Whatever Weds. Conjunctions

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve still got my head in the clouds or tilted upward toward the sky.  This week there is a 3 planet and Moon conjunction going on in the wee hours before dawn and I’ve been up to see it two of the three mornings it’s visible.

Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars are all lined up beside or above the Moon.

Here’s how it appeared in my frame on April 14th, 2020.  All three planets were rising behind the Last Quarter Moon.  I caught a shooting star and a couple of satellites in my image too.   They did look a bit bigger with my eyes but look smaller when photographed.

Moon Jupiter Saturn Mars Shooting Star

Here’s how it looked this morning with all three planets rising above the Waning Crescent Moon (44%).  Jupiter is the brightest planet above and to the right of Saturn which is above the Moon, and Mars is following behind.  It looks like I caught a satellite just left and lower than the Moon again this morning.

Jupiter Saturn Mars and the Moon Apr 15 2020

It’s supposed to start raining tomorrow and cloud up, but if by chance it’s clear tomorrow morning I’ll be up to photograph it.  Tomorrow is the last day to observe them when they’re lined up so nicely then Mars will begin marching further eastward and be pulling further away from the other planets.

 

If you’re up an hour before sunrise on the 16th look southwest or look for the rising moon you can see the conjunction with your eyes no special gear required. Mars will be above and slightly right of the Moon with Saturn and Jupiter above Mars.

By the time first light appears in the morning sky before 6AM for me- dim Saturn and Mars are lost in the light and only Jupiter still burns bright above the moon.

I hope you’re all having a good week, and your spirits are up and you’re busy and well!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 35mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

UPDATE!  April 16, 2020 -It was clear this morning and the moon’s light shining in my bedroom window woke me up so I got up and photographed this line up too.  As you see Mars is moving further away from the other two planets. I won’t be getting up and photographing this one again this month. There are other things I have planned this month though. 😀

Waning Crescent Moon Mars Saturn Jupiter

Nikon D810| Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

 

 

 

 

Whatever Weds. Looking up

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The end of March and through yesterday has been for me, a time of looking up to the night sky.  Starting at the end of March I was looking up to see the Moon, Venus and the elusive star cluster called the Pleiades in conjunction.  This was a practice shot because the night I was hoping to see Venus and the Pleiades closer together on April 3rd we had rain and snow so the sky was too cloudy to see them.  That was a once-in-an-eight year event! I’m just glad I  practiced so I saw this conjunction.

Moon Venus Pleiades ConjunctionNikon D810| Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G|f/2.8|2.8s|ISO 400| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 21.0.3

Last night was the Supermoon. It appears just a bit larger than normal because the Moon comes the closest to Earth in its elliptic orbit called perigee.

We’ve been having light rain and snow and it was overcast all day but, we got lucky last night and the sky to the east was clear! I went down to the golf course with my next-door neighbor to photograph the Supermoon rise over the Pinenut Mountains.

Supermoon April 7 2020

Nikon D810| 24-120mm at 70mm|f/10|1/6s|ISO 250| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 21.0.3

Then I switched cameras and made an image of just the Moon.  Our moon looked more golden than pink, but the Belt of Venus wasn’t very deep in color around us either so…golden.

Supermoon April 7 2020

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF100-400mm LM OIS at 386mm| f/11| 1/100s| ISO 250| SunDisk Digital Film|PS CC 21.0.3

More things that are looking up is that we’ve had 8 people who had the Covid-19 virus move to the recovered side of life! There are still 17 active cases in our Quad county region. There have been no deaths yet. Knocking on wood that continues and that all move to the recovered column soon!

I hope you’re doing well and keeping busy.

I’ll leave you this thought today.

““Bad stuff does happen sometimes, always remember that but remember that you have to move on somehow. You just pick your head up and stare at something beautiful like the sky or the ocean and you move the hell on.”
― James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday 31/52 The Moon, and Mars

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The 27th was the Full Buck Moon, or Blood Moon because there was a Total Lunar Eclipse that night, unfortunately, not seen here in North America.  I just went out to my backyard to photograph it.  It wasn’t red by the time it rose over the mountains and I was able to see it from my yard, but it had a lovely warm glow.

Full Buck Moon

The 28th, Saturday, several friends and I met in Santa Cruz, CA to photograph the Moon and Mars from a favorite “go to” spot; Walton’s Lighthouse.

I was watching the fog/cloud weather report all day, and it looked good until 5pm just when we were meeting. We met at Marianne’s Ice Cream parlor. Another “go to”, “must stop” , “it’s tradition” places while in Santa Cruz. They have 105 different ice creams to choose from. It’s not easy picking just one! I had a Jr. cup of Banana, Almond ice cream. It was good, but I wish it had more banana in it. No pictures I’m afraid. I always forget to do that!   Despite the low fog we continued on and photographed sunset-it was one of those soft pink evenings. This is looking/facing ESE more or less.

