Okay! So, Colleen tried to buy me a telescope for Xmas. She spent big $$$$ and ordered a special camera ready telescope after much research, much angst, and after consulting with Liz, our family astronomer. I have dabbled, miserably, in some astrophotography. With anticipation and then great disappointment (Colleen’s), the telescope never shipped, never arrived. We saved big $$$$. Colleen cried inconsolably. Everyone knows it is impossible to get me a present. I tend to buy whatever I want. So, there is no wont in my house.
Amazon prime came to our house – inadvertently. Amazon prime day had a sale on beginner telescopes. The rest, as they say, is history. The learning curve is high. First and foremost is light pollution. I discovered the technical limitations of attaching a Nikon camera to a Celestron telescope. Focus in the dark was dismal. The earth moves at about 400 meters/sec. I thought diving was challenging? The stars are dots of light – pinholes in black paper.
My point and shoot Canon got better focus of the moon than the spiffy telescope. Risk/benefit, or, bang for your buck?; I chose the camera. The stars are not a subject I will pursue. Amazon gave me a refund. End of story.
I am unable to deliver to the monitor, the subtle color and detail I see in real life. It makes me inadequate as a photographer. I am working to correct this. Meanwhile, the moon is in partial crescent and the morning star is above. Which? Dunno. I admit the morning star is nothing but a small white dot. But it was dawn; the color of dawn was just rising; the elements were in alignment. What I saw was not conveyed to the camera. It was indeed a beautiful sight. Some things are too subtle for me to capture. It won’t dim my enthusiasm. Hmm, was that a pun?
A special moment can pass before you realize. Still, in that time, I think we appreciated how fortunate we were to have respite from chaos all around us. We sat. We smiled. The sun would set. The moon rose. The cats were at peace. It’s now a treasured memory, fleeting, but dearly appreciated.
I was in the closet. Don’t ask. We have a window in a closet. Would that make it a room? The window faces northwest in the direction of the Comet Neowise that was in the news. A challenge. I don’t do astrophotography. I still don’t. The weather was cloudy on most nights. Hey! It was the steamy hot part of summer. Nada! Nothing! Nuthin’! I never knew for sure if I was looking in the correct part of the sky. Urban light pollution was abundant. The effort was a miserable failure. Scary? I was in the closet and couldn’t hear Colleen calling. She nearly had a heart attack looking for me. Sorry. I came out of the closet with moon shots. (poor choice of words? Don’t ask.) Discovery?! There is a man in the moon. I have seen him. The ancients were right. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.
I got a picture of the morning star. It’s the tiny white dot in the lower right quadrant. Shooting the moon was the challenge. The dynamic range of the image overexposed the moon. I went to manual exposure, got the moon’s detail, and tried to blend it back into the photo. It’s complicated and not perfect but closer to what I saw. … sort of.
…as in under a rock. Or, how about, the moon is made of green cheese? Or, there are no aliens? Or, it is an alien in the great White house? You pick. I will admit I stage some of my images. It’s up to you to figure it out. I will readily admit it’s not easy to get a shot of the moon.
Noa Lila was born on the 20th of January. I nearly forgot to photograph the news headline the day she was born. In Delaware the NY Times is delivered a few days late. In this case my local library had a newspaper from January 14. No good. On January 24 in the library in New Castle, I caught up to recent headlines on January 20. Newspaper? I read the internet NY Times and it is updated multiple times a day. Who reads a paper? It’s so old and out of date. Hence, the newspaper shows up at the library days later. Old news, historical interest. It is/was the news on the day you were born. It wasn’t as cool as the super blood wolf moon that night.
Closest point to the earth, eclipse, Indian lore – first full moon in January. Super – when the moon and earth are closest to one another. Blood – the appearance when the earth has eclipsed the moon. Wolf – Indian tribes refer to the first full moon in January. I probably most likely have some of this mixed up enough to confuse you. No matter. It was a full moon with a lunar eclipse during the time when the earth and moon were closest to one another. I might add the temperature dropped and it was windy – bitter cold standing there to get images.
The moon is made of cheese and the mouse took a bite from the lower part until it ate/covered the moon. At that point I could see but not photograph the orange (red) moon. Tripod! And then long exposure, with the wind howling, it was near impossible. I could not get a sharp clear image of the moon.
Aha! Let the camera do the work. Darn! I let the ISO go to 6400, f 5.3, 1/4 second. It’s not sharp and there’s plenty of noise. But, I do have detail and color. Blood moon! Let me tell you it was cold! But then again there was little haze. That’s all good? Right?
To the new baby granddaughter (as yet unnamed on the night this was shot), this was the moon on the night you were born.
