Cholula Moon

I was in Mexico over Christmas, visiting the Yucatan peninsula.  I didn’t take many photos.  After returning, I decided to take another trip to Cholula, as there was going to be a full moon in early January, and I once again wanted to try to take a full moon photo with the Iglesia de los Remedios.  For those of you who don’t follow every post on this blog, this has become a minor obsession with me, and after several visits I still haven’t gotten a good photo.

When I was in Cholula in October, I spent some time wandering out into the countryside looking for marigold fields.  I noticed during that visit that the church was visible from many miles away.  I had always imagined taking the moon photo from a rooftop, but that can be hard — limited room to maneuver if things aren’t quite right.  I reasoned it would be far easier to take the photo from the ground, a couple of miles away. I could always quickly move if things didn’t line up.  An empty field would be ideal.

I’d also never visited this area in the the winter.  I looked as some weather forecasts, and what I saw was encouraging — cool, clear weather.  Perfect for taking a photo of the moon.

So, just ten days after returning from the Yucatan, I flew to Mexico City.  I took a bus from the airport to Puebla, and then a cab to Cholula.  I arrived the day before the full moon.  I scouted my location and found it to be perfect.  While doing so, I ran into another photographer, one who lived in Cholula, who was doing the same thing.  We decided to meet the following night at the location.

The next day, I arrived at the location with two more photographers I had met during the day, and met my new friend from the night before.  In addition, there were a few others there — a local photographer was doing a workshop, and there were perhaps a dozen of us there in total, all waiting with long lenses for the moon to rise.  And rise it did — and in the perfect place!  I couldn’t believe my luck, I took photos until the moon was high, and out of the frame.  I think this is the best one:


I particularly like this one as the moon is rising and it’s not quite yet pitch dark — it’s more of a blue hour photo.  It’s also approaching maximum fullness, 99.9%.

I returned the following night, and the same scenario played out, albeit one hour later.  The moon wasn’t quite as full, only 97.9%.  It was much darker, and there were no clouds (there’s a little cloud haze on the photo above).  I may share some photos of the second night in a future post.


4 comments on “Cholula Moon”

  1. Lance says:

    Absolutely stunning!! And I appreciate you providing the back story and your process and effort for capturing the photo you’re after. I’m an amateur just getting into photography and this kind of information really helps me.
    On another note, how is it that you travel so often to Mexico? For work? I lived in the Yucatan peninsula for 2 years a while back, and I consider it to be like a second home. There’s so much culture there!

    1. Peter says:

      I’m lucky to get five weeks of vacation per year, which in 2019 I was able to use for six trips to Mexico, plus a trip to Nova Scotia, and also a week in Italy. I often wrap trips around a holiday to take advantage of that as well. I probably won’t always travel so much to Mexico, but it’s easy and close, and I can take “micro trips” of only a few days and still really enjoy myself. Thanks for asking!

  2. Dean says:

    Excellente Peter!

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