I woke up way too early to see if the Super Blue Blood Moon* eclipse would be visible or blocked by clouds. (You never know, and I didn’t want to wake up the kiddo in the middle of a school night if there wasn’t anything to see.) I had a clear view, but the street lights were too bright to see the red color. It just looked dull brown.
So I took a couple of pictures, then went back in to wake up the kid. He still wanted to go out and see, but only for one look. Totally understandable. I carried him out, we looked at the darkened moon, then I carried him back in and put him back to bed.
It’s the third lunar eclipse he’s seen, though one of them we didn’t get to see much of since it was so cloudy. And while it’s not as cool as a total solar eclipse, it’s something you can see with no special equipment by walking out into your front yard anywhere in the world that has a view of the moon during the several hours it takes the Earth’s shadow to move across it.
I went back out one last time to try for some photos of totality, but they didn’t come out any better than the ones I took the first time. I looked around for a spot that might be darker and still have a view of the moon (without trespassing in someone else’s back yard), but didn’t see one — there are way too many lights at night these days. Then I tried to place the constellations I could see, and failed. Then I went back in to go back to bed.
Unfortunately I don’t think I really got back to sleep, so I’ve been dragging all morning. The interruption didn’t help the kiddo either, so getting him to school was a bit of a challenge.
*Blood moon: lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow darkening the moon & turning it red. Cool to see, widely visible.
Super moon: full moon during closest point in orbit, looks slightly bigger.
Blue moon: 2nd full moon in a calendar month, otherwise no difference.
I spotted this view of the moon and Jupiter bordered by flowers while at the Orange County Fair last week. While I love the look of the shot, it’s terribly grainy and full of compression artifacts. My phone isn’t great at things like zoom or low light conditions. I’ve been using it as my main camera for the past year, since it’s great in bright daylight, and my old camera is riddled with dust I can’t get rid of. But this, plus plans for a vacation where I knew I’d really want a working zoom, combined to be the last straw.
- Serious optical zoom
- Low light
- Long exposure
- Wi-Fi would be nice, but not critical
I checked out a bunch of cameras and settled on a Canon PowerShot SX710 with 30x(!) optical zoom. They’ve automated a lot of the mode settings the older models used to have, but there are still a few specific modes you can use and you can still take photos with manual settings. And yes, you can transfer photos over Wi-Fi, to a device, a computer, or a cloud service.
One of the first things I did after charging the battery was go outside to see how it handled night shooting. Then I looked up and saw the moon.
So far, so good!
Amusingly, this happened the last time I bought a camera too.
The full moon hung low in the east, rising pale yellow against a shadowed sky. A cluster of lights floated next to it, airplanes lining up for approach to the runway I was driving past. I’d glanced over just as I passed under their flight path.
Above the moon and the lights, a band of pink crossed the sky. Above that, it shaded into blue.
To the west, past a chain link fence, past the tracks being laid down for a rail extension, past the expanse of the runway itself, the sky was orange. Bright yellow clouds, the only clouds in the sky, shone with light from the sun that hadn’t quite set for them yet.
I drove on.
Clouds and timing squashed the “supermoon” and “blood moon” effects here, but it was still the most unusual lunar eclipse I’ve experienced.
Usually I’ll stay up late or get up early and go outside to watch the eclipse by myself. Last year I took my then-three-year-old son out to watch an eclipse around midnight.
Tonight’s eclipse got underway before local moonrise, and I wanted to see it as soon as possible. So J. (now four and a half) and I went out to an intersection in a residential neighborhood near the top of a hill with a clear view of the eastern horizon. We arrived at sunset, and two other people were looking eastward: a woman with a camera and full tripod, and a man with binoculars. The four of us all set up on a triangular traffic island on the northern side of the intersection.
Flat layers of clouds streaked the sky, and we worried that there might not be much to see at all, but it was only a few minutes before a slightly-off crescent moon rose due east of us, right in line with the street. Continue reading
Last night’s “supermoon” rising through light clouds. Spotted, oddly enough, while walking past a Supercuts.
It wasn’t quite as cool as a week ago, when I was driving home late at night and watched the first-quarter moon setting like a giant orange slice near the horizon. But I didn’t have my camera, and wasn’t sure about stopping somewhere unfamiliar at midnight to take photos.
As it happened, last night I did have my camera in the car. I took a few shots bracketing the clouds and the moon face. I combined them with Luminance HDR, mostly to see if I could. It’s not fantastic, but it’s better than my phone would have managed (though it actually takes better photos in broad daylight than my camera does).
Times like this make me wish I had a DSLR camera, but I have to be honest: Chances are I wouldn’t have had it with me.
Speaking of HDR, my brain decided that it needed to be pronounced as a word instead of initials. Three guesses as to what vowels it decided to add!