Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Moon, September 17, 2015




Lunar Eclipse, Blood Moon, Supermoon on a overcast night



What could be more exciting than the Lunar Eclipse, Blood Moon and Supermoon all occurring in the early evening when the weather was not too cold or hot?  I was so excited to get to photograph this rare event when I would not have to be up at all hours of the night. 

Having put in an early request to the forces of nature for clear skies and calm wind, one never knows what to anticipate when it comes to nature photography.  On the afternoon of September 27, 2015, the eastern sky was showing a few broken clouds but not enough to obscure the eclipsing moon.   However by sundown, it was beginning to look more overcast and I was still hoping the moon could shine through with a bravo performance as it usually does, rising over the Gillis Mountains at Walker Lake. 

Approximately 18:30 PDT, I drove over to where I had a clear view of the lake and sky.  The clouds had grown heavier and were now beginning to take on nice pastel colors. 

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 To the west, thin clouds over the silhouetted mountains were dazzling the sky with a fiery sunset.  


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The thing with nature photography is, there will be countless hours of boredom followed by moments of excitement, exhilaration and maybe even sometimes, sheer terror.  This night was beginning to look like it would test my patience with a gray, featureless, moonless sky. 

Because the clouds were so thick, I decided to try my Nikon 80--200 2.8mm lens over the 500 4.0mm that I normally use for lunar photography.  I had rather have the larger aperture on the shorter lens and then crop the photograph as needed when I processed the RAW digital negatives in Lightroom. 

 
After a 30 minute wait, I finally saw a small red disk peering through the clouds. 


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 When the moon is bright, my exposure will be anywhere from 1/400 second, upward to 1/2000 second, with an f/5.6 aperture.  I set the camera on Manual Mode and began to bracket my exposures adjusting the seconds for the best exposure. 

I kept hoping that the moon would finally make its debut through the curtain of clouds.  As dramatic as it was watching the dim red glow against the darkness of night, I wanted just one clear shot of the eclipsing moon.  


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As much as I was challenged to get a sharp focus, the lightning with the overcast sky did allow for some nice effects.  


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Around 8:30 PM, the moon had risen higher and was starting to become lighter.  The evening zephyrs were starting to blow so I took my final exposure at f/5.6 of 0.5 seconds.  


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As challenging as this lunar eclipse was, it was a nice evening to be outside.  I will never forget the time several years ago when the wind was so strong that I did not get one clear shot due to camera shake.  With nature photography, you rely on your technical ability and the rest is up to the whim of nature. 


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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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Many of these images are available on our website.
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pausing for the Moment, Where the Adventure Leads




Tumbleweeds, Zebra Lizards and a Tunnel to Nowhere!


Sometimes do you just have urge to get out and see where the journey takes you?  This was my feeling after so many days of 100°+ temperatures, smoke from all the wildfires and then a percussive 4.4 earthquake that almost blew me off my office chair.  After packing lunch, water and camera gear, I ventured out to find a road less traveled.   


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In less than one hour, I came to the tunnel in the desert that goes to nowhere.  This seemed to be where I was supposed to go, so I stopped and prepared to take a hike.  


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Some interesting patterns in the dried mud caught my attention at the tunnel's entrance, reminding me of what a severe drought we were still facing.  

 
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There was not even much variety in the flora and fauna on this hot September day other than a zebra-tailed lizard scurrying by to find shade in the rocks.  
 

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The tumbleweeds were doing well, flowering and soon to be going to seed. This invasive species, as flammable as lighter fluid, is taking over the hillsides of the Great Basin Desert.


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A refreshing coolness greeted me inside the thick tunnel walls, making me want to linger before pressing back out into the intense high noon sun.  The absence of spider webs reminded me of how desolate this area was.  Careful footing was a must or you just might become something's dinner. 


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Exiting the tunnel, the fluttering of wings caught me by surprise and I managed to catch one frame of a hawk departing the rock outcropping.    


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From the layers of white droppings, these rocks were a favorite nesting area for raptors.  It would be interesting to check back here in spring with my 500mm lens, in hope of photographing the chicks.   The long lens will allow me to focus up close on the nests without disturbing the birds.  My creed as a nature photographer is to take only photos and leave with only memories. 


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 As much as my mind was feasting on the Pareidolia in the dropping on the surface of the rocks, the heat index was climbing so it was time to turn back.  


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I am hoping to return when its cooler and I can get past the tumbleweeds to further explore more of this interesting outcropping of rocks.  Maybe then I will find the purpose to a tunnel that leads to nowhere in the desert.
 



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.