Did you see this morning's total lunar eclipse? It was well worth my getting up 90 minutes early! I watched the Moon move from the shade of Earth's outer shadow and into the deep inner cone of darkness — within the space of a bit more than an hour Luna changed from a full, golden disk to a dull coppery remnant in the western sky. Sunrise erased the last traces of the spectacle from sight a little after 6:00 AM Tuesday, August 28.
At about 4:45 AM, I stepped out on to our western-facing porch and carried my camera, already mounted to its tripod, down to the walk. From there I shot my first photos of the mostly-bright Moon. I worked out the best exposure settings and tested the focus. Next I moved to the court at the end of our driveway apron, set up the tripod there, shot a few more images. From there I swung the camera around and got a few images of Orion rising above the trees… long time, old friend! Those shots, along with one of the Pleiades and neighboring Hyades star cluster, came out surprisingly well. Progressively, stopping here and there, I began working my way up the hill stopping on the pavement several times to look up and maybe make another image or three — no cars at all, thank goodness, just some guy on a bicycle who seemed surprised to see me. Then I took a non-stop hike to a place just across from the town square. On a knoll beside a nursing home, overlooking the police station and the Columbia River valley beyond, I set up to stay til the end. Staff on break from the nursing home called across in the morning darkness, "is there a lunar eclipse?" "Yep," I yelled back, "and it's nearly in totality now!" "Wow, I thought it was," they answered after taking a peek, "but I didn't hear about it on the news."