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Enjoying the Fall Eclipses

The Lunar Eclipse    The Solar Eclipse

For Several Areas in the Northern Hemisphere there have been some great astronomical events to watch in the form of eclipses. Late in September we had a lunar eclipse which was also called a blood moon due to the red colorations at the peak of the eclipse. A month later there was a partial solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are a bit more difficult to watch since you shouldn’t look directly at the sun without a heavy filter such as welders masks or you risk hurting your eyes.

There are some people who travel great distances in order to witness these astronomical events. For others, they just wait until one of these events happens and they are in the viewing area which can take many years to occur. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be in the viewing area of a pair of eclipses this year. Even more fortunate than that, they’ve occurred at times which I could take time to go out and watch them without missing important obligations. The first that took place was the blood moon which is when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon blocking all direct light on the moon creating a reddish appearance across the moon.

The Lunar Eclipse Underway as I was Leaving the House

The night before I decided to go out and witness this lunar eclipse first hand and see if I could get some nice pictures of it in the process. After a little research it was discovered that the full eclipse would happen just before sunrise and just above the horizon. Before this eclipse would end the moon would dip below the horizon eliminating the view of the last part of this eclipse. I set the alarm and went to sleep for a short night. With the noise in my ear I quickly shut off the alarm and questioned if I really wanted to get up at 4 am just to see this eclipse. After laying there for a few minutes I eventually got up, knowing that I could come back to bed after the eclipse, and put the camera and some food in the car for my 10 minute journey to my viewing location. But before I left, the eclipse was already under way so I snapped a picture and took off a little more awake especially after hitting that cold night air.

Blood Moon In the Night Sky

Arriving at the viewing location, it was quiet and peaceful. Just me and the moon. I set up the camera and started photographing the eclipse and adjusting settings to find which ones worked for the pictures I wanted to achieve and switching lenses on my Sony Nex camera to see which shots each would produce during the rest of the morning. Soon another car drove in and a camera was set up. Hmm… I’m not the only fool to give up the early morning hours of sleep for this. A little re-assuring in this choice. I continued taking pictures throughout the rest of the visible lunar eclipse with a little conversation mixed in between photographers.

The Final View of the Eclipse

The second eclipse of the fall was a solar eclipse where the moon goes between the Earth and the sun blocking the sun. Fortunately this one happened just before sunset again allowing me the opportunity to watch it without missing other important obligations. During the afternoon I was texting back and forth with my wife, after finding out about this eclipse from another co-worker that morning, to see if she wanted to join me on this nice fall day to witness a solar eclipse. I agonized for several hours on where to watch this and take pictures. After finally accepting the options I had, I arrived home and met my wife and daughters to head out to watch this astronomical event.

The Beginning of the Solar Eclipse

Viewing a solar eclipse is far more challenging than a lunar eclipse due to the brightness of the sun and the damage you can do to your eyes by looking at the sun.  Fortunately I had a dark enough filter for the camera that allowed us to view the eclipsing sun through the camera without looking directly at the sun. Even though you couldn’t see the eclipse directly, the amount of sunlight shining on the surrounds was noticeably decreasing. It’s like wearing sunglasses but you can’t remove them and make your surroundings brighter. And since this was happening with the setting sun, there was a yellow tone over everything more than usual. It reminding me of the sun rays gleaming over the horizon just before it dips below the surface only this time the sun was higher in the sky.

Solar Eclipse Being Reflected in the Water

It was nice to be able to get out and enjoy both of these fall eclipses if for no other reason than allowing some time to relax and slow down for a few hours. By the way, I did not end up going back to sleep after the lunar eclipse. It was in the plan and was a great way to motivate me to get up originally but never happened.

Eclipsing Sun Setting

To see more Lunar Eclipse Photos go here….

To see more Solar Eclipse Photos go here….

Some of the Wildlife on Isle Royale

Canadian Geese

Canadian Geese should be expected this close to Canada so not a big surprise.

Caterpillar of a Luna Moth

This is a caterpillar of a Luna Moth. I’ve only seen one other caterpillar like this and still haven’t seen the moth itself.

Painted Lady Butterfly

I believe this is the Painted Lady Butterfly. Fairly common in this part of the country.

A Squirrel Eating

Somehow squirrels made it to the island. They were always eager to help with meals. Unfortunately for this one we didn’t leave anything behind as feeding the animals in a national park is not allowed.

A Proud Seagull

Seagulls are fairly common. I just liked how this one was posing appearing very proud.

A Duck Swimming

There are a multitude of ducks around Isle Royale. I believe this is a Mallard enjoying the morning sun.

A Rabbit Grazing

Another animal that I can’t quite grasp how they got to the island. They must have stowed away on a boat at one time.

A Mother Duck and Her Babies

We enjoyed watching this group of ducks. When we first saw them we could only see the mother swimming. After watching for a few minutes one of the babies popped up from under the surface of the water, then another, and then the other 3 or 4. It was entertaining to watch as they would swim on the surface for a minute or two and then dive into the water staying under until the surface was calm and there was no sign they were there. All of a sudden they would begin reappearing in the blink of an eye.

A Moose and Her Two Calves

Of course one of the more popular animals on Isle Royale are moose. We were fortunate to see this mother with her two calves stroll right in front of our campsite. There was another moose with her calf that met us on one of the trails causing a slight delay because those who know understand that the moose owns the area they are walking on. It is not considered a good idea to confront a moose, especially one with a calf. Some of the other wildlife on this island include foxes and wolves. We did not get to see either one. It is my understanding that the foxes are sneaking creatures finding creative ways to steal campers stuff so it may not be a bad thing that we did not see any.

Images of Fall

A Foggy Fall Morning

As fall is getting closer to the end I thought I would share some nice fall photos for the Thanksgiving Holiday ahead. These were taken while playing around with a new camera we purchased a few months ago. Please enjoy.

A Beautiful Fall Afternoon


Watching the Leaves Blow By


Leaves on the Ground Just Begging to be Raked


Amazing Colors by the Water


Freshly Fallen Leaves


Enjoying the Train as it Slips by the Lake

A Great Look at the season speeding by!

Dry Tortugas Photo Essay

Yankee Freedom II

The Yankee Freedom II heading out to Garden Key where Fort Jefferson is built.

Fort Jefferson

Inside of Dry Tortugas National Park Fort Jefferson is visible. Loggerhead Key can be seen in the background on the right with a tall lighthouse built on it. Loggerhead Key is not connected to Garden Key. For a map of Dry Tortugas National Park go here….

Loggerhead Key

Loggerhead Key closer up. The only think on this island is the lighthouse.

Garden Key

As Fort Jefferson gets closer you can see the different in brick colors resulting from the different locations materials came from while this was being built. This beach is where we snorkeled from.

Lighthouse Inside Fort Jefferson

The Fort Jefferson Lighthouse. This is built inside the fort walls.

Inside Fort Jefferson

The Courtyard of the fort. Officers quarters are visible at the far end.

A Fort Cannon

Fort Jefferson had many cannons. Here is an example of how they were set up. This fort was never fully armed due to the weight of the cannons which would cause Garden Key to sink even further.

Frigate Birds

Some of the many frigate birds that reside near Garden Key.

Bush Key and Long Key

Bush Key is the closer island with Long Key  further out. Long Key is where the frigate birds reside and is closed to public exploration in order to preserve the bird habitats.

Returning to Key West

As the Yankee Freedom II returned to Key West you can see the people beginning to gather to celebrate the sunset at Mallory Square.