Weekly Photo Challenge: Change – Th’ Inconstant Moon

Blood Moon Spiral

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change – Th’ Inconstant Moon

One of my favourite lines from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is “O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb.”. It has always reminded me of the child that Juliet was, her innocence and wonder in this heavenly orb that appears to change as if by magic. It unnerves and mystifies her, yet she clearly finds it most beguiling. Science has shown us that, in fact, astronomical bodies are mostly consistent and predictable. We can even predict the future changes within our own solar system and beyond. It is thanks to science that I was able to watch and photograph the magical changes of Monday morning’s lunar eclipse that rendered our moon blood-red for a time. Change is a constant in nature and life. It can be frightening when it’s not understood and liberating when it’s embraced.

I also want to say a huge THANK YOU to my beloved hubby, Simon, who sat out on a cold and misty hillside all through the night to keep me company and help me with my gear so that I could achieve a dream and create this eclipse sequence to share with you all! A romantic gesture that even Shakespeare could not have imagined. So as the date changes from the 29th to the 30th, I want to wish him a Magical Birthday. Love him to the moon, and back again πŸ™‚

120 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Change – Th’ Inconstant Moon

  1. I have never seen anything like this – you are amazing! You must have used some incredible equipment to achieve these images – I saw the moon around 3 am and thought about a photograph but decided against it with my camera(s). So glad you (and Simon) made the effort and share it with us. Thanks ❀ ❀

    • Oh bless you Jude! My lens is the best bit, 50-500 mm. My tripod drives me round the twist but I’m stubborn and growl at it when it doesn’t do what I want it too πŸ˜‰ My camera body is a Sony a35 which is a few years old and very inexpensive for an SLR. It’s done me proud though! One important thing was shooting all my images in RAW and taking time to get them looking their best through the converter. RAW really makes a big difference to images of distant subjects as the file holds much more data and preserves details. I have learnt this fact the hard way when trying to enlarge previous jpeg photos of the moon! I would have loved equipment that worked better in noise reduction at high iso but I had a vision of what I wanted to do so I made it work, with a little help from Simon and Photoshop πŸ˜‰ I think the most trouble we had on the night was the mist and condensation. I had to clear the lens before every shot!! I was actually surprised that there was only one other pair of photographers/astronomers out at Newlands Corner to watch the eclipse! They stayed over closer to the carpark and she was singing that song from Frozen all night accompanied by some very confused owls! Quite a good voice really but I still had trouble not laughing out loud πŸ˜‰

      • Sounds like a lot of hard work and a lot of fun too. One for the memory bank πŸ™‚
        I have tried shooting in RAW but have to say that all the post processing really does my head in! I can see why it would make sense in this instance though.

      • Yes, a lot of both! Perhaps a touch of lunacy too πŸ˜‰ I was absolutely determined to do it and finishing the montage was just so satisfying!! Most of the processes within the Adobe RAW converter are very similar to those in Lightroom, if you know how to use that at all. Whenever I find something that I can’t figure out for myself I just Google tutorials!

      • It was about 90 in total and then I selected around 40 to try in the montage after putting them through the raw converter. Just a case of getting the balance right after that πŸ™‚ It got very misty halfway through the eclipse so I had a few issues with getting detail. The blood moon itself is really very dark too so I was at 3200 ISO! It was a long night but so worth it πŸ˜€

      • I have never worked in such high ISO! I just put my Canon on night mode. I’m too impatient to take shots manual. I let the camera do the thinking. *laughing I know that the results will be much better to – and look at yours – it paid off big time. Fantastic art, Sarah.

      • I think most cameras automatically set to 1600 ISO for night mode. The CMOS sensors on modern digital cameras are so much better at high ISO noise reduction and steady shots! The trouble with a lot of auto functions is a tendency to overexpose everything and you can end up loosing detail. The change in light as the moon is gradually obscured is quite something! I usually photograph a full or nearly full moon on 100 ISO at f11 and 1/500th exposure or thereabouts depending on various conditions. The moon, full and fully risen is very, very bright but a moon just clearing the horizon or a crescent moon can often require a long exposure. Thanks so much Viveka!

