Sunset in New Bern

It was a nice evening to walking around and I found myself near the North Carolina History Museum.

When I got home the sky was still clear .  The Moon phase was Waxing Gibbous at 66% full in the Northern Hemisphere.

Nikon D7100
Shutter Speed: 1/125
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 125

December 1st

It rain most the day in Sunday (1 December), but around evening the sun came out.

I was hoping it would be some clouds in the morning on the 2nd of December. but it was too cloudy to get the effect I wanted.

 

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Beaver Moon and the Transit of Mercury

The Full Moon in November is called the Beaver Moon, because of the Old Farmer’s Almanac state that is when the eponymous animals become active to prepare for winter. What is eponymous?  Eponym refers to a name being the source of terms for other things; such as, nations, tribes, places, animals, social nomenclature.

For the sunrise pictures, I used my Nikon D7100 with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 G lens.  For the “transit of Mercury”, used Nikon DFX AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G ED lens.

The Full Moon is on 11th of November the same day Mercury transits the sun. The forecast for the 11th is calling for clear to partially cloudy skies in the morning and mostly cloudy in the evening.   The skies  were partially cloudy for the transit of Mercury, which start at 07:36 EST, but by 09:00 it was overcast, and last for 5 1/2 hours. I can only hope for the best for the Full Moon in the evening at 16:56 EST.  The “transit of Mercury” is when the tiny planet Mercury scoot across the sun’s face on 11th for the last time until 2032.  In the pictures below, Mercury shows up as a dot in the lower left hand corner.  

The two picture were taken at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach, NC. I used my Nikon D7100 with N22 Sun Filter. The shutter speed was to 1/125, with an aperture set at f/8, and an ISO of 125. I am a member to the Crystal Coast Stargazers, which is based out of Morehead City, and members setup telescopes at Fort Macon Visitor Center.

Let take a step back, the weekend was gorgeous on the cool side, but and clear skies.  I was not sure what the weather conditions would be like on November 11 (Veteran’s Day) for moonrise.  So I started taking pictures on Sunday also.

 

I used my Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 55-300 zoom lens.  The picture was taken at 17:05 along the water front in Oriental, NC.  My Shutter Speed was to 1/250, and the aperture to f/4.8, and  ISO of 800.  The  Moon was 96% full on Sunday.  Again I used my Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 55-300 zoom lens.  My Shutter Speed was to 1/250, and the aperture to f/8, and ISO of 250.

I luck out and it was partially sunny, so after the dog park, I took my girls to Oriental for the moonrise.  The Moon would be coming up in the eastern sky at 16:56 from 76 degrees.

 

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

For the first week of October, it been warm, correction, very warm in Eastern North Carolina. The entire Southeast of the United States been in a massive heat wave. So on Thursday, the 3rd of October, I took the dogs to beach when my wife got off work. The water temperature at Atlantic Beach is still in the 80’s (81 degrees). The good news, the temperature will be coming back to normal by the weekend.

I took my Nikon D7100 camera with me along with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm zoom lens. If you don’t use it, it collect dust. The LCD screen broke when I was photo shoot at Nags Head a few back. I found out that it will cost $300 to repair/replace the LCD screen. I am going to wait for the Nikon D7600 to come out, then pick up a D7500 (body only) or wait until Christmas and see if the prices come down. Until then, I can used my camera, but can not tell if the photo are nice until I get home.

First Day of Fall

I decided to take a ferry boat ride to capture the first day of fall in 2019. I took the ferry boat from Minnesott Beach to Cherry Branch.

I used my Nikon D7100 camera with Nikon 50mm 1:1.8 GS lens. The pictures were taken at 06:57.

I am trying to do some Astronomical Photography, so I spend the night in Oriental, NC for the dark sky. It’s a work in progress. The picture on left is the night sky. I had my shutter open for 26 seconds. I had my aperture set to f/4, and set my ISO to 2500. The picture on the right is the Milky Way. I had my shutter open for 42 seconds. I had my aperture set to f/5.6, and set my ISO to 1600.

From what I been reading, if you want star points, then the exposures must be less than ~ 15 seconds (to keep the stars from trailing), a large aperture setting to gather more stars, and a high ISO. I am going to try using ISO 1600, with exposure set to f/5.6, and shutter set of 12 seconds.

