09/5/17
smoke distant fire

Smoke from a Distant Fire

Smoke from a Distant Fire

Smoke from a distant fire, in this case, multiple fires in the west, has made its way into New Mexico and Albuquerque. The sky has been hazy for several days. My eyes have burned a bit. I knew the smoke was here, but had not paid too much attention. Until last evening, that is. When I went out to change the water in the hummingbird feeders, I caught a glimpse of the moon rising over the Sandias. The moon seemed huge, but rather than the bright silver I’m used to seeing, it was a muddy red. By the time I got my camera, the moon was already up, but the same color. When I plan to photograph the moon, I generally use a tripod. This wasn’t planned and I didn’t have time. Such is life.

From 7:30pm MDT:

smoke from a distant fire

Smoke From Fires in the West Has Reached Albuquerque

With thoughts for all the people affected by the fires burning in the west, the firefighters, other emergency responders, as well as those affected by Harvey and those facing the threat of Irma.

This old song always comes to mind when fires are burning and smoke is in the air:

06/2/17
bosque

Along the Corrales Bosque

Along the Corrales Bosque

The bosque along the Rio Grande is a beautiful, fascinating place. A bosque is a forest found in a narrow band along the floodplains of rivers and streams in the American Southwest. It is a prime feature running through the Greater Albuquerque metro area.

This past Sunday, when I noticed the Painted Lady swarm here, Tim and Laurie noted they had hundreds on the salvia at their property in Corrales. Of course I jumped at the chance when they invited me to come out the following day, Memorial Day, to photograph the swarming butterflies there. When it was time to leave my place in the NE Heights, I could see stormy weather in the direction of Corrales. But storms often blow through quickly here, and I wanted to go. I had no weather to speak of on the drive to Corrales, but as soon as I turned off Alameda onto Corrales Road, I could see the storm really had blown through there. Tree limbs, leaves, and puddles of water were everywhere!

However, the Painted Ladies were nowhere to be seen. They had sought shelter – somewhere – from the storm.

Over the years, I have learned that plans for photographic excursions often change in detail, but that there is always something interesting and/or beautiful to photograph. When the sky cleared a bit, Laurie went for a run in the bosque, and Tim and I walked down to the river. It was a beautiful afternoon and evening, sans butterflies!

bosque

Bosque Bridge to the Rio Grande

bosque

Reflections in the “Clear Ditch”

bosque

Walking toward the Rio Grande, the Sandia Mountains Come into View

Bosque

Rio Grande, with Sandia Mountains Beginning to Show Alpenglow

bosque

Crescent Moon at Sunset

04/16/17
Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache 2014

Bosque del Apache 2014

Bosque del Apache 2014, flashback to a time when things seemed pretty perfect. I was updating software today, and came across images not seen for some time. I enjoyed looking at them, and decided to share a couple here.

Bosque del Apache

Sandhill Cranes, Late Afternoon, January 17, 2014

The following morning at dawn was warm by January standards. The temperature was 19°F, no wind to speak of, and I was dressed in layers. I thought that was sufficient. My two companions that weekend went back to the car shortly after we arrived at this spot. I thought it was too beautiful to leave, and I am glad I have the images. Several hours later when I was warm enough to think sensibly again, I realized that I really had become hypothermic. The next time I plan to be out at dawn some winter day at the Bosque, I’ll have on about ten more layers!

Bosque del Apache

Dawn at Bosque del Apache, January 18, 2014

These images reminded me not only of that weekend, but also how fortunate I am to live in “The Land of Enchantment.”

03/12/17
setting full moon

Full Moon Setting

Full Moon Setting

Full moon setting this morning was spectacular! Who knew about this one? I caught it only when I went out for the paper. It reminded me of some of the autumn moons. I guess that should not be surprising, since the location in the sky is about the same. This was a very pleasant surprise!

full moon setting

Full Moon Setting

Here are some quotes about the moon:

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
~ Ming-Dao Deng, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

“But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.”
~ Ai Yazawa, Nana, Vol. 14

“We must strive to be like the moon.’ An old man in Kabati repeated this sentence often… the adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others. [S]he said that people complain when there is too much sun and it gets unbearably hot, and also when it rains too much or when it is cold. But, no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the square to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. These are some of the reasons why we should want to be like the moon.”
~ Ishmael Beah

“I never really thought about how when I look at the moon, it’s the same moon as Shakespeare and Marie Antoinette and George Washington and Cleopatra looked at.”
~ Susan Beth Pfeffer, Life As We Knew It

12/12/16
supermoon

Supermoon December 2016

Waxing Supermoon, December 2016, Rising over Sandia Mountains at Sunset

supermoon

Waxing December Supermoon Rising over Sandia Mountains at Sunset

The supermoon of December 2016 is not quite as impressive as November’s. However, it would take an expert in moons to really be able to tell that with the naked eye, at least in the waxing phase.

Full moon will take place on December 13. Here in Albuquerque, moonrise is set for 5:09pm. But, about another 30 minutes or so is required for the moon to clear the mountains. The sky will be dark for the full moonrise. Photographing moonrise in daylight is so much more fun. The alpenglow on the Sandia Mountains at sunset, combined with a very bright waxing moon, was too beautiful not to photograph and share.

I hope you can see the moon where you are in the next few days.

11/15/16
Super Moon

Super Moon, Blue and Golden Hours

Super Moon, Blue and Golden Hours

Super Moon with Blue and Golden Hours of dawn, November 15, 2016 was a beautiful start to the day.

