Whatever Weds. Waning Moon Conjunction

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve been hoping for a clear sky before sunrise in order to see the Waning Moon and four early-dawn planets, but we’ve been having cloudy overcast mornings of late. On the 26th I got somewhat lucky even though it was cloudy. Here are 3 of the 4 early-dawn planets along with the Waning Crescent Moon over the Pine Nut Mountains. Following that line of planets up above Mars was Saturn, but it was already so light out I couldn’t see it.

Waning Crescent Moon under Mars, Venus with Jupiter close to Venus.

If you’re up an hour before sunrise your time this Saturday morning looking low in the southeast Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest objects in the sky after the Sun and Moon, are going to be spectacularly close at just a 1/2 degree apart!

Can you believe we’re just days away from May!? This month just flew by! I hope your week is going well and you have a lovely day.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| PS CC 23.2.2

more to come…

Whatever Weds.- O’Dark Thirty

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Did you hear about the new Comet that was discovered in March of this year? It’s called C/2020 F3 “Neowise”.  Some…okay a lot of astronomers thought it would be burned up when it made its close encounter to the Sun, but a few thought it would make it past that, and we who were paying attention held our breath and waited and watched…

It made it past the sun! Two Comets I was watching this year didn’t make it past their close encounter with the Sun so this is huge!

On July 10th I rose at an UnGodly hour 4:00 A.M. brushed my teeth put on some pants and shoes and grabbed my gear then headed out not too far from home on foot to see if I could see this new Comet C/2020 F3 “Neowise”.  I did not see it.  I knew where to look so made 13 images around the area hoping my camera could see what I could not.  IT DID NOT.  I was too late. The Sun’s light was already hiding the Comet. I needed to get up earlier.

July 11th. I rose at 3:15am put some pants on, brushed my teeth, put on my shoes, and grabbed my gear bag and headed out the door on foot to my spot.  My compass for the morning was Venus with Alderan under it and Capella off to the north of Venus. They would guide me to Comet C/2020 F3 ” Neowise”.  I also took my binoculars just in case I couldn’t spot with my eyes.  I located Capella with my binocs and began scanning the area below it where I knew the comet would be.  THERE IT WAS! I did a little happy dance I won’t lie!  There’s just something about the stars, planets, and comets that excites me.

I set up my camera and dialed in my exposer and hoped I was in focus. Focusing in the dark isn’t always easy.

Here’s my best frame from the morning.

Comet Neowise C/2020 F3 7.11.2020

As I was shooting there was a pack of Coyotes singing their song just up the trail and behind me just far enough away to keep me looking to my right. Greeting the morning or healding their catch of the night I don’t know, but they stirred up all the coyotes in the valley and kept me watching my right.

When I walked up the path toward the fence I needed to hop to get home I kept looking over my shoulder making sure the Coyotes weren’t following me!  They’re sneaky those coyotes. In my head, I had this song. It’s my favorite Coyote song evah. And they go…

Who yip , who yip, who…

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 180mm F/2.8| CS PP 21.2

 

more to come…

 

 

 

 

The Sun and Sunspot AR2665

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I read at Spaceweather.com over the week-end that the latest sunspot AR2665 was HUGE, and the biggest sunspot of 2017 so, not having photographed the Sun for sometime I thought it would be interesting to make an image of this Sunspot on the Sun.  I dug out my solar filter then Monday morning set up my camera in the backyard and waited for the morning sun to climb above the mountain tops.   I cropped this image in 25% so we can see the spot a bit better.

Sun July 10, 2017 with Sunspot AR2665

“Sunspot AR2665 has grown into a behemoth almost as wide as the planet Jupiter: Stretching more than 125,000 km from end to end and containing dozens of dark cores, the active region is an now easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Sunspot AR2665 has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares.. “~http://spaceweather.com/

I’ll add you can see it with a Telephoto lens, and Solar filter.  Caveat: Don’t ever attempt to photograph the sun without a Solar Filter. You can permanently damage your eyes, and your camera’s sensor.

M-Class Solar Flares are Medium sized flares. They can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions.

I use an Orion 4.10″ ID Full Aperture Solar Filter. It fits snugly over my lens allowing me to look directly at the sun and photograph it by blocking  99.999% of incoming sunlight for safe observation and astrophotography.  I’ve had this filter for several years and it’s worked perfectly, and is easy to use.  It fits my 300mm f/4 perfectly. It slides over my 200-500mm’s 82mm front end element, but not so far that I’m able to secure it with the screws so, to make sure it wouldn’t fall off I taped it to my lens barrel.  Gaffers tape or Painters tape works.

I linked to the filter so you can check it out if you’re interested. I am not affiliated with Orion and do not receive any compensation or products for using their products or mentioning them.  

Nikon Df| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

 

 

Thunder Moon or Full Buck Moon

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I stayed close to home this past week-end after having been gone for two week-ends in row. It was nice hanging out with He-Man at home.  Saturday we got in a morning hike, but left later than we should have. By 9am it was already 82°.  We selected a trail that would lead us up to the Redwoods, and Oaks and shade.

