Blood Moon

Just as the sun sank beyond the western horizon, the full moon rose above the trees fringing the Luangwa River. It was blood red. Perhaps the smoke and dust in the atmosphere gave it a rusty hue. Perhaps there is another more scientific explanation for its remarkable colour. It looked stunning.


The sky around the moon and the ripples on the river took on the same tint. We were sitting on the riverside in the bar at Croc Valley, drinking sundowners. Su had Baileys on ice, Vic was drinking Mosi beer, I was on duty. We watched the moon rise slowly above the trees, its deep red colour slowly draining away to orange, then yellow, then white.

I took this sequence of photographs, hand held, using a high ISO – making the pictures very grainy. It didn’t do the scene justice.

You hardly need a torch at night when the moon is full and there is no cloud. Moonlight gives the parched earth the appearance of having been dusted with snow. The stars are dimmed by moonshine.

The next morning, I was up early to go into the Park at 6am. This is the view of the moon gradually sinking in the west as the sun came up in the east. A heavenly yin and yang; sun and moon balancing each other on a celestial seesaw.


By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.


  1. Yeah… wonderful. ten day ago the new moon was a pink sliver, the next night a bit of a hazy slice of peach… Inspirational. Thanks Ian

    1. June 20, 2016. Woke up at 0430 MST (AZ) this morning and saw a blood moon in the western sky. Very impressive!!!

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