Summer solitude

free desktop calendar June 2015_1600x900

There’s nothing quite like the quiet of a calm, isolated island or lake; so much more enjoyable on a warm summer day. We haven’t had many days of warmth here yet, but I’m certain we’ll get a few before fall…

Different screen resolutions are available on the June 2015 page of the Free Calendar drop down list. Happy summer!

radiant sunset

The other evening, the air was crisp and clear, the sky clear blue and the water calm. The lake called me out from the shore. I’m glad I answered the call.

radiant sunset.jpgTo get the star light glow of the setting sun, I set the f-stop as deep (or wide – I never am sure of the technical description) as I dared (f29) and shot when the sun was brightest poking through the pine bows. I was driving the motor boat alone as I shot so I cruised as low as possible past this point of land several times to capture the sun before it disappeared over the horizon.


night light

There are so many beautiful sights in nature during our summer months. It’s difficult to pick favourites but reflections of the moonlight in a lake surface is definitely one of my top ten. Whether glass calm water mirrors the light or a light chop causes the light to dance, it provokes wonder in me.

In my constant hunt for an exceptional moon rise shot and with my trusty The Photographer’s Ephemeris application (which I discussed in this post), I headed out to Raleigh Lake just west of Ignace to scout a location in advance of the May full moon. I was delighted to find a little island between shorelines. The moon was scheduled to rise 40 minutes before  sunset so I knew the moon wouldn’t be very bright in the still lit sky. Sure enough, it rose where I expected and was quite faint. I was still pleased with the angle and foreground/water. Here’s a resulting shot.

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Do you see the moon? Here’s a closer look.

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The schedule for the following day, Friday, May 25 was full moon at 23:24; moonrise at 20:35; sunset at 20:55. The conditions would be better for a brighter moon on the horizon. I brought along a friend and a couple of flashlights so we could help each other find our way back in the pending darkness. Thankfully, the sky was clear (again), the bugs tolerable and the water calm. It was worth the wait!
Here it comes!
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What a night! Could it get better? In a way it did. Take a close look at the moon reflection in the image I selected and brightened for my July desktop calendar.

free desktop calendar July 2013 1440x900
The ripples were a result of a fish surfacing for a snack.

For specific screen resolutions of the calendar, drop down the Free Calendar tab at the top of the page or click here.

PS It was only a few days ago that an observant follower of my blog discovered that I had 31 days on my June desktop calendar! Oops. Sorry about that.

March 2013 desktop

The last couple of mornings have been magical! Heavy frost clung to everything. Brilliant sunshine danced off the lacy crystals creating a spectacular light show. Photos simply can not replicate the brilliance and intensity of such conditions. In the image below, the tiny pink dots are crystals reflecting the sunlight.
frosty glitter
I’m delighted to share with you a little bit of detail. If you would like to download the image for your desktop, you can find specific screen resolutions here.
free desktop calendar March 2013 1440x900

got it!

I have been on a hunt for a specific shot for several years now. It’s been a photographic challenge to capture the moon; not just the moon but a full moon as it rises. This task is made difficult for a number of reasons. First, the moon is full every 28 days. Second, it’s rotation around the earth as the earth rotates means the moon may be full and rise during bright daylight. Third, in a month when it will be visible in darker hours, sky conditions may conceal it altogether. And, knowing where exactly on the horizon it will appear is difficult to know for sure. Last summer, I caught the moon at Sandbar Lake just a little late. The post is here.

The best light for moon pictures is at dawn or dusk. The darker the sky the brighter the moon will appear and the more blown out in a picture. Sunrise and sunset data is readily available on weather site. Moon rise and set is a little harder to find. Where it will rise relative to where you are is even more difficult to determine. I’ve found an amazing application (free for desktop and $8.99 for smart phones) called The Photographer’s Ephermeris. This app allows you to pinpoint your location anywhere in the world for any day and it will give you the angle and time of both sun and moon rise and set. Here’s the screen shot from my desktop yesterday when I pinned the west shore of Sandbar Lake not far from my home.  I was hoping there would be an attractive foreground and not too distant lake shore for my shot.

With the app on my iPhone, tripod and flashlight added to my camera gear, my happy hound and I headed up the gravel road about 20 minutes before the estimated moon rise time. The shoreline of Sandbar is not readily accessed along this west side. A short walk through the brush brought me to the shore approximately where I pinned. With the compass in the app pointed north, I realized the angle would be directly along the shore I was on. I had my rubber boots on so headed north along the lake edge just in the water. Turns out my boots were just a little shorter than the water was deep! Ah, the price we pay to get the shot we want. Finally, I found a bit of a bay and set up. And waited.

Yay! Got it!

The pictures don’t truly show how dark it was. Finding my way back down the shore and through the bush would not have been possible without my flashlight and four-legged companion, Lindor! 🙂

Photo tip: Next time (I still want more) I will bring a second tripod and camera body so I don’t have to fumble around to switch lenses. The moon rises relatively quickly and with darkness descending even more quickly, I wasn’t able to get set with the bigger lense. Next full moon is Oct 29….

(un)real colour

Some nights the setting sun turns the sky the most amazing shades of pink.
Rarely, do we get this vibrant a violet.

No filters were used on nor post processing done to this image.