Friday, December 05, 2008

Sunset And Moonrise

A Double Blessing On The First Day Of Summer

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I just happened to look towards the western horizon at precisely the right time on Monday. Luckily, I always have my camera close at hand, so I was able to get these quick shots of the clearly-defined rays of the setting sun.

Monday was an interesting day for a Sky Watch participant, especially one who lives in Australia. You see, December 1 is the official start of our summer, so spring is behind us and the weather is getting hotter as the days get longer.


These two shots of the sunset were taken through a window, because I needed the elevation in order to get the best effect of the rays - and I had to act extremely swiftly because I knew the span of the rays would only last a couple of minutes.

The clouds had me worried, though. We were looking forward to nightfall because I knew that a clear sky would enable us to see the extremely rare right of the moon, Venus and Jupiter aligned to look like a smiling face. For most of you, the sight would have been the other way around, but we're the Land Down Under, where everything is topsy-turvy, including the seasons and the orientation of the sky!

But as I told the Authorbloglets, the clouds were building up quickly and we probably wouldn't even get a glimpse of the "face in the sky".

Then, about an hour later, the clouds went scudding through fairly rapidly because of the strong breeze and we were able to feast our eyes on this sight. We were in a hurry as we were going out - so I took this shot without a tripod. There is actually a slight shimmer on the image of the stars, but it's not a bad result for a shot taken with the camera held freehand.

I guess it was a real blessing, by Jupiter.


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

72 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

Amazing! Here we had snow and our village was cut off!
Happy SWF!

artist Mike said...

From our garden in Devon England Venus, venus was behind the moon for a quarter of an hour then appeared at the angle of four oclock by the moon, the sky was clear so it bwas stunning.

Trixie said...

Amazing shot! A friend of my mum from Melbourne sent a photo of the smiling sky, but it was nowhere near as clear as that!

Moannie said...

Absolutely awesome pictures. I thought the first two were spectacular enough but you gave me pudding with the third. Wow!

tardevil said...

You have the best job ever & get the best photos! I wish I had seen the moon & planets. And poor guy that used the wrong toilet. I'm so jealous it's summer there! It's cold here (20's at night), and if it's going to be that cold, it would be nice to see some snow along with it!

Denise said...

Incredible photos David.

lmerie said...

Those shots are amazing! Absolutely breathtaking! And I love that you were able to get the shot of the moon with jupiter and venus. I am not any good at night shots - I think I took them when it was too dark. I just had three boring white blobs :)

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

ABsolutely stunning skies!! l'm gobsmakered!!

Daryl said...

Was it dawning of the Age of Aquarius ..said song is now playing on a loop in my head ...

:-Daryl

Mrs. Organic said...

I've never seen the smiling face before - what a fun shot. The rays are beautiful.

Deb said...

oh david, they're amazing. the sky at sunset looks like something out of the Bible or something.

i didn't know photos of the night sky would turn out so well. you must have a super-fancy camera.

we had a nice view of the baby moon, and his neighbors, until the clouds rolled in.

lime said...

wow, seeing the smiling face is so neat. in our part of the world the crescent curved in the opposite direction and venus and jupiter were below and to the right of the moon when i saw them.

Clancy In Idaho said...

Absolutely beutiful! Love those shots!

Katney said...

We may see quite a few conjunction pictures in this week's Skywatch!

Bee said...

Those sunset pictures are magical! Gods racing their chariots across the sky.

(I can never get used to the upsidedownness of the seasons.)

richies said...

What glorious photos. The colour and radiance of the sunset is just beautiful. I have tried photographing the moon, but without satifactory results. your picture is great!

An Arkie's Musings

Anna said...

As always, David, your photos are gorgeous. I love those rays!

I'm kind of mad at myself because I forgot to go out and look for the moon and planets. It was cloudy all day, but I'm not sure whether it had cleared off by then or not. Thankfully, people like you remembered and have shared pictures.

The W.O.W. factor said...

These photos are outstanding! Love the colors as I don't think I've experienced the same vision here!
BTW, thanks for the visit, but I'm curious...why would you think my Cowboy..
"I reckon he's got to be an Aussie!!" ?

Colin Campbell said...

Love the yellow sky and we had a nice view of the smiley face from our front door earlier in the week.

Merisi said...

Beautiful, David,
all of them! I love the intense colours of the crepuscular ray shots!

I was lucky enough to capture the New Moon with Jupiter and Mars, right from my bedroom window, no tripod either. ;-)

Sylvia K said...

What incredible shots! Wow! And I'm here in Seattle shivering away. The colors are gorgeous and the moon shot is spectacular! Thank you, as always for your beautiful pictures.

GreenJello said...

Wow. Just wow.

Kim said...

Beautiful skies. After seeing all of the triangulation photos I am starting to feel jealous that it was snowing here and I missed it :) Great shots!

Carletta said...

What a beautiful sunset - awesome catch of the rays!
I missed the trio so thanks for sharing it with us.

Hildegarde said...

A double blessing indeed ! gorgeous and special.

RuneE said...