Nags Head, North Carolina

Michele and I went a weekend getaway for our 29th Anniversary. Because weather forecast was calling cooler temperatures, we decided on weekend getaway to the Outer Banks. It been 18 years since we stay at Nags Head. In the past, we alway went to Hattera or Ocracoke Island, but because of Hurricane Dorian Ocracoke Island is close. The eye for the storm went right over the barrier island. Dorian’s flood at least matches levels from the storm of 1944. There was very little wind damage north of Nags Head. There are three brewery in the Outer Bank, four if you include the one on Ocracoke Island. We are planning on stopping at “Lost Colony” on Manteo, the “Outer Banks Brewing Station” in Kitty Hawk, and the “Weeping Radish” in Jarvisbury. I haven’t been to Currituck Lighthouse in Corolla.

For the brewery tour, the plan is to stop at the Lost Colony on Thursday, then to stop at Outer Banks Brewing Station on Thursday evening. On Friday, drive to Corolla and sling over to Jarisbury for lunch and brew at that Weeping Radish. At the Outer Banks Brewing Station and Weeping Radish, they brew their own Root Beer, which was very good.

Roanoke Mashes Lighthouse
iPhone 7 plus

The next stop was Nags Head and across our cottage was Jennette’s Pier. I got some terrific sunrise in the morning on beach near the pier. There was a surfing competition going that weekend and the surf was up.

Sunrise on 20 September at 06:02 Shutter Speed: 3.0 sec Aperture: f/1.8 ISO: 100
Sunrise on 20 September at 06:55 Shutter Speed: 1/250 Aperture: f/8 ISO: 125
Sunrise on 20 September at 06:54 Shutter Speed: 1/250 Aperture: f/8 ISO: 125
Sunrise on 20 September at 06:56 Shutter Speed: 1/250 Aperture: f/8 ISO: 125
Sunrise on 20 September at 06:58 Shutter Speed: 1/250 Aperture: f/5.6 ISO: 125
Sunrise on 20 September at 06:54 Shutter Speed: 1/30 Aperture: f/2.8 ISO: 125

On Friday we stopped at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, commemorates the first successful, sustained, powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine.

Friday 20 September at 09:52
Shutter Speed: 1/250
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 125
Taken at 09:53 with iPhone 7 plus

Next stop Currituck Lighthouse in Corolla. It took about a hour to get there from Kitty Hawk.

Currituck Lighthouse taken at 11:28 Shutter Speed: 1/100 Aperture: f/5 ISO: 125
Currituck Lighthouse taken at 11:29 iPhone 7 plus
Currituck Lighthouse taken at 11:38 Shutter Speed: 1/125 Aperture: f/5.6 ISO: 125

I had to get my last sunrise for the trip on Saturday before going home.

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Sunrise on 21 September at 06:51

My only disappoint was that I didn’t get a chance to take any sunset pictures on the trip. We took our dogs with us and we found a nice dog park across the Wrights Brother Memorial. If we were not there, then you could find us on the beach in Nags Head with my puppies.

But to end the weekend on a positive note, we went to Atlantic Beach on Sunday evening for the sunset.

Sunset at Atlantic Beach on 22 September at 18:55
Shutter Speed: 1/250
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 125
Sunset at Atlantic Beach on 22 September at 18:57
Shutter Speed: 1/250
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 125
Sunset at Atlantic Beach on 22 September at 19:00
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Aperture: f/6.3
ISO: 200

