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January 10, 2009 - Skiing under the inauspicious biggest full moon of the year

I don't often have "bad days" when I'm working as a paid naturalist or paid XC ski instructor, but today I was doing both, and did.
Well, the less said the better about that, so I'm going to post some pics from last night. 
I will say however, that today we were promised the "largest full moon of the season," and since I was still dragging my ass around the long loop at Wood Lake about an hour later than I should have been, I had a great view of the moonrise and I cannot deny it was very spectacular.
But due to unforeseen circumstances, possibly caused by the full moon itself, I did not photograph it, and am bathing in the remorse of that circumstance. 
Possibly the filling of the moon caused the catastrophic chain of events that made my whole day suck monkey butt. I have my doubts, but if a butterfly moves it's wings in Florida, it COULD cause an avalanche in the Andes. You would have to prove that to me inconclusively though.
Meanwhile, back at yesterday...

I had my "little camera" all tweaked and ready to go as I walked out the door of the nature center last night, dragging my sled full of luminaries (candles not prophets) to set up the Candlelit Ski. As soon as I made the corner around the building, our resident deer sort of half-heartedly ran-off as it has been wan to do lately, and then stopped to stare me down. 
I clicked into auto-flash mode, but the diminutive little G2 had only enough flash power to light up his retinas and no more. Goofy picture. It reminds me of a great photo my old boss, Don Blichveldt at Liberty Photo showed me once. He took it while testing some super-power flashbulbs (these things were at bigger than incandescent bulbs used in the home,) using his Linhoff 5 x 7 folding view camera.
He was standing on the shore of an inland lake in Northern Minnesota. He wanted to test the range of these enormous flashbulbs, and so had set up a tripod light facing out towards the water, synced to his camera, which was also on a tripod.
The night was pitch black, cloudy, no moon, no external light pollution. The water was lapping the beach blotting out ambient sound. He checked his gear and figured he was ready to go. As he struck the shutter button, the bulb light popped off with the sound and fury that only flashbulbs can. Meantime Don was looking out across the lake and noticed that when the flash went off there was a man out on the lake in a small dingy, about 150 ft away, that Don had absolutely no idea was there until he fired his camera. He was bent over digging into the bait-well, his head turned towards the camera with an extremely shocked, slack-jawed, "deer in the headlights" expression on his face, wondering what the hell had just happened. The resultant photo was perfectly exposed and a total hoot.

Anyway I snapped a couple more as I picked up of the luminaries for the night, one looking north towards the Nature Center and the condos beyond, and one looking south out towards the quiet frozen marsh.
There is plenty of "light pollution" (I think Richfield uses a lot of Mercury Vapor or Sodium-Arc lights on streets and buildings and the resultant muddy-red is ubiquitous at night.) In a way it's eerily interesting. The blue light on the snow close to the camera is my 7 LED headlamp. Interesting in it's own way.

So that was a very calming situation compared to today. We saw a red fox running along the edge of the marsh and into the cattails earlier with a 4th grade student group, made their day. The foxes seem to hanging pretty close to the build lately. We've found that they are marking our snowshovels with fox musk (which smells vaguely of skunk), and also a luminary that was left out side from the program before, as well as fenceposts, holes, and areas close to the gate.
I wonder if people that overdouse cologne onto everything they own think in the same way, perhaps even subconsciusly. 
Maybe they are marking it so they know it's theirs, or maybe they purposely make it so stinky and unpalatable that no one would want it anyway. There are a lot of copycats in nature.

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