Wednesday, February 17

Yosemite Snow, Full Moon and Fiery Horsetail Falls

I am heading to Yosemite on Thursday. Well, on Thursday, I’ll overnight in Fresno or maybe Oakhurst so I can drive into Yosemite Valley on Friday morning fresh and alert. I’ll have two nights in a heated tent cabin in Camp Curry (sadly soon to bear some forgettable name). For Sunday night and any after that, I’ll move to the Upper Pines campground. 
I've been talking about late February in Yosemite for about two years now.  I went last year and got these photos, but there was no snow and little water. Horsetail Falls, the focal point for this outing, was barely a trickle so there was no fiery-falls-at-sunset shot.  This year conditions seem to be ripe.  Michael Frye tells us that now it just depends on the atmosphere - we need clear skies on the western horizon to allow the setting sun to work its magic. The forecast is promising.

Last year we had this sliver of a moon.  This year the full moon occurs on Monday morning, so shooting the moon on Friday and Saturday could offer an alternative to Hosrsetail Falls if the crowds are too much.
I hope to visit this site off the Northside Drive, too. I hope I can find it again! I can do a better job with the composition and it should look completely different in the snow.  It makes me think of Ray McSavaney and his Walking Trees in winter and again in spring


Frankly, I hope I get some great shots early so I can consider whether to linger in the tent or drive home early. A little true winter can go a long way with me. Sometimes I feel like the camping part will be a piece of cake because I am well-prepared (thanks to Steve Anderson and the Meanderthals for the chilly San Gabriel walks and thanks to Vaughn and Allan for the winter camps in Mojave National Preserve), but then I think of the wee-hours bathroom run. Brrrr! I have to remember the reward paid in Yosemite stars!

Wednesday, December 16

The World Where We Stand

Lately my head has been in the heavens with the moon, the stars, distant planets and streaming meteors. A couple of weeks ago, I was persuaded to re-visit Kelso Dunes where my focus is very often closer and much, much lower. It took me a while to find my way.
At first, I was visually disappointed. Yeah, yeah, big dune; fewer sinuous curves and more grassy sprouts. I’d rather visit Panamint Dunes or even Mesquite. But Vaughn and I walked out a ways in the wintry morning light and there it was - the appeal of Kelso Dunes.
It’s the grass. All twists and arches and ribbons. What fun!

Friday, October 23

VoilĂ ! Meteor!


I was out in Joshua Tree National Park with some pals for the Orionid Meteor Shower. We were hoping to capture some meteors in pixels. It's a hit and miss proposition - lots of frames, not many meteors..
When I got home - what do you know?  I had a full color Orionid in Orion!
Be sure to click the picture to view an enlarged image.


Friday, October 9

Joshua Tree Scout Trip

Some shots from our scouting trip in Joshua Tree National Park.

Our camp in White Tank (above and below)


Mini Star Trails

Wednesday, October 7

Monarchs To Be?


When you plant milkweed as Janet did in the spring, you may find caterpillars, as Janet did this morning.


We counted five striped slinkies munching on milkweed this morning and they seem to match the pictures on the Monarch website.



We should have looked for eggs (as Douglass would). But now we'll keep an eye out for chrysalises.



This fellow has on a different uniform.  Maybe it has not yet grown into the more vivid stripes.

Monday, September 28

Eclipse Night


Supermoon Eclipse Night turned out to be a little disappointing for local photographers and other lunatics as so much of the southwest experienced overcast skies. This disappointment was tinged with irony, of course, because we were all grateful for a little relief from high temperatures and because the skies were actually quite beautiful.

So many of us were looking forward to a clear view of the big Moon as it rose in penumbra (on the west coast any way). We'd all read Michael FryeNikon or other resources on how to capture the perfect time lapse series of the eclipse phases. I even caved in and got an intervalometer for precise timing. The dream shot just didn't "pan" out.

Just a Whisper of a Moon
I went to the top of Corral Canyon, way above Malibu. It is a great location where I had taken a Camera Committee group a while back. In the twilight, only a tiny edge of the Moon peeked out from behind the veil of clouds (as you can see here if you really look hard).

During the course of the evening, though, some interesting views came along. The shot at the top of this post for instance shows the Red Moon in full eclipse.

In spite of the clouds (and maybe because of them), what I enjoyed was priceless: a lovely couple of hours on a temperate evening on a mountain at the end of a gentle hike, the Moon above, the sea below.
Santa Monica Bay  
Then, I had a Moon-lit walk back through dreamland to the trailhead.

You can see additional photos and a couple of animated slideshows in my Supermoon Eclipse album.

Saturday, September 26

Mark Gee's Moonrise Silhouettes

Watch this:  photographer Mark Gee tells about the response to his Moonrise Silhouettes movie in this talk on the TED stage in Christchurch, New Zealand. 

The talk starts with his short moon movie, so you don't have to look for it if you haven't already seen it.  It is lovely.

Mark reminds us that the night sky is amazing and free for all. This evening (the day before a full moon) will be a good time to catch the almost-full moon rising in a lighted landscape (a little after 5:51 pm and look almost due east). The timing will depend on the height of your eastern horizon, of course. You may have to dodge buildings and trees to get a clear view.

And in case you've been sequestered from all social, public and commercial media for the last month or so, tomorrow there will be a supermoon in eclipse as it rises here in the west a little after 6:40 pm. That big moon will enter total eclipse at about 7:11 pm and will turn red in the Earth's shadow, hence the name Blood Moon. 

Should be quite a sight.