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!

Starry Night

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:IMG_0842.jpg

Also, here is the West Temple, with neighboring Mount Kinesava:IMG_0829.jpg

Not to be out done, but here are the Eagle’s Crags: IMG_0801.jpg

I also chanced upon some wild flowers that were still in bloom:   IMG_0851.jpg

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.

IMG_1045

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!

IMG_1128

Enjoy!

Kelly

Gallery Updates

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.

IMG_3148

Super Blood Moon Eclipse

Last night, I went out with some friends to watch the eclipse.  Through some miscommunication (or misunderstanding) we all ended up in different places instead.  Either way, we all had fun watching the eclipse.

Just as I got to the spot I thought we needed to be, the moon started coming up over the peaks of Zion National Park.  It was pretty cloudy at the time, so I put my equipment together pretty quickly and started shooting.

I was using my 500mm lens, which is a fixed f8 and manual focus lens, which is extremely difficult to focus on something that you can’t see in the view finder, i.e., an eclipsed moon.  On top of that, I require glasses, and what I see focused in the view finder (and on the screen) may not be in focus for me but not everyone else.  On top of that, I was using ISO1600 which is pretty noisy especially in night photography.  So, as you can see, the images aren’t exactly what I was hoping for.

The crazy part is the images look in focus on the thumbnails but not in full size.  Figure that one out.  Any suggestions would be helpful, btw.

On the upside of all this, I was able to document the entire eclipse from beginning to end.  I had fun and enjoyed myself.  Enjoy.

IMG_5363 copy

IMG_5551 copy

IMG_5670 copy

IMG_5735 copy

Kelly

Photo of the Week: The Milky Way

On Sunday night, I went with some friends (you know who you are) to Smith Mesa to watch the sunset, the stars and to enjoy each other’s company.  It was so much fun!  While everyone was sitting and chatting around the fire, I snuck away to take some photos of the Milky Way.  I have photographed constellations before, but shooting the Milky Way was something new for me.  It took a while before I found the right settings, but I think it turned out really cool (especially for a first attempt)!  Let me know what you think.

IMG_1222

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Kelly

Wild Weekly’s Photo Contest: Look UP!

I’m participating in the onlineadventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggersThis week’s Challenge is: Look Up, so venture into nature and point your lens above you!

 

Have you ever wondered what life would look like upside down?  Well, a friend of mine recently experienced this feeling.  This is what happens when you do a Tyrolian Traverse, then letting go and trusting your equipment.  He’s a lot braver than I am, but we had fun that day!

CRW_0084

 

 

I’m reminded of a song:

“Up, Up and away, my beautiful balloon…”

 

021 18a

027_24a

035_32a

 

 

033 30a

Imagine the solitude in one of these!  It must be breathtaking from up there!

 

Here’s a “Bad Moon Rising”

_RW_0126

And the moon coming up over the Eagle’s Crags in Zion National Park, Utah.

 

_RW_1614

Here is the beautiful California Condor in flight, the largest bird of prey in North America.

_RW_2084

RW 2085

Last but not least, the magnificent Peregrin Falcon.

CRW_0167

 

 

Wild Weekly’s Photo Challenge – Peaceful

I’m participating in the online adventure travel magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggersThis week’s Challenge is: Peaceful!

There is nothing more peaceful than contemplating eternity.  It really makes us feel lowly and humble when looking at the Earth and what surrounds us, and what’s above us.orion

This is the Constellation Orion and Sirius, his faithful dog.

_RW_2712

 

Here is the North Star in Zion National Park.  This is one of my favorites.  It’s simply amazing that mariners have used this Star for millennia for navigation and modern outdoorsmen use it to orient themselves to keep from getting lost.

Also, here on Earth there are places that can take your breath away and contemplate your insignificance when you get troubled by the stress of life.  For example:

_RW_2332This is from Gooseberry Mesa looking west at Pine Valley Mountain, a distance of roughly 30 miles.   I can sit here for hours just contemplating life and getting away from it all.

Birds-Eye-ViewHere is another place you can think about how small we really are.  The world famous Grand Canyon.  This was taken from a helicopter flying over the Canyon.

Then who can forget the peacefulness of a hot air balloon in flight.

032_29a

 

These were taken at a balloon festival at Snowmass, Colorado.  Enjoy!

035_32a

 

I call this one “Reflections”.  One of my absolute favorites.

Last, but surely not least:

033_30aI would love to be up in this balloon.  It’s so quiet up there and talk about solitude and peaceful!