Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Random Thoughts - Sleepless Nights and The Moon

My recent insomnia paid off a bit in the wee hours yesterday morning. Although I didn't catch the peak, I did catch the end of the lunar eclipse. The full eclipse, the "blood moon" as it was called was the first of a series of four eclipses called a tetrad that will occur this year and next year. The last time this happened was in 2003. The next time will be in 2032. The full eclipse was between 3 and 4:30 eastern daylight time. Of course, I slept through that!! I woke up at my usual time around 3 - ish mountain time. I attempted to set up my camera before I went to sleep - just in case- per various suggestions on photography websites for taking night sky pictures. (I have this really nice camera and am still, very slowly, learning how to properly use it) Thank goodness for digital cameras and the little trash can button.

After several tries and more adjusting of aperture, iso, focus, etc.  (remember this is at 3:30 in the morning - not a stellar time for me to be thinking about  how light works or really anything) a picture of a moon finally came into focus on my playbacks. I mean it actually looks like a moon! Again, this was after the full copper, blood tinged eclipse, but it was still more colorful than the average full moon and was, well, really beautiful and magical and confident up there in the flat black sky. It was very still out, the sky was clear and the stars were out. Although I think even the stars were intimidated by this moon. They all kept their distance. The neighbor dogs were all blessedly asleep,  the daytime birds hushed, however...the neighborhood peacock was not. At 4:30 it started screeching. Have you ever heard a peacock? It's a very loud, eerie, higher pitched - well - screech. It echoes. It is very exotic. And, in the still darkness of this pre-dawn, with the earth positioning itself between the sun and the moon, well, it was rather an exotic, profound moment, and I was thankful to experience a bit of it.

 I had to keep telling myself  I wasn't comparing myself to a professional photographerI was comparing myself to the photographer I was when I took this picture above. Which is how most of my prior moon pictures looked like. Do you see why I'm excited? 

In honor of the first full blood moon of the year, here's a random list of some of my moon-worthy title favorites:

Favorite moon movies: Moonstruck ("Snap out of it"! I loved Cher in this.); By The Light of the Silvery Moon (Doris Day and Gordon MacRae - post WW1 setting); Moon Over Miami (Betty Grable and Don Ameche - 1941 - classic silly, funny old movie)

Favorite moon tv show: Moonlighting (1985-89 - when Bruce Willis still had hair .
Favorite moon song: By The Light of The Silvery Moon; Harvest Moon; Claire de Lune - Debussey (sigh - so beautiful)

Favorite moon food: Moon Pies (obvious - even though I haven't had a moon pie in years)
Favorite moon book: Goodnight Moon! (I read this book to my girls so many bedtimes when they were little)

Favorite moon location: Half Moon Bay (on the coast in northern California)

Favorite moon sayings: "Once in a blue moon"; "To the moon, Alice!" (Jackie Gleason in the Honeymooners 1951-55)

Favorite moon quotes: " Shoot for the moon, and if you miss you will still be among the stars" (Les Brown")

"O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, lest thy love prove likewise variable" ( Wm. Shakespeare - the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. double sigh. Of course there is the other quote spoken by Romeo, but on this night the moon was hardly envious)

La Luna is not just a circle in the sky. It represents so many things to all of us. Not just Space, the desire for knowledge, and scientific study and life. It represents possibilities, hope, fantasies, magic, beauty and mysteries yet to be discovered.

Take some time and Google the moon. There's a world of information related to the moon. And if you have the opportunity, the next time the moon makes its appearance, look up to the night sky.

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