Careful planning – and a bit of luck – paid off handsomely for a photographer who set out to capture this week’s Worm moon over Llandudno. The resulting image has vowed social media audiences with its otherworldly appeal.
Anglesey-based Tom Last, 56, specialises in astrophotography and has previously captured spectacular sun and moon rises over places like Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), Tryfan and Bangor Pier. For his latest project, he chose the Conwy seaside resort of Llandudno which, being so low-lying, required ultra-precision.
Tom, from Llandegfan, also captured time-lapse images of the moon’s rising over the town and beyond the Great Orme. For the moon to take centre-stage, looming huge over the town, he used an 800mm prime lens positioned 16km away on Lleiniog beach between Beaumaris and Penmon on Anglesey’s southeast coast
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This gave him a direct view across the sea to Llandudno’s West Shore. To ensure he was in the right place at the right time, he used apps to calculate the moon’s trajectory and his line of sight.
“Sometimes you need to scout a location in advance to make sure there isn’t a tree blocking your line of sight or someone hasn’t built a new house recently,” he said. “With the Llandudno image, I went to Lleiniog at midday, fired off a few shots, then popped back home for six hours – I live just 10 minutes down the road.”
Tom continued: “The great thing about astrophotography is that it’s entirely predictable – you don’t have to wait for days for a snow leopard to pass by. What isn’t predictable is the weather. For the Llandudno photo work, I needed a clear day without a cloud anywhere along the coast from Bangor to the Wirral.
“This image simply would not have been possible on the days either side of Tuesday, when I took the picture, as it was too cloudy. You have to give it a go and hope you get lucky.
“So many times in the last five years I’ve been thwarted at the last moment. There’s a saying in this job ….. you’ll never get a good photo if you never go out, and if you do go out, you probably still won’t get a good shot!”
His efforts paid off big time at Llandudno with a photo that will get local tourism chiefs beating a path to his door. “OMG!” exclaimed one woman when she saw it. Another said: “I’m in shock, such a beautiful photo.”
Dad-of-two Tom runs his own Llangefni-based company, TDL Event Services, which organises mass participation activities such as marathons and triathlons. His photography, he said, is “just a hobby” – one that continues to scale new heights despite his colour blindness. For more examples of his eye-catching work, visit Tom’s Instagram page or Pixels site.
Usually, there are 12 full moons each year but 2023 will have 13, including four supermoons and one blue moon. Supermoons occur when the moon’s orbit is closest to earth, making it appear to be about 30% bigger than at other times.
Monthly moons were named in the US and so follow American customs and conventions. Native Americans called the March moon – the last full moon of winter – the Worm moon after the worm trails that appeared on newly thawed ground. Other names include Chaste moon, Death moon, Crust moon and Sap moon, after the tapping of the maple trees.
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