Taylor Creek Sailing Trip

For the last weekend in July, the weather was perfect.  The first 3 weeks in July it been hot and humid in Eastern North Carolina.  A cold front push down from Canada and brought cooler temperatures and lower humid to Eastern North Carolina.  The lows for the weekends were forecast to be in high sixties.  The daytime highs was mid-eighties.  It felt more like late September than the dog days of summer. It’s looks like a nice weekend for a sailing trip Cape Lookout.  I asked my sons if they wanted to accompany me on Friday for a weekend gateway.  Raymond was busy with his friends, but Daniel was up for it.  So I kept a close eye on the weekend weather forecast.  I usually don’t get underway during small craft warning, but we did this time.  It was a rough ride crossing the Neuse River on Friday afternoon with 20 plus knot winds with a 2 to 3 foot chop.  On Thursday morning, the marine forecast called for small crafts advisory  (small craft warning) until 11 AM on Friday.   On Friday morning, the small craft warning was in effect until Friday night.  Originally, I was planning on getting underway by 6 AM Friday.  High tide in Morehead City was at 3 AM. I wanted to travel down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) with the tide going out.  When the forecast changed and small craft warning was in effect until Friday evening, it would be better to leave at 3 PM at the next high tide in Morehead City.  We got underway at 3 PM actually and we checked the marine forecast again before getting underway, now the small craft warning was in effect until late Saturday  night, unfortunately Cape Lookout was out of the pictures.

Nikon D7100
Shutter Speed: 1/125
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 220

They were calling for 6 foot seas at the Bight (Cape Lookout Bight).  In geography, a bight is a bend or curve in a coastline.  It typically indicates a large, open bay, often only slightly receding. It is distinguished from a sound by being shallower.  Daniel had a Hockey Playoff game on Sunday, so we had to be back early on Sunday or late Saturday.  We decided to anchor in Taylor’s Creek in Beaufort, North Carolina.

When we arrived at Taylor Creek, there were several vessels already anchored.  This only my second time taking my sailboat to Taylor Creek.  I noticed none of the other vessels had a scope.  A scope in anchoring is defined as a ratio of the length of an anchor rode from the bit to the anchor shackle and the depth of the water under the the bow of the boat measured from deck height.  Usually, for calm overnight you would use a 8:1 ratio, for strong winds and current you used a scope 12:1.  The wind was blowing at 15 plus knots and there is 6 knots current in Taylor Creek, so we put out 10:1 ratio.  Which happen to be a mistake.  On Saturday morning, when I woke up at 5:30 AM (High Tide was at 03:30 AM), something didn’t look right.  My boat was not in line with anchor line.  We were at 45 degree angle and a ground.

I tried motoring my way off the beach which didn’t work.  Then I tried motoring and using windless to pull vessel into deeper water. My sailboat has 4 1/2 feet draft and I was in 3.7 feet of water.  I called Tow Boat USA, which I am a member and had them pull off the beach and into deeper water.  If it wasn’t for getting aground, it would had been a perfect sailing adventure.  The sunset was gorgeous.

After breakfast, Daniel and I went kayaking in Taylor Creek.  First we paddle against the current for a hour, and then we had 15 minute ride back.

Here is summary of the trip, from Whittaker in Oriental to Taylor Creek, it took 4 hours and 34 minutes.  We travelled a distance of 22.5 miles.  Our maximum speed was 7.2 knots and our average speed of 4.9 knots (motoring to Beaufort with the tide going was helpful).  On the way down at the junction buoy, we took the route for Town Creek.  The tide was going out, so there was enough water to motor down that channel.

On the way back from Taylor Creek to Oriental, we took the long way around Radio Island. The distance on the way back was 24.3 miles.  It took 5 hours and 32 miles.  We were averaging 4.2 knots.  We had a hit a maximum speed of 7.5 knots.  On Saturday afternoon, small craft warning was in effect of the Neuse River.  The wind was blowing at 18 plus knots out of the Northeast.  When we got to spot in Adams Creek, where you are not heading Northeast (into the wind), at nun buoy 8A, we killed the motor and sail the rest of the way to Oriental.  When we got out of Adams Creek and started our tack to Oriental, we reef the main and started keeling at 20 degrees.  We were making 6 plus knots.

Followup on Strawberry Moon in June

Over the weekend there was a Full Moon on Sunday and Monday, June 16th and 17th. On both June 16 and 17, 2019, the moon will appear full to the eye as it shines close to the king planet Jupiter all night long.  I didn’t get a change to witness the moonrise over the horizon on Sunday. We had a busy weekend.  I was hoping the weather would hold out and be clear on Monday evening.  Fortunate was with me, and I was about to capture a sunset and moonrise at the coast.  The Moon was still at 100% at full on the 17th, Monday evening.

