20150926 Lunar Eclipse Preparation

I watched the evening light change as the almost full moon rose over Byng Inlet.  Although I wanted to take some “calibration photos” in preparation for the Sept 26 apparition I ended up chatting with old friends most of the time, whilst looking over their shoulders at the event.   I did take a few pix.

Taken from the acid dock at 7:17 PM.   Moon is in Belt of Venus.


From LiMac at 7:24 PM


Taken from the town dock at 7:48 PM


Taken at the town dock at 7:51 PM


If you want to see any of the above in detail, click on them.  Download or use Fxif Data if you want the complete Exif.

Astronomer/Astrophotographer  Andrew sent some good info a couple of days ago:

All the details:
This will be the last lunar eclipse, partial or total, that we can see until Jan. 2018.

The Moon will also be the closest Full Moon of the year, which the media call “supermoon”.  The proper term is perigee Full Moon or proxigee Full Moon.

There is nothing so “super” about this Moon.  Being the closest Full Moon, its disk is 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical Full Moon.  Both effects are not noticeable to the eyes until one places an image of a typical Full Moon next to an image of the “supermoon” taken with the same camera and lens settings.

More info about “supermoon”, <http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-supermoon&gt;.

What is unusual about this eclipse is that it is only the 6th “supermoon” total eclipse since 1900.  See the NASA video at <https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=11981&gt;.

Another interesting fact is that the Full Moon Sunday evening occurs on the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar.  Chinese communities worldwide will celebrate it in the Mid-Autumn Festival, see <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival&gt;.

Here is some additional technical stuff for photographers:

“Mr. Eclipse”, Fred Espenak, has an excellent article on how to photograph lunar eclipses here:

Tomorrow I’ll set the camera to spot metering, 5 brackets at medium burst, with 2/3 stop separation, to shoot RAW ETTR using the LV histogram and Zebra striping (set at 105%) to try to get optimal raw files.  Then I’ll use Lightroom 5.6 to drop highlights and raise shadows, and, if necessary, Photomatix Pro to increase Dynamic Range.

Moonrise at Britt is about 7:00  PM EDT.  Totality  is from about 10:11 PM to 11:23 PM.

Clear weather is forecast.  Toronto’s afternoon hosting of the Tampa Bay Rays will be over.

I would encourage folks to try to capture the apparition. It is a lot of fun and a good challenge for a photographer.  At least I find it to be a good challenge!


20150915-25 Eagle, bug, birds, etc

I have been working on other projects lately and have let the blog lapse a bit. I apologize to regular readers.

Here is an update.

First the Eagle … a 1980 AMC Wagon that was born in Brampton ON, delivered to a widow lady in Kaleden BC and driven from Penticton to Britt (with no doggies this one time)  In the spring of 2009.   You can see a picture of it parked next to my late mother’s house at https://brtthome.wordpress.com/2009/05/  (that is the May 2009 Archive on the right hand side column)


It will be restored by the fellow in the reddish shirt where it will join his Convocation of Eagles in the Catskills.


Here are two stages of the Big Milkweed Bug seen on the swelling seed pods of our milkweeds:


Last of this years Chicory along the roadside ….


I went to Pt Loring to have lunch with GG the other day, detoured to the North Road and saw this:


Got out of the truck, behind an alder tree and zoomed in to get this:


Then I set the camera up for some burst shooting, hoping to get a “launch”  when another truck came rattling down the road.   I took my eyes off of the GB Heron for a moment to check the truck.  When my eyes got back to the scene this is what I saw….


Maybe I won’t  let myself get distracted the next time I get this  lucky!!!

On that same trip I saw this on the side of the road:


And yesterday I saw this flock of Canadas visiting some decoys in Billy’s field across from my place.


Hard to tell the decoys from the real ones, eh?

Hwy 522 is a provincial highway maintained by DBI Services, a “GLOBAL LEADER IN INFRASTRUCTURE OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE”.


I had earlier noticed that DBI  might have confused its railway signage with its highway signage, resulting in this advice to motorists:


Good to have a but of fun at  the expense of a “GLOBAL LEADER”, eh?


20150913 The back road

We went for a short drive on the Old Still River Rd this afternoon and took a few pix.

Interesting beastie on this fall sow thistle.  Several species so I will look at the leaves next time!


This year’s ruffed grouse found a few pin cherries up on this tree.


Some people have asked how I got this photo last week:

P1680366-1 copy

When I am shooting scenes which have difficult exposures (such as bears,  whose fur reflects very little light)  I usually bracket the image, using three slightly different (2/3 EV) shutter speeds on each frame …. shot in a burst mode in less than a second.

