My New Jersey Big Year celebrates the Winter Solstice!
The stir created by my lunar eclipse photos landed me on the Freshly Pressed page and I have been remiss in thanking WordPress. I want to correct that oversight today – Thank You! For those who missed it, here’s an image of the Freshly Pressed page shortly after my photos went global – at one point I was receiving almost 3000 hits per day, a thrilling experience for me.
Through this experience I was introduced to several bloggers, literally from around the world, and re-established links with others who have stuck with me through my erstwhile blogging attempts. Over the last few days I have been re-designing my blog and (slowly) putting links to the blogs I now read on a daily basis, even if I don’t always leave a quick comment – and I’m working on that part too! I hope you find them as interesting and enjoyable to read as I do:
Danudin’s 2011 Challenge – Ron is always quick with a comment or a joke, in true Aussie style, and maintains a cool photo challenge website.
This Moment Exactly – My first attempts at photo blogging led me to Julie, who was one of the administrators of the 2009 challenge. Like me, she has move away from the photo challenge format and has created this new blog.
A Slice of Life 2011 – Photo blogger extrodinare, Tammy is into her third year of photo blogging and never fails to delight and surprise!
Recycled Photons – Steve is a fellow New Jersey resident, birder, and photographer (and friend) who maintains this great blog.
Somewhere in NJ – Through Steve, I met Laura and discovered that she’s also a photographer, birder, and another great New Jersey blogger.
The Slowvelder – Jackie is a South African and blogger I met during the response to my lunar photos. She blogs about her adventures of moving back home, from Europe, to start a new “slow life” in rural South Africa. Since I plan to visit South Africa in March, Jackie has been wonderful about answering all my questions, large and small, about her incredible homeland.
2Summers – I’ve just started reading this blog, which I found through a link on Jackie’s blog, and I really like it. Another South Africa blog, 2Summers is the “adventures of an American suburbanite in quirky Johannesburg“. Give it a try!
I plan to add other blogs as time permits – of course, if it keeps snowing here in New Jersey I may have more time for blogging than any of my other pursuits. Thank you for stopping by!
The title says it all. The response to my lunar eclipse photos took me by surprise, with thousands of hits and hundreds of comments and questions. I am still reading my way through and, to be sure, I appreciate each and every one of them. In my haste, I have accepted and posted many of the responses but I promise that I am reading my way through and will answer questions as quickly as time (and holiday commitments) allows!
Unfortuantely, I did give an inaccurate response to some questions, mostly because my camera equipment is new (well, new to me) and I didn’t take time to confirm my answers. So, for everyone who asked for technical data behind the shots, here goes.
I took the lunar eclipse photos with a Canon Rebel Xsi and Canon 100-400 mm lens. I had the camera mounted on a tripod, equipped with a cable release, set to ISO 1600, the lens f-stop at f/5.6, and exposed the images for about 1.3 seconds (with lots of bracketing). Focusing was an enormous challenge, as the moon was very dark and about the size of a pencil eraser in my camera’s viewfinder. So I used an old trick, learned during my amateur astronomer days, of glancing through the corner of my eye (to get the brightest view) and looking for sharpness between the brighter and darker areas. A few shots came out great; many did not. But, overall, I am very happy with the results and enourmously happy that I had fought against my first instinct to shut my alarm and pull the blankets back over my head.
A couple bloggers have asked to use my image for posting on their blogs and you can see them here and here. Thank you both for taking the time to send a request and the patience in waiting for my response. For others, if you linked to my blog page, please let me know and I’ll check out your blog. And if you want to use the image on your blog, please send me a request describing your idea and we’ll talk it through.
Responses to the photos have come from across the USA and around the world, from people who saw the eclipse, who were clouded out, or who were located on the daytime side of the planet at the time of the event. It is thrilling to read responses, knowing that so many of you live in places that I could only hope to visit some day. I do have the great fortune of traveling to South Africa soon, so one blogger’s comments caught my eye. Slowvelder, I promise that I’ll drop by your game reserve if I am anywhere near Hoedspruit during my trip.
Once again, to all my “old” and “new” blogging friends, thank you! This has been an incredible experience for me, one that I won’t soon (or ever) forget.
As promised, here is a photo taken mid-eclipse, or about 3:15 AM eastern standard time (USA). The moon had a very nice, orange-red glow.
Another photo taken about 25 minutes later, as the Moon approached the edge of Earth’s shadow.
A full moon on the winter solstice is interesting enough, but to have a lunar eclipse on the same night hasn’t occurred in almost 450 years. I took this photo just hours before the eclipse and hope to add a photo of that event later tonight.