No perfect moons allowed!

People, people!  All of us with our cameras trekking out into the night attempting to photograph the PERFECT super-moon.  All of us trying to find the right f-stops and apertures and ISO’s and support for our shaky cameras.

So many of us coming home in dismay and upset, peering at our imperfect photos of the super-moon, cursing the photographic equipment, slaying our lack of technique (or for some of us–never even reading the manual–bad, bad…) 

Some of us peering at the perfect super-moons on other Internet sites and blogs and despairing, yay–despairing–that we shall never, ever, ever be able to photograph outside in the dark.  Never, ever be able to feature the perfect orange moon portrayed against the sea, the rocks, an old barn.

If this is your scenario, do not turn away from your photos.  Do not hide them in shame and guilt and disgrace.  Do not press “delete” in indignant pain and annoyance. Nay! 

There is nothing more beautiful in the world that an imperfect moon.  (All those perfect moons–they’ll have their moment to shine, for sure.  But the imperfect ones shall remain in our hearts and memories forever.)

Here’s what you must do.  Tonight, vow that you will only take pictures of imperfect moons.  Forget your tripod.  That would be too perfect.  Instead, use the roof of your car.  Run, exhilarated, into the night–chasing the elusive moon as it arises in the sky!

If your mind disagrees–but, no, I must get a perfect shot that will show the incredible orange beauty of the super orb in the sky–say:  NO.  No perfection.  We are out to celebrate imperfection!  No perfect moons allowed! 

Let’s go.  You first.

OK, I will go first, to show you the imperfect exquisite gorgeous fabulous lovely wonderful squiggly impressionable foggy misty unclear unfocused moons which shall reveal their imperfect secrets to us now:

Oh look at how the moon squiggles, how it winks, how it splays itself across our hearts!


Oh look at how it diffuses, how it attempts to embrace the entire night sky! No sharp clear concise moon here. None needed.


(This one is almost too perfect for our liking--we probably should refuse to show it. But you can see some imperfections if you peer closely enough.)


Sometimes, some people like to wear make-up to hide imperfections.  Photographers like to play in software programs like Picasa and Photoshop to enhance photographic strengths and minimize weaknesses.  Some folks approve of this and some folks don’t.  Some people call it “lying” (C’mon, just show us the imperfections!) and other folks call it art.

Let’s go dabble in our Picasa software and paint up the moon a little.  Not because our imperfect moons need it, mind you!  Because we want to play with color and hues and sharpening and all the other neat little tools.  Because art and imperfection like to dance under the full moon.

How about a really imperfect moon masquerading as the sun? What do you think? Can it get away with it?


This one put on its Native American regalia and is dancing around the midnight fires. I'm sure.

Ooo la la! Show me some more imperfection, baby!

Finally, here’s a trick question.  Let’s see how much you know about moons.  Question:  is the following photo a moon or a sun?  And how do you know?

When we can't even decide if it's a sun or a moon...

Please, let’s not forget to celebrate imperfection when it comes our way.  Sure, OK, if perfection comes visiting, let it in and admire it.  But let’s dance outside in the driveway with our imperfect suns and moons, our imperfect eyes and faces, our imperfect photography and words.  Let’s howl like coyotes beneath the imperfect moon.  Let’s not complain if our fellow coyote is yipping imperfectly.  Let’s not complain when clouds obscure the sun or moon.  Clouds further enhance imperfection, you know.

Hurray for the perfection of imperfection!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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41 Responses to No perfect moons allowed!

  1. I love your shots! The one with the green glow reminds me of Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent’s glow). My guess (for the last shot) is that it’s the sun. The rest of the sky behind the clouds is light, instead of concentrated in one area. Am I right?? 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Smiling–you love them? (The imperfect moons thank you.) You are right…it is a sun in the last picture. I just darkened up the clouds in the Picasa software. You are a very astute observer!

