Chasing the moon

Frustrated with my lack of success with last night’s Full Moon, I went out tonight to capture the Waxing Gibbous Moon, which I actually prefer to shoot because the craters become more visible as the moon leaves its full moon stage. [According to the Farmer’s AlmanacNovember’s Full Moon is traditionally known as the Beaver Moon because it was the time to set traps before the waters froze over. It was also called the Full Frost Moon.]IMG_4963

I am glad that I went out tonight to try to lasso the moon because, while waiting for the moon to rise, I found some pretty cool reflections in the pond and some interesting contrast of light and shadow.IMG_4948-2

Reflections of car tail lights

Reflections of car tail lights

My favorite

My favorite

Waxing Gibbous Moon (92%)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (92%)

My favorite models

I haven’t posted shots of my favorite model recently; now her little sister joins her and I have two favorites.

For the first two, I was practicing off-camera flash.

Halloween Candy Overload

Halloween Candy Overload

The leather couch reflected the light horribly, so I added a sheet as backdrop.

Day after Halloween...see the chocolate face?

Day after Halloween…see the chocolate face?

Granddaughter #2

She's starting to flirt with the camera.

She’s starting to flirt with the camera.

Just for fun, the night-before-full-moon. Did you know it’s known as the Beaver Moon?

It will be a full moon tomorrow night.

It will be a full moon tomorrow night.

Sunday Post: Unforgettable

DSC_0122Unforgettable? I’m 62 years old, and I have a lifetime of unforgettable moments; I had not truly appreciated that fact until I started to look for images to post for Jakes’s Sunday Post.

I now realize that I am blessed to have had far too may unforgettable moments to post on this blog.

Unforgettable: the first time I opened the blanket to touch Baby Elle’s little toes three years ago. (“Image by Mona” … nope my son/her daddy took this shot.)

Unforgettable: All of the incredible moments I am fortunate enough to spend with her as she grows into a remarkable little girl.

Unforgettable: If you’ve followed my blog for any time at all, you know that I spent the past two summers working and playing in China, part of it trekking about by myself. The first summer, when I was 60, I took a night-train from Shanghai to Beijing alone and toured the major sites with an English-speaking tour group. The second summer, I spent a week alone in Shanghai. This might not be that remarkable to those of you who are seasoned travelers, but it is quite UNFORGETTABLE and remarkable for me because this was my first time out of the United States.

Unforgettable: An invitation to dinner in a private home in Feicheng, Shandong Province, China. What’s even better is that we were allowed to “help” in making the dumplings.

New to Word press? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in my Weekly Competition to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in 2013 Lucky Snake Event. (It’s the Year of the Snake!) Everyone is welcome to participate, if your blog is about photography,Video, Graphic Artwork Or Writing.

1. Each week, Jake provides a theme for creative inspiration. Show the world based on your interpretation what you have in mind for the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Sunday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. Subscribe to jakesprinter so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS. GET THE BADGE FOR YOUR IMAGE WIDGET….


Make sure to have the image link to so that others can learn about the challenge, too.

Posted in: Sunday Post

Las Noches de las Luminarias

I’ve lived in the Phoenix area for more than 25 years, and each year I’ve promised myself that I would get to Las Noches de las Luminarias (literally, The Nights of The Lights) at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

The powerful saguaro appears to guard the adobe house decorated with luminaries.

The powerful saguaro appears to guard the adobe house decorated with luminarias.

Two nights ago, I kept my promise. At first I was disappointed that I could find no one to go with me, but, once there, I was thankful for the chance to wander alone through the paths lit with the soft glow of more that 8,000 hand-light luminarias and thousands of twinkling white lights.

I was delighted by the sounds of jazz, blues, flamenco guitar, didgeridoo, and a hand-bell choir, along with stories told by a Native American storyteller. I finished my evening with a hand-warming cup of hot chocolate and more jazz in the garden.

And of course, because this is a post about The Nights of The Lights and because I love taking shots of the moon, I must include the picture I took last night of the most magnificent Light of the Night, the last full moon of 2012. (Click on any image for descriptions and slideshow.)

Sunday Reflections

Tonight's Moon: ISO 100, 200 mm, f/8.0 at 1/250 sec

Tonight’s Moon: ISO 100, 200 mm, f/8.0 at 1/250 sec

I gave myself an unplanned silent retreat today. It began this morning when I spent several hours with Lectio Divina (a way of prayer and meditation using the Scriptures). My spirit began to grow quiet and calm with the silent study, prayer, and reflection and I decided to allow myself the luxury of more.

My home was silent, with no TV, music, cell phone. In addition, I avoided the noise of computer interaction; Internet and email are just a few of the noisy distractions.

Now, I go to bed with peace.

What does this have to do with the image of the moon? Not much … but yet, a lot. On my walk with Sophie tonight, I was completely filled with thanksgiving for the stars in the sky, for the cool air, and for the brilliant moon hanging low, just above the rooftops. I rushed her through her walk, hastily assembled the camera, and set up in the front street to capture the moment.

Good night, moon. Good night everyone.

Tonight’s Moon

Waxing Gibbous

I wasn’t sure what a “waxing gibbous” is, but a quick search led me to

After the new moon, the sunlit portion is increasing, but less than half, so it is waxing crescent. After the first quarter, the sunlit portion is still increasing, but now it is more than half, so it is waxing gibbous. After the full moon (maximum illumination), the light continually decreases. So the waning gibbous phase occurs next. Following the third quarter is the waning crescent, which wanes until the light is completely gone — a new moon.

Didn’t get it!

Last night I hiked to the top of the mountain to get the fantastic shot of the year. Hmm … that didn’t happen. After I got over my self-congratulations at making it to the top (really, it was a hefty hike with my photo backpack & small bottle of water), I casually wondered how I would get off the mountain in the dark. While waiting for the moon to rise, I enjoyed the expanse of the valley of houses below me and the glorious colors as the sun set in the desert. Around 7:10 PM the highly anticipated moon began to rise. On the top of the mountain, I was not able to move my tripod to a position to get the shot I wanted. In this shot below, we see the rising moon next to one of the mountains. You can see the homes in the foothills.

I wasn’t satisfied and tried to get a closer shot.

By this time, I was thinking “Holy Cow, how am I gonna get off this mountain without falling, breaking my leg, hitting my head on a boulder, and lying here all night?” (Actually my language was much more colorful … remember? I teach teenagers who are comfortable emitting gutter language and I have found the trashy words flying out of my mouth.) Just to cover my bases, I had texted my son who can track my cell phone and call out the calvary if needed.

With the help of my tiny flashlight that I keep in my photo backpack, I made it safely to the base of the mountain. I waited. I waited. I sat on a lawn chair. I ate an apple. I ate some chocolate. Still that moon did not rise above the mountain … the one I’d just descended.

I decided that this was ridiculous, got in my pretend SUV and headed out of the mountain park. As soon as I passed the gate (“Do not back up! Your tires will be punctured!”) I saw THE MOON peaking around the edge of the mountain.

I parked illegally (totally out of character for me) and pulled out the tripod & Nikon.

And now you have it: My adventures with the moon on the mountain. But, to my dismay, I did not get that award-winning shot of the orange-tinged moon rising over the horizon. So, to soothe my bruised ego, I finished the night with a juicy hamburger topped with corned beef and swiss cheese, accompanied by a cooling dark beer. Good Night Moon.