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
Conjunction of Moon and Saturn
Saturn (“One of the These Things is Not Like the Others”)
Jupiter and four Galilean Moons
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
- Cable release
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?
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?
A very exciting, non-writing life milestone for me in September was delivering my oldest to university. In Scotland. Far, far away. We spent our first night in Edinburgh where I got this beautiful shot of the moon with Edinburgh castle.
This week, I got to see something really, really, really cool at work. I got to go on a tour of the Lunar Sample Lab through my company. It was *awesome*!
You can read my blog post about the tour on the ERC blog.
Summer vacation this year took us to Peru, where we greatly enjoyed experiencing another culture and exploring the Inca ruins, including the magnificent Machu Picchu. I also enjoyed photographing the moon and stars that can only be seen in the Southern Hemisphere. The Southern Cross looks like a kite to me.
View from our Lima hotel room:
View from our Cusco hotel room:
View from our Aguas Calientes hotel room:
Moon through Inca doorway:
Shadow Selfie with Moon and Inca Stonework:
Moon with Inca Stonework:
Moon over Urubamba River with stone piles:
Southern Stars from Aguas Calientes – Southern Cross and Alpha Centauri:
The full Moon: beauty in lava flows and impact craters.