Super Blue Blood Moon 1.31.2018

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I didn’t venture further than my front yard to photograph the Super Blue Blood Moon on Wednesday morning because I didn’t have enough time to get anywhere with a good foreground and be back in time to be here for #1 Grandson.

The Eclipse was already underway when I started photographing it.  Here’s how I saw it at Totality.

Super Blue Blood Moon 1.31.2018

This Moon was special because it was a combination of 3 Lunar occurrences at the same time.  It was a “Super Moon”, a moon that is full while at its closest orbit to Earth, with a “blood moon”, so called for the reddish color that it gets as the sunbeams peek around the edges of the Earth, and shine on it, and a “Blue Moon”, because this was the second full moon to occur in a calendar month.

The last time a Total Lunar Eclipse coincided with a “Blue Moon” in the United States was in 1866.  Having all three line up together is really rare!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm|

more to come…

 

 

 

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The Sky is Dark and Full of Stars!

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week-end a girlfriend (T) and I went to Brookings, OR to scout, and photograph seascapes, and hopefully we’d have a clear night for night sky imaging in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.  We looked at the weather forecast for the week-end and it looked like we’d only have one really good night for any night sky imaging. We both hoped to photograph the Milky Way, and if we found a great spot for Star Trails we’d do that too, but it wasn’t a priority like the Milky Way was.

When we were at Arch Rock for sunset we realized straight-away that wouldn’t work out so well for a Milky Way location since it was facing west, but around the path a bit closer to the parking lot was a nice sea stack that faced directly south.  We both pulled out out cell phones and summoned our night sky app called Photo Pills to double check our thoughts, and find the time when the Galactic Center would line up over the sea stack.  After determining that 1:32AM it would line up we headed out to dinner, then back to the Hotel for a nap.

I’d been up since 5AM driving from my house in Silicon Valley up to T’s two hours north east of me. From there I drove all the way to Brookings, OR.  It’s an 8 hour drive without stops.  We stopped for gas, and lunch of course. Needless to say- I needed a nap!

My alarm sounded at 12:30AM. We were ready pretty quick and headed back to Arch Rock Viewpoint to photograph the Milky Way.

We were the only people there.  We set up took our test shots, and began shooting.  Before the trip I purchased a new filter to help me get a tack sharp focus at night. It’s called  SharpStar2 from LonelySpeck  I didn’t get it to work as it should have, but determining when I was in focus was easy. A lot easier than just using Live View alone.  That cut my set up time in half!  I’m going to be practicing here at home with the filter before my next night sky shoot.  After reading the instructions again it was definitely user error. I should have practiced with it at night before the trip, but I’m happy.

Milky Way over Sea Stack

It was really quiet just us, the sea, and the sound of our camera’s shutter opening and closing.   There was very little light pollution. The cliffs blocked most of the light from Brookings. You can see a light band at the horizon entering from the left of the frame. That’s the light from Brookings.  This was a great location with a dark sky.

Saturday night the fog rolled in. I’m so glad we went out Friday night!  T’s brother and S-i-L drove up to meet us and photograph the area Saturday.  After Sunset we headed back to town for dinner but, we got sidetracked with an Industrial night shot opportunity which I posted Wednesday

So, the fog didn’t completely ruin the night.  We had a late dinner with a glass of wine. I fell into my hotel bed after midnight, and slept in Sunday.

We had breakfast and said our farewells to T’s brother, and S-i-L and T and I set off for the long drive home.  Thankfully the drive was uneventful. 🙂

I hope to get back up there one day to explore more of the park. It’s a gorgeous coastline, and sky is dark and full of stars!

I hope you all have a lovely week-end! Can you believe June is just about over already?!!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman Digital Film| Single Frame 20s| ISO 3200| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

WW 22/52: The Last Train Car to the Stars

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Last Train Car to the Stars

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G | Hoodman Digital Film| 39 frames @ 30s  ea.|

PS CC 2017

more to come…

2016 Perseids

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went out Friday night/Saturday morning star gazing hoping to photograph a meteor or two of the Perseid meteor shower.  The Perseid Meteor shower is an annual event occurring from mid July to mid August as the Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle; the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.  Debris from the comet litters its orbital path, but we don’t get into the dense part of it until the first week of August.  It’s this debris that slams into Earth’s upper atmosphere at 130,000 mile per hour lighting up the night sky with streaking Perseid meteors.

This year was to be particularly good for viewing more meteors because of our position in the debris path.

I saw a few really great meteors with wonderful balls of fire streaking through the sky, but the best image I made in 4 hours of sky watching was of this little meteor with some red at the head and a green tail.  It’s a first time I’ve photographed the green tail.

Perseid Meteor 2016

 

 

There’s some of the Milky Way in there too, but faint, but there were oh, so many stars!

It was a wonderful night for star gazing.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G @ f/2.8| ISO 1600| 26s  single frame| Delkin Digital Film|PS CC 2015.5

Source-Earthsky.org

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

MM2:5 Watching the Total Lunar Eclipse over St. Ignatius Cathedral San Francisco, CA

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

MM2-5 Watching the Total Lunar Eclipse over St. Ignatius Cathedr

For this week’s Monochrome Madness 2:5 I thought I’d share one of the stills from the Total Lunar Eclipse on April 4, 2015.  This was taken shortly after the Partial Phase got started. The Moon is a bit blown out here, but my plan of operation was to stick to one lens, and the same camera settings all through the Eclipse then stack the images in post development. The Moon in the beginning would be blown out I knew, but later in the darker phase of the Eclipse the exposure would be correct.

