Several photography friends and I went to Great Smoky Mountains National Park back in October to photograph fall color. Although we were there over the 3rd weekend of October which is typically when peak color occurs, the color this year was below average at best but we had a great time and did capture some great shots!
Our first evening in the park was spent atop Clingman’s Dome for a sunset, followed closely by moonrise of the full Hunter’s Moon. In October, the full moon can be either the Hunter’s Moon or the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox, and in every 2 out of 3 years it occurs in September, but in some years it does occur in October. This year, the October full moon was the Hunter’s Moon. Sky conditions were partly cloudy for sunset, which helped give us some nice color as the sun sank below the horizon. Unfortunately the fog rolled in shortly after sunset and obscured the sky. We stayed for about 45 more minutes after sunset and decided that the sky wasn’t going to clear enough for us to see the moon so it was time to pack up. Five photographers have a lot of gear, and by the time we got everything loaded and drove as far as the other end of the parking lot, the wind changed direction, blew the fog away and suddenly there was the bright, full moon. Of course we stopped, got some of our gear out and started shooting. The sky didn’t stay clear very long because thin high clouds moved in before we fired our first shots. All was not lost as the wind created some very interesting patterns in the clouds lit by the bright full moon as you can see in my images. In the second image, you can see that the fog is just about to blow over us again.
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