Tag Archives: Moon

Hunt’s Mesa, and back to Monument Valley for a Lunar Eclipse

Monday morning, we awoke at 5:30 AM to subdued winds and temperatures in the high 30’s.  It wasn’t calm, but it was less windy than the evening before.  The sky was almost clear.  We drove about 2/3 of a mile east of our campsite for a good view.

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(Click to enlarge.)

The image above and the next image are (lightly processed) HDR images, where I combined a couple of different exposures to get a little more highlight and shadow detail.  In the image below, you can see the formation called the Totem Pole on the right center of the frame.  It’s about 420 feet tall.

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In the next image below, I’ve highlighted the view back towards The View hotel.  This was taken with my Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens at 200mm.

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Here’s the shot in Photo Transit, which says that the hotel is about 6.7 miles away, with Utah in the distance beyond.

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As the sun rose higher in the sky, we packed up our photo gear and drove back to our campsite for breakfast, then packed up the camp for the long drive back to Monument Valley.  We enjoyed hot showers and a nap when we got back to the hotel.

Early Tuesday morning was another event we were looking forward to: a full lunar eclipse.  I thought about going out late to do some light painting, but couldn’t really scout out a good location for it.  (I learned light painting technique from Michael Frye in Yosemite.  He wrote a blog post about his eclipse photography.)  I ended up staying at my hotel and shooting from the balcony.

First, a shot of the full moon rising beyond Merrick Butte.

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I also tried a 10-second exposure at ISO 6400 to try to capture the Mittens with the stars.  There’s a little too much light pollution for this to be effective.

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I didn’t bring my big lens on this trip; the longest I had was a 200mm.  Still, I did manage to capture this image of the “blood moon” during the eclipse.  Mars is to the lower right of the moon.

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The landscape lost light as more of the moon was obscured, so I decided to try to capture a video of the stars in motion.  Each of these images was a 5-second exposure at ISO 6400, and they were made about 20 seconds apart.  For best viewing, watch it on YouTube in full screen with the highest (1080p) resolution.

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I have to admit I just started the intervalometer with the camera on a tripod and went back to bed for a while.  In the video, you’ll notice a couple of airplanes fly by.  I was lucky enough to have a meteor show up in one of the frames, seen below.

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The next day, we traveled to Canyon de Chelly.  More on that in the next blog post.

Bosque 2012, Day 2

I spent almost the whole day at Bosque today.  I continue to sort out where I should be at different times of the day.  Sometimes I feel like there’s one “best answer” for where to be at any point in time.  But of course, there are a lot of “best answers”.

A lot of people are visiting Bosque right now, and I see a lot of photographers crowding together for the same view.  I was apparently late getting into place before dawn this morning, and had to squeeze in among a few dozen other photographers at one spot to see what there was to see.  After a few minutes, I recognized that there were better photos to be made elsewhere, and I moved on to have a great morning at the crane pools.  Almost no clouds today, and morning temperatures in the high teens.

At the end of the day, I was reminded once again that there are a lot of options for photos here.  There weren’t many clouds, but I was hoping for a little bit of color in the sky at sunset.  I was waiting at one of the crane pools when I heard a voice behind me say, “Brian, you’re facing the wrong way”.  I turned around to see Artie Morris and the rising full moon.

The cranes were flying in, and it was just a matter of time before one flew in front of the moon.  I said to myself, “okay, Artie, you’ve convinced me”, and I turned my camera around and decided to go for that shot instead.

Artie is a great teacher; you can learn a lot by just hanging out with him.

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