      • Thanks for the tips … I will try to put into my hard drive and maybe I remember next time I look at the moon through my camera. Same with the sun it creates a lot of overexpose – even if it’s in my back. And the sky disappear. Have to take a course I think.

    • A composition idea that’s been in my mind for a while for a moon montage! There’s lots of underlying reasons that are personal to me and my relationship with nature and science but I’d bore everyone silly if I went into it all πŸ˜‰ I was so happy that it worked out how I had envisaged it! Whoever would have thought that the South of England in autumn would have been the right place to be at to view an astronomical event?!? I shall be chasing solar eclipses next πŸ˜‰ Cheers Dan, glad I was able to share with you!

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  3. This is simply stunning Sarah. It should be on the cover of National Geographic. Happy to see that Cheri will feature it on their Photos we Love this week. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you so much Kat πŸ™‚ I wanted to do something that brought science and art together. Your Aurora shots are beautiful! Love that shooting star and the treeline πŸ™‚ I’ve never seen it before myself but hope to make a few trips to Iceland in the next few years! Just like getting the lunar eclipse, it’s all about late nights, long exposures and a lot of luck with weather conditions πŸ˜‰

      • I had thought the straight line in the photo was a shooting star, as well, but another night photog informed me that actually it was probably the Int’l Space Station, or a flare from a passing satellite. Iceland is supposed to be quite the photographer’s dream — I hope to get there someday too! Thanks so much for browsing and commenting :-).

      • It was my pleasure Kat πŸ™‚ Yes, it could well have been a satellite. I love satellite spotting at night! I think there’s an app for following where the ISS is. I’d love to try to do some stacked star trails some time. I’ve seen some really impressive ones shared on WordPress! Something that needs a bit more research first though πŸ™‚

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  6. I would have been happy to take one beautiful shot of that moon. To do a perfect series and arrange it as beatifully as you’ve done here? Well that would be amazing. Lovely work.

    • Thank you so much Lisa!! This was a sequence I have dreamt of doing for many years and wasn’t sure if I’d ever get the opportunity. Thank goodness the weather behaved as well as it did! It really was an exciting piece to create and something that I will always treasure πŸ™‚

  7. Absolutely breathtaking! It’s awesome to see the entire event as it happened. I kept going inside and out, taking a few photos but was unable to see the beginning due to heavy cloud cover. To see it in it’s entirety is amazing! You are so very talented and thank you.

    • Thanks Patti πŸ™‚ So glad to be able to share the whole event with you! We had to drive a little way out to get away from streetlights and ensure a full view of the eclipse. I know a few people who were popping in and out to their gardens, but I wanted to try to get a shot every 10mins approx so being out on a location was good for that. The mist was starting to give me a few problems around half way through and I was so worried that a thicker fog/low cloud would form! Sorry to hear you missed the start but I’m glad that you got to see some of it for yourself πŸ™‚

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  9. What a fabulous series of moon photos to show the whole event from start to finish, just beautiful! Came to you from a conversation I have been having with Viveka about our shared love of the moon and taking photos of same. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sally! I’ve just been exploring your page and reading a few posts and comments πŸ™‚ We seem to really enjoy similar things! Also your blog is even more eclectic than mine I think which is good going πŸ˜‰ So much inspiration out there in the natural world! You’re certainly based in a glorious part of the UK. My sister and brother-in-law are about half way between in Devon and I don’t think they got much of a view of the lunar eclipse. Too much sea fog! Up in the Surrey Hills was the perfect spot and for the weather to behave as well as it did was practically unheard of. It was a long night but a dream come true πŸ™‚ Viveka is lovely isn’t she? I read many of her posts as they’re always full of interest! Thanks for visiting and commenting, hope to speak to you again πŸ™‚

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  11. This is absolutely amazing and stunning work Sarah! I’ve seen so many captures of the moon but yours are definitely the best sweetie! We do love our hubby’s to the moon and back, don’t we? You’ve done an excellent job! I love it! πŸ˜€ β™₯

