Moonrise Ridge

a bright, nearly full moon rises in the sky at dusk over a jagged mountain range with pine forests covered in snow

The Moon rises over the Wasatch Mountains, as seen from Salt Lake City on Jan. 4, 2023 | Credit: NASA/Bill Dunford | Full-size image and downloads

Here's the Earth and Moon, delivering their monthly miracle.

The thing is, I hate the Moon. Let me explain: my favorite regions of the night sky to photograph are the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy, ethereal auroras, and other gently faint sources of light. Where they whisper, the Moon shouts. When the Moon is full, it's pretty hard to get a good shot of anything BUT the Moon. So I watch the calendar, and I can tell you exactly what phase is happening on any given day without looking. When the Moon shrinks to a sliver and then goes quiet entirely, I'm a happy photographer.

But, grudging respect for my nemesis. She does turn heads at dusk.

Reflected Sunlight

a bright full moon peeks out from a bank of clouds lined in silver moonlight

The Moon rides a cloud bank on Aug. 29, 2023 | Credit: ©2023 Bill Dunford | Full-size image and downloads

Moonlight is just reflected sunlight. The Sun's light physically, gently, touches the Moon's surface, then a moment later, touches your face and the faces of everyone you love who is watching the sky.