Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#LunarEclipse "#BloodMoon" #Tetrad: 2014-2015

I can honestly say that I witnessed and photographed all four lunar eclipses during the 2014 - 2015 "tetrad" period. Of course, tetrad means a group of four, so I might as just simply state that I witnessed and photographed four lunar eclipses between the years 2014 and 2015. A lunar eclipse is also called a blood moon because -- I hope I'm in the ballpark of accuracy here -- the Earth's shadow on the moon tends to look reddish due to the filter of the Earth's atmosphere.

The next tetrad period will take place in 2032 and 2033, or so Google tells me.

In all likelihood, the tetrad is not a harbinger of supernatural doom, at least in the natural, mortal realm. Of course, there might be alternate, parallel, lower, and higher dimensions that share the sphere of the Earth, like the locations of Heaven and Hell in the comic book Hellblazer, or the movie/TV show Constantine. Perhaps in those realms, four blood moons in a short period of time might mean something special, or scary.

Then again, NASA just found out that Mars has running water, so anything is possible, I suppose.

I'd like to quickly reminisce about the past four lunar eclipses.

Moon and ... planet?

The first blood moon of the tetrad occurred during the overnight hours of April 14 and 15, 2014. I watched the moon turn red and back again between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM, Pacific (Daylight?) Time. Overnight moon-watching and stargazing is a cold activity, but at least I am located in relatively warm Southern California.

Moon and ... plane!

If there were any complications photographing the April 2014 blood moon, and I'm sure there were, then I must have applied these lessons learned when photographing the second blood moon on October 8, 2014. I watched the moon from around 2 AM to 6 AM, otherwise known as the coldest part of the night. I was satisfied with the photos this time around, so I made a time lapse video of the celestial event.

Moon and camera.

The third lunar eclipse occurred on April 4, 2015. I photographed the moonlit skies between 3 AM and 6 AM, and a spring night is just as cold as an autumn night. Apparently, I wasn't just satisfied with photographing a blood moon against a dark sky. I used an additional camera to photograph my astrophotography setup, in a sort of moon-related Inception.

Moon and trees.

The fourth lunar eclipse occurred a few days ago, on September 27, 2015. It is possibly my favorite blood moon of the tetrad because I didn't have to stay up all night to witness it. I photographed this eclipse, which was also a slightly larger "supermoon," from around 7 PM to 10 PM. I had to throw all the lessons learned from past eclipses because for two main reasons: (1) Where I live, the eclipse actually began when the moon was rising around 6 PM, but mountains, trees, and buildings blocked my view until around 7 PM, and (2) unlike the previous three eclipses, last Sunday was a relatively cloudy night.

One of my favorites of the night is shown above, with the red moon partially obscured by a tree. The the naked eye, the moon was mostly blocked by both the tree and a cloudy sky. The bright sliver on the right side of the moon was the only hint of the moon's presence. I had to expose the photo of a second or so, to make the moon appear visible. The previous three eclipses were red moons against black skies, but this photo has a red moon against a dark blue sky, with trees in black silhouette.

Looking through my other photos of Sunday's eclipse, there were some interesting photos with the red moon being extra-filtered by cloud cover. I already have a large archive of red moons against black skies, so having the moon low in the sky, with obstacles like clouds and trees in the way, was actually a blessing in disguise. I was able to take interesting photographs of the moon. I might share these photos later, on my Instagram profile.

The moral of the story, or at least what I'm trying to get at, is that it's better to take interesting pictures than to just "phone it in," or photograph in the same style as mostly everyone else. There is a joke by the Oatmeal, in which all of Monday's social media is full of full moon, blood moon, supermoon photographs.  Why publish a similar photograph, when you can publish something a little bit different? It's partially the reason why I default to photographing little LEGO minifigures doing whimsical things: If I can't take an interesting photo of something happening, then I might as well make something interesting happen (in plastic), and photograph it.

May all our photos be interesting. May all our lives be interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note: Comments are open only for seven days after publication of each blog entry.