Tag Archives: Wikipedia


Supermoon. Cache la Poudre Canyon, Colorado, 2014.

Cache la Poudre Canyon, Colorado, 2014.

I don’t go out of my way to photograph the moon, and I certainly don’t buy in to the “supermoon” mania that seems to sweep the media every time we have a supermoon event (for those who don’t know, a supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth, this according to my favorite non-authoritative source of knowledge, Wikipedia).  Still, if I’m out photographing and the moon happens to wander its way into my frame, I’m happy to work it into the composition.

This basically is what happened a couple of weeks ago during our most recent supermoon.  I was driving down Colorado Highway 14 in Cache la Poudre Canyon, just happened to glance out the driver’s side window, and saw this scene coming together along the ridge at the top of the canyon walls.  So, I pulled over the vehicle, set up my tripod, and made a couple of quick captures before heading on my way.  Probably took no more than 5 or 10 minutes, tops.

In case you’re wondering, the moon was indeed quite large, larger than normal, but not in reality as large as it appears to be in this photograph.  The photograph was captured with a 400mm lens on my full-frame Canon 5D Mark ii, creating the telephoto effect of a moon just a bit bigger than it really was.

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Magical Realism

White Trees, Series 2, No. 2Wikipedia, my favorite non-authoritative source of knowledge, defines magical realism as “a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment.”  It’s most often applied to literature (my current thinking about it stems from recently reading some of the works of Japanese author Haruki Murakami), but I was interested to learn that it is used in connection with visual art as well.  Again from Wikipedia, “in contrast with its use in literature, magical realist art does not often include overtly fantastic or magical content, but rather looks at the mundane through a hyper-realistic and often mysterious lens.”

This idea of magical realism resonates with me.  My goal with photography is to walk the fine line between reality and interpretation.  On the one hand, one of the great characteristic hallmarks of photography is the inherent realism of images made with a camera.  However, photographs that hew too closely to realism often become merely documentary or journalistic in nature.  On the other hand, image editing software such as Photoshop allow one to take a photograph and manipulate it to look like just about anything the mind can imagine.  This can result in images that look artificial, fantastical, or fake.  Walking that fine line is to achieve a balance between the two extremes, where a photograph can show both the realism of the subject it captures, as well as the magic that characterizes the less perceptible, more sublime qualities of that same subject.

As a medium, I’ve always felt that photography holds an almost unique place in the arts as a means to achieve this balance, but I never knew quite the name to give for it.  “Magical realism” is as good as any, I suppose.  I hope the image in this post, “White Trees, Series 2, No. 2,” strikes the balance I’ve described herein, and if it does, I’ll be happy to call it a work of magical realism.

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