28 September 2015

[pdx] Superbloodmoon of 2015, Washington Park, Portland

It was harder to find a good vantage point for the SuperBloodmoon than I thought. Or maybe I just underestimated the popularity.

Me, like (apparently) many … oh, so many … of my fellow Portlanders figured that the east lawn of the Pittock Mansion would be ideal. And, as far as views go, it is. And so also though about 6 million of my fellow Portlanders, who blocked up NW Barnes Road and NW Pittock Avenue nearly all the way back to Burnside, and had people parking their cars on Burnside and walking all the way up that hill just to get to the mansion.

The free day about two years back didn't get this much traffic. Throngs of people all wandering about in the narrow roads, making it impossible to get any where without wondering if the next thing you were going to hear through the car's chassis wasn't the sound crunch.

So. Re-emerging, after some travail, where NW Barnes Rd debouches onto West Burnside Road, I get the idea to try the Washington Park Rose Gardens. And why not? As something to shame me, despite my oft-boasted about adoration of my own hometown, I go to the Rose Test Gardens astoundingly infrequently. This problem was about to to solved. Quite easy to get to, actually … turn south off West Burnside onto SW Tichner Drive, then hang a right on SW Kingston Avenue. That leads you right in. A fortuitous parking spot opened up just as we got to it; a very patient TriMet Bus 63 driver gave us the leave to wait a minute or so while the car cleared the space, and we parked it.

The time was about 7:15 PM, Pacific Daylight Time, Sept 27th, 2015. We had my tripod and our Canon S100 PowerShot, which isn't the most ideal camera for astronomical phenomena without a great deal of help but we were going to put her through her paces.

The moon took a long time to emerge. It rose from the haze on the horizon, and more or less materialized into being. It did look noticeably larger than usual.

It was a good spot, though not ideal. The layout of the gardens, on the side of the hill, afforded a number of good vantage points, and the people were polite and nobody crowded us. It was actually pretty cool just to be there, and there was an intangible bonhomie in the air. People were at ease, casual … kids going down the stairs anyway but the steps … I remember an adult telling a 13-year-old girl that she was going to be an old fogy like him someday as she ran up the steps.

"Nooooooooooo!" she retorted.

I got a big of a glimpse of Mount Hood just before the sun went down. The poor mountain is looking so denuded after the hellish summer we've had. Barren and sere.

Toward 8:00 PM, we finally got conditions that gave the best opportunity for some memorable pictures, at least as good as my Canon would give.

It would have been a little better, I suppose, if we didn't have the bright lights behind and in front of us. But I opened the aperture as far as I could, set the exposure for as long as possible, and this is what we got, and at least we have a memory to show for it.

It was a good experience. We need to go to the Rose Gardens a little more often, The Wife™ and me. After, all, they are why this is the Rose City. And perhaps I'm just a poser if I can't say I've been there.

This last one, just above here, was the whole, uncropped scene … and the 15-second exposure time made wonderful ghosts of the many people who were there with us to see this thing.

Superbloodmoon over Portland, September, 2015.

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