Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

Did you get out and see the lunar eclipse this morning? I did and it was something to see. It was also brutal weather-wise, at 10 degrees with a slight wind. I learned my lessons well after my recent trip to Lone Pine and Death Valley, so I was prepared, dressing in multiple layers with one of the layers being wool. I've yet to find a way to keep my fingers from freezing though.

So when I say the eclipse was something to see, there is a caveat, of course. It seems that the real event was happening west of the Mississippi River. And if you happen to live on the west coast, well, then, you were in for a real treat. But here in Wisconsin, the whole thing lasted less than 30 minutes, and the totality phase - the phase when the moon takes on vivid reds and oranges - began nearly an hour after moonset around here. I did manage to capture a shot where the moon is pinkish, and I think this is because the sun was coming up as the moon was setting.

This was taken shortly after the eclipse began as evidenced by the moon's disk beginning to disappear:

This one, taken about 8 minutes later, shows the progressing eclipse and the brightening sky. About 3 minutes later, the moon was below the horizon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Star Trails!

So here's the result from my 1st night at my star trails workshop last month. It was a terrific learning experience and I'm pleased as punch with the result.

This was taken in a place called Alabama Hills near the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, west of Lone Pine, CA. These hills are full of rock formations and are a popular location for TV and movie productions (in fact, they were shooting a car/truck commercial while we were there...). Some classic movies have been filmed here, like Bad Day at Black Rock and How the West Was Won and Gunga Din, as well as more modern films, like Tremors and Gladiator and Iron Man.

We were in a little spot called Gunga Din, though I don't know if the movie was actually shot IN this little area or if the area was given this name because the movie was shot nearby. It was VERY cold and VERY windy (elevation is approx. 4600 feet) and I froze! But I ended up with a really cool shot, so I'm not complaining. On subsequent nights I put on everything I'd brought with me to keep warm!

The trails form a circle because I was facing due north. The white dot in the center is Polaris. I didn't realize at the time that I WAS facing due north - I was hoping I'd get some circles (as opposed to lines) but didn't know where the center point would be.

I'm amazed all over again every time I look at this.