Even though it was full almost two days ago the waning gibbous “Supermoon” (Wikipedia; NASA) was still 98% illuminated this morning. I used “The Photographers Ephemeris” to find the perfect location — as well as a backup site — to get this sequence of images. Good thing, too, since my prime location was gated and locked!
The first image shows the moon above Cathedral Rock (0554 MST) in Sedona, Arizona. It then slides down and to the right appearing again in the V-shaped notch (0604 MST) and then finally in the lowest portion of the gap (0611 MST). The sky was brightening rapidly so that in the final image the moon is almost overwhelmed by the sky.
Afterwards we hiked up the trail to the saddle in Cathedral Rock — where the moon had set less than an hour earlier.
I expect that this will be my last chance to photograph the Moon with Venus and Jupiter before they move away from each other. The two planets are drawing away from each other each day from their closest point on March 12 and 13.
Venus has been bright enough to be visible in the sky during the day IF you know where to look. That’s not easy. But today the crescent moon — which IS easy to see — was very close to Venus. So, find the Moon and find Venus. This image was taken mid afternoon on a beautiful early spring day in northern Arizona.
After sunset the triangle of Venus, Jupiter, and Mars put on quite a show over the reflective waters of the Kachina Wetlands near Flagstaff, Arizona. The ducks had just recently alighted on the waters for the evening and their trails through the water are easily visible.
And as the sky darkened the triplet shone even more brightly above the now quiet water.
Last week the planets Venus and Jupiter shone brightly in the western sky after sunset. This week, the new crescent moon joins the planets creating a triangle of brilliant objects in the sky.
Using star charts and other maps we determined that if we hiked a short distance along the Templeton Trail that the planetary and moon conjunction would be nicely positioned above Cathedral Rock in Sedona. As the sky darkened the celestial objects shone brightly but the lighting on the rocks was quickly fading. This image was the best combination of bright objects but with enough light to still see the details in the beautiful red rocks.
Later, as the planets and Moon set behind Cathedral Rock more stars appeared. To get some soft light on the tree I used a flash that was set to manual mode with the lowest light output and stood off to the side and fired the flash manually.
In a few weeks, Venus and Jupiter will be at their closest approach to each other. And it will be time for a another set of photographs.
North of Flagstaff, Arizona, on Highway 89 are some painted faces on stumps on the east side of the road. The only information I have found is contained in these two links:
“Arizona scenic drive: Flagstaff to Cameron”
“US-89 North: Flagstaff to Cameron”
[Edit: broken links]
While driving south to Flagstaff a few weeks ago I noticed that a nearly full moon had risen in the east. Since I would be approaching the painted faces in a few miles I thought that the combination of the faces and moon would make an interesting photograph.
Carefully stopping and pulling well off the road I studied the setup and possible composition. If I walked up close to the faces I could lean over the fence and use a wide-angle lens to capture the scene without the fence but the moon would be very small. Alternatively, I could use a telephoto lens and shoot from farther away and get a larger moon next to the faces but I would also get the fence in the image.
I decided that the telephoto was the better choice even if the image included the fence. This is, after all, how it looks to everyone driving by.
One of the advantages (and their aren’t many) of working shift work is that you get to see a lot of sunrises. While many marvel about beautiful sunsets, far fewer can say the same of the sunrise.
I wish I could say that I planned this photograph and was patiently waiting for the right moment. But, no, I wasn’t even paying attention to the sky. On impulse, I walked to the window and peered out to see if there were any clouds lit up by the not-yet-risen sun and was pleased to see the thin crescent moon so near the planet Venus. Luckily, the camera was nearby and I shot this image of the celestial pair with some trees in the foreground to add some detailed texture.