So, I continue my experiment with shooting the moon. It ain’t easy. And you may not care. After all, why do it at all. But I know that the exposure is about 1/800 f11 or something close by. Don’t forget to hold your ISO low too. A high ISO will make too much grain/noise in the final image. Okay! I did all that. And, look! I got a really nice image with spots on the moon and all. It’s better than my Canon. The Canon could not render me an image so large. Sony has a much better digital zoom. It doesn’t focus as well as the Canon. I’m still mastering the quirks of the Sony. Tonight, it shone!
Sun? I learned and adapted this trick from Jules. She held a pair of binoculars to the lens of her camera. Voila! Telephoto picture. I did it with Dave on Governor’s Island and shot through a telescope to get sun spots. It’s a nice trick. It’s not perfect but then again I wouldn’t have an image without doing it. Next: Are there brown spots on Uranus?
Look! Guess who’s awake? Notice: no one’s gonna be sleeping around this house any more. Let the night games begin…. Born, January 20, 2019 at 11:11
PM. Name not official but, Lisa Lila. Junior! Numerology: 1/20 11:10 2019 is 120 120 201 = 9. I was hoping for 1/21 and it would be 121 spelled backwards. But 1/20 at 11:10 is a fine set of numbers.
Now, for a nickname. Born by the light of the super blood wolf moon. Hmmmm? Jr? Moon? Lila? Working on it. I have to say mom looks very much like grandma in this pic. And the kid looks very much like her mom. It’s complicated since the nouns and pronouns can mean or be confusing with or without context. Obtuse?Hey! It’s the middle of the night around here. Why does labor always seem to start in the middle of the night? And end that way too? All in all, it was a very smooth delivery. I didn’t feel a thing. And, I slept like a baby when the moment arrived. Ah! But, this ain’t about me. Goodnight Moon.
Do as I say, not as I do…. And, you (my kids) can do this in a moving car, driving, and holding and iPhone. Many of the images I get are done on the go. I don’t stop. Ha! Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t stop. I’m go. So this is another moonrise over the highway. We were headed east in Maryland. I shot a couple images as we drove along. This one made the cut. Snapshot. I know. I could have maybe had something if I’d stopped and set up. I don’t travel with a tripod. I wouldn’t even know what to do if I had all the time I wanted to get a proper image. Shoot and go. Me.
So, on the heels of my last post is the picture I missed. I slept through it. Hung over. It was the State of the Union address last night. A blue moon is the second full moon of the same month. A super moon is when the moon is closest to the earth. The blood moon is when you have a lunar eclipse. Damn! A trifecta. Missed it. Double D.
The very next night… well I saw the full moon which is still blue and super. Yes, it doesn’t look blue. Duh! It’s just the terminology. I got off a shot. See the power lines. Not good but a shot, a place holder if you will. The darn camera does its own thing. I try to get what I want. Sometimes it gives me what it will. We bargain and I come away with shots. Some good some bad and some less bad.
And thank you Ginny, she reminded me. Of course, Dave was in the air and saw it all, lucky kid. Me? I slept – fitfully/blissfully through it when it all happened the day before. Now I was in a shopping mall…
I’ve said it before. I’ve done this before. To be sure, I was surprised myself. In fact, I had to look twice and then I still wasn’t sure. But, yup! I got the moon! Well, I was shooting the bridge. Random! We were headed home. I was near 10PM. (My camera is set for EST). So, yes, it was dark, as in night. I was shooting the bridge. It’s lit well enough and makes a dramatic shot. Of course, I wasn’t stopping the car. At about 55 mph I set the camera for shutter speed of 1/100 and ISO on auto. It set itself to 5000. Voila! I just aimed and shot away. Yes, I was watching the road. But, there was no one else on the bridge. See?! …no other cars coming or going. My edit was to see the pattern of lights. Whoa! That’s the moon. … an added benefit. I would be lying if I told you I noticed the moon was out as we drove home. This series got my attention. I’m glad I got the shot. 99% luck, 1% skill; I knew what settings to use. Hey, it’s not my first rodeo.
It’s not me. The darned camera does it. It made the shot. I pointed in the direction of the moon. And we were in a moving car. Exposure – .3 second f2.8. Yeah, I was there to press the shutter. I suppose you could argue if it was worth a picture, it was worth it to stop and take the picture. I didn’t (stop) and it’s debatable.
There is a such a thing and it is “rare as a blue moon.” I won’t go into more detail than to say that is it a full moon that occurs twice within the same month. I was online chatting this evening, well actually my 5AM, and I noticed. And it occurred to me that it was the second such so soon after the recent. How do they do this? Anyway sure enough the whole world but me knows.
Now to tech. The moon is very small in an iPhone 6 plus. And it is large in a Nikon D610 with 80-400mm lens. And it can be enlarged even more. But the trick is that the moon is very bright. Bet you knew that?! So it means that the exposure is manual and the setting is 1/200 shutter and about 500 ISO and f stop about 7.
