Isolation, like Jupiter and Mars

That’s a line from ‘Catch A Star,’ an obscure track from Business As Usual, the first album by Men At Work, and it popped into my head as I was hiking down to my shooting locale this morning because I was heavily influenced by that album when it was released – we already know I’m old, shut up. I wasn’t going down there to shoot Jupiter and Mars – not specifically, anyway – but the moon instead, since it was rising as a tiny crescent only 1% illuminated, and I do these things. Just a wee bit too much humidity kept the moon from my view, but Jupiter and Mars were visible much higher in the morning sky, quite close together as they reached conjunction today. I’d seen them as I was loading the car, but didn’t bother setting up the tripod and long lens then – time was tight for the moonrise – so I thought I’d try them once I was down at the lake.

Jupiter Mars conjunction 2022
It was twilight by then, so I endeavored to get a proper exposure while maintaining some sky color, and not only succeeded in that, I got three of Jupiter’s moons decently exposed (left to right, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto – had I been out a little earlier, i might have gotten Io too.) This was with the Tamron 150-600 at 600mm with the 2x converter, so about 1000mm, and cropped at that, but both Mars and Jupiter could easily be seen without assistance – the Jovian moons, not so much.

[Mars has two moons too, but they’re so small that I wouldn’t even come close to capturing them with this rig.]

Once the sky had gotten brighter, I knew the chance of finding the moon was gone, and I waited around until sunrise, watching the great blue herons (Ardea herodias) as they got practically manic with the morning – I’ve never seen so much activity from the species. My perspective was on a causeway overlooking the lake facing into the rising light, so not the best, plus I was leaving the long lens attached for the sunrise, which I snagged on video. But after it was up, I played around with being fartsy.

great blue heron Ardea herodias entering glitter trail at sunrise
I caught a distant heron as it passed across the glitter trail, but too far away to really get a good “heron” impression – I had dialed in compensation to darken down the exposure and keep the colors deeper. I waited around, knowing the sun would be too bright to do anything with very soon, but I didn’t have long to wait.

great blue heron Ardea herodias alongside sunrise
This one was a lot closer, and just missed passing in front of the sun, but that’s okay – at this brightness, the silhouette would have been overpowered by the sun and the distinct outline burned away. This is a tighter crop, and I also tried it as a horizontal composition to see which I liked best.

great blue heron Ardea herodias alongside sunrise
This… didn’t really answer my question, so I’ll leave it up to you. Cast your vote by buying a print, and I’ll announce the winner at a later date.

Just as I was packing up, I fired off a handful of frames with the 18-135 lens, but with the exposure compensation still darkened down a bit.

distant great blue heron Ardea herodias over darkened lake
The result was slightly impressionistic, and both The Girlfriend and I felt it has an Asian air to it somehow. You can cast your vote for this one too, though it’s not competing against anything.

I’ll have a chance at the crescent moon again in two days, only this time it’s a waxing crescent following the new moon and will have to be captured at sunset instead of sunrise. However, it’ll be closer to 2% illuminated then, and I’ve already done better than that, so maybe I’ll try, and maybe I won’t. As it is, I’m aiming for the Tau Herculids meteor storm early that morning, and it may hinge on how that went. We’ll see.

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