Belt of Venus Surrounds the Walton Lighthouse

We didn’t think there would be much hope of seeing the Moon rising just above the lighthouse because of the thick band of fog behind the lighthouse so we moved to higher ground and hoped for some breaks in the fog/low cloud band.

In the image below: Mars (right of and higher than lighthouse) rose higher than fog band first, and I think that other tiny bright object to the right of it near the edge of the image is part of the constellation Sagittarius. Or Spica? I’m not sure.

I love that Bonfires, well, not huge ones are still allowed at this beach. A lifeguard came out to make a group put out a large one in the black spot in the lower right of my image. I’m sure they were not happy about that.

Mars Shines Red over Santa Cruz CA

We  walked north and set up on higher ground; a cliff overlooking the beach and while we were shooting Mars a teenage boy asked me what we were photographing, and as I was explaining about Mars, and hoping the Moon would rise above the fog I looked back toward the lighthouse and saw the Moon, it was above the lighthouse as we planned it to be, and it was RED! Then I excitedly pointed that out to him, and my companions.  The boy said, ” Coool!” So, did I! 😊 This is my favorite of the images I made of the scene.

Waxing Gibbous Moon and Mars over Walton Lighthouse

I have no idea who the person with the spot/flash light in line with the lighthouse below on the beach is, but their alignment is nearly perfect right?  That’s Mars to the right, higher than the Moon. Not so red in this image though…the Moon was stealing that color.

Anyway, we all were thrilled after thinking we’d not see the Moon above the lighthouse at all.

When we all had our fill of the Moon, Mars, the Lighthouse, and beach we went to a diner for a quick, late dinner then headed home. Traffic hit a snag near Los Gatos and we crawled for miles. There was no wreck or construction Thank God! Just going home from the beach, Summertime, Silicon Valley traffic all reaching the bottom of the Santa Cruz mountains at the same time.  I got home just about Midnight tired, but very happy with the photography and spending time with good friends.  Though some were missed! You know who you are. 😉

He-Man had the light on for me, and was waiting up for me sorta, kinda snoozing on the sofa in the family room.   I know he’s a Keeper!  He went to bed, and I got my images uploading then got myself ready for bed, and lastly I checked to make sure all my images uploaded sans problemes then Diva Dog and I joined He-Man for good night’s rest.

I coulda slept til noon I’m sure Sunday morning, but Diva Dog, and Box the Guinea Pig were not having it.  There’s a down side to being an early riser normally when you have pets. They’re never. sleeping. in! Evah! LOL! Since we were up He-Man and I had really nice bike ride around the neighborhood together. That has only happened a few times in our 39 years together! He’s the cyclist. I’m the sluggish hiker, and his cheerleader.  We may do this again. It was pretty nice.

We’re halfway to the week-end! I hope you all are having a good week.  I have nothing. NOTHING planned to photograph this week-end.   I’m going to think of something. What do you have fun/good planned? Anything?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm f4, and Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

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…

 

 

Moonset Reflected

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

…in a puddle.

We’ve been enjoying a fair amount of rain in Northern California of late. So much so that Northern California has been declared officially out of the drought!  The reservoirs are full and spilling over, and the aquifers are filling up. WHOOO-HOO!

Last week-end I had signed up to join one of my Meet-Up groups at a National Wildlife Refuge to do some birding. Thankfully the weather was partially cloudy and no rain was in the forecast.  Gordon who some of you know from Thursday Doors lives just north of me an hour or so was also going and has caught the Birding Bug…it’s addicting! Just sayin. We talked/emailed ahead of time and after hearing my plan to get an early start and visit another refuge, and stop for lunch at my favorite burger joint in Merced before meeting the group he decided to join me.

Gordon picked me up at 6:3o ish in the morning and we headed south down to Hwy 152…Pacheco Pass.  Famous for gnarly accidents, and its beautiful rolling hill scenery.

It’s a two lane highway/pass that gets far more traffic than anyone foresaw way back in the day when highways were being constructed.  Just outside of Gilroy, CA…the Garlic Capitol of the USA are vast fields that used to be used for flowers, and garlic. Today they’re used for garlic, flowers, pastures, and ….fields.

After rain…heavy rain there are pretty good sized puddles, and fog out in the countryside, and while Gordon and I were driving to Merced we saw both our dreaded Tulle fog, and puddles. There was a vineyard and hills with fog that we loved so we pulled over to photograph what we saw, but the sun was rising just then and by the time we got our gear set up the fog had retreated to the farthest trees. Isn’t it annoying how fast the fog, sun, and moon disappear when you break out the camera gear! Seriously!

