The Blue Moon rises during “blue hour” in Washington, D.C. (PHOTOS)

August 21, 2013
The Blue Moon rises over Washington, D.C. This photos was taken at 8:06 pm. (Kevin Ambrose)
The Blue Moon rises over Washington, D.C.  This photo was taken at 8:06 pm.  The photo captures the moment that the light from the rising moon, the illumination from twilight, and the man-made light from the monuments are well-balanced for the exposure.  (Kevin Ambrose)

The rise of the Blue Moon Tuesday was at 7:27 pm and the sunset was at 7:56 pm.  The timing of the moonrise with the setting sun meant that the moon would rise up in the sky over Washington during the “blue hour” which is the period of time when the sky transitions from light blue to black.

Related: The “alternative” Blue Moon

The blue hour occurs during twilight and is an optimal time for photography.  Ian Livingston, in a past CWG post, stated, “the blue hour provides a photographer the ideal combination of natural and man-made light for giving an image warmth and depth. These qualities are much harder to obtain once the sky goes black.”

Twilight fades and the sky turns a deeper shade of blue. This photo was taken at 8:19 pm. (Kevin Ambrose)
Twilight begins to fade and the sky turns a darker shade of blue.  The moon appears very bright in the exposure compared to the sky.  This photo was taken at 8:19 pm. (Kevin Ambrose)

The blue hour was really about 30 minutes on Tuesday and it was only the first 15 minutes that was truly optimal for photography.  I suppose the “blue hour” sounds better than the “blue 30 minutes.”

There is no absolute time for the blue hour.  It varies by season and latitude.  For example, when I was shooting Big Ben in London several weeks ago, the blue hour was almost a full hour.

Also, the sky needs to be fairly clear to observe blue conditions during twilight.  I found that cloud cover during twilight can produce various shades of color that include red, pink, gray, and magenta.

The Blue Moon rises over Washington. This photo was taken at 8:30 pm. (Kevin Ambrose)
Twilight is ending and the sky has lost the richness of its blue color that was visible in the previous two photos.  In addition, the light from the moon and from the monuments appear much brighter in the photo compared to the sky and surrounding landscape.  This photo was taken at 8:38 pm.  (Kevin Ambrose)

In Washington, the moonrise tonight is at 8:03 pm.  This means the blue moon will appear on the horizon during the optimal time for photography, about the time the sky has a light shade of blue.  As the moon rises above the horizon over Washington the sky will quickly transition to black.  Of course, this is provided we don’t have cloud cover this evening which is a possibility.

Included in this post are photos from our readers showing shots of the blue moon from various locations in the Washington area.  Does anyone plan to shoot the blue moon tonight?

By 8:47 pm the sky has lost its blue color and man-made lights overwhelm the exposure. This photo was taken inside the Lincoln Memorial. (Kevin Ambrose)
By 8:47 pm, twilight is over and the sky has lost its blue color.  This photo was taken inside the Lincoln Memorial. (Kevin Ambrose)

Here are some more Blue Moon photos…

From Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston:


The Blue Moon over Ft. Reno in the District (Ian Livingston via Flickr)

From CWG readers, via Flickr and Twitter:

The "blue" moon rises through the clouds earlier tonight behind the trees of Bull Run Marina Regional Park in Fairfax County. (Jim Knapp via Flickr)
The “blue” moon rises through the clouds earlier tonight behind the trees of Bull Run Marina Regional Park in Fairfax County. (Jim Knapp via Flickr)

Moon in detail (Kevin Wolf via Flickr)

 

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Dan Stillman · August 21, 2013