Showing posts with label moon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label moon. Show all posts

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hunter's and blood moon

Yes, I am fascinated by the sky and especially of full moons. I cannot explain the why of my interest-- or really that of much of mankind. This one though, the Hunter's Moon, is always one I especially like to have in my photo gallery. 

It so happened that the 1867 manuscript I am writing came at the same time of the year. Using Google I did a search as to when the full moon fell that October. It was perfect to give my couple a Hunter's Moon-- which suited the challenges in their story. 

There is some mythology involved with the Hunter's Moon. I am not sure I take that kind of thing much to heart. Sometimes with any full moon I sleep less well but this one hasn't impacted me that way.

What I am thinking of doing is (assuming the sky is clear and I have time) taking photos of the moon through its stages. A crescent moon is pretty cool looking also.

Because we had an eclipse with this full moon, we took more than the usual number of photos but had less turn out thanks to the mistiness in our Oregon air.

Despite that challenge , Farm Boss got a good photo of Orion (above). One thing that he learned is that a time release in the early morning doesn't work as moon and stars are moving too much.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

From the Sky

Although we've had a busy summer, the sky has provided some of the most dramatic shows. There was the blue moon of late August, called blue moon not by the second full moon in one calendar month but based on astronomer's designation:
The last Blue Moon that we'll see until 2015 is up in the sky until Wednesday morning. It's not really blue. The phrase "blue moon" for many people commonly refers to a rare second full moon in a month, although the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, while noting disagreement among the public, describes it as, " ... the third full moon to in an astronomical season in which four full moons fall." This kind of moon appears only once every three years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
So call it what you will-- blue corn moon works for me-- it was spectacular.

And then to finish off August with a sky show, we got one of those spectacular sunsets which is fairly rare in our part of the Pacific Northwest.  This sunset kept revealing new dimensions. As we looked across our farm to the west.

The explanations for why we get a gorgeous sunset once in a 'blue moon' are many, but it doesn't seem obvious to me other than the right amount of smoke or dust in the air as well as interesting layers of clouds to reflect the colors. That air quality has played havoc with my sinuses in August but gotta say it was beautiful when the sun got hold of it.

 Sometimes we just have to remember to look up! 

Monday, May 07, 2012

May full moon-- flower moon or corn planting moon

May 5th was what some call the super full moon for 2012 because the moon is closest to the earth for this year. It was naturally something we could not miss the opportunity to photograph from our Tucson home-- both in the evening as it rose and again in the morning as it set. Absolutely gorgeous.

 I wanted one with the moon, cactus and ironwood. I think you'll have to enlarge it though to see them all.

Due to haze in the air, the moon was as yellow as it appears and near the horizon, just as large.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chasing the Light

When we took a late vacation, late because we hadn't, for assorted reasons, been able to work in time away earlier, we headed for Montana for one of my favorite kinds of trips-- go wherever the mood strikes with no reservations or firm plans.

For me, I especially wanted a break from months of writing (although I took my computer and had wireless a lot of places), some time in the high country, and photography. I left oil paints and canvases at home based purely on it being impractical to deal with drying oils on this kind of vagabonding trip.

Fishing was on Farm Boss's agenda. I wanted time alongside rivers, trails into the mountains, time in the wilderness, and hoped for some sunshine. We ended up driving a lot and basically getting exceedingly lucky on the light which is something one cannot plan but simply has to be recognize when it's seen.

It was the week of the Hunter Moon, October's full moon. So I had full moon photos in Montana as one goal. Early one morning, not long after first light, we were driving south out of Dillon, where we had taken some good nighttime photos of the rising full moon, and there was that moon. I wanted photos of it with Montana's hills. I think those are the Tendoy Mountains that the moon is sinking toward.

What I had not fully assimilated is how important autumn is to wonderful photographs which are always created by good lighting. You can have the most beautiful scenery in the world and when the lighting is so-so, you are as well off to read a good book as the photos will end up snapshots and none will be the one you recognize as that "ah-ha" moment.

