Last year about this time found us boondocked along the Ajo Scenic Loop Drive near the town of Ajo, Arizona. Not far from the famous Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument home of the bizarre looking wild armed Organ Pipes. We loved our time there so much we’ve made a return visit in 2018.
Once again we were enjoying the scenery, hiking and photography opportunities this lush patch of Sonoran desert offers. Just by happenchance, a rare celestial event was happening during our visit. The first Super Moon, Blue Moon, Blood Moon combination to take place since 1866.
Photographing and Videoing the Super Blue Blood Moon
We decided it was a terrific opportunity to view and capture the special event and what a spot to take it all in at. Just after sunset on the 30th of January we eagerly awaited the rise of the super moon. Our plan was to get a photo of it rising over the hills behind our fifth wheel.
Unfortunately, our plan was dashed in the final hour by a thick cloud that showed up to obscure the moon. 🙁 The best image I managed was the large moon peaking over the ridge before being engulfed by the cloud.
We weren’t totally skunked, though. Anne snapped an excellent photo of your’s truly at sunset waiting on the moon rise alongside my Cholla and Organ Pipe cactus friends. I returned the favor with a shot of her waiting on the moonrise in an inquisitive crowd of Teddy Bear Cholla that had gathered to watch. She then photographed the full moon over a Chain Fruit Cholla and solitary young Saguaro chap.
A little disappointed but still hopeful we hit the hay early with plans to get up a 5:30 am for the lunar eclipse and its blood moon. Right on time, Anne woke me up exclaiming the eclipse was starting. Here is a still frame from my camcorder zoomed in. Not great image quality, but gives an impression of what we saw in the sky.
For the next hour or so we watched in amazement as the full moon dimmed and turned a rusty red color in the starry desert sky. Winds were calm, and the temps were mild as we sat outside in our campsite sipping hot tea and taking it all in. Anne was able to get gorgeous shots of the reddish-orange moon alone in the sky and next to a crazy armed Organ Pipe.
As sunrise approached, we hiked out to try and capture the moon set. Drat! We were snake bitten again by a hazy low bank of cloud cover on the horizon dulling our moonset. Oh well, we didn’t get the epic supermoon on the horizon photos we were hoping for but still thoroughly enjoyed what mother nature served up.
Video: Hunting a Super Blue Bloody Moon near Ajo, AZ
Bonus Video: Early Morning Desert Hike
I decided to throw this video on the tail end of this blog post as a little bonus coverage of the area. In this video, I take you along on a morning hike into the lush cactus filled Sonoran desert environment around our campsite. I point out a few of the cactus varieties and climb a small hill for a 360 overview of the area.
I also provide and request some information about the dangerous wildlife that inhabits the southwest desert. One of the most asked questions I receive is in regards to the dangers posed rattlesnakes and scorpions. Be sure to check the video comments for hopefully some local knowledge and advice from the viewers. The video finishes off with a photo slideshow and an unexpected visitor to our hummingbird feeder in the form of a Gila Woodpecker.
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