To see what other photographer’s who are participating in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness 2  weekly challenge have posted this week click here.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 @f8| 10 seconds| ISO 400

More to come…

Total Lunar Eclipse over the Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had a fun night of imaging with my friends Dali, and Andy.

We had a few venues planned because there was a possibility of fog, and a partly cloudy sky.
Our Plan A was to shoot the April 4th Total Lunar Eclipse over St. Ignatius Cathedral in San Francisco since this Eclipse fell on Passover and Easter Week-end it would tie in perfectly.

Starting with Plan A. We arrived just before 2AM, set up, and began shooting our images. I had planned my shooting position so that I could capture the reflection of the Cathedral in the little pond, and the glass wall of the library, but they had left the Library lights on so the reflection wasn’t good, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get the Moon reflection, but one can always hope.   We were well into our series, and talking then shortly before 4AM the lights on the Cathedral shut off. We were disappointed when that happened so, we decided to move to our Plan B position for Totality since we still had an hour to go.

We figured we would be making  at least one composite image from all we had shot already so, if we shot Totality at our Plan B location we could composite it in to an earlier image(s) from St. Ignatius for our “What If we stayed” image.

So, we moved to Plan B:  The Palace of Fine Arts. To make this image I used my Nikon Wide Angle 17-35mm lens for the foreground, and just before Maximum I quickly switched lenses to my Nikon 80-200mm lens and made several images of just the Moon in Totality with it. This image is a composite with one frame from each lens. I resized the Moon from 200mm to look the same size it did to my eye at Totality or Maximum.

Totality-Lunar Eclipse over The Palace of Fine Arts San FranciscShooting with the Wide Angle lens the magnification is so little that the Moon looks tiny. For this 3rd Lunar Eclipse in the Tetrad I wanted to have a nice foreground interest along with the Moon at Totality becasue the two prior Eclipses I focused on the Moon and used only my Telephoto lens.

Earlier I mentioned that this was the 3rd Lunar Eclipse in the Tetrad. What is a “Tetrad” you may be asking?
Lunar Tetrad
“Total lunar eclipses are rare – only about one in three lunar eclipses are total. About four to five total eclipses can be seen at any place on Earth in a decade.

Lunar eclipses usually do not occur in any specific order. However, every once in a while, four total lunar eclipses happen in a row. This is called a lunar tetrad. The total lunar eclipses happen 6 months apart. There are at least six full Moons between two total lunar eclipses in a tetrad.~ TimeandDate.com

Here’s my “What if we had stayed” composite image from St. Ignatius. 2 frames Nikon Df one frame for the foreground and one for the moon. The Moon has been resized to look how it would have looked.
What If I had Stayed Total Lunar Eclipse over St Ignatius Cathed

Here’s a partial sequence of how the Eclipse looked over the Palace of Fine Arts- This is 8 frames of the The Total Lunar Eclipse from partial to a minute until Maximum. All 8 frames were shot with the same camera, lens, and settings. I was manually timing the frames at 2 minute intervals except the last one which is about a minute from the frame before.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8@ f8| 8 seconds| ISO 400| Tripod.

You can see how small the Moon is when shooting this close to the foreground interest with a wide angle lens. This was shot at 17mm.  Knowing how tiny the Moon would be is why I wanted to use my Telephoto lens to shoot the Moon at Maxium and composite it in in development.  The way our eyes can see a scene like this is pretty amazing. My eye saw the Moon much larger than my lens can.

Total Eclipse partial sequence over The Palace of Fine ArtsOne last image of the Moon/Eclipse at Maximum- Nikon Df| 80-200mm @200mm| f8| 0.8 sec| ISO 1250

Totality Lunar Eclipse April 4, 2015 at 200mm

Not only was it a fun night, but we were really lucky with the weather. It was windy, and chilly, but the fog stayed at sea, and there were no clouds, and I learned some things too…

-I wish I hadn’t switched lenses  just before Totality and stuck to my original thought of taking at least one image with my wide angle lens  of Totality before switching lenses so, I would have had a complete sequence to stack at the Palace of Fine Arts.

-If possible take 2 rigs and shoot long and telephoto, and/or a time-lapse.

-The lights finally clicked in my brain about focal length, and distance and how it effects the size of the Moon in the image. This knowledge will be used again, and again when I make images of the Moon in the future.

-Determine my shooting position at the venue and don’t move unless absolutely necessary. ( I moved while at St. Ignatius which messed up my sequence)

…and last but not least …we could have stayed at St. Ignatius. Our lighter images in the beginning of the series would have kept the image from being too dark once stacked into the final image.

I’m hoping we can turn all these lessons into something good in September for the fourth and last Total Lunar Eclipse in this Tetrad. That date is September 28, 2015, but for me on the West Coast (California) it’s September 27, 2015.

You can see Andy’s images from the night here, here, and here.  Dali hasn’t posted his images from Saturday night yet, but you can find his other work here. 

More to come…