Who knew, well maybe all serious photographers but I didn't, that autumn provides the ingredients for some of the most spectacular possible photos. It is a combination of the low level of the sun at my latitude as well as the potential for clouds coming along to shift the lighting. Then I think when you are at a high elevation (2000-7000 feet is good) the air has a clarity that especially benefits nature photos.

Last year when I was in Yellowstone at this time, I got wonderful photos but hadn't really put it altogether yet-- high elevation, low level light, interesting shifting clouds, autumn colors and "voila" one beautiful shot after another. Some is luck and some is seeing what is coming and waiting for it. Only a tiny bit is working with Photoshop later. I put some of my favorites into a Picasa slideshow.

A shot like the one at the beginning of this blog requires waiting and watching for the moment when the light changes and turns what was ordinary into something almost magical. In that case, I wanted that moon to be near the horizon line to enlarge its importance. I also wanted the clouds to send across light bands onto the earth below. A lucky bonus was snow on the highest hills.  Zen or 'money shot' photos are always about light.

This full moon was the Hunter's Moon and I have photos from three different locations where it showed up exceptionally well. The first was Dillon, Montana, then the next morning heading south into Idaho (above photo). That one required parking the truck alongside the road, poking my head out the window and taking shot after shot to gain a few that I felt were exceptional. I later took a morning moon shot at Baker City,  as we were going into the Interpretive Center for the Oregon Trail. The moon with the sage brush was pure serendipity.

On this trip, we had had serendipitous moments when we happened to be in Missoula when the art museum was having a special show of Ansel Adams photos. Spending time with his photos, the wonderful way he used dark and light, often enhanced in darkrooms, all is good tutoring for taking good photos. I don't have the patience to spend hours or days for a photo but I do recognize the potential for one now when I see it and with the quality of digital cameras today, anybody can take some pretty impressive shots.

One more tip for someone seriously interested in taking the best photos, well besides learning to use shutter speed and f-stop, is having a polarizing lens. I cannot count the years that Farm Boss tried to tell me that while I resisted thinking it'd just get in my way or I'd forget to use it and ruin what could have been a nice shot without it. I am not one of those naturals where it comes to all of this nor am I first up to bat with new ideas. Eventually I did learn to use it and now cannot imagine taking nature photos without one. It gives light options and as you twist it around to get the photo you want, it adds the artistic dimension that a simple snapshot generally won't offer.

Seeing the full moon over Baker City was another of the trip's lucky moments, but I decided to play with the original image in photo-shop to bring it to more what it felt like than what I actually saw, more like a painting can do. Photo-shop can take what is a real image and give it a surreal cast by for instance turning a moon blue.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Harvest Moon

We don't try to photograph every full moon. I must admit some I barely notice other than to find it's quite bright at night if it's necessary to look out toward the barns and determine if a sheep is in trouble or just whining. Sometimes when I can't sleep well, I'll think is it a full moon and it will be. I do usually notice and particularly like three full moons, one of which is this one-- the Harvest Moon.

We went out with the tripod and telephoto and got some shots early on that showed the detail quite well. There was a lot of dust and some smoke in the air from the dryness and forest fires in the Cascades. It gave the moon a delicious yellow color which by playing around with settings we were able to capture with the camera requiring no color adjustment through editing.

It is one of those little pleasure in life to go out at night when the moon is rising just over the tops of the trees, when it's quiet with only the sound of crickets and sometimes a frog down by the creek or a disturbed deer that bounds out of the brush. I can watch the moon from the house windows, but it's not the same as being out there. Right now our nights aren't cool enough to require even a sweater at night. It's changing fast though.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crow moon

Because we had gotten a pretty nice set of full moon photos Friday night, because it was sooooo cold outside, I decided it'd be silly to go outside again just because the moon was 'actually' full. How much difference could there be in the photos, right? We settled down to watch a video although I kept one eye on the moon as it came up through the firs.

