Friday, December 12, 2008

The Long Nights Moon





A silver beam of light shines from high up above,
brightening up the dark night
as the long nights moon, big bright and gray
waits and waits patiently
for the long night to turn to day

---------------------------------------

Did you see the moon today? It was the biggest and brightest that it has been all year. Some Native American tribes call it the Long Nights Moon, because it falls on the longest, darkest and coldest night of the year. This years Long Nights Moon though was extra special, because not only was the moon today the closest it has been to the earth all year round, but also the closest it has been to the earth in fifteen years. It wont be this close to the earth again for another eight years.

It was 4oF (-16 oC) when I stepped outside the apartment. So I layered up in two sweaters, a thick jacket, a warm hat, thick gloves, two pairs of socks inside my shoes. And then waddled awkwardly with a tripod tucked under my arm, and clumsily proceeded on to take these photos. LOL. Any mention of the poor quality of the photos, and I'll have to ask you to demonstrate to me the fine art of taking photos in the cold with heavy mittens on.

~vagabond~ © 2008
This post is a Skywatch post, to learn more click on the photo below:

35 comments:

Cuckoo said...

Oh my oh my !!!
Such lovely photographs. Whoever says they are bad, send him to me. :P

2 socks & heavy gloves? I see myself in you.
My pick is no. 1 & 2. I am stealing the 2nd one. :P

~vagabond~ said...

^ Haha! I just returned from visiting your website to see that you had been stalking mine. LOL.

Glad you like them. Dont worry, dono milke pitai karege. I will invite you. :P

Yes, you may help yourself to the second one. Thanks for asking...erm..letting me know :P

alok said...

woWW!!! lovely pictures. I liked all of them but 3rd one is something more to offer as a picture – the dark blue sky in the background, the tree and the bright full moon …. great combination. Hey, coincidently “Moon” is my one of favorite when it comes to click pictures :).

BTW, why you are worrying about the quality of the pictures these days?

Blu said...

Fantastic, pictures, conditions here were not good for photographs like yours.

navin said...

Very nice shot. I have yet to take a decent picture of moon

Ana said...

Great shots! Looking forward to next swf;)

The Wandering Hermit said...

Love the second photograph here.. very cool..

R and J said...

You had the patience I never would have. And here is the result which is attractive!

bindu said...

Great pictures. That was quite a determined photographer out there in all those layers!

~vagabond~ said...

@ Alok:

Thanks :)...glad to hear which one you like best, I think you mean the 4th one not the 3rd (the 3rd doesnt have blue sky in it).

I love seeing photos of the moon but hate taking moon shots myself...it requires patience which I lack. :P

LOL. I was only kidding in my last paragraph about quality. In as much as I thought my last series of photos stunk, I'd keep posting nonetheless. This photoblog has never been about taking the best photo. It's been about capturing moments.

~vagabond~ said...

@Blu: Thanks :) ...the weather here too looked cloudy all day, and then cleared up nicely just in time for the moon.

~vagabond~ said...

@Navin:
Thanks :)...am sure you'll take a fantastic photo of the moon one of these nights.

alok said...

oops! that was the 4th one :D

~vagabond~ said...

@Ana: Thanks!...and welcome to my blog :)

@The Wandering Hermit: I like your username...thanks...and welcome to my blog :)

~vagabond~ said...

@ R and J:

Thanks! Patience is not my strongest virtue either...I was just a tiny bit more patient on this night than I would be most days. Mostly because it looked so beautiful, it would be a pity to not try to take a photo.

Welcome to my blog :)

~vagabond~ said...

@Bindu:
Thanks! When they said cold, I decided to test out just how cold cold can get. LOL. The moon looked too beautiful to not give it a try.

Dust Unsettled said...

Lovely pics... I saw the moon on 12th... There was something to it... I didn't know the reason, till I read your post...

Vamsee said...

These are absolutely beautiful shots.
I was in the Bhimashankar jungle this weekend and took a picture of the moon too. I need to look and see how it came out....but I am sure it wont be nearly as beautiful as these.

BTW, a tip for taking pictures with mittens - Use a timer (with a tripod of course).

Trevor Penn said...

Don't kill me for this comment. I'm sharing my thoughts only because you said it helps you improve. :-)

First, i love the second shot. Fantastic cloud effect achieved w/ a long exposure.

Now some tips. Having shot 100x (or more) moon shots, here's what i have gathered. I am by no means an expert but nonetheless...

You can achieve much better crater definition when shooting partial moon phases.

