The first full moon in January is called the Wolf Moon. Native Americans and Medieval Europeans shared this name for this midwinter lunar event, believed to be named for the wolves that would loudly howl at the moon while hunting at night. In the modern era, this event should be called, “The Moon when all the photographers come out to take amazing full-moon shots.”
Photographs of a full moon are difficult to take. Photographs of a full moon on the horizon are even more complicated. The surface of the landscape is still radiating heat from the sun’s heat, and the rising heat waves distort the moon, making it appear more like a funhouse mirror moon than the moon we see with our eyes. The lower the moon, the worse the mirage-like distortion. In the cold winter months, though, there is not nearly as much heat distortion, and the moon’s natural shape appears more sharply defined.
Kyle ventured out to capture the sunset from the hills overlooking the Los Angeles basin. “I pointed my camera west to the setting sun, but the other photographers here were pointing their cameras east toward downtown. I got my sunset shots, and decided to stick around to see what all the excitement was about. I’m so glad I did, because I was there for this amazing Wolf Moon moonrise. This moment lasted about 10 seconds—then it was over and the moon was too high up.”