On an impulse, since I've been doing that sketch a day thing, and because I had told Parapluie that it didn't make much sense to draw this particular moon because anybody could make a moon bigger anytime, I got out my ink pens (by now it's Sharpie fine and medium) and began to draw it as it came up through the firs.

Watching it rise like that was a mistake. When I saw it in all its awesomeness (favorite Jack Black word from the kid movie, Kung Fun Panda which we weren't watching mainly because we loaned it to our grandsons), I knew we (note the we part) had to go out again.

We had left the camera on the tripod. Farm Boss took a series of photos of which I liked three best. If you enlarge the first and last ones, you can see the craters. We were by then using the largest telephoto.

The sky was very clear last night with a few clouds drifting around but the stars and moon were sharp. Every time I am out in the night like that, when I actually can see so many stars, so clear and sharp, I think I should learn their names. I never have but it's not too late. When Farm Boss and I were first dating, we'd go out to a big farm where he worked and we'd lie in the grass and look up at the stars and he knew some of their names, the constellations. I was impressed. He still knows them and I still don't.

I only know a couple of the planets when I see them and regularly determine that I will change that and learn the names of at least the closest stars to us and which stars make up which constellations. I've bought several books with that intention in mind. Except you know the sky moves around... Actually we do but anyway the end result complicates it as I can't just learn one sky pattern. I have to learn it for different seasons. Right then and there it gets into the too much information category.

If we got a hot tub again maybe I would spend more time learning which one is which as this time we want to get it to be out in the open, not under the oak trees. (that was such a mistake when the raindrops fell off the limbs right onto us, not like a gentle rain at all but like a plop plop plop and there's way too much rain in the Pacific Northwest to not take that into account in positioning a hot tub).

Back to the subject, this is the moon the Farmer's Almanac calls the Worm moon because the worms are beginning to come up and make tracks on the ground. Also known as the Lenten moon to Christians. Or the Sap moon to those who tap maple trees for syrup. But I prefer one of the names the Native Americans used-- the Crow Moon when the cawing of the crows signaled the end of winter.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

a perigree full moon

Saturday is what is called by astronomers a perigree full moon. Since the moon is on an elliptical orbit around the earth, this is the closest part of that ellipsis. If you get a chance to see it, take it as they say we won't see the moon this large for nearly 20 years. Friday night, we had to wait until it was up in the sky a bit to get these photos of it almost full. We'll try again Saturday night.

Other than beauty, the perigree moon doesn't mean much to astronomers for having any 'weight'. The tides are impacted just a bit but it has absolutely nothing to do with things like earthquakes.

Now astrologers, well they have other opinions on it and feel this full moon is a particlarly powerful time for putting intentions to what we want in our life. Who knows. I only know it's very pretty to see it out there and makes for quite bright nights even with the heavy cloud cover we in the Pacific Northwest have been having.

Usually with a full moon though the clouds break away and that was what happened this time but for brief moments as the clouds raced on by.

Then comes Sunday and the spring equinox. Which means yes, spring is here and about time. Even if it's still cold and windy, raining so much that the earth is more than saturated or even snowing, we know we are midway between winter and summer and the days are getting longer and longer.

The rainbow was from our home looking across our creek down the valley toward the nearby river. It is also a promise of better weather to come... or so they say. Not sure about the pot of gold though...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Using Energy

Up until here, the blogs on energy have been pretty non-controversial. Most of us know we are made up of atoms, molecules and energy. It's not hard to see how our feeling of energy can be increased by positive activities or reduced when faced with negative situations. The idea that we can find ourselves distracted and pulled off course, none of that delves into the realm where many grow suspicious.

But the idea that we can use energy in positive ways to help our health, arrange our home, our garden, that eastern religious ideas on energy healing have merit, that we can impact our cells by more than medicine or surgeries, that's where it gets dicier. It is not natural to our culture to think that way.