  2. emaclean says:

    At least you got to see the moon. No moon here for us–too stormy. I really was disappointed about that. I have to say though that even when the electricity went out last night, it sure was light outside! Even with all the cloud cover, the super moon managed to brighten things up a bit. Great photos Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning! (I’ll bet you’re still sleeping out there in California.) I’ll bet you were disappointed with that cloud cover. All that hype to see the moon…and then she refuses to reveal her Regal Light. We had cloud cover too. Off the lake. But we kept getting glimpses of her through the clouds. Thank you for liking how she showed herself.

  3. Susan D says:

    Ohhhhhh, Thank You! I posted 4 pics of my imperfect SuperMoon shots during the wee hours, and then deleted them upon awakening … kicking myself now because I thought they were imperfectly awesome in the way they turned out. But my ego got in the way and I felt embarrassed by my baby point and click camera and the results of my shaky hands and cold fingers … Your shots are magnificent and I love them! Thank you again for boldly showcasing their brilliance. Kudos!

    I had so much fun last night … went down by the bay at dusk and waited, and waited, and waited. Then, there she rose … slowly and orange and blurry; then clear. What an adventure. I shot her with zeal and delight. And now I’m sad that I dishonored my pleasure and the natural results of authentic, imitable imperfection. Here’s to being natural and leaving the “make up” in the drawer.

    • Kathy says:

      See, Susan, that’s exactly why I wrote this blog! How many times do we do this to ourselves? (I am not talking about you–I’m talking about ALL of us who allow our egos to get in the way and murder something precious like imperfect moons.) (Wow, where did that passionate sentence come from?) I am imagining the joy and fun you held down by the bay and the adventure of it all. That is the true memory, the true reflection of the moon in your heart! Let’s celebrate our imperfect moons…celebrate them! No more deleting. Our hands are always shaking unless we invest in tripods and remote control equipment.

  4. Susan D says:

    Oops. P.S. I agree with Holly. The mystery photo is the sun. I have no knowledge with which to back this up; I just have a bunch of sun photos that look similar 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You’re right! It’s the sun. Hello, Sun. (You know, like Goodnight, Moon.) I just darkened the clouds in the software program. You can also tell that it’s daytime because the edges of the sun aren’t blurry.

  5. Dawn says:

    Love the first barn/moon shot!!! 🙂 Wasn’t it fun just to be out there!?

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, it was a hoot! We were such adventurers. The true story is that I almost got the car buried in the mud chasing the moon. I was running around in the dark hiding from neighbors and cars and it was sheer delight!

  6. john says:

    Perfection lives only in our minds, anything of substance cannot be perfect. Kathy is right, let us enjoy our perceptions and our creations for what they are, because nothing can ever be perfect.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh John, I love it. Anything of subtance cannot be perfect. Let us allow all the children of life to be honored in their imperfect perfection!

  7. Elisa's Spot says:

    I got up in time to see it setting for an hour. It was PINK! I also got to listen to the symphony from australia live on Youtube! Was glad to be awake then. I decided to sit still and to listen and to watch and to observe it, rather than taking action.

  8. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Bravo! So well said, Kathy! The second picture is flawless – I absolutely love the mood it captures…

  9. P.j. grath says:

    I deleted the shots from my camera card but not from my mind. In my real, personal memory, it was and is a beautiful, perfect moon. That’s okay, too, isn’t it?

  10. barb says:

    Dear kathy, I was so imperfect, I didn’t even try for a shot. But – that last sun/moon of yours is a stunner. It’s either the dawn of a new day or curtains on a spent one. Either way, I like it.

    • Kathy says:

      The last one works, Barb, because it’s the sun and it’s in daylight, lol. I took it on the way to Marquette the other day. Just darkened up the clouds a little in Picasa so it looked a little questionable…

  11. Sybil says:

    Oh dear. I totally forgot about it. I’m glad you and others remembered for me.

  12. holessence says:

    So THAT’S what it looked like! We had way too much cloud cover to see it. The photographs are terrific!

