Super Snow Moon

I wanted to maximize the size of the Super Snow Moon by photographing it close to the horizon. I consulted both PhotoPills and The Photographer’s Ephemeris to plan these moon photos.

Today, moon rise was at 5:00 P.M. When I arrived at my location, I consulted PhotoPills again to confirm the direction of the moon rise. However, when 5:00 P.M. arrived, I couldn’t see the moon. I took my first moon photo at 5:15 P.M. At that time, the moon was really faint against the late afternoon sky. Sunset wouldn’t take place until 5:51 P.M.

Since this was my first attempt, I wasn’t sure which lenses to bring. The first photo was taken at 600mm, which is only useful during the first few minutes at moon rise. This second one is at 200 mm.

Not long after, I was down to 122 mm just to keep the moon and foreground in the same frame.

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Levi’s Stadium

The last time I posted a photo of Levi’s Stadium, the Blue Angels were performing a flyover for Super Bowl 50, which was almost exactly three years ago. However, that February was a bit different because California was mired in a drought .

Instead of lush green foothills capped with a dusting of snow, we only had green grass at the lower elevations. The hill tops just look absolutely dry.

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Lick Observatory

Last night, another storm passed through the Bay Area. By late afternoon, large clouds crossing the skies were casting their shadows below on Silicon Valley. I knew that Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton had seen a dusting of snow, so I started scanning the horizon for that landmark.

After an extensive study of all the snow-capped foothills, I finally found it. The challenge was that the low clouds had obscured the observatory at times. Even after I found it, I could see it appear and disappear from view depending on the changing conditions on the peak.

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Waxing Crescent Moon 35%

Tonight, the waxing crescent moon danced across the night sky with the planet Mars just off to its right. While full moons garner the most attention, the crescent moon really shows off the contours of the lunar surface. The strong directional light really highlights all the craters on the moon.

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Snow-Capped Foothills in the Bay Area

Click on image to see in full-resolution.

Last night, the Bay Area experienced a light dusting of snow at the higher elevations. If you look behind airship hangars at Moffett Field, you can see the snow-capped foothills.

To the far left is the Dumbarton Bridge and to the far right is the new Google HQ under construction.

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Golden Eagle

I was walking along the Permanente Creek Trail in Mountain View, CA at noon when I spotted an enormous bird on Vista Slope at Shoreline Park. Every time I’ve seen one of these large birds on the ground, they were having a meal, and this one didn’t disappoint.

I missed the hunt, but saw the Golden Eagle dining on its lunch catch. I’ve seen a lot of squirrels and an occasional hare running along Vista Slope, so maybe one of them ended up as the prey. Although the animal was obscured by the tall grass, I could see the Golden Eagle tearing off strips of meat and consuming them over a course of 15-20 minutes.

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Total Lunar Eclipse

I missed the super blood wolf moon. I peeked outside a few times throughout the night but the moon was pretty well hidden behind the clouds. The rain didn’t help matters either. Towards the tail end of the eclipse, I could finally see the moon as an opening in the clouds emerged.

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Urban Forest

Urban Forest

During a recent hike to the Stanford Dish, I was amazed by the volume of trees stretching to the horizon. Usually, I see trees in isolation. However, this elevated view provided a different perspective. Maybe we’re living in an urban forest. We just don’t know it yet.

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Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connects the city of Richmond in Contra Costa County to the city of San Rafael in Marin County. The first time, I crossed the bridge, I was surprised to discover that San Quentin State Prison was located right on the shores of the San Francisco Bay. The prison is the set of buildings in the bottom left corner of the photo.

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Monarch Butterflies

Made a return trip to Natural Bridges State Beach, which is the winter home to migratory Monarch butterflies. When I was there six years ago, the boardwalk was quite crowded and the trees had clusters of Monarch butterflies.

This time around, I didn’t see as many people. There were opportunities to observe the Monarch butterflies, but most of them were flying about. I even spotted a pair that was focused on procreation.

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