Saturday, October 25, 2014

Photographing the October 23rd. Partial Solar Eclipse



Sun and Moon chasing at Walker Lake, Nevada


Photographing the solar eclipse is one of my most stressful events because it does not occur very often and also due to the safety factors involved with protecting the eyes.  Magnifying the sun through a lens without proper caution can cause permanent eye damage so I use a Baadar Astrosolar Safety Film that has been attached to a light-proof box that is mounted on the hood of my Nikon 500mm 4.0 lens.

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  The safety film is made by the Baader Planetarium in Germany and reduces intensity of sunlight by over 99.999%. 


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Just before 2:00 PDT when the Moon's silhouette was just starting to reach the top of the Sun's disk I was set up and ready to begin the photo shoot.  As luck would have it, there were clouds but they were very thin and the sun was shining bright, and there was no wind to cause camera shake.

Around 2:19pm, the moon was just beginning to take a bite out of the Sun's disk. After a few trial exposures with the ISO at 200, the aperture at f/22, I selected a shutter speed of 1/2000 a second.  After checking the image, I found that I had to adjust the camera settings to compensate for the dark filter.


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At 2:26pm with camera settings readjusted to  f/14, shutter speed--1/400 seconds, the sun appeared through the Baadar film in almost its actual color,  neutral white, but with a slight bluish tinge.


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 Clouds move across Sun at 2:28pm and I adjust my settings for the reduced light to  f/8 and shutter speed at 1/160 a second.


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The Sun is nearing mid-eclipse at 3:14pm and time for more camera adjustments, I increased the ISO to 400 at f/5.6 with 1/640 a second shutter speed.

 
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At 3:42pm the Moon's silhouette is almost half way across the Sun's surface and with less light coming from the Sun, I opened the aperture to f/4 and lowered the shutter speed to 1/80 a second. 


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After this time, the sun had dropped low in the west sky almost behind the mountains and the clouds were thicker.  It turned out to be a nice day for catching the partial solar eclipse and the thin clouds added to the ambiance.

While processing the photos in Lightroom, I took the artistic creativity to add some color and enlarge the  AR 2192 sunspot that has been so much in the news media lately.


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And I must confess that I just can not help being a little creative with the enhancing tool just to see what colors appear.


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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"



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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nature's Artistry after the Rim Fire



Nature's tenacity after flames of destruction




How often do you plan for an outing to a specific location and then become side tracked along the way?  This was the case on a nice fall day in October when I had planned on taking a drive on Tioga Pass to Yosemite before the road was closed for the winter.  Being a nature photographer, I never know where the scene will appear and am always amazed when it does.

Some distance after Tenaya Lake, I began to see evidence of fire damage to the landscape just off the road.  I realized that I was coming on the devastation from the Rim fire that started on August 17, 2013 and burned 400 square miles before the 5,000 firefighters could contain the blaze at a cost of $127 million.  After reaching a pullout, I decided to stop and take a closer look at the damage.

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What I was about to experience was totally beyond anything that I could have dreamed up.
As I looked out over the marred terrain the thought came to me that what nature takes eons to build can be destroyed by man in the blink of an eye.

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With a heavy feeling of great remorse, my eyes wandered to the blackened trunks of charred trees that must have been exposed directly to the flames. 

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I then saw the reddish brown scorch of needles that were not burned but exposed to such lethal temperatures.

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Standing at what appeared to be the entrance to the area, between two logs was the trunk of a tree that had been partially damaged by the fire and at its base was the blackened symbol of a heart.

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My feeling of remorse suddenly began to lift as I saw a large pinecone resting at the base of a huge Ponderosa pine that was untouched by the fire.  I felt like I was being drawn with my camera into a sacred place, a place designed as a memorial by the hand of nature to symbolize the tenacity of life to survive against all odds.

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Walking with care and reverence, I entered nature's cathedral and after a few steps, I noticed  a small green plant that had recently began to grow against the base of a charred pine.  In the ash covered soil were an abundance of new life with small pines and other plants just beginning to grow. 

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Intriguing shapes of charred tree trunks stood out and it was beginning to appear that this was not only a cathedral but also an art gallery created by the hand of nature. 

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Many of the blackened trunks reminded me of abstract sculpture as in the works of Henry Moore, James Abbott, Adam Bram and Agustin C├írdenas.  What creative designs evolved from such a destructive force, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.  

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 Even the natural light falling on many objects seemed to be arranged by nature's hand.  I was especially impressed with the diversity of light on a scene that accented a stump in the foreground, then shadowed the trunk in the middle and highlighted the tree to the right.