Many in this society can accept miracles from a god, but the idea that they might have control over their own inner body, help themselves heal, use techniques from the East, that's suspect because they aren't things that can be laid out in a grid to prove (of course, neither are miracles)-- although there are grids attached to them all, but mostly not from religions with which most in the United States are comfortable.

People who follow 'earth religions' have less problems with all of this. They look at nature, see how it operates, and look at how they can utilize that with their rituals and practices. While the name feng shui might make some uneasy, the layout of their home might just seem more right to them without pinning a name on it or knowing why it feels right.

Earth religions and practices are being done and often just by nature, with no special training. People, on their own, come to see this works and utilize the practices. They can be people who do not believe in any god but do believe we can do things to make our lives better without pills or buying something.

Energy warriors have been around a long while. They have trained others. They have used their energy techniques in ways that benefit more than themselves. Maybe it's more suspect today but probably not as there have always been those who saw anything that didn't point to 'their' god as coming from evil. Today the suspicion comes also from atheists who see the earth as very ordered but in a biological way. If they can't count and measure it, it is not there.

So what I am saying here will be dismissed by both those groups. For anybody else, read on as there are many ways of using energy that can help with healing and improve our lives. Some are little things that don't require much thinking to incorporate. Others take training and time to utilize. I can't more than touch on this in a blog.

Now when sick, I do not espouse doing such things instead of visiting a western trained medical doctor. I think energy thinking is most effective before we get sick. It is for keeping us in balance. In my mid-50s, when I was told I would need a hysterectomy, I got a second opinion from a medical doctor, but also visited an acupuncturist for enhancing my energy for healing.

The acupuncturist told me he could shrink my fibroids. I believed my situation had gone too far. There was uncertainty of whether or not it might be cancer. So I went through with the surgery from which I healed remarkably fast which may or may not have been due to the acupuncture. It wasn't hurt by it. I might have hurt myself though if I had relied totally on the acupuncture. What I believe is let what can be treated by western medicine be treated that way, but there are many things western medicine doesn't help and there is where eastern comes in.

What energy medicine is doing is aligning our energy, increasing our chi, looking for where our energy is dark and working to strengthen those areas. Sometimes you can feel that energy if you are sensitive to it.

These techniques can be visualizing but mostly because visualizing is a form of meditation which has been proven to help certain conditions. Our stress and even health can also be helped by breathing exercises or simply breathing in and out with deep even breaths. It is all about seeing ourselves as energy beings because we know of what we are actually made.

Some believe we can put protective energy bubbles around ourselves, our families, but I don't know of anybody who thinks that always works. Life is full of the unpredictable. We do what we can and we accept what we can't change.

Reiki is about lining up the energy and letting that of the universe flow through us. This is none of it about a god. It is also not about living on as souls when life is done. This is all about improving the physical life while here. Who can prove what comes after.

Sometimes this comes naturally as there are those that from childhood have visions, can help others heal, and they don't require training. Many actually had it trained out of them by a culture that is suspicious of it.

This also isn't about paying a guru or psychic but rather what we can do for ourselves when we choose to do so. That's not our American way though as we want to see it about something we can buy or get someone else to do for us. Energy medicine is not like that.

This photo was the second time I was somewhere that had a camera which supposedly photographs the energy around us, the aura. Some would call it an energy halo. Each person has that and it has a certain type of energy attached to it. Some people actually see the colors in the halos. I see halos when I think about it (trees have them also) but not colors. Artists often used to paint saints with such halos but in reality we all have them.

Having my aura photographed was one of those things I felt would be fun. It turned out a bit disappointing as I wanted to think I had a very spiritual aura and a bright orangish red wasn't what I had in mind. Farm Boss had the colors I would have liked. *sigh*

Now the cameras that do this don't really photograph the aura anymore than our space cameras photograph colors of the nebula. In the case of the auras, the energy is identified through you putting your finger on a button which then lets a specially made camera identify which color and now far out the aura goes. The aura will be what is out there for energy but the color is created for our purposes based on its energy being different than someone else's. I do not know anything about using such cameras for diagnosing a disease. This camera is about emotional energy as best I understood it.

