Tag Archives: Montana

Moonrise With Mars

Jacob and I went for a walk last night around the neighborhood and noticed how clear the sky was. Luckily, we live a short drive away from dark sky, so when it’s clear enough with city light pollution that the Milky Way starts to be visible, we hop in the car. Capturing a moonrise with stars and no layering is a difficult challenge. While these aren’t all the pictures from last night, I wanted to share a few of them.

For planning dark sky photography I use a couple websites:

The majority of dark sky locations have insufficient GPS/cell service to use my constellation sky map app, so I can’t recommend it at this time. That’s not a bad thing. Maybe with their next update I’ll include it in another dark sky post. Plus, it was a paid app and I’m currently trying to recommend free services.

5 October 2020 – Early Evening Photography

Source: Astronomy.com Stardome tool

The view that the Stardome tool produces is a bit off since the place where we stood on the surface of the earth is not Milwaukee, but it gave us a bit of an idea of what we were looking at. I hope this helps as a reference guide for some of the photographs below.

For the month of October 2020, Mars is visible to the east in the early evening sky. On 5 October we photographed Mars with a rising 87% waning gibbous moon.

To the north of the moonrise over the mountain crests a cluster of stars is visible. I believe these may be part of the Taurus constellation containing Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster, but it is important to note that I am a novice and that is most certainly washed out by light on the horizon.

Post processing of dark sky photos allows for the revealing or obfuscation of information within the photograph. I’ll include a second processed version of the above photo as an example.

Due east and more visible in this next picture is the red color of Mars. We attempted to use a telephoto lens to reduce the exposure and focus on the unique aspects of the trees in front of the moon, but ran into an issue of condensation as the temperature and humidity started changing rapidly.

One of the fascinating things about taking pictures during a moonrise was that I was constantly adjusting the exposure time to prevent starlines/streaking. Before the moonrise exposure time was at 8 seconds and after moonrise I reduced this down to 3.2 seconds. One of the streakier examples is shown below.

One of the incredible things about taking a camera out at night and pointing it in a direction, then setting the aperture open is just how much you can see.

At less than 3.2 seconds the darkness of the shot makes it hard to make anything out without post processing.

At greater than 5 seconds once the moon had risen the star lines were intolerable.

But that moonrise? Beautiful. Except I’m dealing with noise – that’s all the weird blotchy discoloration instead of there being a smooth transition across the sky.

The above image is the one I posted to Instagram. The noise issue is one that Adobe Lightroom handles well, but Instagram amplifies.

It can be seen here too. Look along the bottom edge.

In future posts I look forward to exploring some apps for editing dark sky photos on the go, and ranking based on which ones make the same pictures that start out looking like mostly void and partially stars the best.

In the meantime, if you enjoyed this post and want to see more dark sky photos please like, comment, and share. I have a lot of photos to edit and play around with, plus I enjoy getting out and taking new ones. I’m excited to try and get some aurora pictures this winter.

Thanks for reading 💕

If you would like to use any of our photos from this post:

  • For unpaid projects, simply credit us by linking back to this website.
  • For paid projects please send me an e-mail and we can exchange a fair use contract with more details.

A Candle, A Crystal Ball and A Camera

We tried to photograph the full moon last night, but the weather was not cooperative. I even brought along a crystal ball! That said, I brought everything along to the nearby cemetery where we set up, giving us something to focus on (pun intended).

The coffin shaped candle was a purchase from Target because Halloween season and anytime there are nautical themed items are when I obtain home decorations. At least I’m predictable!

The next picture is probably my favorite. I love how the orb caught the candlelight.

It was sad to miss the first full moon of October. That’s okay though! There’s another one on October 31! Isn’t it great that Halloween is a Blue Moon?

Thank you for joining me for these pictures even though we could deliver the full moon shots Jacob and I had originally intended. I look forward to playing with the crystal ball more. You can obtain your own from a variety of retailers – this one was $30. One manufacturer, known as the Lensball is specifically intended for photography. I have not yet tried that one.

The orb we use is molded glass and due to the lower quality it has some imperfections (very small air bubbles, interior swirls). Higher quality glass orbs and orb lenses can create incredibly beautiful pieces – do your research and buy from a reputable source. I’m still shopping around for a new one.

These photos were taken by Jacob and me together.

If you would like to use any of our photos from this post:

  • For unpaid projects, simply credit us by linking back to this website.
  • For paid projects please send me an e-mail and we can exchange a fair use contract with more details.

Thank you so much and have a great weekend! Happy October!

Lo Is Domestic AF: I Foraged Rose Hips In The Woods

While adventuring along the Skalkaho Road (Route 38) Rose Hip season is in full swing. That means, it’s time to harvest and process all these beautiful end of summer/beginning of autumn fruits. For further reading, I’m going to refer readers over to this article on processing Rose Hips on The Spruce.

Rose hips were one of my grandmother’s favorite foods. My grandmother was the daughter of a feminist, progressive “woman’s doctor” in the Deep South (Alabama). She told me a story once about how the blood and other body fluids from miscarriages and complicated births were used to feed/fertilize her family’s rose bushes while they were cleaning the surgical delivery suite in the family’s basement. Traditionally, especially in the South, human blood and animal blood was used as fertilizer for roses. You can find instructions on using blood meal to fertilize your rose bushes here.

I could go into great detail about the religious and spiritual significance around the use of blood to fertilize rose bushes that would then be used to grow and harvest the eventual resulting rose hips from the flowers. There is something truly beautiful about this cycle of life and connectedness between the earth and this particular food, especially as we enter a season where “the veil thins.”

A word of advice: if you collect wild rose hips soak them in water overnight unless you like extra protein. Use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water. You’ll see the grubbies at the bottom of the container. Pour this out, or strain them out.

I’ll add another update with preparations of rose hips including tea, jam, and cordial soon. I need to go back out and collect more rose hips before I can write about these preparation processes, specifically the cordial.

What seasonal foraging foods do you like hunting for in autumn? Are there any family favorites? Any traditions?

Thank you for reading!

Landscaping The Yard: An Update

I mentioned that one of my current projects is landscaping the yard. And the yard started out looking *rough* for our 1/10 acre lot around this detached townhouse. It started out pretty plain – a weed barrier with mulch overtop.

Our first mission had been building this retaining wall this past summer for stormwater and snowmelt management.

Then I put in two front garden patches. I have my little garden faeries. I spell that with the “ae” because they’re *special* and little gargoyle things. I bet they come alive at night and are Daddy Longlegs ranchers. I’ll take a video sometime about the unusually large population of Daddy Longlegs living in my garden beds around these little statues. I have no issues with other bugs though!

By the front door I have my little freeze thaw resistant flower pot and my rodeo rider.

For today’s interlude, here are some flower pictures. The flowers are flourishing now that they’re in the ground.

In the back yard against the garage wall I plan to plant this radiant honeysuckle.

I love the color orange. It is my favorite color and finding an orange Chrysanthemum made me very happy.

I’m honored that Glowing Goddess Skin (not a promotional link) featured one of my Chrysanthemum photos from the garden.

The next flowers I plan to add are taken mostly from here. I love dark colored flowers and by having them mixed in with brightly colored ones, I believe this creates a nice balance.

I would also like to add Hydrangeas and Peonies as the finishing touches next spring once the sod has been placed and we have a sense of how the honeysuckle is filling in along the garage wall.

What are your favorite flowers? What do you value most in landscaping?

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this brief update on the garden. I hope you are making the most of your time at home and the beautiful autumn weather. Be sure to like, comment, and/or share if you would like to see more updates on our garden and landscaping. Stay happy and healthy!

Thank you for reading ❤