Posted on February 5, 2018
It may have been hard to tell from the headlines, but DC locals know it was a beautiful week in DC. Features of the week included rich cloud patterns over bright blues, pinks, purples and reds; a full moon with sunlight partially blocked by the earth; delicate, pink, purple, peach sunrises; deep sunsets; all with birds and colorful houses, national buildings and monuments glowing with space light.
I tried to capture some of it, starting with last weekend’s sky over Capitol Hill houses.
The big weather highlight this week was to be Wednesday at dawn — a supermoon, which was also a blue moon, and eclipsed, and, as it hit full eclipse in parts of the country, if you could see it, it could turn a blood red. So, a super blue blood moon. I’ve captured an eclipsed moon that turned blood red before, and it was a very cool event.
But because the eclipse was happening just as the moon was setting in DC, and the sun was rising, it wasn’t expected we’d be able to see the blood red effect this time around in DC.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday morning I woke up around 6:00 am and went east across the Anacostia River and up the hill to find a good view of this fabulous partially-eclipsed supermoon setting over DC. The skies were predicted to be clear. I drove up to 30th Street SE and headed south further up hill to a spot in a neighborhood where I had a decent east-facing view of the City. I had scouted this spot on an App on my phone to get a sense of the angle of the moonset (it looked as if the moon would be unobstructed and setting right over the Washington Monument at least in parts of this neighborhood). I parked on the street directly below an abandoned house with a long set of steps going further up the hill. I was exhilarated as (around 6:20 AM) I looked east and could see a beautiful full moon over the City, with a faint eclipse starting in the upper left corner. I watched and took pictures from my car at first (it was in the low 20s) as planes rose from National Airport, getting closer and closer to the full moon. I had my eye on climbing the stairs to the abandoned house, where I could get an even better view of the City. But I think it is trespassing and there were several cop cars circling the neighborhood. For the time being, I had a great view of the moon, and was waiting for it to get lower and thus larger in appearance, and nearer to the Monument.
I got out of the car and started to set up my tripod on the sidewalk (I don’t usually use a tripod, as I like to keep nimble when taking pictures, but the light was still low and I thought I was in a good spot so I wouldn’t have to move much). As I set up, waiting for the moon to get lower, all of a sudden the moon started to disappear below a thick ridge of clouds. Ugh! I quickly snapped some shots, unprepared, and watched as the moon completely disappeared behind the clouds.
I was disappointed, as this was going to be an incredibly beautiful scene, but now the moon was completely gone. I decided to wait the 25 minutes until moonset, to see if the moon would reappear, meanwhile chatting with passersby. Just as it was about to set, part of the moon partially emerged. From the size and location, you can see it would have been absolute amazing setting over the Monument sans clouds. I never did climb up to the old house, mostly because it didn’t look like there’d be a moon to see.
Happily, the evening before, I got out on the National Mall for the moonrise over beautiful buildings in DC, including my EPA office.
And then the sunset Wednesday over the National Mall was amazing
And sunrises Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning were fabulous as well
All in all, a beautiful week in DC!