Red moon

This morning’s smoky full moon about an hour before sunrise. Normally a moon this red would be due to an eclipse, but today it was haze from BC’s wildfires.

So there I was a little before 5 am, standing on our balcony with the camera perched on the wall, angled upwards just enough to get the moon in the centre of the field of view using the neck strap bunched up to form a makeshift wedge.

And the moon was faint! Depending on the ISO setting and how much I underexposed the image, exposure times were anywhere between 1 and 5 seconds. I knew I had to keep it on the lower end so that the moon wouldn’t blur out as the Earth rotated, but I also needed to keep the ISO as low as possible to keep noise under control. (Sharpness and contrast also decrease with increasing the ISO value, especially in a camera of this vintage – 2009) In the end, this photo provided the best compromise on sharpness (the moon was low in the sky which makes getting a sharp image subject to the laws of probability), brightness, and noise.

It maybe wasn’t quite this red to the eye, but it was definitely very red and remarkably dark. While clearly visible, it probably didn’t attract much attention on account of its low brightness. Coincidentally, shortly after sunrise, the moon did actually pass through the Earth’s shadow for a lunar eclipse, although it was not visible in North America (obviously…!).

Red sky at night…

Don’t normally post twice in a day, but tonight’s hazy sunset tonight was quite beautiful, albeit for a sad reason thanks to the forest fires in the Cariboo.

I couldn’t resist grabbing the camera and watching the sun dip lower into the haze, watching the exposure time increase from 1/2000 s to 1/250 s. I liked how the vapour trails were lit by the sun, and how the sun is framed between the trees, both of which add some interest and shape to the photo. In processing photos like this, I’m always faced with the challenge of deciding how much to reduce the highlights before it starts to look unnatural and posterization starts to be noticeable. I also added a slight hue shift to make the yellows a little more orange to fit in with the look I wanted for the sun. I think it’s worked OK. I’ve posted another photo on Flickr.

At this time of year, I’m not normally thinking about rain, but I’d be happy if some could fall on the BC Interior to damp down some of the fires.