Evening walk after the rain showers

The weekend weather wasn’t all that bad.  The Weather Channel was calling for rain for 5 days for my location.  It did rain on Saturday and Sunday.  It rained during the early morning hours like after midnight.  It was just raw and cold  Monday and Tuesday. Raw and cold are relative terms, one day in the 80s and next in the upper 50’s.  On Wednesday evening, there was some clouds hanging around, but as always by sunset it cleared up.  The winds were calm, so it a nice evening to see reflections on the water and to walk around the waterfront.

The Alfred A. Cunningham Bridge in New Bern, on one side the Trent River and the another the Neuse River

Sunset over the Trent River.  There used to be marina in that spot,  Hurricane Florence in 2018 wideout the docks.  Now there are only the piling standing.

After sunset.

The New Bern Grand Marina is on the other side of the Trent River.  Those docks handle the hurricane better.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Sigma 17-50mm  f/2.8 EX (APS-C DSLR)

B+W F-Pro 77mm Circular Polarizer Filter

Tripod

PhotoPills

I am going to try capturing the Zodiacal Light, which an be seen in Spring and Autumn.  During  the Spring in the Western sky after sunset (inline with the sunset), and in Autumn in the Eastern sky 1 hour before sunrise (again inline with the sunrise).  It best to see them around the Equinox during the astronomical twilight.  I got me a Marumi 77mm StarScape Light Pollution Filter for the Sigma lens, hopefully I will have good results.

February Moon Phase

The Full Moon in February was on 27th, Saturday.  I wasn’t expecting to take a picture of it, because the 5 days forecast was calling for rain in the Southeast.  When I had the opportunity to takes some photos on the 23, I took it.  Surprising it only rained in the early morning hours on Saturday, so I was able to takes the dogs to the beach at Emerald Isle and watch the sunset and moonrise.  It turned out to be a really nice days with temperature in the upper 70’s.

I still need to master taking full moon photography.  It is so bright, that I might need a filter of some type.  I took the full photos with a polarizer filter.  I’ll figure it out some day.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm | 4.5-5.6 G ED VR

Tripod

PhotoPills

Walking Around downtown New Bern, North Carolina, USA

I decided to take a walk around New Bern during sunset on Sunday (21 February). From the Alfred Cunningham Bridge over the Trent River, I took the following sunset photos of the waterfront on the Trent River.

While walking down South Front, I took a photo of the town hall.

Between the restaurants on Middle Street and Craven Street there is neat Alleyway.

The town hall is on the corner of Craven Street and Pollock Street.

On East Front Street, across from Union Point Park, there was tracker with lights on it, which was cool. The picture doesn’t doesn’t show you off to best effect.

Off of Queen Street, along the Neuse River, there is a little marina.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G  FX/35mm (75mm equivalent APS-C DSLR)

Tripod

PhotoPills

Sunset at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, USA

You would expect after 7 days of rain and small craft warning at the coast that there would be some awesome clouds to make the sunset photo standout, like cumulus clouds, or nimbus,  or cirrus, or even cirrocumulus .  But that wasn’t the case, on Tuesday evening February 16, the skies were clear with some haze. There was  small craft waning and the wind  was blowing out of the south south west at 25 knots.  The water temperature 50 miles off the coast was 70 degrees. Overall, the weather was plenty for mid February with temperatures in the 60’s.

It was nice day to get away.  You can tell from some of the photos how rough it was, not as rough as the west coast off of Oregon, but rough for this area.

Atlantic Beach Fishing Pier

Sunset at Atlantic Beach

Dust at Atlantic Beach

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm | 4.5-5.6 G ED VR

Tripod

PhotoPills

Sunset over the Trent River, New Bern, North Carolina, USA

Sunday February 7 was Super Bowl Sunday, prior to the big game, I venture out to town down New Bern waterfront to take some photos of the sunset.  It was cloudy most of the day, and I was hoping to get some nice photos with the clouds during the sunset.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen, the sky cleared right around sunset.  The plan was to practice landscape photography use the Aperture Mode with a small aperture setting to create a starburst effect.