    • Thanks Sophia and thanks for looking up my composite! I think it’s the one that I’m most proud of πŸ™‚ Hubby and I are off to Kos next week and we were just talking about going up into the mountains to do some astrophotography while we’re over there! I really loved being able to spend that night with the moon with him πŸ˜€ Hopefully we’ll get some beautiful views that I can share when get back. Almost no light pollution from one particular side of the mountain πŸ˜€

      • You are very welcome Sarah and that sounds awesome! I am sure you and hubby are going to enjoy it very much and I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to when you come back. πŸ˜€

        I am sure you’re going to get some awesome views. Have fun and enjoy! πŸ˜€ β™₯

      • I can’t wait now!! Much as I love our beautiful countryside and wonderful wildlife, there’s far too much stress everywhere in the UK. It’s also silly footie season with the Euro Championship!! It brings out the worst in English fans at home and abroad and totally takes over TV and radio. If you don’t like football (like me and Simon!) it just gets boring and embarrassing!

      • I can only imagine and we don’t watch TV or sports at all either. Here in SA it’s always the rugby and I can only smile when I hear how some people get totally depressed when their team lost. Still can’t understand it. πŸ˜†

      • Funnily enough I do like the rugby! Both Union and League. It’s such a different atmosphere around the sport though. I grew up with it really and my brother was a county and university player until he really bust his ankle up. My cousin’s hubby plays for the international Australian team, the Wallabies, who England are touring against at the moment! Lots of family teasing between here and Aus πŸ˜‰ Honestly, here all rugby fans can sit together and have a laugh even though we support different teams. It’s not like the fanaticism that builds up around footie thank goodness! I’d never get depressed over my team not doing well. Sport has ups and downs so you just have to roll with it and not treat it like some life or death situation! South Africa is big on its cricket too isn’t it? Too boring for me!

      • Not at all this side. I find rugby boring. πŸ˜€

        A pity about your brother’s busted ankle and that something like sports can cause such injuries.

        Ha! Not around here. Some people can become really depressed and there have been fights because of the teams. Still can’t understand how and why. LOL!

        I agree with you. Sport is a game, so why get so serious about it? Yes, cricket is another fascination for some people. Just as boring as rugby. I’d rather watch gymnastics or ice-skating then. πŸ˜€

      • Variety is the spice of life eh? Ah, now I do love watching the ice skating pairs!! Amazing routines πŸ™‚ I actually look forward to the Olympics every four years as there’s so much variety of sport to watch that often isn’t shown. I enjoy the atmosphere of it too as it often showcases amateur rather than professional sports.

        Yeah, Robin was a bit unlucky with the severity of the break but it happens to a lot of rugby players! He’s still really close friends with the lads he grew up playing club rugby with πŸ™‚

        Some people laugh at me for enjoying snooker! I used to play though so it adds interest for me. I also find it relaxing to watch if I’m feeling poorly πŸ˜‰ My other love is Formula 1 motor racing which I don’t think is a thing in SA? My best friend teases me about it all the time πŸ˜‰

      • It certainly is. Just think how boring life would have been if we all liked the same things. Each to his/her own, I always say. πŸ˜€

        I do as well and of course, ballroom dancing.

        It’s good that he still have contact with them and nothing wrong with snooker either. That is a sport where you must know what you’re doing for sure. Hubby loves playing the snooker games.

        I can think how relaxing it must be to watch it when you are not feeling well. At times like that you don’t want anything stressful to add to the pain or discomfort. πŸ˜€

        It sure is around here and of course, bike racing, off-road racing and car racing. I just don’t know any people that do like to watch it. πŸ˜€

      • Yeah we have lots of great motorsports here πŸ™‚ I live just up the road from Brooklands which is where the first ever Grand Prix was held! The track is broken up now but a few sections remain and parts are in the Brooklands Museum which is a great place to go. It’s set next door to Mercedes-Benz World which is another great place to go though I actually got stuck in one of the sports cars one time as it was so low down I couldn’t get up and Simon had to rescue me πŸ˜‰ There’s an original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car used in the film at the museum which the kids love to see.