All the sunset picture were taken with my  Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1:18 G lens.  For the moonrise, I used my Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikkon DX AF-S 55-300mm 4.5-5.6 GED lens.

Let’s start with the sunset pictures, mainly because the sunset came first around 20:24 EST and moonrise was at 20:54 EST.  On Sunday, the sunset was again at 20:24, and moonrise was at 19:53 EST.  So I wasn’t that concern about observing the moonrise over the horizon on Sunday, because it would not be truly visible until after the sunset.  I was thinking about going to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, but the moon was going rise in the eastern sky at 113 degrees.  The barrier island beaches face toward the southeast, so the moon will coming up over the sand dunes. The sunrise was point to northwest of 300 degrees, therefore no sunset over the water.  I decided to check out the Morehead City boat ramp at the Newport River Pier.  I always thought it would be a cool place to take pictures.  I didn’t have my wife or puppies around, so I could be adventurous and it worked out perfectly.

 

Sunset at 20:11

I used the following camera setting:  Shutter Speed (Exposure time) of 1/160, an Aperture setting (F number) of f/6.3, and an ISO set to 1/200.

Sunset at 20:10

I used the following camera setting:  Shutter Speed (Exposure time) of 1/200, an Aperture setting (F number) of f/7, and an ISO set to 1/200.

Sunset at 20:07

I used the following camera setting:  Shutter Speed (Exposure time) of 1/200, an Aperture setting (F number) of f/6.3, and an ISO set to 1/200.

Latitude: 34° 43′ 24.354″ N / Longitude: 76° 41′ 10.572″ W

For the moonrise, I drove to the boat ramp on Taylor’s Creek boat ramp next to the Boathouse at the Front Street Village.  We launch our kayaks from there several times.  At Curtis A. Perry Park, they have a nice deck/pier that looks over Taylor’s Creek.

I used the following camera setting:  Shutter Speed (Exposure time) of 1/2, an Aperture setting (F number) of f/4.8, and an ISO set to 1/3200.

 

I used the following camera setting:  Shutter Speed (Exposure time) of 0.8, an Aperture setting (F number) of f/5.6, and an ISO set to 1/3200.

Latitude: 34° 42′ 34.662″ N / Longitude: 77° 1′ 21.15″ W

I drove back to New Bern to capture the Full Moon from my driveway.  It took the moon 35 minutes clear my neighbor’s garage and trees in my front yard.  You can not tell from the picture, but the moon is just above my neighbor’s garage.

I used the following camera setting:  Shutter Speed (Exposure time) of 1/125, an Aperture setting (F number) of f/8, and an ISO set to 1/100.

Latitude: 35° 3′ 1.14″ N/ Longitude: 76° 37′ 57.156″ W

Sunset on May 19th

The moonrise on the 19th of May was 21:06 and the sunset was at 20:06.  If I wasn’t so lazy on Saturday, both the moonrise and sunset was around 20:04 on the 18th of May (Saturday).  I wish I went, but there will always be a next time and maybe better.  I was hoping to hang around the coast until the moonrise on Sunday, but my dogs got restless.  So after the sunset, I drove home to watch the moonrise from New Bern.

We stop the bridge crossing the Bogue Inlet from Atlantic Beach to Morehead City (North Carolina, USA) watch the sunset.

My Latitude / Longitude coordinates were:

34° 42′ 39.468″ N / Longitude: 76° 44′ 14.514″ W

 

My partner in crime.  Ziva is the black dog that get restless.  Harley is Boxer Mix and love playing fetch anywhere, especially at the beach.  My wife Michele hugging my two other girls.

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Sunset over the Bogue Inlet in Atlantic Beach (North Carolina, USA).   I used my Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikkon DX AF-S 55-300mm 4.5-5.6 GED lens.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Weekend 2019

May 12th was Mother’s Day in U.S.A.  It’s not a real holiday, just some holiday to make money.  It was nice that my boys came to New Bern to spend Mother’s Day with their mama.

Raymond, Daniel, and Mother at Atlantic Beach, NC on Saturday

Latitude: 34° 41′ 45.132″ N / Longitude: 76° 43′ 7.992″ W

The weather was perfect.  The water temperature was warm 75 and the air temperature a comfortable 85.  As you can see, my boys are working on their tan.  The weather the Northeast wasn’t so nice for my sisters.  It was rainy and highs only in the mid-50’s.  I decided to take my Nikon camera (D7100) to one of the favorite spot for sunset.