A Spider Lily Sculpture located on the waterfront

The Sunset over the Trent River

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD

Tripod

PhotoPills

Moonrise in Oriental, North Carolina, USA

The Moon phase was Waning Gibbous at 98.2% on 29th of January.  The Moonrise occurred at 18:36 EST and according to PhotoPills over Whittaker Point in Oriental, NC.  It was a prefect day for capturing the moonrise.  The air was cold (36 degrees), but the sky was clear and no wind.

I still need to work on my photography skills for capturing the moonrise.  I used the Sky Watcher Star Adventurer 2i, which help for long exposure, but I need to work on getting the camera setup and correct setting.  It’s a work in progress.

Here are some other photographic I took.

Finally, photos of the moon in the Waning Gibbous phase.

 

My Sky Watcher Star Adventurer 2i setup:

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm

Tripod

L Bracket – 3 Legged Thing QR11-LC Universal L-Bracket 

Sky Watcher Star Adventurer 2i

PhotoPills

First Full Moon in 2021 is called the Wolf Moon

The first Full Moon in 2021 is called the Wolf Moon according  to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.   The Native Americans were noticing that the wolves were howl during the winter months, when food supply was scarce. The Full Moon occurred at 14:17 EST. on the 28th of January.

I was lucky to capture the Full Moon on the 28th of January.   It rained on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was  mostly cloudy on Thursday.  Clear skies happen around sunset.

The Sunset and Moonrise on the 28th were minutes apart.  The Moonrise was at 17:30 EST and Sunset at 17:33 EST.  After I saw the sunset on Trent River, I moved to the Neuse River side of Union Point Park in New Bern, NC. to capture the moonrise. I knew it would take a while for the moon to rise above the horizon.  I plan on heading to Oriental, NC. on Friday to capture the moonrise over the mouth of Neuse River around 18:36 EST, which is at the Pamlico Sound.  The moon will be in a Waning Gibbous  phase at 98.2% full at 18:36 EST.

Interesting fact:

The longest river in North Carolina, the Neuse River Basin stretches 248 miles from the Falls Lake Reservoir Dam in the Piedmont to its mouth at the Pamlico Sound. The mouth of the Neuse River is six miles across, which makes it the widest river in America and the nation’s second largest estuary.

A Spider Lily Sculpture located on the waterfront in New Bern, North Carolina USA.

The sculpture was taken down due Hurricane Florence in 2018 and was just put back in place at the end of 2020.

Then there was the sunset!

And then the Moonrise.

Unfortunately I didn’t like any of the pictures I took around the moonrise.  They didn’t capture the moment.  I am hoping for better results in Oriental, NC. on Friday evening.

 

I waited until the 10 PM to capture the Full Moon.

On the 29th of January, the Moon setting over the Neuse River (the New Bern side of the river).

 

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm | 4.5-5.6 G ED VR 

Tripod

L Bracket – 3 Legged Thing QR11-LC Universal L-Bracket 

PhotoPills

 

Sunset at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

Sunset at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina on the 20th of January 2021.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Sigma 17-50mm  f/2.8 EX (APS-C DSLR)

Tripod

PhotoPills

The Last Full Moon of the Decade

The last Full Moon of the decade was 29th of December, or so they say. The moon reaches the crest of its full phase on December 30, 2020, at 03:28 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)  or on 29th at 10:28 p.m. EST.

What is UTC?

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is often interchanged or confused with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). GMT is a time zone and UTC is a time standard.  UTC is not a time zone but a time standard that is the basis for civil time and time zones worldwide.

Last full moon of the decade?

Although it’s somewhat arbitrary, most people regarded the full moon on December 12, 2019, as the last full moon of the decade (2010 to 2019). However person who insists on absolute adherence to traditional rules say that the full moon on December 30, 2020, counts as the last full moon of the decade, and that 2020, not 2019, ends the second decade of the 21st century (2001 to 2100).

