When the Northern Lights brightly lit up the sky on May 8th, I went out to a favourite spot along the Elbow River on the edge of Redwood Meadows. The river there is dotted with sets of rocks near the shore which provide interesting elements and break up the reflection in an attractive way. The landscape is beautiful and supported the main show in the sky above well. The Aurora streamed across the sky from the northern horizon to well past the zenith. The image below was taken with the camera pointing almost straight up.
There was an intense auroral storm that started late on May 7th and rang in Mother’s Day with vibrant ripples and sheets until just before dawn. This session of the Aurora Borealis was the most vibrant I’ve watched over the past five years. For three hours I watched the sky being canvassed with impossibly bright streams of spray paint. I enjoyed watching them on the northern edge of my community along the banks of the Elbow River. I thought it was a great start to Mother’s Day and certainly worth losing most of a good night’s sleep to watch the sky.
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.
After owling (and here) in the evening I went into Calgary for dinner and when I was close to Redwood Meadows found the Aurora Borealis were dancing to the north. The lights were partially hidden behind a large cloud bank which was an unusual sight for me that were impressive as they glowed above the fields.
(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.
(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.
The moon gave it a great try but from our vantage point just west of Calgary, it just missed blocking out the sun this evening. This was in no way a failure on the moon’s part, just our position in the universe relative to it and the sun. As it was, the crescent created by the moon swinging in front of the sun was very impressive.
There was haze in the sky which worked well with the dark glass I had piled on to drop the bright sunlight as much as possible. When a thick cloud pulled above the horizon, I thought it might be too heavy but the colors and textures were amazing.
At this point I thought the moon may move into position in the ring of fire. I hadn’t looked into this solar eclipse much so I did not know if we were in the right location. It was exciting to watch the sun and moon approach. When the moon swung away, it was still great to watch.
Before Earth’s shadow started to march across the face of the moon last night, I photographed the full moon as it climbed above the trees in Redwood Meadows. You can see the mist around the moon and I was a little concerned that clouds and haze may obscure the visible signs of the direct alignment of the sun, Earth and moon. I didn’t know then that the clouds would largely stay clear or that I was in for a very interesting performance.
The solstice lunar eclipse started normally last night and I was out in the freezing cold photographing the progression towards totality.
Then, things started to get very strange… as the moon started racing around like an excited puppy.
I went to bed as the moon settled back down, slipping behind the Earth and into deep shadow.
I saw it looming large on the horizon this morning so it seems to have emerged from shadow and appears to be behaving predictably once more.
I enjoyed the lead up to the eclipse and the morning after was spectacular as well. The odd bit during the actual eclipse was very fun too although I’m still looking for a reasonable explanation.
Please note: the moon trails were created by moving the camera around slightly during longer exposures up to two seconds long. I wrote the story for a bit of fun not to be mistaken for an actual phenomenon observed.