The Supermoon Effect

The biggest moon in decade. An unmissable event. Devoured articles on 'supermoon' photography. The pros were succinct in their advice. 'You need a clear horizon to capture the moon rising in its full glory. Make sure the air is free from light pollution. Also, have a frame of reference. E.g. Frame the moon against some well-known landmark. It could be a building, monument, castle, or even a tree, etc.' Sage advice. 
Being located in Dubai meant I did have access to some iconic landmarks such as the tallest building in the world - Burj Khalifa and the ‘7-star’ uber-photogenic hotel - Burj Al Arab. The supermoon would look great framed against any of these architectural wonders. 

Read somewhere that shooting from the Palm Jumeirah island results in great skyline photos.
Not recommended for 'supermoon' photography though. That area is so well lit that it gives the Milky Way a complex. Further research divulged that many astronomy lovers and photography enthusiasts were heading to the desert. I clocked out early from office and headed out towards the Al Quadra lakes in the Seih al Salam desert reserve. Definitely no light pollution over there. Nice sand dunes. I almost went giddy with delight at the prospect of capturing a large red moon rising behind a massive sand dune. An Oryx right in the centre would be good. Or, maybe a horse galloping in the sand, its mane flying. And the large red moon in the background. I might as well have asked for a prancing unicorn. Because nothing that I was fantasizing about transpired. 

The moonrise happened at its allocated time. But there was no huge sand dune where I had set up base. My mistake totally. The moon quickly appeared like one of those high profile surgeons who never talk, only nod as they walk past to perform a delicate appendectomy on another high profile personality. I was actually taken aback by the urgency of the moonrise. Unfortunately, by the time I fired off some shots, it had climbed quite high and as I was not able to transport the Burj Khalifa or the Burj Al Arab to the middle of the desert, I had no 'frame of reference'. Except for a couple of camp chairs from Carrefour and a willing partner who did her best to follow my directions – move to the left, a bit to the, no, you don’t need to jump. All the time, the moon was in an ‘onwards and upwards’ mode. The chairs and my partner did their job very diligently. But truth be told, I'd have preferred an Oryx, or the Burj Khalifa. I tried experimenting a bit. Used a pool of water for some reflection shots. Shot through a fence. 

It was clear though that the grand supermoon shot that was embedded in my head wouldn’t happen
till the next time a supermoon even bigger that this one occurs. The year 2034, to be precise. A bit disappointed, we started to head back. I then spotted a group of photographers. They were instructing a girl to clamber atop a bus. Interesting. Dramatic. The woman had a very hippie vibe around her. I quickly parked, became one of them, and started shooting away. Every cloud has a silver lining. Well, so does a supermoon.