supposed to be, though it wouldn't touch the highest part of the span. As the full moon descended, the sky gradually grew brighter. Dropping toward the horizon the moon became a distorted orange orb, an oblate spheroid, as the angle of view thickened the atmosphere. I had hoped to be able to see the moon under the bridge but it sank into an invisible layer of cloud as it reached the railing of the bridge and disappeared, not to show itself below the span of the bridge at all. That's okay. I'll take what I can get. [600mm, ISO 400, f11, 1 second]
After the moon took its leave, I just stayed where I was and watched the birds. Pelicans, wading birds, gulls, skimmers and shorebirds were all around, going about their daily business. There wasn't enough light for a shutter speed fast enough to stop their motion, so I just watched and basked in the morning. I was watching some pelicans on a Manatee Zone marker as the sun rose behind them, creating a silhouette against an orange sky. Mostly they just sat there, like preening lumps. Then one would leave and another would arrive. I hoped for some interesting activity – at least some typical comical pelican poses. Finally this trio gave me some satisfaction. As the great philosopher Mick says, “You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need."