We spent the rest of the afternoon indoors with air conditioning.

Saturday evening a good friend and I headed over the hill to Santa Cruz to our traditional Full Moon over the Walton Lighthouse shot.  If you’ve been following me awhile you’ll have seen this lighthouse on my blog before featuring the Moon. I shot the July Moon over this lighthouse last year. Click here.

The weather over the hill was the complete opposite of home. It was still in the 80’s when we left San Jose, but it was in mid 60’s with a breeze on the coast.  I couldn’t get into my hoodie, and wind-breaker fast enough.  I even broke out my gloves!

I set up my rig where I had plotted the Moon to line up over the Lighthouse, but was prepared to move quickly if I needed to adjust my position.  Here’s where we first spotted the Moon rising.  It was faint due to the low marine layer in the air.

Walton Lighthouse and Thunder Moon

We relocated down to the shore and soon the Moon lined up over the Lighthouse.

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is a two frame blended composited image.  The base image had a clear view of the water, and good Moon/lighthouse alignment, but the light wasn’t shining in the Lighthouse so, I blended in the shot right after this one which had the light on. Why not just use that shot you might be asking? Three people walked into the frame obscuring the water.  So, I took the best of both frames blending them together to make the image I wanted to make.

Friday night I went out to the backyard to photograph the Waxing 98.8% Moon.  This is slightly cropped.

July Buck Moon Waxing 98.8%

The July Moon is called Thunder Moon

“Named due to the prevalence of summer thunder storms. It’s sometimes referred to as the Full Buck Moon because at this time of the year, a buck’s antlers are fully grown.”~ https://uk.news.yahoo.com/complete-list-every-full-moon-141136773.html

Since I rarely hear the Thunder but, do see Bucks I think of it more as the Full Buck Moon.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day. I won’t lie. I. Was. A. Slug. 🙂 It was too hot to do much outside although it was cooler by a few degrees.

I hope you had a lovely week-end, and you have a wonderful week!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

 

Milky Way over Mt Shasta & Shastina

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had a fun week-end with my good friend Theresa shooting stars, and Alpine Glow on Mt. Shasta and Mt. Shastina.

We arrived at Lake Shastina Friday afternoon and hiked 250ft up a rocky, loose soiled fire road to do some scouting and look for a good composition of Mt Shasta/Shastina for sunset.

There were too many tall trees up there blocking the view, and the wind had kicked up a bit wrecking the reflection of the Volcano in the lake so we hiked back down the road to a spot we liked. On the way down my right foot slipped on a patch of loose, and rocky dirt and down I went knee first.  My lower leg landed with my boot/foot outward and my inner shin hit a rock when it landed.  I swore. A lot.

I knew it wasn’t broken, and I could put some weight on it so I limped down to the chosen spot.  T suggested we leave for the motel and get ice and rest for the rest of the night.  No! I wanted to get the shot!  I applied RICE when we got back to our motel and got up ready to shoot on Saturday.

I wouldn’t be hiking, but we had a very full day of flowers, waterfalls, an old lumber town,  star trails, and we ended our Saturday photographing the Milky Way.  I made this image just before midnight.

Milky Way over Mt. Shasta and Mt Shastina

I was so happy to be under so many stars again!   I’m thankful for the time I spent hanging out with T, not breaking my leg/knee, for a husband who “gets” me, and has always supported me, my hobbies, and dreams even when they aren’t his dreams or hobbies, and I’m thankful for seeing this beautiful place again.   I’m ready to go back! 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Nikon D801| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G @f/2.8| 20s| ISO 3200| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Trailhead to the Stars

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last night I met Gordon, and some other friends in a Meet-Up group we’re in up on Mt. Tamilpias in Marin County to photograph the sunset, and then image the night sky.

There was an Astrology lecture in the Amphitheater so the park was open much later than it normally is which allowed us to stay late. YEAH! Normally the park closes a bit after sunset.

This is 74 frames stacked in PS CC 2015.5.

My settings were f2.2| 30seconds ea.| ISO 320| Manual Priority| Tripod|

Star Trails

4 planes, and one shooting star flew through the sky while I was imaging. I didn’t see the shooting star at the time as I was looking away helping a friend with her settings and intervalometer. I was thrilled to see I caught it on film though.

It was a lovely night, not windy, or cold, and the company was great!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film

More to come…

 

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While watching the night sky for Perseid Meteors Friday night I shot just under 300 frames. In all those frames I only managed to photograph 3 meteors! The rest that I saw were over my head or just out of the frame.

What to do with all those frames of stars? Stack them to make a Star Trail image is one thing.

Passing car headlights, other star gazers using their flashlights, and headlamps…maybe my own red headlamp too unintentionally light painted the trees, and foreground bushes for me.

Star Trails with Perseid Meteor

If I get a chance to photograph the Perseids or any other meteor showers this year or next I’ll use my 16mm Fisheye lens to get more sky in my frame.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| composite of 24 frames @ f/2.8| 26seconds ea| ISO 1600| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

more to come…