Gary keeps up a pretty brisk pace, which helps to keep folks warm on winter nights (although tonight was barely below freezing), but it also kept me from spending a lot of time trying to get good photos of the night sky. No time to stop and set up a tripod, so these shots are pretty much point and shoot on the run, resulting in grainy but rather lovely images of the kind of darkened landscape few of us ever get to see any more. Both Venus and Jupiter hung in the sky like bright lamps tonight. I believe the shining planet in this photograph is Venus.
The ice-covered lake shone with a silvery glow as the moon climbed higher and higher, accompanied here by the winter constellation Orion, with the bright Betelgeuse marking Orion's right shoulder. (If you click on this photo, you may also see part of Orion's belt as well as his left foot.)
There were a few clouds, but they only served to amplify the beauty of the moonlight.
After making our way around the lake, the group stopped off at the warming hut for hot cocoa and hot dogs while enjoying a roaring fire in the fireplace inside. Now that I no longer had to watch out for stragglers, I went outside to try to get better photographs of the moon, but all my shots turned out super-grainy, the moon consistently blurred by a purple halo. To the naked eye, the moon's edge was as sharp as if carved with a scalpel.
Since I couldn't get any perfect photos of the moon, I went ahead and had fun distorting the photos with various editing options, altering the exposure and the gamma and saturation and even changing the colors outright, coming up with some amazing abstractions of the moon shining through trees. This is one that pleased me even more than a perfect image would have.