I had not intended to photograph the Super Moon this morning (Tuesday) because I had an early morning appointment for which I had to get ready. But that did not stop me from going out to see how the moon looked today. It was beautiful, as it had been in previous days. I did not have time to set up the tripod and shoot a series, although it would have been nice. I grabbed my camera, took a deep breath, and said to myself, “you can hand hold this for a few images.”

This first image is from 6:39 am MST, during “Blue Hour.” It is never an actual hour in most places. It is the time when the sun is below the horizon, either before dawn or after sunset, when the indirect sunlight has a predominantly blue hue. You can clearly see that in this first image.

Super Moon

Super Moon at Blue Hour

This second image was taken at 6:47 am MST, just 8 minutes later. This is transition from “Blue Hour” into “Golden Hour.”

Super Moon

Super Moon Near Sunrise, at Transition of Blue to Golden Hour

I’ve always been a fan of “Golden Hour,” because it is such flattering light, not only to people but also to landscapes. The moon looks pretty good at Blue Hour. 🙂 I think in the coming year I’ll try to practice more Blue Hour photography, just for fun.

This Super Moon has provided days of fun!

11/14/16
super moon

Super Moon over Three Days

Super Moon over Three Days and Best Laid Plans

Super moon this November has been spectacular, even in the afternoon hours. Saturday I photographed the moonrise over the Sandias, partly because it was so beautiful, and partly because I wanted to prepare for photographing tonight (Sunday, November 13). I’m really glad I have the images from Saturday. You have seen the animated gif already, and this is a black and white of the moon on Saturday night.

super moon

Moonrise, November 12, 2016

Late Sunday afternoon I set up my tripod, and got the camera set in such a way that I would be able to make final adjustments quickly when the moon rose. From where I live in Albuquerque, moonrise is never at the time the Tables say, because the moon has to clear the Sandia Mountains and not the horizon before becoming visible. I knew a lot of light would not be left by the time the moon actually appeared, but I had hoped for some. However, I was more disappointed than surprised when it was dark.

I was even more surprised by where the moon finally appeared. I was expecting relatively close to where you see it in the image above. That is not where it rose!!! Rather, it rose to the left of that tree, in between the tree and a neighbor’s swamp cooler. This was a learning experience. I moved the tripod and adjusted the camera settings. Because I had so much fun making an animated gif yesterday, I took a series for another gif. Then I made images specifically for the close-to-full (99.6%) moon.

super moon

Super Moon November 13, 2016

super moon

November 2016 Super Moon

Because this moon was to be its largest near dawn of Monday, November 14, I got up to see what was visible. It was still dark. At 6:11 am MST I was able to get this clear shot. Note the slightly orange color as the moon is closer to the horizon.

Super Moon

Super Moon 6:11 am MST

I have been reminded with this moon how quickly the light changes at sunset and sunrise. I’ve known that, but was definitely reminded! The images in this gif were made between 6:19 and 6:26 am, MST. There was no way to avoid seeing the moon through neighborhood trees from my home. It was still fun to make a gif.

super moon

Super Moon Moon Set

I hope you have enjoyed three days of the November 2016 Super Moon as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you.

11/12/16

Prelude to a Full Super Moon

Prelude to a Full Super Moon

Prelude to a full super moon – what does that mean, anyway? Shortly after 6:00 am on November 14, the “largest” moon between now and 2034 will officially be “full.” The largest this moon will appear at moonrise will be tomorrow, November 13. Some of us who have photographed various moon phenomena find ourselves a little bored with just a bright full moon against a dark sky. Moonrise tommorrow will happen in light. It will be dusk, but not dark. For photographers, that presents an exciting challenge. Today I decided to practice with a series. All the camera settings are the same in this series. The images were photographed from 4:39 pm to 5:00 pm MST. Notice the changing light on the Sandia Mountains. A couple of frames have birds flying through; I left them. I hope you enjoy this “night before the night before the morning of…” in gif format. It loads slowly, and then repeats at normal speed.

super moon

Prelude to a Full Super Moon

You can use this link to find moonrise times for your location.

11/11/16
November Moon

November Moon

November Moon – The Largest Super Moon of 2016

November Moon – so many thoughts come to mind. I was aware the year’s largest Super Moon will be full on November 14, but will rise the largest on November 13. Yesterday, November 10, driving home around 3:00 or 4:00, I noticed the moon was well above the Sandia Mountains, and still appeared HUGE in the daylight. I did not get a photograph yesterday, but friend Tim Price posted a fabulous shot on his blog.

Today I made a point of being home in the late afternoon. I wanted to try to photograph the moon in daylight over the mountains and fall foliage. Have I ever said how much I love New Mexico?

November Moon

November Moon Over Sandia Mountains, Prelude to Super Moon Full Moon

10/28/16
moon and jupiter

Moon and Jupiter

Moon and Jupiter: What a Beautiful Pre-Dawn Sky!

Moon and Jupiter are among the brightest objects we see in the night sky. The rising sun, with its brightness, washes them out. Just before sunrise on October 28, 2016, they appeared close together.

moon and jupiter

Moon and Jupiter Just Before Sunrise

The skies here in Albuquerque have been clear at sunrise recently, and I have missed the colors. Today, at first, though, I was a little disappointed to see the moon and stars somewhat obscured by light clouds. As the sun began to rise, however, I was delighted to see the reds, oranges, and blues develop above the silhouetted Sandia Mountains.

I have much clearer images of the alignment of Venus, Jupiter, and Mars from several months ago than of today’s phenomenon. But for sheer beauty, at least to my eye, I’ll take today’s pre-dawn Albuquerque sky.