As most of you already know……I have a thing for moon/eagle shots. Don’t ask me why,I just do.
There are 12 times each year I can “try” to take them and inside each of those times there are three days that are the best. The three days leading up to the full moon. You can’t shoot on the day of the full moon. The sunsets as the moon rises snuffing out all that golden light! Plus the moon rising times vary. Tonights full moon rises at 9:41 pm while the sunsets a little under half a hour earlier at 9:14 pm. Making any shot a silhouette. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve seen some pretty nice shots of eagles silhouetted but I prefer the gold. I have a saying “I always hunt for the Gold”. Like the Olympics I always try for the Gold,silhouettes for me win the Silver.
You can count on cloudy weather screwing up at least 6 of them. Like tonight!
This leaves only 6 times you can go and roll the dice.
Each photographer has their own preferences of course. I prefer to capture eagles in golden light with the moon in it’s “time window”. The moon rises In the east and is always faint (leading up to the full moon). As the sunsets the moon will get brighter and brighter. Until it’s nighttime and the moon is at it’s brightest point. I’ve found the moon is too faint when It rises in the east and too bright after the sun goes down. I figure there’s about a 20-30 minute “time window” in there where the moons brightness/contrast is perfect! The Goldi-Loks period!
Of course If you do find the moon during this perfect time window there is a 50 – 50 chance you might not find a eagle? The trick is finding both at the same time.
The eagle has to be perched “perfectly”. I’ve found a eagle needs to be perched at the very top of a tree spire or in another place where there is nothing behind them.
This months moon is a Buck moon. Because of weather (clouds) I couldn’t shoot this Buck moon. So I found some archival pictures.
When the moon rises in the east it’s always pale or faint. It will continue to rise and to get brighter and brighter. It will be it’s brightest when night has fallen. To take a good picture of the moon the brightness and contrast must be in the ball park. It’s too faint when it just rises and too bright when it’s dark out. So I’ve found there is about(?) a 30 minute time window when the moon is just perfect for shooting! The Goldi Loks time,not too little and not too much.
I took this shot (of a eagle I do not know) because the eagle was perched just right but my timing was off. I was too early. I tried to shoot two other eagle friends but couldn’t because of the angle. Trees got in the way with both of them! Rats! Good thing I got this safety shot!
This month the full moon is called a Wolf moon. I walked Long Beach with a friend and being the ever diligent photographer I took along one of my cameras………just in case?
As we walked towards Greenpoint (Park campground) I noticed the moon was at a perfect angle and contrast to do a eagle/moon shot! I only get a handful of these moments each year! So as we walked and chatted I kept a close eye on the tree line for a perching eagle! We walked for over a hour and never saw a single one. Than as we reached Greenpoint I noticed one drying it’s wings out! An eagle will open it’s wing downward to allow the air to dry the wings underside. Being wet means it’s heavier. Being heavier means the eagle will have to expend more energy. Which in turn means they’ll need to eat more often.
So they dry themselves off to be lighter. The feathers are more responsive to the air currents when they are dry.
I was so happy to see Juliette! She has one or two eaglets back in the nest. She likes to stretch her wings each day. She also sang a little song for me! Thats her in the top picture on the right watching her Romeo doing a fly by.
Each full moon has a name. The March full moon is called a “Worm” moon. This is what I found out about the Worm moon………Native Americans called this last full moon of winter the worm moon after the worm trails that would appear in the newly thawed ground. Other names include chaste moon, death moon, crust moon and sap moon, after the tapping of the maple trees.
Because the orbit is closer this month Its also a Super Worm moon!
Moe rarely poses for me! Maggie flew away from me. I must admit that hurt a bit. I haven’t seen her in months. I’d stop by and look for her but could never see her anywhere? Eagles do get upset If you do not stop in to say hello. They act just like humans!
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is coming up on Saturday July 20. I remember watching the black and white TV images and holding my breath! Very few moments in human history have had so many people doing the same thing at the same time!
The Eagle landed in the sea of Tranquility on July 20th,1969. The Apollo 11 crew were Neil Armstrong,Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Armstrong and Aldrin went down to the surface while Collins stayed in the Columbia orbiting the moon.
My eagle friends and I salute all of the good souls who worked so hard to make this remarkable achievement!
The next full moon is on Tuesday.Both Monday and Tuesday look poor for weather. So I knew tonight would be my only shot at getting a eagle/moon shot. I looked around at the usual spots but couldn’t find a single eagle perched perfectly for me. Thankfully I found Maggie perched on top of a tree! I’ve never seen her perch on this spot before.Normally she’s down lower. She saved my butt!
British Columbia is in the midst of 130 active forest fires at the moment with no relief in sight!
The intense heat makes huge thermal plumbs.Finer particulate rises but the heavier particles sink.The heavier particles act like water.They flow down valleys to the ocean.We are under outflow conditions right now.The wind normal moves from the west to the east.In “Outflow” conditions the wind direction reverses.So we (Vancouver island) are not only getting all that smoke haze but also hotter air from the interior!
I’ve been watching as the haze has migrated to the west coast.I always love these conditions photographically!
Btw,I’m not saying forest fires are good,just the affect of them on the suns colour.
All this suspended particulate matter blocks the weaker wavelengths from getting through our atmosphere to our eye.Only the longer more powerful wavelengths can make it through. “R.O.Y.” Red,Orange & Yellow. Thats why the suns colour changes.
The outflow forest fire haze will thicken in the days to come,shifting the suns colour towards pinkish/orange!
It’s a full moon tonight but because of bad weather,I’m not going to see it.So I decided to post some previous moon shots. I’ve found eagles to be a excellent subject to take pictures of when the moon is rising.They’re both up in the sky.
Tonight is what they call a “Hunters” Moon.(the first full moon after a harvest moon)
This is a eagle I haven’t named for years. He & his partner own this territory,Almond Islet. I go by there from time to time. They do not perch on Almond islet very often. I suspect their nest tree is on Warne island?