Monitoring the skies:

Santa was good to me this year and got me a “Sky Watcher Star Adventurer 2i Pro Pack”, which was very nice.  I was able to set the star tracker to the Moon or Sun setting and the camera stayed center of the on target.  If you are planning on doing any Astrophotography, it’s a must.  PhotoPills is also a handy tool to have to determine the best location for the composition.  The only problem, I would had like capturing the moonset near the clock tower in town, but there were builds in the line of sight.  Also would had like capturing the Full Moon setting on top the Christmas Tree near the Sudan Shriner Center, but someone planted a tree in the line of sight.  I can’t wait to use the Sky Watcher Star for Astrophotography like for long exposure of the Milky Way.

The Moon Phases: 

December 26 – Waxing Gibbous at 91%

December 28 – Waxing Gibbous at 98.9%

 

Moonset in New Bern near the Sudan Shrines Center:

Dawn at waterfront:

Sunrise at Union Point Park in New Bern:  Not all sunrise are created equal.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 

Tripod

Sky Watcher Star Adventurer 2i

PhotoPills

Winter Solstice and the Great Conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn

December 21 was Winter Solstice and one of the best days to see the Great Conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn. The Great Conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn is when the two planets are close together and on the 21st the pair was only 0.1 degree apart.  Some call it the Christmas Star,  but they look like an elongated star.

So where does the term conjunction come from?  Astronomers use the word conjunction to the describe the meetings of the planets.  They use the term “Great Conjunction” to describe meeting of Jupiter and Saturn, which are the two biggest planets in our solar system.  Jupiter, which is the larger planet, takes 12 years to revolve around the sun, while Saturn takes 29 years.

Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions happens every 20 years, but not all conjunctions are created equal. The next Great Conjunction between the two planets (although not nearly as close together as on the 21st of December)  will be in November 2040.  The conjunction that happen on the 21st was the closest they been since 1623.  The next time they will appear that close with in the morning skies in March of 2080.

Sunset at Harkers Island – Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor’s Center:

Jupiter and Saturn appeared 40 minutes after sunset in the southwest sky.  The best dark sky site in my area is the Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor’s Center on Harkers Island.   I met some friends there from the Crystal Coast Stargazers Club at the club dark sky site.

Practice Pictures:

I had to verify that my equipment,  so I took some test photos of the Moon in the First Quarter and picnic area at the visitor’s center.

 

 

The Great Conjunction of Jupiter/ Saturn:

I only posted two of the best photos I took on the 21st.  You can barely see the rings of Saturn with a 300mm lens.  I’ll fit that issue the next time the conjunction happen or when  I plan on taking photographic of planets and stars. I am going to add  a star tracker for long exposure, and 600mm zoom lens, and/or  a camera adapter for a telescope to my camera bag.  I am slowly adding items to my camera bag for astrophotography.   But in one of the photos, you can see three moons of Jupiter.  Starting at the top, Jupiter’s moon Castillo, then Lo, the below Jupiter the moon Europa.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 

Tripod

PhotoPills

November Full Moon

The Full Moon in November was on 30th.

 

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm

Tripod

PhotoPills

Another Perfect Day at the Beach

Wednesday, October 4, was a perfect day to go the beach.  There was a cold front in the area on Monday and Tuesday with lows in the mid-40’s.  It stated warming up on Wednesday and with clear skies, I decided to check PhotoPills to see if the sun would be setting over the gazebo at the end of the fishing pier at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina.  Lucky the tide was out, so I was able to get the composition I wanted.

I also decided to trying using HDR (High Dynamic Range).  I never really used it the past, and I wanted  to do it manually and not letting the camera decide. I wanted to shoot RAW.  I did try the HDR feature on the Nikon D7500, but I prefer doing it manually.

Sunset at Atlantic Beach:

I like using the camera “interval” setting as a intervalometer.  I though it was cool that I capture a shark fin in the water.  It’s was a good thing I wasn’t planning on going swimming that day or letting my dogs go swimming.  It’s the third time I spotted a shark at Atlantic Beach this year.

 

After Sunset:

Equipment Used:

Nikon D7500

Nikon DX AF-S NIkkor 55-300mm

Tripod

Polorized Filters

PhotoPills

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