A Sunset and a Moonrise

By Dan Weisz

A short while ago some friends and I watched a sunset from the Babad Do’ag Scenic Overlook near the beginning of the Catalina Highway.  That is a popular spot to view the entire Tucson Valley during sunset.  While I don’t often take landscape photos, it was hard to resist.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy some of them.  Before sunset, long shadows of the canyons began to form in the foothills of the Rincons Mountains on the south side of the valley.

The sky turned orange as the sun receded behind the Tucson Mountains to the west.

We drove a very short distance up the highway and, looking towards the east, a foothill of the Catalinas showed its unique pattern just after sunset.

The sky continued to darken.

We had driven up the highway to that pullout for a very specific reason.  This was where we could observe the full moon rising over that distant hill to the east.  Below are the photos I captured.  Nighttime photography was a new experience for me and I enjoyed it.  We were worried at first because it was a cloudy afternoon and evening and we didn’t know whether or not we would even get to see the moonrise.  However, the clouds began to part as soon as the moon cleared the horizon.

One of the special features of this part of the Catalina Highway is the rise of the hill that the moon comes over combined with the sloping rise of the road we were shooting from.  The result is that once the moon cleared the horizon, we could walk up the road 10-20 yards and have the moon seemingly drop below the horizon, only to rise again.  In the photo below, if you look to the right of the moon, you can see the pair of saguaro cacti that were in the center of the moon in the photo above.

The clouds dissipated and we continued the dance with the moon, watching it rise over and over again as we walked up the highway in the darkness.

And up the hill once again for another moonrise.

This moonrise session lasted for a half hour until we ran out of road and the moon finally cleared the hillside for the last time.

That was a lot of fun and something I hope to do again in the future.

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