My December 2012 Photo of the Month is Moon Dog, a Christmas evening image made in Joshua Tree National Park.
Moon Dog Background
As part of my tradition in camping at Joshua Tree every Christmas, I naturally did some night shooting. This year, I couldn’t do star trails because a very bright moon was out. I thought of doing some full moon landscapes, but I began to notice something I had never seen before: a “moon dog.” I have seen plenty of sun-dogs before, but this was truly unique.
The moon, of course, was much too bright to capture in detail. I knew that if I let the moon be “blown out,” I would have no trouble capturing the scene with something analogous to how I saw it in the field. People underestimate how much light is cast by the moon.
This is what makes photography so great. This is not quite what you would see with the human eye, because our ability to discern contrast allows the elements to be visualized. Getting something in a photograph that you don’t normally see with the naked eye is a great reward, and I am happy that this image is this month’s Photo of the Month.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.