Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

I got to the beach - First Encounter - at around 4:15 a.m. The visible eclipse would begin at 4:41, but I wanted to set up the tripod and do a few test photos, like the above shot from the open parking lot area.

I quickly realized that more people would be arriving, so I opted for the quieter and darker area atop one of the dune paths, which offered a higher angle on the reflective surface of the bay, and put me in position to swivel once sunrise began at my back.

A few minutes before the eclipse began, an international flight of some variety passed by to the north, leaving a thin contrail that drifted toward the moon and turned it into an exclamation point just as the Earth's shadow reached the moon.

I used Paint to put together this somewhat primitive progression montage for the first (dark) half of the eclipse, since none of my other photo programs seem to support that sort of thing.

I think it turned out pretty cool, actually. I was excited to see that some of these photos revealed the turquoise color that I'd been surprised to read we might see in addition to the dull orange tones of the shadowed moon.

I'm not up on my atmospheric phenomena jargon yet, but that didn't make this glory, or flare, or halo, or whatever this particular effect is called, any less exciting when it appeared just after the start of the event.

What a great time to be at the beach. It was so quiet, except for the arrival of an occasional car to the parking lot, with only the sounds of the waking birds in the marsh behind me punctuating the silence.

I must visit at that hour again sometime.

At one point, just as the first glimmer of dawn began to define the eastern horizon, I heard a great flapping and saw the silhouette of some very large bird coming out of the marsh mists. It was headed for the tidal flats and flew directly over me in the dim light, probably an osprey or maybe an eagle.

What a fantastic show it was! The totality of the eclipse coincided with the time that the sun's rays began to turn low clouds to pink and the moon just seemed to fade away as the sun brightened the land around me.

Not a brilliant morning for sunrise photos, what with some heavy mist and fog to contend with, but I was very happy with the photos I captured of the eclipse. Hope you enjoy them, too!!

I need some sleep.

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