Although you nailed the exposure in the first shot, i would have opted for a faster shutter speed and higher iso. Long exposure noise is generally a result of the sensor heating up. The freezing cold actually is the best time for long exposures.

If i were in your place, i'd venture out again and try shooting some star trails. Too bad that i didnt know how to do it when i had the opportunity. Now, where i live, there's just too much urban light pollution, smog and the weather is always warm if not HOT.

Explore new things you can do with the camera... :-)

Oh, btw, if you're using a tripod, i hope you're using a mirror lockup too... :-)

~vagabond~ said...

@Dust Unsettled:

Glad to see you back! Wasnt it quite the moon?

~vagabond~ said...

@Vamsee:

Oh, if your san francisco shot is anything to go by, I am sure your moon shots will just be amazing...even more beautiful than what I have up here. Looking forward to seeing them! :)

LOL. I just knew someone was going to mention the timer. I did infact fiddle around with the timer for the first few photos. And then gave up. I am sure there is a better way to do this (and do share if you know how), but I had to keep resetting the timer on my camera after every shot I took. And selecting the timer option after every click when its located on a tiny button when you're wearing thick mittens just wore my patience thin. I did say patience is not my strongest virtue. Now you see what I mean? ;)

~vagabond~ said...

@ Trevor:

I should probably kill you for daring to criticize photos that I grew icicles on my nose to take. LOL. j/k. I've said this before and I repeat...I do not consider myself a good photographer by any means. I know very, very little on the technical aspects of taking a good photo. I simply stumbled upon photography as a hobby a few months ago and take photos to capture moments. Yes, I want the photos to look good, but even if they didnt I'd still display the crappy photos here on my blog for what they mean to me...the memory that they carry. But having said that, I do appreciate your comments and do like to learn from people with more experience than I have with photography, so feel free to share your expertise..I may not always understand what you are talking about but I will try to follow and ask questions when I'm lost.

Will experiment with partial moon phases to see what you mean about better crater definition once I get a chance.

I was simply experimenting with the various exposures and shutter speeds, going by instinct and what looked good on screen...will try out what you mentioned.

Did not know what star trails were so I googled it up...sounds interesting and want to try that out...but unfortunately, I too live in an urban setting so dont know how well it would work...but I definitely plan on trying that out when I travel to a more remote setting.

I did not know about the mirror lockup option. I use a Nikon D50...dont know if it has a mirror lockup feature, but will look it up.

Thanks for all your tips..they were quite helpful :)

Rahi said...

i too heard about it in the TV that day. Tried to catch the difference between the moon shapes from other nights. but cudn't find any.

actually rarely does one get the chance to look at moon these days.

when we were kids, we would spend hours looking at the moon. and then there was the competition to track as many stars breaking as one can.

Vishius said...

You sure have an eye for nature's wallpapers..

~vagabond~ said...

@Rahi:
I know just what you mean. When I was a kid, I used to sit out on the balcony every night to watch the stars come out (it did help that I grew up in Africa where the skies are dark and the breeze is cool not cold). And now it does seem as though my life here is too busy to just spend time looking at the moon.

~vagabond~ said...

@Vishius:
Thanks for such a nice compliment...and welcome to my blog! :)

ashes said...

I think I'll have to stop complimenting your photos. All posts have amazing photos, I shall take that for granted :). From now on, I'll do the opposite--I'll let you know when I don't like some pics.

Second and third ones are my favourites. Can I ask how did you click them? I mean, the clouds that seem in motion. I don't think that is a very large exposure time because then the moon itself would have moved, which is not apparent on the pic.

~vagabond~ said...

Ashes, thanks your lovely compliment. Glad to hear which photos you liked best. As for how I clicked them, I got really lucky, that's how. It was a really windy day and it had been cloudy all day so the clouds were already in quite a lot of motion when I was taking the photos. Quite a number of times I lost the moon behind the clouds. Well anyway, I had been experimenting with the exposure (i just kept playing around with it, extending and shortening it depending on how the pic looked on screen) and 13sec is what it was at when I captured those two photos.

abhijit said...

1st and the 3rd ...wow! :-)

~vagabond~ said...

^ Glad you like them :)

trisha said...

Vee, the pictures are LOVELY! very poetic, thanks for sharing moonbeams

trisha said...

@Vishius, u made me smile and laugh too - happly I mean, "nature's wallpapers" indeed. Lovely, great expression!
yeah, she sure does!

~vagabond~ said...

^Thanks Trisha! :)

Photographer Pappu!!! said...

I liked the second one and last one... Very well clicked..

~vagabond~ said...

^Thanks, photographer pappu :)