I realized that I had an interesting shot when I heard the motorbike approaching.  The two cubs were to the LEFT of the mother bear. I wanted all three in the image, (bike, momma, cubs) so timing was quite important.  I prefocused on momma and held a half shutter press.  Then, as soon as I saw the front of the wheel, I finished pressing the shutter and luckily the cubs were still in the frame.  The next frame had the rider but the front of the cubs were out of the picture.  The last of the three captured the motorcycle but no cubs.  I could’ve zoomed out if I had more time but I chose to lift the camera and shoot with what I had …. at 1/500th of a second.   The blur on both the bike wheel and the cubs indicates that things were moving quickly!!!!

Yes.  I shot all of those pix from the safety of the truck.  I find that I can get a lot closer to bears in “the portable blind” than on foot.  Safer too!!!

20150910-11 Trip to Parry Hoot and Britt

Thursday we  booted down to Parry Sound to see the sights and get some vittles …

On the way into town, next to Harris Antiques …


I love the rubber tires …

And I love the Viburnums blooming at Brandy and Buddy’s favorite Vet’s Clinic.  (Both are fine.  I just got some vittles for them too.)


On the way home we stopped to watch the remnants of this storm pass by…..


The Cove Isle stopped in for a crew change on its way to the Sault.    That is the “Adeline” on the other side.

Captain Keith did all of the woodwork on that model of Joshua Slocum’s “Spray” himself —- while he lived aboard her … for the last 20 years.


20150907-8 Bears eating grass

On Labour Day and Tuesday we watched a Momma Bear and her two cubs eating grass at Penner’s Lot (the one where the dwelling burned down a couple of months ago.) They are eating grass because there isn’t much else for them.  There are no berries left except for the occasional highbush cranberry (which are being consumed this year, the first time that I’ve ever seen that).  So the berry-eating birdies and bears are competing for a very scarce resource.  This particular family was seen a few times eating grass and dandelions in the fields.  Finding some clover is a bonus.

Most of the times the doggies were sleeping in the truck.  When they arose to see the bears I was able to calm them so they watched the activity closely. Here are a few of the scenes:

Momma bear eating grass …

P1670875-1 copy

Cubs in a nearby tree.   The one on the right has seen me but the one of the left is continuing its sleep.

P1680115-1 copy

P1680207-1 copy

Cub appears out of weeds to join Momma.

P1680222-1 copy

Noisy motocycle scares little fellas.  Momma is nonplussed.

P1680366-1 copy

After a while, bear family decide to investigate DiMartin’s:

“Aha!  I see that bears are welcome here.”

P1680416-1 copy

“I wonder what that is.”

P1680420-1 copy

“It looks like a baseball game on TV.”

P1680424-1 copy

The following day, Tuesday I saw them again.

P1680470-1 copy

This cub tugged on and played with a charred tie giving it some “blackface.”

P1680556-1 copy

Nice luxuriant grass.  I wonder though, if it is sufficient to prepare them for the winter.

P1680621-1 copy

This is the lone highbush cranberry found nearby.  I suspect that it is gone now.

P1680636-1 copy

The late spring frost that struck this part of Ontario is having significant consequences.

20150901 Some scenes showing changes …

Today I noticed that the Northern Wild Raisins were ripening.



The shriveled surface of the ripe drupes prompts the Wild Raisin moniker.


The above 3 photos were taken from 3 adjacent shrubs, indicating that ripening is quite variable from plant to plant.  They are good to eat, but the elongated flat pits (similar to mangoes) are large.  First Nations folks used to grind them up and mix with game to make pemmican.

I think that this is unripe Common Buckthorn, an invader. Not edible.


The wild spirea were still blooming …


And skippers and beautiful bees were still foraging for nectar ….


… as was this male Monarch.   I played with the image a bit after converting from the RAW file.  Not at all sure that I like it …. but it is interesting …. I guess.


20150824-31 End of August

As summer draws to an end here are a few samples of what I’ve  been photographing.

Late afternoon stormy weather along Hwy 522


Mommy Mallard with her daughters(?).


Last of the Limenitis arthemis taking some nectar from a Goldenrod.


Pearly Everlasting at the prime for harvesting … for straw flower bouquets this winter.


Iridescent Diptera  (perhaps a Green Bottle Fly – lucilia)  visits the stamens of a male Pearly Everlasting (Dioecious)  Plant.


Autumn Meadowhawk on a milkweed leaf …




Pilings next to Bill’s dockage for the Little Snick:


Do you see the Cormorant?  The seagull?

Nice grass


The last of the Monarch Caterpillars on Milkweed …. that are rapidly forming seed pods….


Skipper on a fall Aster….


Over the next few weeks we’ll watch the change of season affect our flora and fauna.   It seems to happen very quickly, similar to spring Equinox.