        Glad to hear you appreciate snooker too! A lot of skill in it. I was never particularly good but loved playing πŸ™‚ Yes, ballroom is beautiful! We have a program on TV every year leading up to Christmas called Strictly Come Dancing where celebrities partner with professionals to learn new dances each week. Some of them are absolutely brilliant!! Some of them are hopeless but funny πŸ˜‰ It raises money for charity too.

        Tired today so I have the tennis on as background noise. Also strangely relaxing!!

      • That is so cool and I am sure it is. πŸ˜€

        LOL! I would have the same problem with low cars. Luckily we do have our white knights to rescue us when something like that happens. πŸ˜€

        Now that must be something to see. I am sure not only the kids love to see that. πŸ˜€

        Definitely! I also played from time to time but my fav pastime was darts in my younger days. We even had championships.

        Yes, I know that program and when we still watched TV, I used to watch it as well. You are so right about that. πŸ˜€

        I felt like that this weekend. Been working too hard in the garden and then I enjoy it so much that I forget about the suffering afterwards. LOL!

        Now that is also something I loved to watch as well. Hope you are feeling better today sweetie. Take care. β™₯

      • We had a darts league too πŸ˜€ I wasn’t awful but being a shorty I had trouble with the top half of the board! Ok, yes, I admit that I am usually the first to start singing Chitty songs at Brooklands lol πŸ˜‰ I think the bit of gardening I did wore me out the other day. Deadheading the roses and they’ve been on bumper bloom mode!! Usually it is a relaxing break in the garden but it was more of a battle this time. Take care too hunni πŸ˜€

      • LOL! I know. I am very tall, so to me it was easy. We had a shorty in the team and the two of us always had fun laughing about it. πŸ˜€

        haha. It is a lovely song though. πŸ˜€

        I also know how that feels. I’ve been doing the same and no matter how young I feel, the body keeps telling me that old age is creeping in. Thanks darling, and you too. Let’s keep those battles down. πŸ˜€ β™₯

      • Ha! I know the feeling and yes, it’s better to laugh at ourselves. πŸ˜€

        Have a great week sweetheart. This little guy is keeping me a bit busy. β™₯

      • OMG, I’ve just seen Rambo! Bless πŸ˜€ Such a cute little foxy face. You’ve taken some fantastic images of him. He’s going to be keeping you very busy for some time I should think! Good luck with the training πŸ˜‰ They often have that defiant “I’m a big dog really” streak in them! Have a wonderful time with him hunni ❀

      • Thanks sweetie and you are so right, he is keeping me very busy, but he is such a darling that I don’t mind. πŸ˜€

        Oh, that is a fact. He thinks he is a lion. πŸ˜†

        Thanks for the lovely wishes. I will indeed. Take care and have a great day. β™₯

      • LOL! You said it! They do indeed. Not a day goes by that this little darling doesn’t make me laugh. He is such a treat. πŸ˜€

      • Just adore his beautiful face πŸ˜€ There was a black pug at our community music festival on Sunday that was soooooo well trained and behaved! They spoilt the overall impression by sticking a huge pink bow on it though πŸ˜‰ Photos are on my Facebook page

      • Awww, thanks sweetie. πŸ˜€

        Pugs are just as adorable and very clever as well. Some do love to stick bows on them. When I got Rambo he also had a little bow in his hair. Took it out after I took photos of him. He and I don’t like it. πŸ˜†

        Will go and check when I log into FB again. Thanks. πŸ˜€

      • At least his was small and purple (my favourite colour) but I bet he looks even more foxy with his beautiful, natural and unadorned coat πŸ˜€ I showed my step-daughter the photos of him today and there was much awww-ing πŸ˜‰

      • My favourite colour as well and he does indeed. Just like a little lion with a foxy face. But he keeps me busy hey. He is at the stage where he picks up everything he sees. Very curious and inquisitive. Just like a little baby who started crawling and wants to try out everything. LOL!

        Awww, that is so sweet of you. Thank you honey and give her hugs from me. β™₯

      • Absolutely! Yeah, just like men, I think. hahahaha

        Oh, that is a fact sweetness. πŸ˜€

        You must have a great day and have fun! β™₯ Hugs β™₯

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