I used my  Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1:18 G lens for the all the photo in this blog. I set my Shutter Speed 1/250 or 1/200, with an Aperture of f/8, and an ISO of 200.  The picture was taken around sunset.  Sunset was at 20:02.  The Latitude / Longitude coordinates were:

Latitude: 35° 7′ 31.13″ N / Longitude: 77° 1′ 36.73″ W

 

The following photos, I used a Shutter Speed of 1/200, an Aperture setting  f/7, and an ISO setting 200.

I tried using Hyperfocal distance (as Spence Cox article), but I found in this setting f/8 and f/7 worked best for the above pictures. Hyperfocal distance methods gives the sharpest possible photographs with maximum depth of field.  But for the picture below, I used an Aperture setting f/5.6 or f/6.3.

 

April practice, practice, and more practice

In April, I starting practicing taking random picture in my back yard, of sunsets, and moon rise.  My wife said to me, don’t you get bore taking pictures of sunrise and sunset.  I said no, each one is difference and ‘m practicing using my camera. As Joe Edelman stated on his blog “The BEST way to Dramatically Improve your Photography Skills – Photography Techniques”

The best way to dramatically Improve your photography skills is with practice! When we were kids we learned the phrase – practice makes perfect. That phrase has been around for ages and it is still around and won’t go away any time soon. The reason – it is sage advice. Practice is how to take better pictures. 

On the 15 of April, I drove to Bridgeton to capture the sunset.  I used my  Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikon Nikko 50mm f/1:18G lens for the all the photo in this blog. I set my Shutter Speed to 1/125, with an Aperture of f/10, and an ISO of 100.  The picture was taken at 19:37. The Latitude / Longitude coordinates were:

Latitude: 35° 7′ 26.68″ N / Longitude: 77° 1′ 34.32″ W

On the 17 April, I took a picture of bird in my backyard.  I have three bird feeders and bird bath in my backyard, so the animals should earn their keep. The picture was taken 17:09.  I set my Shutter Speed tp 1/125, with an Aperture of f/10, and an IOS of 100.

On the 22 April, I went back to Bridgeton to capture some sunset in the part from difference view point.  My wife decided to come with me.  The pictures were taken around sunset.  The first one was taken at 19:40. The Latitude / Longitude coordinates was the same (Latitude: 35° 7′ 26.68″ N / Longitude: 77° 1′ 34.32″ W in general).

On the 23 April, my wife had a late night conference call. (It’s nice being retire). I took my girls (puppies) to Atlantic Beach to play fletch in the water.  On the way home, we stopped at the Atlantic Beach – Morehead City Bridge to capture the sunset on Bogue Sound.  The first picture was taken at 19:39.

 

Sunset Atlantic Beach

Why is it, when where a full moon or celestial event, it’s rainy or very cloudy.  On April 12 and 13, there will be the 7th Annual North Caroline Statewide Star Party.  There are calling for overcast sky for the weekend, so it might be a washout.  I went to the my first meeting  at the Crystal Coast Stargazers, it is a local group of amateur astronomers and photographers that formed in 2016.  They have over 40 active members participating the group activities such as monthly dark skies observation, public workshops, and other outreach programs through the Fort Macon State Park and Cape Lookout National Seashore.  The meeting are on the 1st Wednesday of each month.

Because it been raining a lot, on Wednesday (April 10) it was a perfect spring day.  The temperature was in mid-70’s, and the Northeast wind brought clear skies.  I decided to take my puppies to the beach.  Yes, I have 2 dogs and only take pictures of one of them.  The oldest is camera shy.

It was Spring Break for Harley.  The water temperature was a chilly 63 degrees, but she didn’t seem to mind.  She loves fletching the ball at the beach.

I used my Nikon D7100 camera with the Nikon Nikko 50mm f/1:18G lens for the sunset at Atlantic Beach.

The Latitude: 34° 41′ 47.07″ N

The Longitude:  76° 43′ 34.44″ W

 

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