Now to the romantic. It is indeed a rare event. And in the time I took the pic and we traded photos across 6000 miles, the moon has set. It’s cloudy and stormy on the other side. And here the grey sky of dawn has obscured the moon. So it is indeed ephemeral as it is rare. That is enough to make you believe in magic. Yes, this is a real time post. Photo were taken minutes apart miles apart only moments before I made this post.
And now for the piece de resistance! The moon came back for me! So I got a dawn shot with a blue grey sky. Same exposure, use 1/200 and F7 and ISO 500. It got me there. It is counter intuitive. But the moon is bright. Manual exposure is the only way to go. For once you have to actually control everything. Imagine that.
And now! It was also a supermoon too! That is when the moon is closest to the earth and appears larger. Not much but it is so. You can’t tell and neither can I. But it is . So the blue moon is rare, the next will be Jan in 2018. So this was an event you missed if you did not see it a few days ago. The last coincidence was in 2012. The great and mighty Oz does not say when the next coincidence will be. No matter, this was a lot of fun. Alas there are only 12 blue moons over the next 28 years.
I guess I just had a very special night. I shared it then. And I share with you now.
I got this one in digital with the Canon G3. It sure helps when the image can be checked immediately instead of guessing without feedback. Yes, you must use a tripod. And there are all sorts of technical details about night shooting. But the easiest part is in knowing you’ve got something for your efforts. And, no, I did not delete all the other shots. Did I mention that all my digital files are in a hard drive the size of a brick? And did I tell you that I currently have about twelve bricks with redundant backups of my image files…and there was only one drive that had my G3 images… these images that I have posted today. Things can sure get confusing sometimes. Susan swears by Carbonite and ‘the cloud.’ I say, what happens if they go away. Companies can fold and your stuff is lost. Of course it also helps if your stuff is stored in multiple sites, which mine isn’t. Back to my topic, mounting your camera to a tripod also allows you to do night shots. Bright lights will actually let you get a decent shot handheld. And I do his all the time when I don’t have a tripod handy. Still…
Here’s another fortuitous image. We were at the beach near to sunset. The family liked to stay past the time when everyone else was long gone. It’s too dim to get a sharply focused shot. Remember it’s film with a fixed ISO. That means a slow shutter speed and some image blurring especially the rolling waves. But it was getting the moon’s detail that caught my eye. It was that right moment when the shutter/aperture caught the moon and the scene in balance.
This darn camera got the moon exposure pretty good. Well, I did a little Photoshop work here. The moon came from the next frame. I just hadn’t cropped as well. Slipping it in here, it’s exactly where the other moon was, but not quite so well exposed. Otherwise I’m not too much for post processing. Life is spinning way too fast these days.
David put me onto this shot. It’s not often that the moon is this close to the earth. It amounts to about a diameter of the earth closer than usual, 222,000 miles. The last time we were this close was 1993. Since the moon is more than 30 diameters away, this distance is not a lot. That 12 percent size different can mean as much as a 30 percent change in the brightness, so this will be a particularly bright supermoon.
So as a casual photographer, what could I do but shoot the moon when I saw it while driving home. To be sure, it was shining bright and true over the skies of Saudi Arabia. No clouds. It was bright and sunny today – a mere 106 degrees. It rained for 10 minutes this past year. But, still, there is humidity. Even so, tonight there was little haze. So I took out the super zoom to the tune of evening prayer from the speakers of the nearby mosques. Two mosques compete with one another. Illiterate as I am, I simply tune out the noise. (See years of (wife) complaints.)
First, when you shoot the moon, remember you are shooting into a daylight (sunlit) object), which means that your exposure is near to daytime. I used 1/1600 sec at f9. And I put on the big lens – 400mm. It would be nice to use a tripod. But I don’t happen to have one at the moment. At 1/1600 it’s pretty forgiving even handheld in the middle of the night. And to dispel another myth, I shot the image below through my screen window. The sharpness is acceptable. After setting up the exposure, I took myself outside and made the image above. The only manipulation was to crop and center.
Westhampton, Long Island. At the beach, as the sun set behind, this view east caught the moon rising. Somehow, the soft texture of the waves blurred by motion and a slow shutter speed works here. This is a slide image. The camera settings are unrecorded. I’m sure I did not have a tripod. Handheld about 1/30 sec or even as much as 1/8 sec, I am surprised at the quality of the shot. The rule is that one should not go slower than 1/30. And, the shutter should be faster if it’s a telephoto lens. To catch a really sharp frame a shutter of 1/125 second or faster is preferred. No matter, this handheld shot with the camera on auto, in the waning light, just came out and has been one of my favorites. By the way, shooting the moon, which is lit by the sun, is always tricky. The exposure for the moon is somewhere about 1/125 at f8. With digital, adjust depending on the detail, use a tripod, and zoom up to 400mm in order to get a properly exposed image of the moon. Of course none of this was in play for this slide. The moon is overexposed but the amber glow is great.