A Brief Glimpse of the Eclipse

I was looking forward to seeing the total lunar eclipse early this morning. I haven’t seen one for many, many years. I even stayed awake two hours later than normal to catch it, but I didn’t get to see much of the eclipse due to cloud cover. The thunderstorm prior to the eclipse beginning was pretty spectacular, though! The video is grainy and edited for the best lightning strikes that I captured. You’ll hear me say, “I smell a skunk.” When David said, “You’re shorter,” he was handing me the umbrella to protect the camera from the rain. One of these days, we’ll learn to keep quiet while taking video, haha!

I really didn’t get any noteworthy photos of the eclipse. My camera simply does not have the capabilities to photograph the moon well. Last night, it was more about the experience of witnessing the eclipse. The clouds broke briefly enough around stage 3 to 4 of the eclipse for the following two images, but they’re the best I got before the clouds overtook the moon again. And by that point, I was ready to go to sleep!

 Full Hunter's Moon Eclipse (around stage 3 - 4)Full Hunter’s Moon Eclipse (around stage 3 – 4)

Full Hunter's Moon EclipseFull Hunter’s Moon Eclipse

No, this next photo is not the sunrise. Before I headed in to go to bed, I snapped one last photo of the light pollution in the distance. The light had a much more eerie feel than the photo captured.

Light PollutionLight Pollution

Much earlier in the evening (last night), I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of the moon as it rose high in the sky. I shared these last night on Flickr and Twitter. I meant to add them here, too, but got sidetracked. I’ll include them now since the theme of this post centers around the moon and the night sky.

99% Full Hunter's Moon99% Full Hunter’s Moon

99% Full Hunter's Moon (8 second Long Exposure)99% Full Hunter’s Moon (8 second Long Exposure)

Both are similar, yet I thought the second photo was interesting due to the blur created by the movement of the clouds. Sitting staring up at the sky with the clouds moving as quickly as they were, created an optical illusion, making the moon and stars appear to be moving at twice their normal speed. It was kind of dizzying to watch.

I’m not sure when the next lunar eclipse will be. I’m just glad that I took the time to enjoy the night sky even if I didn’t get to watch the entire eclipse. Our universe is truly an awesome wonder.

Tonight’s Full Moon

6/12/2014 @ 11:07 PM CST

6/12/2014 @ 11:07 PM CST — 6 second-long-exposure

I popped outside real quick to snap a few photos of the moon tonight because it’s so beautiful. Look closely at the photo above. Can you find the trail of a lightning bug? That was a happy accident. 😉 The one below wasn’t one of my favorites (the other two are) due to the slight blur; but it was the only one I snapped at exactly 11:12 pm which was the “official” time that I found for the moon to be at its fullest. “For anyone living in or eastward of the Eastern time zone, it falls on Friday the 13th.” [Source: Tomorrow’s Friday the 13th full moon is so rare, it won’t happen again until 2049]

Full Moon on 6/12/2014 @ 11:12 PM CST

Full Moon on 6/12/2014 @ 11:12 PM CST — 5 second-long-exposure

 6/12/2014 @ 11:14 PM CST

6/12/2014 @ 11:14 PM CST — 3.2 second-long-exposure

Supermoon 2013

Supermoon 2013 - photo 1 by pixygiggles
Supermoon 2013 – photo 1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

So technically, the Supermoon – Full Moon peaked at 6:33 AM, June 23, 2013. These photos were taken at around 12:30 AM, June 24, 2013. A little late, but the moon is absolutely gorgeous tonight! I took a few last night, too; but there really wasn’t anything special about that set. My photos never do the moon justice. They always turn out looking light the sun in a darkened sky. Maybe, one day I’ll have the proper equipment to get the best detail of the moon’s surface, like some of the photos included in the Huffington Post article, ‘Supermoon’ 2013 Photos And Tweets (VIDEO, UPDATES). Until then, I’ll share my best attempts at night photography that my little point and shoot can capture.

I liked the above photo because it looks as if the tree branches are cradling the moon. The one below actually turned out better than I had hoped because of the accidental framing of the badminton net in the lower left-hand corner. The silhouette of the net interested me as much as the framing of the moon.

