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Sun, Moon and Stars

Supermoon!

Tonight’s full Beaver Moon as seen from Adams County, Colorado. Clouds were a bit problematic at different points but all in all, it ended up pretty nicely. I’ll be trying again tomorrow morning at moonset to see if I can capture another batch. Our only natural satellite is at its closest in 68 years so I better take advantage of it while I can. 😉

Scroll down to view my complete series of the celestial event.

The Supermoon rises above a pond in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Supermoon rises above a pond in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Moon sets behind a craggy mountainside

Taken last month in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was up before dawn as usual and while I waited for the coming sun to illuminate the landscape, I turned around and captured this image of the setting moon. The clear atmosphere at high altitude allows for some pretty cool images with clarity you just can’t get at lower elevations.

The moon sets behind a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

The moon sets behind a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Setting Harvest Moon

A couple of images I captured early last Sunday morning as the moon set in the west. I had high hopes for getting some cool images of the supermoon but came away kind of disappointed in the results.

First, the spot I chose wasn’t the best – I don’t care too much for the Purina building there. Haha. Second, it has been so warm here on the Colorado Front Range that the heat emanating from the ground was creating a lot of distortion and preventing sharp pics.

If I had it to do over again, I would have chosen a location much closer to the mountains.

The Harvest Moon sets on the Colorado Front Range.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The Harvest Moon sets on the Colorado Front Range. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Harvest Moon sets on the Colorado Front Range.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The Harvest Moon sets on the Colorado Front Range. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bright stars and streaking taillights

The plan was to try to get some quick snaps of the Milky Way at a spot an easy walk from where I was camping a couple of weeks ago at Mary’s Lake in Estes Park, Colorado. I knew the ambient light from the town would be a problem but the biggest issue was one stubborn cloud that insisted on staying right over the heart of the galaxy preventing any chance of getting what I was hoping for. Instead, I panned a bit more to the east toward the clear sky capturing some very bright stars and in this image, the taillights of a car going down the road.

Taillights streak down a road with stars up in the sky in Estes Park, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Taillights streak down a road with stars up in the sky in Estes Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Star bright, city light

Star bright, clouds illuminated by city light. Taken two weeks ago in Roosevelt National Forest. The stars were absolutely gorgeous at 3:30am when this image was taken. While the sky was mostly clear, there were a few clouds. In this image, one is lit from beneath by the lights of Boulder, Colorado. I kind of liked the effect.

Stars dot the night sky while the city lights of Boulder, Colorado illuminate a cloud. (© Tony’s Takes)

Stars dot the night sky while the city lights of Boulder, Colorado illuminate a cloud. (© Tony’s Takes)

A setting Harvest Moon in Rocky Mountain National Park

While keeping my eye on the wildlife, I couldn’t help but train my lens on the setting moon yesterday morning. Just a day past being truly full, it was huge and beautiful! Sorry for the late posting today. It was definitely a ‘Monday’ as I just couldn’t seem to get things going in the right direction today. 🙁

The Harvest Moon sets in Rocky Mountain National Park.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The Harvest Moon sets in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Love and the Milky Way

Taking pictures of the Milky Way is not something I really have the gear for (too slow of lens) but it is still fun to try every now and then.

While camping in the Colorado high country my son and I headed out in the evening for a few captures. We should have waited till later as there was a bit too much ambient light so my son had the idea to have some fun with light painting while we were out there. He did very well (much better than when I tried to spell it out) and my wife loves the image!

How is this done? Getting pictures of the Milky Way requires the lens to be open a long time – 20 seconds in this case. That allowed my son to stand in front and then use a flashlight pointed toward the camera to spell out the words.

The glow in the lower left part of the image is the lights of the city of Boulder. Taken in Roosevelt National Forest.

'Love' spelled out using light painting while taking pictures of the Milky Way.  (© Tony’s Takes)

‘Love’ spelled out using light painting while taking pictures of the Milky Way. (© Tony’s Takes)

Setting moon in Rocky Mountain National Park

It doesn’t always have to be nighttime to get cool pics of the Earth’s natural satellite. I was driving up Fall River Road this past weekend soon after sunrise and as I began to emerge above treeline, I spotted the waning gibbous moon about to go behind a nearby mountainside. It was monstrous and the clarity of the sky at high altitude was awesome as always.

The moon sets behind a mountain near the top of Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

The moon sets behind a mountain near the top of Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A waning gibbous Moon and sunrise colored clouds

Having reached my photo destination for the day early this past Sunday, I took the opportunity to ‘shoot the moon.’ It was absolutely gorgeous and as the sun rose, it colored the clouds nearby in shades of orange and red. I had to do some fast maneuvering to get myself into position to get both in the same frame but it was very worthwhile. Taken near Hygiene, Colorado.

A beautiful waning gibbous moon sets as the sunrise on the opposite horizon lights up the clouds in red. (© Tony’s Takes)

A beautiful waning gibbous moon sets as the sunrise on the opposite horizon lights up the clouds in red. (© Tony’s Takes)

A faint Milky Way on the Great Plains

I took a ‘me day’ off of work yesterday and decided to go explore the Pawnee National Grasslands. With a new moon and clear skies I figured it was a perfect opportunity to try my hand at astrophotography again.

Unfortunately the fates conspired against me as I was delayed leaving home and then had to try to find an open gas station in the middle of nowhere at 4:00am to put air in a tire on my truck that was low. By the time I arrived at my destination, the glow of the sun was already coming over the horizon, dimming the galaxy and stars above.

I managed a couple of shots with the Milky Way although by then it had dimmed considerably. To the left you can see the glow from the approaching sun and on the right the clouds are illuminated by the lights of Greeley, Colorado. You may notice three, very bright ‘stars’ slightly to the right of center in this image in an upside down triangle. Those are actually Saturn, Mars and Antares.

The image came out pretty well although I do wish I would have been able to arrive a half hour or so earlier.

Soon before sunrise, the Milky Way is seen in the skies above the Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Soon before sunrise, the Milky Way is seen in the skies above the Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)