Tell me the process is a fake and I won't care because I know that what that aura color said about my personality is pretty much how I am (yes, I got some books later on it all)-- like it or not like it.

By those who also see auras or feel energy, I have been told I do have an energy that goes out quite a ways. All of us have some out there as the molecules, atoms and the energy holding it altogether don't stop at our fingertips. I think it explains why when someone gets too close, without our permission, we physically feel our space has been invaded. It will explain why with some people our energy will seem to melt into theirs. Hugs really do share energy.

Having my aura photographed didn't increase my energy. It was for fun and the second time out of curiosity when I wondered if it would have changed. It hadn't and neither had Farm Boss's even though they were done a couple of years apart and not at the same place or by the same people.

For those who are interested in using energy for healing, for balancing, for planning vacations even, or simply for pleasure, there are lots of books. I have quite a few on Native American sacred places which seem to lie along lines radiating out from the great Medicine Wheel in Wyoming and those ley lines I mentioned in an earlier blog.

There are books that explain chi and how various exercises can enhance it-- and this whether you believe in a god or you don't. You can also learn how chi is lined up in the body, how it can be strengthened. These are not mystical ideas despite how some might want to see them. They are about what we can do to work with those atoms within us. The benefits of the right kinds of music have been proven to be effective-- again that might be different for different people.

I think mankind has little idea how much potential is within each of us. We are slowly learning. Is this all something in our DNA patterns, the things we inherited from the time we were conceived?

I am not one of those people who has gone a long way down these paths. Using energy isn't something that we can learn just from a book. It's what we practice ourselves. I do something for awhile and then let myself be distracted. As I have said, I don't believe it can protect us from everything but it does help. Some of it is just letting ourselves feel what is out there in life, in nature. It's not mystical at all.

A full moon, one of those times some believe is a good idea to harvest, was Friday February 18th-- the wolf moon. The photo was taken the next morning as it was about ready to set. It was golden in color and very beautiful.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Autumn full moon in Yellowstone Park

When it comes to the moon, I am very lunar. I feel the moons and I love them all. Is there anything prettier than a crescent moon with Venus as an accent? The right setting can make any of them exceptional, but for me I especially like it when a full moon falls at an equinox or Solstice.

When we knew we'd be in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone for the autumn equinox and a full moon, I knew where I'd want a photo. It would be above Slough Creek where I might also hear a wolf howl. How perfect would that be?

Just before first light, as we drove down through the Lamar Valley, from where we had camped the night before, we saw the buffalo in the dark. They were right alongside the road and it made a photo quite simple if not exactly state of the art. You have to be there to hear their grunting, the bulls butting heads, the calves calling to their mothers. Sound is so much a part of a buffalo herd that I should have brought the little video camera and might have if I had ever learned how to operate it properly. As it is, one camera is enough for me to figure out.

When we got down to where I had hoped for the best full moon shot, we walked out on a ridge overlooking the creek. There were wolves on the other side, a few hundred feet away. They were the main attractant for most of those on a higher ridge with their cameras at the ready. I was as thrilled by the wolf pack as they were; but at the moment, for me, it was all about that full moon and hopefully reflections in the water. I didn't have any control over the water being so still but I knew it would be what would make the shot.

I kept on with the moon shots, changing my angle, moving to where I could see the moon reflected best. How could any full moon photo in Yellowstone not be great! Add that it was also at the fall equinox, a time when the park would soon be closed to most tourists at least for awhile, where a seasonal change was coming for the animals, and it made it perfect.

Blogger's new system for putting photos on here is driving me nuts. Basically I can no longer use Mozilla to put up any photos even though I prefer writing the blogs using Mozilla. I hope they get it fixed as even using Explorer, it's not working right and makes blogs like these a lot more work than they used to be!