Sitting outside taking these photos, I noticed something. The birds around here really don’t sleep. I’m pretty sure it was the mocking birds nesting in the bush across the street that were happily singing me a song in every call they’ve ever learned, including the “mew, mew” that sounds like a cat calling. Then again, that could have been the warning call for “the cat is out and about” because shortly after I heard that call my neighbor’s cat came up on the porch to say hello. Sounds good anyway, right? ;P

The Moon, Jupiter, and a Drive-by Ranger

When David got back from the store, he told me to get outside with my camera. I’m glad he did because the moon was so pretty. Tonight’s waxing crescent moon sat between Jupiter and Venus. Venus had already set below the horizon, but I managed to get a couple of shots of the moon and Jupiter. I believe the two smaller stars above Jupiter are Tau and Alnath. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I couldn’t resist shooting the above photo when I noticed a neighbor getting ready to leave. I love long exposure shots. Both are full-size and unedited. Click on the photos for the larger version.

Day 364 Falling Snow

Day 364 Falling Snow by pixygiggles
Day 364 Falling Snow, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I wasn’t particularly satisfied with any of the photos I took today, but this one was kind of interesting. I wish I had thought to try using the flash earlier in the day when it was snowing so much harder. I’m not horribly keen on using an on-camera flash, but a lot of what I was reading today about capturing photos of falling snow suggested using a flash in order to light up the snow. There are probably better ways to do this, using manual settings. However, as I’ve stated before, my point and shoot doesn’t have a lot of options as far as manually choosing a focal length.

One good reference article I ran across earlier is by Christopher O’Donnell: How to Photograph Snow. I’m sure there are plenty more out there. Feel free to make suggestions or offer any helpful advice you’ve come across in photographing snow.

And just because I felt a little cheated out of getting a decent snow photo today, I share with you a video from earlier in the day when one of our Downy Woodpeckers stopped by to feed at the suet feeder. She was making a fuss out there, probably because the snow was coming down so hard. Later, I ended up taking out orange slices, cranberries (curious to see if the birds will eat those), and corn.

Day 265 Peace Day

Day 265 Peace Day by pixygiggles
Day 265 Peace Day, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

My calendar pointed out that today is Peace Day or the International Day of Peace. When I think about peace, I think of all people on the planet – all nations, all individuals, no matter they’re differences – working together to make the world a better place for all living things. To me, this an inspirational thought, one that will move us forward to accomplish great things.

“Imagine” by John Lennon has to be one of the most beautiful, meaningful songs ever written. I decided to record myself playing it today in honor of International Peace Day. No words, just me banging on the keyboard. 😉

Day 190 Highway to Hell

Day 190 Highway to Hell, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Forgive me for the crude euphemism, but I assure you I have my reasons for giving this photo the title “Highway to Hell.” Driving to the fireworks show yesterday, we had to go over Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 which is down to one very narrow lane due to bridge repairs. Now, normally I wouldn’t have a problem driving over bridges; but this one was so nerve wrecking because of the close proximity of the barricades on either side of my car and the sheer height of this bridge. I seriously about hyperventilated driving over this bridge and ended up having a full blown panic attack as a result! Mercy! Needless to say, David drove home last night, not me.

Scenic Overlook State Route 56, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Yes, these photos were taken last night; but technically, they were taken today since it was after midnight by the time we stopped at the overlook. Mother Nature treated us to a second light show after the fireworks. I tried so hard to get some good photos of the heat lightning, but failed miserably. Since the thunder associated with this type of lightning cannot be heard due to distance, it made it incredibly hard to time the strikes properly. The term “heat lightning” is actually a misnomer; however, since it’s the term most generally applied to this phenomenon in my area, I’ll go ahead and use it here, referring you to the article: Heat Lightning a Myth? for more information. I love the photo by Dave Martin in that article. Fantastic capture!

I thoroughly enjoyed our outing last night and found myself wondering if David and I are the only two people who go exploring after dark. We can’t be, right? Everything looks and feels different at night. It is a special time of day and I encourage anyone who can safely explore after dark to give it a try. You might just be surprised to learn that it is the perfect peaceful moment you’ve been looking for.