Moon and Venus

MoonAndVenus20180615

Last night, as we exited the movie theater, we saw a beautiful conjunction of the Moon and Venus, with a bright Venus floating above a crescent moon.  The cell phone pictures did not do it justice, nor did my hastily set up picture shot from the car window.

MoonAndVenus20180616

So I prepared to take pictures tonight.  The Moon had moved!  Still a beautiful conjunction, yes?

Moon20180616

And since I had the tripod set up, I captured a picture of the Moon as well.  It would be fun to explore its cratered surface.

Camera geek info:

Moon and Venus 6/15/18

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4, 1/25 second exposure, ISO 800
  •             Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 70 mm, autofocus on moon

Moon and Venus 6/16/18

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4.5, 1/5 second exposure, ISO 320
  •             Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 112 mm, manual focus on moon
  •             Tripod

Moon 6/16/18

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/5.6, 1/60 second exposure, ISO 320
  •             Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 300 mm, manual focus on moon, IS off
  •             Tripod

SuperBlueBloodMoon

SuperBlueBloodMoon:

  •             Super: the moon is closer to the Earth and so visually larger
  •             Blue: the second full moon in the month, nothing to do with color
  •             Blood: a total eclipse turns the moon a reddish color
  •             Moon: the Earth’s natural satellite!

I should have gotten up earlier and driven to my favorite spot with a good view to the west. But I didn’t, so I found a spot in the neighborhood to snap a few pictures before the moon set below the tree line.

LunarEclipse20180131-1

Camera geek info:

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4, 1/30 second exposure, ISO 800
  •             Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens, set at 145 mm, manual focus on moon
  •             Tripod

 

Here I focused on the foliage instead of the moon and played around with color in post-processing. Which do you like better: the natural color or the more saturated color?

LunarEclipse20180131-2LunarEclipse20180131-3

Camera geek info:

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4, 1/30 second exposure, ISO 800
  •             Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens, set at 200 mm, manual focus on foliage
  •             Tripod

Driving Home From My Daughter’s Graduation

MoonAndStoplight20160522

I was happily driving home from my daughter’s high school graduation, loaded with camera gear, and I spotted this interesting juxtaposition of the Moon and a stoplight. Of course, I took a picture. And, for the first time in years, I decided to write a poem.

Driving Home From My Daughter’s Graduation

Stopped at a red light
I think of daughter’s future
Brighter than the moon

Astrophotography – Planets

Conjunction of Moon and Saturn
MoonAndSaturn20150116

Saturn (“One of the These Things is Not Like the Others”)
Saturn20150116

Jupiter and four Galilean Moons
JupiterAndMoons20150116

You know you enjoy a hobby when you get up early and go out into the dark cold for it. This morning there was a conjunction of the Moon and Saturn, so I got up and went out. And while I was at it, I took some pictures of Jupiter and its moons, too. I checked – yes all four moons were on the same side of Jupiter this morning. I think it would be fun to make a time lapse of their motion. Might have to try it.

I learned a new astrophotography trick last night. I knew I needed to manually focus for star pictures, but it’s hard to do with dim sources and a camera designed for autofocus. But my camera has a nifty real-time view on the LCD screen with a 10x view … so I could zoom in on the moon or a planet and use the real-time view to help me manually focus. Neat! And *much* sharper pictures.

The real-time view also showed me that, in spite of the solid tripod, the 200 mm is actually quite shaky if I want to crop further in. So I get out my cable release so I could watch the image settle down on the 10x screen and then trigger the camera without actually touching it.

I also already knew that although I could easily see both the Moon and Saturn, Saturn would disappear or the Moon would wash out without some filtering. Graduated neutral density filters to the rescue! I used two (wish I had more and stronger ones) to dim down the Moon so you can see both bodies in the same photo.

Camera geek info:

  •            Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4.0, 1/60 second exposure for Moon and Saturn, 1/13 second exposure for Jupiter, ISO 2000
  •             Canon EF 70 – 200 mm f/4L lens, set at 200 mm, manual focus at infinity
  •             Singh-Ray Galen Rowell Filter ND-1G-SS + ND-2G-SS for Moon
  •             Tripod
  •             Cable release

Tri-Color Moon

On October 8, I got up early to observe and photograph the lunar eclipse. These two shots were my favorites.

The blue glow effect in this first shot is the result of a mistake – I wasn’t using a lens hood to prevent internal reflection. So it’s wrong, but I think it looks kinda cool, like a rocket has taken off from the lunar surface and left a trail behind, or the moon is sporting a tail like a comet, or a lunar volcano is venting … my imagination smiles at all the possible explanations. What do you think it looks like?

LunarEclipse1-20141008

This second shot shows a tri-color moon – the red “blood” eclipsed moon, a central gray band, and the still-sunlit white moon. So different from the normal, stark black and white moon. What would it be like to have a multicolored satellite?

LunarEclipse2-20141008