  13. lynnekovan says:

    What a perfect post!! I love those shots! All too often I fumble around with the settings on my too smart for it’s own good camera, and invariably end up on good old automatic. We had a beauty of a moon here in the UK too, but I didn’t even think to take the camera for a look!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Lynn, I am glad to hear this. Glad to hear that you like imperfection, too. Thank goodness. What would the world be like if we only liked perfect images? (P.S. I end up on automatic a lot, too.)

  14. Colleen says:

    I love your photos Kathy, and your word images. You made me want to run outside and dance in the driveway. And I tried hard not to complain or be disappointed when a fierce storm, instead of a coyote, was howling in the night and the full moon was seen only in our dreams. Ah, well.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Colleen, you are a fellow dreamer and dancer-in-driveways. How many times do we dance in our driveways only in our dreams and not in reality? I don’t know about you, but I am lucky that no one can see me if I choose to dance outside. Do you have a place where you can dance without the world gawping and wondering what the heck you’re doing?

      • Colleen says:

        Oh, how I wish! We live in such a populated area right now but I can usually find a quiet spot when that feeling of joy washes through me and wants to dance or skip or run through the hills. My mom, who will be 90 this year, still does this in her own slower-motion way. And my sister.

        The great thing about having grandchildren is being able to dance any time/any place and nobody even blinks 🙂

  15. wolfsrosebud says:

    It’s hard to capture the moon in a photo, unless you have an expense camera. Loved the last photo…

    • Kathy says:

      Darn it, wolfrosebud, I purchased that expensive camera and STILL can’t capture it!! (Of course it would help to read the manual.) 🙂

  16. Robin says:

    I think the last one is the sun because it reminds me of all the sun pretending to be the moon shots I took over the winter.

    I love your imperfect moon shots. I have TONS of them. I even have a series in which I purposely (yes, purposely!) moved the camera around so I could paint the sky using the moonlight. I still go back to playing that way sometimes (most recently in Florida). Although I’m sure the experts don’t care for them, I like them because they are fun.

    • Kathy says:

      You are so very very right, Robin. Nothing like personal experience to give you the answer! I love that you–as a photographer–loved the imperfection. I sense that many photographers (ok, maybe even my photographer part of self) longs for only perfect shots. I am trying to start a revolution in which we deeply accept ALL our shots. Sounds like you are more than halfway there–when you realize that it’s the fun that counts.

  17. I was disappointed in the “super moon”. When we came home from grocery shopping Friday night, the moon looked HUGE!!! But of course I never made it outside with the camera to take pictures of it. No big deal, I thought, there’s always tomorrow. Then Saturday I waited patiently for the moon to rise, walking outside every half hour or so, to see if it had come over the horizon…. and when it did, it didn’t look any bigger than usual. I did take pictures, but ended up deleting them all.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Michaela, wasn’t it a huge moon? Isn’t it funny when we think we have tomorrow~~and we wait~~and tomorrow refuses to present an opportunity? (P.S. I’ll bet you had some really beautiful imperfect moons among the ones you deleted! smiling…)

  18. kimnixon says:

    Mike had glorious shots. I had so-so shots. But what was wonderful is at Picnic Rocks in Marquette the parking-lot was full. Everyone got out of their cars and cheered and applauded! I had gooose-bumps! It was powerful 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      That sounds like a powerful evening, Kim. People outside enjoying the moon and applauding it! How often does that ever happen? Thank you for sharing this story. I can almost imagine being there and looking at the Picnic Rocks and the glorious moon.

  19. Marianne says:

    This is a very funny post, Kathy. The photos are wonderful and the commentary is a hoot! Thanks.

    • Kathy says:

      (Marianne, I am glad someone laughed. I was giggling while writing it…but then thought I might offend some serious photographers. Why do we sometimes always second-guess ourselves? That’s what causes our suffering, methinks.)

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