Should I, or shouldn’t I? Do I want to take photographs of the Blood Moon that was due to be seen at night in London on 27 July?
Over the preceding days before the arrival of Blood Moon, the media has gone into overdrive. It was being described as the most amazing Blood Moon that will be seen so far this century. The opportunity to witness first hand a lunar eclipse where the sun, Earth and moon all align is a beautiful phenomenon to witness and to share. There is no if or but this is nature in all its glory and when nature calls, you just need to be there.
As a photographer, my modus operandi is go out and capture the moment and share it. And with that in mind, I just had to go out and be part of the moment.
The previous week had seen much talk about the Blood Moon along with much talk about how when it does make its appearance it will also be part of thunderstorms cross the UK.
Thunderstorms + Blood Moon = potentially amazing photos to be taken
So along with thousands of others across London and indeed across the UK, I headed somewhere high to catch a glimpse of the famous Blood Moon that was due to make an appearance.
My chosen location was Alexandra Palace in north London, the famous Victorian building, park and grounds which is located high above London with breath taking views of the capital.
On any night this would have been perfect. The views are great, the location easy to get to and the setting wonderful. But when the Blood Moon decided to come to London, it seemed the clouds also decided to make an appearance and what should have been a fantastic night to capture Blood Moon turned out to be a night of no Blood Moon.
Even the thunderstorms turned out to be rather lack lustre during the day.
Even without Blood Moon and thunderstorms there were some valuable lessons to be learnt when preparing to capture a moment like this.
Every photoshoot I do I aim to learn something from it. Whether it goes 100% perfect or even 90% right, there are things every photographer can do to make the next shoot better, both for them or indeed the subject matter and client.
Tonight was no different. Everything needed was there but on reflection I should have thought of two things that I left behind – stool and coffee!
I got to Alexandra Palace early enough to set up everything, the stool would have been useful for reaching the heights of my fully extended tripod and the waiting around that followed. While a flask of coffee would have provided much needed caffeine at the lateness of the day.
It wasn’t a wasted journey or time, not every photographic opportunity is going to turn out to be the most amazing. But each opportunity provides me with important learning experiences.
Aside from the stool and coffee, the most important thing is to not waste the opportunity. Sure I was there for several hours, sure I got pelted with some rain, but I was able to use those hours constructively. This resulted in finding new ways to take photographs of the views Alexandra Palace provides and also experiment with different other techniques.
What might have been seen as hours of nothing, actually turned out into something that adds to my experience as a photographer – it’s about being there and capturing the moment regardless of the weather or conditions. And there are always moments to be captured. While it was impossible to capture the moment of Blood Moon in London, I was able to capture the moment when Blood Moon didn’t come to London as it should and got some photographs from the night.
Blood Moon will be back in January 2019 and hopefully without the clouds and I’ll be there again, this time with stool and coffee!