While Gordon was photographing the vineyard across the road and the field we parked in I was interested in photographing the setting Moon above the fog and hills. I found a big puddle with the reflected Moon in it and thought, ” this is where I’ll make my composition.”.  This is the resulting image.

Mist, Moonset, Puddle, Reflection

By Spring I’m hoping the powers at be will relax the stringent conservation rules and relax them a bit since we’re going to have a surplus for a while up here in the north. Southern California hasn’t seen enough rain to break through the drought yet, but by Spring when the snow melts I hope they do. There’s a lot of snow in the mountains and I’m hearing it has good water content.

I’ve lived in California since I was 1 yr old. My Mom wanted out of the south and live in a warmer climate with fewer bugs.  Thank you Mom! 🙂  She did all she could to get my Father to get a commission in CA.  He was in the Marines then.

This is the 4th severe drought I’ve lived through. Severe meaning putting buckets in the shower, and bathtub to catch all the running water while it’s heating up to do dishes, and water plants, taking a ten minute or less shower. I hate that! I love a HOT, LONG shower! We gave up watering the back lawn all together and only watered the front lawn twice a week for 10 minutes, and severely cut the amount of lawn and plants we have outside due to the severe drought, the cost of water to maintain them was too dear, and the worst is not flushing every time. The motto in a drought is: ” Let the yellow mellow, and flush the brown down”.  That’s the reality at my house during drought years.

I’m so happy the drought is over!  I hope prices of water will come down soon, but I’ll continue to conserve and not waste too much water because I know it’s only a matter of time before Mother Nature and weather here in California go into another long drought cycle.  It’s California, a very arid and drought prone state. I fully anticipate a 5th severe drought in my lifetime.  Long sigh. Earthquakes and droughts…long droughts. You really don’t want to move here.

I hope the Northeast and other parts of the country get enough rain, and snow with good water content to break their drought too.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

September’s Harvest Moon

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A friend and I went over the hill to Santa Cruz, CA this month to photograph the Moon rising above Walton Lighthouse.   We both really like having water in the image, and pretty foregrounds.

We knew there wouldn’t be much time to shoot since the Moon would need time to climb to get above the Lighthouse, and it’s getting dark earlier.

When we got out of the car and looked at the horizon and lighthouse we groaned. There was a thick band of fog just sitting on the horizon.  We wouldn’t see the Moon until it got above that! Time wouldn’t be on our side.

The sun had set and the sky was getting darker…finally I saw the top of the Moon above the fog bank.

Harvest Moon 2016

The Moon got high enough for me to make it out almost completely.

2016 Harvest Moon

It finally got out of the Fog only to be obscured again.  I tried to get a few more images, but it was getting too dark to keep the foreground in the image, and I wanted that.  I was also a bit frustrated with the wind, and shaking from the passing cars which shook my rig, and the pier I was photographing from. I deleted quite a few blurry images.

The color of the Moon was gorgeous though, and it was big being so close to the horizon. It would have looked much larger when it was just above that tree line if I could have seen it then.  Maybe next month. 🙂

“The September Moon is called the Harvest Moon or Corn Moon because this is the time to finish harvesting the corn and other crops before Winter. The bright moonlight gives farmers a little extra time to harvest their crops before the first day of Fall. “~sfgate.com

Nikon Df| Nikkor 200-500mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

More to come…

Top 10 Images in 2015

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac.

All Rights Reserved

I had a lovely Christmas Holiday, and I hope those of you that celebrate it did too.

During the quiet times here at home I looked back through this years images, and looked at the stats of images I’ve posted here, and/or on flickr.  I had some good trips, hung out with amazing people, and had the opportunity to see many beautiful places, and things.  I feel truly blessed!

Drum roll! These are the Top 10 images of 2015 that received the most views on flickr.

1) Pacific Snapper

P52 10 of 52  Pacific Red Snapper in Lemon, Butter, Wine Sauce

2) Running in Rain PuddlesRunning in Puddles

3) On the VergeMonochrome Madness 2 15 of 52 On the Verge of Blossoming

4) Gung Hay Fat Choy! Plus a new Conjunction Venus, Mars, and the Moon

Gung hay fat choy!

5)  Caramel Macaroons

P52 3/52 Caramel Macarons

6) Waning Crescent Moon over Vasona Lake

Waning Crescent Moon with Saturn over Vason Lake Los Gatos CA

7) Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer

Golden Gate Bridge after Dark from Battery Spenser

8) Lunar Totality over the Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco, CA

Totality-Lunar Eclipse over The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisc

9) Dawn Vasona Lake ParkDawn Vasona Lake Park Los Gatos CA

10) Moth Orchid

Moth Orchid

 

It’s interesting to see which images received the most views verses my personal favorites. I’m planning to post those soon. I have a hard time whittling those down to just 10! 🙂

I wish you all a great week!

More to come…