Happy New Year Part Deaux. I warned you that it was going to be difficult for me to cull down all the fantastic experiences I have had in 2016 to just a few moments – so please indulge me as I continue in a second posting.
One of the many joys of photography is that is doesn’t require travel (although the two together is amazing). I am also fortunate that my apartment on the top floor has wrap around windows affording me an uncluttered south and western view.
As with most of my subjects, capturing moments in the sky requires patience and preparation, though photographing a pretty cloud is a more spur of the moment thing, like this pic of a mountain-range looking cloud formation one morning in early December:
Or these crepuscular rays of the sun streaming through an otherwise gloomy sky:
Or this dazzling display of fiery clouds reflecting the sunset:
Sun and moon shots on the other hand require preplanning in order to be at the right place at the right time. Let me share some of my preparation secrets:
First, there is this invaluable app:
Cool huh? With my handy compass app:
I can map out where I need to be and when to catch a special moment, like this November sunrise:
Sometimes the clouds and moon combine to make a peculiar image – like this one where the moon seems to be exhaling cold breath on a wintery night
This year I also had the opportunity to see some unique moonscape moments – specifically the rise of a supermoon, which had three magical performances at the end of 2016 in October, November and December.
What is a Supermoon? Since the moon’s orbit around the earth is elliptical rather than round, there are times when the moon is actually closer to the earth. This closeness during the moon’s orbit is call a perigee. A supermoon is a full moon coinciding with this perigee and therefore it looks enormous. A supermoon can look14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon when it is at its farthest point from earth in its orbit. And, when the moon is near the horizon it looks even larger – an optical illusion but still spectacular.
Now this whole phenomenon can be ruined by those otherwise innocent clouds if they are around at the wrong moment. So in addition to checking the coordinates on the timedate app and my compass I also intently watch the weather report. I have on occasion had to opt for one out of a possible two-day window to try to take photos if one of the days looks cloudy. Sometimes, like this past December, I did not catch the actual rising supermoon moment due to inclement weather and had to settle for moon-set shots pre-dawn. I had thought the last supermoon was lost to me, but luckily I was awakened by the brightly shining moon and manages to grab my camera and get these pics as the moon was setting at pre-dawn:
Good thing I am a light sleeper.
I did catch the jackpot in October and November, with the latter being the closest supermoon since 1948. In addition, knowing that the moon would rise just after sunset I had the opportunity to see a hunter’s or reddish moon, so I walked down to the Long Island Sound a few blocks away and set myself up where I knew the moon would rise. Here are the results, from varying focal points:
On the way home I couldn’t resist one last shot:
My final chance to catch a 2016 supermoon was November 13 and moonrise was just before sunset. Since it was earlier than the October supermoon and there was alot of haze, the colors of the moon weren’t as fiery, but it was no less awesome. I clicked away, knowing that many of the shots would be discarded – the glory of digital – but still came away with over 70 worthy shots. Here are some of them:
Again, on the way home I couldn’t resist taking a couple of artsy shots:
Now on to 2017 – new adventures and journeys – stay tuned!