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A three-dimensional shape stands tall that must have been hollowed out and then split by the intense heat.  I have read that it only takes one minute of 140 degree heat to be lethal to most trees.

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An interesting freestanding shape seems that it could topple to the ground in the next wind.

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A Surrealistic "Moth man" image is mounted with a small evergreen in the shape of a cross by its base.

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 Nature's artistic hand was very creative using Pyrography to decorate this wood.

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 Branches drooping from crown scorch that were exposed to lethal heat and not directly burned are illuminated with the morning light and give an appearance of a metal sculpture, delicate and flowing in a gentle breeze.

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After spending an unlimited amount of time in total amazement with this awesome  display of nature's artistry, I looked down at a tiny aspen accented with sunlight and realized that I had been drawn to share in a very spiritual experience.  Nature’s beauty inspires me, its diversity fascinates me and its resilience holds me in awe.

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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
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Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.





Friday, October 10, 2014

Photographing the October 2014 Lunar Eclipse






Moon chasing in the early morning hours

Anticipating a long photo shoot, I decided to forgo the initial Penumbral eclipse when part of the Earth's shadow begins to move over the moon. This phase is not easily seen by the naked eye and I was not certain if it would show up with my Nikon 500mm 4.0 lens.

Getting set up at 02:39 PDT, by the time I had my shutter speed on 1/1600 a second, and the aperture at f/5.6, the Earth's umbra was already starting to cover a quarter of the moon, the Partial eclipse had begun.

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At 03:05 PDT, the eclipse was becoming more visible with the Earth's shadow moving over the left top three quarters of the moon. 


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In my opinion, one of the most beautiful images of the moon is when just a small crescent is in view as it was at 03:32.  I composed the dim moon with a shutter speed of 1/400 a second. 


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At 03:54 the Earth's umbra was completely covering the moon.  Due to the sunlight refracting, the moon's orb was taking on reddish to orange hues, therefore becoming the Blood or Sanguine Moon.  My shutter speed had dropped down to 1/10 a second.  


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The Maximum eclipse which is the middle of the total eclipse started around 04:07, with a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds, in the low light several stars and Uranus are visible in the dark sky with the red moon. 


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Around 04:25, the Earth's umbra started moving away allowing a small semi-circle of the Moon's surface to receive sunlight.  


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Another ten minutes at 04:34 more of the Hunter's Moon was receiving light and my shutter speed was increasing to 1/5 a second.


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The Earth's shadow completely unveiled the Moon's surface around 0:458, ending the Partial eclipse and bringing my shutter speed up to 1/800 a second. 


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And what a special treat on this October day for the full moon to make an encore in the early evening following the total lunar eclipse in the pre-dawn hours.


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Thank goodness my next celestial event will occur during the daylight hours on October 23rd, which will be the partial solar eclipse and I am hoping for clear, calm weather as I begin my early preparations.
 



No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.






Monday, October 6, 2014

Life Cycles -- Summer's Finality



 One cycle ends while another begins


The warm days left over from summer are still hanging around and so are several species of insects that I enjoy watching.  At this time of year, I try and savor as many warm moments as time will allow before the temperatures drop.

I can't say that I will miss the tomato horn worms that strip the leaves down to stems.  They do keep me busy each morning when I go out searching to pick them from the tomatoes.  This is a love-hate relationship since I do enjoy having the sphinx moths around, so I just reposition the worms to a Sacred Datura which is in the nightshade family like the tomato plant. 

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The dragonflies that accent the landscape around my pond are beginning to dwindle down.  I walked by as two adults were embraced to continue the life cycle.  The eggs will be laid on plants near the pond and slowly grow over a period of 5 years to reach the adult stage which  lasts only for six months.

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A male praying mantis fans his wings out wide in a threat display as a warning not to come any closer.   The end of summer also concludes the life cycle of the mantis.  Hatching after the temperature warms in spring; they grow over the summer to mate, lay eggs and die as the weather begins to turn cold.  


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Although not in the insect species, the reclusive male tarantula can be seen wandering around the desert in late August through September looking to mate with a willing female.   This handsome feller that is at least seven years old came walking down my sidewalk late one September afternoon. 


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Even with the warm days, my yard is starting to quiet down and beginning its transition to fall.  Most of the sunflowers are gone and I have noticed only one monarch butterfly fluttering. 


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 Soon the showy visitors of summer will be replaced by the dull colored birds that winter here in the Great Basin, but they also bring a special charm to my yard as they dart about foraging for seeds in the dry leaves. 


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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.