First day of summer - grrrrrr!! :-)

Envious of course, but that is made up for by the pictures. Especially the last one which I havn't been able to manage.

Texas Travelers said...

It's upside down. Oh wait, I forgot, you're down under. ;o)

Great shot of the sun's rays.

Troy

bowledover said...

David you sunset pictures thrilled me with their rich colours.
The smile in the night sky would have made my week.
Well done and thanks for sharing.

Photo Cache said...

Awesome shots, all three. Happy summer days to you.

The Muse said...

The essence of the universe!

fishing guy said...

David: Wonderful sunset and a neat view of the conjunction of the Moon and the planets. Thanks for sharing these neat photos.

Pat Houseworth said...

31 F for a high today in our "Summer" in Ohio

;)

imac said...

David the star shining bright
Sun rising captured just right.

Kat said...

Those sunset pictures look just like heaven. Absolutely gorgeous.

Stacey Huston said...

First day of summer?? Not here, had a high of 4(F) last night,, burr.. beautiful sky you are having though

Arija said...

Daid, what a magnificent sunset and to capture the smily face is a double delight . Well done!

Champ said...

Beautiful shots, David, as always. I tried to get a similar moon shot without and luck!

Maggie May said...

I love those pictures. I also love the way you described the smiling face. I have never noticed that before!

It is perishing cold here!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

That thar first shot?

PERFECTION.

Raven said...

Monday seems to have been an extraordinary day in lots of places. Exquisite shots... from the rich colors to the moon and Jupiter.

Sharon Ellery said...

Great shots. It was too cloudy where we live to clearly see the smiley face. Now I know what we missed.

Lew said...

If those clouds had hung around at just the right place, your face would have a head of hair or maybe a beard! Gorgeous sunset and delightful smile and eyes in the sky.

marcia@joyismygoal said...

ah I am so impressed w/ your planet shot mine was sadly poor and I love that golden sky

Pretty Life Online said...

Nature is truly beautiful! Happy weekend! Hope you can have time to visit my corner too...

Carver said...

Wow these are magnificent shots. Breathtaking.

Sandi McBride said...

My breath caught in my throat and just as I was able to breathe again, your picture of the night sky felled me yet again! These really need to be framed and hung...really !
Sandi

spiCes said...

really magnificent photos david! geesh! and i am taking chances with my very first attempt/entry for skywatch:)

Gmj said...

Fantastic! Thanks for showing me something I never saw before.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

That's another yellow sky, and a beautiful one.

I am envious of your steady hand. Great shot of the Moon/Venus/Jupiter alignment.

Kahshe Cottager said...

Imagine that .. a happy face in the sky! I have never heard or seen that before!

Patricia said...

Very beautiful sky, with so vivid collors!
I liked the face in the sky :)
happy SWF!!

Betsy said...

First day of summer...you just had to rub it in, didn't you !

Allan Barredo said...

I missed that smiley moon! thanks for sharing

Grammy said...

I love all your photos.

We had clouds so we were not lucky to see Jupiter.

Happy sky watch Friday

The Good Life in Virginia said...

great series of skywatch shots...the colors are WOW.
thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

Gorgeous capture of heaven's light show! How lucky you were to see it in person! wow~

Rottlady of the Ozarks said...

I love the sunset shots, but the smiling face is extra special. I got the opposite shot from my side of the world. I like yours better!

Hilary said...

Wow.. perfectly gorgeous shots.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana got some nice shots of the conjunction too. Love the yellows here.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Magnificent!

Sheila

Lori said...

Oh my goodness - these are incredible! Just when I think I've seen every stunning sunset or sunrise, here you are with another.

Hope all is well in your world.

Lori

vincibene said...

Gorgeous pictures!

Lakshmi said...

what colours..we saw the smiley here too

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wow, such absolutely beautiful photos!!!!
Summer has just started here in Brasil too...

babooshka said...

As always the clours are spectacular, that yellow and the smiling moon is a welcome change.

Shrinky said...

There is little I can add to all your previous comments here David.

Except that I love these images. Smile

NJDecorator said...

Wow, these pictures are amazing. I love taking shots of sunrises and sunsets, but this one with the rays is just beautiful.

Ladybird World Mother said...

I took a picture the same night, over here in England... I will have to get it up on my blog... it was so strange as moon was right next to bright star.. so like yours. Venus, probably, as artist Mike said.
Stunning, though.
Fab photos. Thanks!

Enigma said...

Brilliant David, absolutely brilliant! I also love the shots of the planets and the moon. The night all was to be best for viewing here in the Great Lakes area of the U.S. (Dec. 1), we were overcast with rain. Glad you were able to capture such an amazing photo!

Akelamalu said...

You know it's just not fair! You got summer, I want summer too! :(

Chuck Pefley said...

A very nice series ... even if you did hand-hold and manage to get the face "backwards" :)

Nicely done, both!

Reluctantfarmchik said...

Ah-ha! I read about the Universe smiling on Australia last week! I figured I'd see a first-hand shot through SWF and your blog. What a perfect capture you have too! Thank you for not letting us down.