Last Tuesday, April 17th, Venus shone brightly as dusk fell. It joined a beautiful crescent moon in the northwestern sky. Stars began to pop out while the night took hold. I had been out walking my hound and thought the silhouettes of the line of trees above the Elbow River near my home would help frame the conjunction nicely. When I got back to the house, I quickly gathered my gear and went out to the river – I’m glad I did.
As the moon dropped, I kept moving west, upriver, the descending tree line allowing me to keep the Moon in sight. Some gauzy clouds came in low and afforded some interesting, hazy halos around the Moon.
Eventually the Moon slipped behind the trees and quickly disappeared leaving Venus glowing in a sky filling up with stars.
Before I packed up, I took one last long exposure facing west where the river winds past Bragg Creek and on to the front range of the mountains in Kananaskis Country.
I was very excited to get out to photograph the most recent lunar eclipse. I kept an eye on the weather forecasts and knew clouds were moving over southern Alberta that night. I hoped for a break in the clouds but when I woke up early that morning the sky was low and heavy with no stars, or moon, to be seen. So, I packed up and headed west to see if I could get the western edge of the cloud front. My first glimpse was between Canmore and Banff when I came around a corner and the moon was hanging in the sky. That was not a safe place to stop and the moon alone in the blackness was not the image I had in mind so I kept going to Banff. Thought I still did take that shot a little while later!
Clouds returned by the time I was in the townsite so I headed up towards the hot springs to see if I could find a good vantage point. That didn’t pan out but when I came back down, the moon re-appeared. Now it was falling quickly towards the western flank of Cascade Mountain. Her and I then played a game of hide and seek as the clouds continued to drift in front of the red globe.
I framed the moon using trees and the mountain’s ridge line when the opportunities came. Within a few minutes it disappeared. I didn’t realize the image I was looking for but had a great time watching the spectacle. I have been able to photograph several lunar eclipses and always deeply enjoy the otherworldly beauty as the moon slips into and eventually out of the sun’s shadow.
My son and I returned from a weekend hiking and camping with good friends in the Monashee Provincial Park in British Columbia on Monday night. Wildfires have been a clear and present danger across the province for the whole summer and west of Golden we drove between two separate fires that were burning on mountainsides across the valley from each other. The thick smoke obscured the flames and blocked out much of the sun.
It was powerful to directly observe something we have followed all summer remotely. We stopped at a pullout briefly and then continued east towards home. The day retreated and when we were nearing Golden, the moon rose above the forest and mountain ridge lines.
The smoke in the air from the fires, and likely others that were not visible to us, turned the sky a purple colour at dusk that moved quickly into a deep blue.
The nearly full moon shone brightly and had an orange cast to it. Beauty from these wildfires that I enjoyed but that I would trade for rain there in a heartbeat.
Last night was the lunar eclipse where the moon turned a deep red which lasted for more than an hour. I traveled to south to get to the edge of the clouds which had rolled in over my home in Bragg Creek before sunset. In Turner Valley I found clear skies and set up as the moon was entering the earth’s shadow.
I was awestruck, as usual, with this fourth of the tetrad of lunar eclipses which have been spaced six months apart starting in April 2014.
It was a beautiful transit with the moon’s surface moving through oranges and reds before returning to her brilliant white. It has been an incredible series of events to witness and I have enjoyed photographing them immensely. I’m excited about the new beginnings and opportunities they herald.
The forest fires in Washington are terribly frightening and I hope for rain and favourable winds to help the people down there. Here in the Calgary area, the smoke has carried north which has left the skies hazy for the past week.
In the morning, the sun glows red as it rises out of thickest part of the smoke just above the horizon.
At night, the moon’s color changes, seemingly with her mood, between gold, orange and red.
(Please click on the picture to open a higher resolution version of the image)
The October 23rd solar eclipse was at its maximum at 4:07 pm here in Calgary. It was a partial eclipse with the moon blocking out a majority, but not the entire sun. The sun swung like a pendulum behind the moon which afforded a couple of images of each of the distinct phases. The image above was taken at 4:07 PM MST which was at the maximum.
The image above was from 3:55 PM and the one below was taken at 4:13 PM as the sun and moon separated.
The clouds cleared at the point during this week’s eclipse when the moon was just coming out of the earth’s penumbra. The top edge of the full moon was just coming into e sunlight. The majority of the surface was still in shadow and was a deep reddish orange.
The glow from the moon coloured the landscape as well.
The moon left the shadow much too quickly for me but it was fun to watch the different looks as the clouds moved, the colours changed and the blood moon slipped away.
(Please click on the image to open a higher resolution version of this photograph)
Eclipses fascinate me and this morning’s lunar eclipse was outstanding. It was overcast for much of the night so I wasn’t sure how visible the Moon would be as it reached totality. While it was in the Earth’s umbra, the clouds started to clear and I was able to watch the latter part of the performance. This image was taken when a cloud passed along the top edge of the Moon while the moon was coming out of the penumbra and the sun was lighting the upper hemisphere.