It seems like a lifetime ago now, but a few years ago I was driving bus for a tour group from Monument Valley back to Page, Arizona for the night. Along the way, we stopped to take photos of the sunset, and much to my surprise, we were greeted by a dragon (or so it seemed). Sometimes the cloud formations inspire, treat and completely take us by surprise. This was such an occasion. It was a memorable trip, and the friends I made along the way was worth it. Beware the dragon….
I do realize I’m a few days past the Great Conjunction. It’s the first chance I’ve had of examining my photos of this event, so here goes…
Here is what it looked like in Southern Utah from La Verkin Overlook. There were several people there that night enjoying the sight. It looks like I caught the moons of Jupiter, and if you look close, you might see the shape of Saturn with its rings.
The Last Super Moon of 2020
Last Thursday night was the last super moon of 2020. It seemed like a good idea at the time to go out and get photos of it. In retrospect, next time I will go to higher elevations for reasons you will soon discover. I asked Siri when the moon would rise that night, and it said 21:03 (or 9:03pm). I thought that would be fantastic, so I grabbed my equipment about 8:45pm to set up everything to capture the moon. It wasn’t too much longer before it got dark. I checked my astronomy app for the position of the moon, and sure enough, it was just coming up over the horizon. I knew I had time to kill, so I decided to take a couple of star shots before the moon came up. According to my app, the bright star in the center is Antares.
After about a half hour, I realized that I was going to be there a while, because I’m looking at a 2,000 foot cliff waiting for the moon to come up over the horizon and peer into this deep canyon. Finally, I was rewarded for my wait. Three hours later, the moon started its rise over the cliffs about 12:30am, way past my bed time, but the wait was absolutely worth it!
The moon was illuminating the trees on the top of the cliffs just before it came up.
Slowly, but surely, the moon made it from behind the cliff, and it was an amazing sight to behold. Check it out!
I went to bed not long after, basking in the pleasure of seeing the last super moon of 2020 rise over the cliffs of Zion National Park. I found out later that the super moon peaked at 6:30 that morning. It was tiring but fun. Enjoy!
First, I need to apologize for my lack of posting lately, it seems that life has been in the way of photographing anything recently. I’ll try to get out photgraphing more often so I can post more often.
Anyway, recently I’ve been wanting to photograph the Milky Way, and the best time to do it is during or close to a New Moon. The most recent one was this past Sunday, so Monday night I went up on a hill near Zion National Park to capture our Galaxy in all its glory. I got up there before sunset to get everything ready for the night’s adventure. While I was waiting for it to get dark, I decided to get some sunset photos of the surrounding peaks.
Here is the Watchman in all its splendor:
Also, here is the West Temple, with neighboring Mount Kinesava:
Not to be out done, but here are the Eagle’s Crags:
I also chanced upon some wild flowers that were still in bloom:
When it came time to actually photograph the Milky Way, I spent the next couple of hours photographing away, enjoying the view of the night sky, and basking in the solitude of the mountain. When I got home and processed the images, I realized that my camera was out of focus the entire time! The thumbnails looked great, but at full size every image was fuzzy and out of focus except the sunset shots.
Life can be out of focus sometimes, even though we’re looking at it and everything seems to be in focus and on track, then we view the experiences from a distance or as a thumbnail it seems to be in focus, but when analyzed and viewed up close, its blurry and out of focus and needs to be fixed or done over. The only real way to change that is to get out there and redo what should have been done the first time, having learned from that mistake and made everything in focus and better all around.
I did the only thing I could do, and that was to go back out and try again. Even though the moon is waxing and staying up longer, it didn’t affect the images in any way. In fact it helped. I was having the same issue as before of having the camera out of focus, so I focused on the moon and got some great shots of the Waxing Crescent Moon.
The bright star below the moon on the horizon is actually Venus! Anyway, I got settled in, and had a small red lantern on so I wouldn’t be stumbling all over the place in the dark. Well, I later discovered there were some unexpected benefits from that light. I was also able to fix the focus issue of the camera and got some beautiful shots of the night sky.
Here is the Milky Way in all its beauty and splendor!
Zion at Night
On Monday, August 21, I went to Lee Valley on the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park to photograph the Milky Way. Well, Mother Nature had other ideas, and it was overcast and looked like a storm was rolling in. I figured I could get some lightening shots instead. Well, that didn’t happen either. What I was able to photograph was some really cool clouds against the distant cliffs of Zion National Park.
West Guardian Angel
I was also able to (barely) capture sunset on West Temple because it was so cloudy.
I also decided to modify one to Black & White. I think it’s pretty cool, what do you think?
Here are the images of the night sky with clouds in the foreground.
Zion… In the Moonlight
During the day, Zion Canyon is absolutely gorgeous! However that changes during a full moon. The moonlight makes the canyon glow and the walls take on an ethereal feel.
For the past couple of nights, I’ve been taking photos of Zion Canyon in the moon light testing some settings and playing around with manual mode. I’ve had several great shots, but they are all of Lady Mountain and the Big Dipper using different settings. This image is one of my favorites. By the way, on the very right edge is the North Star.
A Photo Challenge: Supermoon
A friend challenged me to post a nature photo every day for seven days. Challenge accepted! I would like to make it a 30 day challenge, we’ll see what happens.
Anyway, I decided to make my first entry of the challenge tonight’s supermoon. I went with a friend up to the east side of Zion where the plateau opens up for a better view of the moon rise. It was absolutely spectacular!
The moon just as it left the horizon.
Tonight I took probably the best shots of the moon to date.
On the way back home, we stopped at the Checkerboard Mesa pullout to try our luck at something different.
These are the cliffs looking west.
Looking back at the moon. I didn’t realize until after I processed this, that I got the Seven Sisters as well. Bonus!!!
Mars is the closest to the Earth now than it will be for some time. I decided to go check it out. I drove up to East Zion where the canyon opens up quite a bit and found the perfect spot to capture this event on film…er…digital.
Here is my favorite shot of this event.
On the advice from a fellow blogger, I organized my galleries to be subject specific. There is a new gallery for Bryce Canyon National Park (I realize I need to post more photos of this beautiful place), Grand Canyon National Park, and of course, my beloved Zion National Park. I also posted galleries for flowers and birds, with a gallery for Ancient Art, Arizona, and Other Animals in the works.
Enjoy the images! Remember, they are all available for purchase. Contact me for details.