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.
This months moon is called a “Pink” moon. The name comes from flowers that bloom early. Its a Super Moon because the orbit brings it closer than normal to Earth. The Moon is the most “Super” (closer) moon of the year. There are three Super moons in 2020 and they are consecutive.
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!
This is Romeo perching upon his throne. I knew where he was going to perch. I lined the moon up in behind and called him,he came straight over! I think I got 2 or 3 sequences of him perching. The golden light is icing to the cake!
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!
Apologizes for posting this late folks. I went out camping on the night of the eclipse and only got back today. It was a very surreal experience standing out in the wilds with the valley walls bathed in a ghostly shade. Knowing my furry friends were all sleeping helped prop my courage. Tide was dropping.What a lot of people do not realize with a dropping tide is that all those huge slimy trees lifted up by the tide, do get hooked when the tide drops. Causing them to drop…..”suddenly”. So hearing these loud sudden noises was a bit unnerving.
I decided not to stay for three more hours to capture the moon leaving Earths shadow.
Its called a “Blood Red Wolf Moon” because the moon passed through near the edge of Earths shadow and not the centre. This gives a reddish hue colouring.
A Wolf moon is the name given to the full moon of January. Each month has its own unique name.
I was trying to line this Heron up with the moon.It took me into the shallows.I was worried about my prop being smacked by a rock.It took my attention away for just a few seconds but long enough for me to miss it “jumping”! Would of been a great shot!
I knew that the moon was coming up tonight but didn’t see it until I was heading back in.Once I saw it I had to turn around & go back to Romeo.I asked him to perch at the very top of his tree………..& the little bugger did! I appreciated him doing that but the best perch is a bare tree top.Notice how some of the limbs obscure his body.I always like a complete silhouette but will settle for what I got!
Because I am not out watching my eagle friends all the time,they do things that I do not know about? Having said that,nobody knows more about what they are doing than me.
So for the last 3 months I haven’t seen either “The Daredevil” or his partner “Delilah”! I haven’t a clue where they went or why? They live about a mile east of Tofino in Tsapee Narrows on Eik islet.
I haven’t seen them on their nest island or on any of their favourite perching trees? I’ve noticed flocks of birds (Crows,Gulls) perched on their nest island.That would never happen if they were there! Nothing comes close to the nest while nesting is going on.All eaglets by August are usually fully fledged.True their nest is hidden,but I still should of seen some sort of activity!
After the eaglets are fully fledged & fly the coup,both adults usually fly north to their favourite salmon streams.The salmon runs start sooner the further north you go. Another wish of mine……….to know where they go exactly? I don’t think a GPS unit could be attached without affecting the flight.
Having said all that,Delilah turns up last night after being MIA for three months! The Daredevil still hasn’t shown up however? She treated me like a stranger.
I was disappointed tonight with the sunset colours.True,the colour was still good but I was expecting deeper,richer colours from that forest fire haze.Im guessing that the haze was dispersed by gentle breezes? I could see the haze layer had settled in the lower levels of the atmosphere. So the sun didn’t change colour until it was almost set.Normally during these events the sun changes it’s colour far higher up.Maybe tomorrow night will be better?
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!