Monday, February 01, 2010


Either February 1st or 2nd (calendars vary as to which one), is the Pagan festival of Imbolc, one of four such divisions of the year. It is the beginning of the end of winter. We emerge from the darkest days and acknowledge that the tide has turned. We can see each day it is growing brighter and brighter, longer and longer. Not surprisingly this is a day to be celebrated with fire.

Right before Imbolc was the brightest full moon of the year which can be called the Wolf Moon. It is one of those that I feel has to be photographed, but it also happened to come when the Pacific Northwest was being particularly cloudy and rainy. Full moons have a way of parting the clouds, if only for a few moments, and this one was no exception.

For agrarian peoples, which I count myself among, this is also the approach to lambing when the ewes come into milk. We can see this happening with our ewes whose bellies are slung low, and who are beginning to look swollen and ready to bring forth their own new life. This is a time of readiness, of nature waiting.
"A pure, new light sparks as we emerge from winter's dark sleep. The Power Gate of Aquarius opens, releasing the Air element and heralding returning light. We recharge our psychic batteries as the entire universe begins to quiver and pulse its cosmic rhythm." Ffiona Morgan from Mother Tongue Ink 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Tucson skies

Tucson skies

what more is there to say-- except

sunsets and

Gemini full moons

From Lynda Hill:

"Occurring on Wednesday 2nd December, the Gemini full Moon has the Sabian Symbol of Gemini 11: Newly Opened Lands Offer the Pioneer New Opportunities for Experience. This speaks of getting off the beaten track and trying something new, being prepared to strike out for new territory, finding new and better ways of living, the need to start a new, more vibrant life, heading for the Promised Lands, new time zones, foreign customs and languages and generally leaving one's comfort zone.

"The Cautions for this degree are: Clinging to the old and familiar when it is outworn and boring, restricting growth and change, not moving on, invading other's space, claiming what's rightfully someone else's, hanging on when it's time to let go, running off to avoid involvement or responsibilities."

All photos taken from our Tucson place.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What is spirituality?

Fairly regularly I read a blog about spiritual concepts (that doesn't like to use the word spiritual -- the premise being there is nothing truly spiritual). The writer's questioning whether the 'spiritual' exists, whether it's a word that we should use at all, has led me to think more about why I would call something spiritual instead of emotional.

One blog there was about a book where it said when someone else uses the word spiritual, as in they had a spiritual experience, the other might say I am glad you had a meaningful experience. This is done to not argue but insert a word that seems more accurate to that author where he didn't think there was a spiritual aspect to life.

Meaningful to me doesn't cut it as a synonym for spiritual but then that leads to the question: what makes something spiritual and why use the word at all?

A lot of what people call spiritual experiences could indeed be emotional ones, reactions to an idea, a set of words, a photograph, or painting. Religious ecstasy could be brought about by some spirit being outside of ourselves or a spirit realm within ourselves, but it also could be stimulated by the body and have no outside dimension at all.

What I mean when I use the word spiritual is something that cannot be explained by a physical reason. Logic is not part of the spiritual realm or if it is, we don't know how and can't measure or even define it the same way.

To me, when I move into the spiritual realm or say something was a spiritual experience, it's because logic cannot find a reason for it. It's why science cannot explain the spiritual feelings inside men-- even if they can stimulate a replica of some of them by poking a certain part of the brain.

I think this question of proving or disproving a spiritual realm within ourselves, the world, the Universe, or beyond matters most to believers-- whether atheists or religious. Agnostics don't care because they have already said they don't know and are quite satisfied to leave it at that. Believers must prove someone else is wrong as part of their own confidence that they are right.

These photos, from the my trip to the coast, can instill an emotional reaction which is easily explained. But the symbolism behind them of the ocean, the moon, the sun, those things are what often inspire people to think of concepts that go beyond what can be explained in a search to find meaning to life. This last one might look like a moon but it's the sun. That's what is often true of life-- what seems to be one thing can easily be another.

With the next blog I will describe what I considered to be a spiritual experience in my own life. I would love to hear from others who have had something they defined as spiritual-- something which cannot be explained by a logic.