Category Archives: Nature

Winter Soltice Brings a Total Lunar Eclipse on a Midnight Clear!

Maintaining balance in one’s life can be a healthy thing. And amidst our often hectic schedules, there’s nothing quite like observing a celestial event on a “somewhat brisk” Winter Solstice morning to put us in touch with the calmer side of Nature’s power at its most impressive! It really does put our daily lives into perspective — a humbling thing to do from time to time… and I highly recommend it!

So yes, this morning around 1AM (EasternTime), I donned the gloves, earmuffs, scarf, hat, thermal clothes and blankets — along with one of my trusty cameras and the big lens — and headed outside in 20-something temps here in southeastern Pennsylvania to photograph Nature’s grand show on this first day of Winter 2010/2011. Oh, and by the way, that last point is no small detail, since a lunar eclipse occurring exactly on a solstice will typically place the moon VERY high in the sky during a good portion of the event. And true to form, this morning’s eclipse was no exception.

Consequently, nearly the first two hour’s worth of images were captured with Yours Truly flat on the ground photographing upwards into the sky at roughly a 12- or 1-o’clock angle — much too steep to use a traditional tripod with such a big lens rig (400mm F2.8 with 2X teleconverter and camera) attached to it. But I won’t complain too much, as Mother Nature cooperated with a crystal clear evening — or should I say early morning!

Almost 4 hours later… and after drinking 2 cups of hot chocolate back inside warmer surroundings reviewing the images captured, I selected these 16 highlights to use here in a Lightbox Gallery below. Enjoy!!!

Although lunar eclipses are much more common than solar eclipses, the fact that today’s lunar eclipse occurred on this year’s Winter Soltice made the event extra special. The next chance for continental U.S. residents to view a total lunar eclipse will be April 15, 2014. But the next time a lunar eclipse occurs on a Winter Soltice? Well, the folks who keep track of these things tell us it won’t happen until December 21, 2094. So I figured if I was going to capture a lunar eclipse that heralded in Winter’s official arrival, now was as good a time as any to do it. And observing such a magnificent event amidst the peace and quiet of the pre-dawn hours made it truly worthwhile.

Mission accomplished… balance achieved… albeit for only a few hours. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! But for now, it’s back to reality!!!

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