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Lunar Eclipse – December 2011

December 2011 Lunar Eclipse from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, CAClick image for a larger view

Many of you are probably already aware that we had a full lunar eclipse early this morning. The eclipse started at 4:45 am (Pacific Time) with the earth set to cast its full shadow over the face of the moon starting at 6:05 am on the morning of December 10, 2011. The eclipse would coincide nicely with the moonset, which meant it would be in the perfect position to catch it over the Pacific Ocean.

Having previously visited Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for sunset photos, I knew of a perfect Torrey Pine tree that I could place in the foreground for a great accent to the eclipse. With the park over an hour's drive from my home, plus another 45 minutes to hike in, I had no choice but to wake up at 2:30 in the morning and make the long haul with tired eyes.

To be completely honest, the eclipse wasn't as spectacular as the news stories predicted - the moon didn't turn a blood red color and it didn't look abnormally large - and my pictures aren't quite as dramatic as I had envisioned, but regardless, it was well worth the effort. And since the next full lunar eclipse isn't for another 3 years, I figured I better at least go see it. Besides, the breathtaking walk along an empty beach in moonlight as I made my way to the park was reward enough.

December 2011 Lunar Eclipse from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, CAClick image for a larger view

Update:
I also wanted to share a photo from one of my photographer friends, Corey Sandler, based here in Southern California. He set up on the beach in Laguna to photograph the eclipse and wrote about his experience over at his blog. Check it out here. And be sure to browse through his site. He's a superb event and portrait photographer offering his services throughout Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Lunar Eclipse by Corey Sandler

Now for Something Different: An Air Show!

I thought I'd post something a little different from my usual landscape-oriented pictures and posts today...

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

I attended the 2011 Miramar Air Show in San Diego a couple weeks ago and took the opportunity to break out the ol' high-action photography skills. After all, they were getting rusty.

It had been years since I last attended an air show and I was really excited about it. I'm kind of your typical guy...I love big machinery and heavy artillery. Fighter jets, tanks, cargo planes - it's all awesome. I decided to get a little creative with the cropping and black and white conversions on some of these pictures.

The aircraft featured in the show included:
- F/A-18 Hornet
- C-130T Hercules
- CH-53E Super Stallion
- AV-8B Harrier (my personal favorite)
- UH-1Y Huey
- AH-1Z Cobra
- MV-22A Osprey
- CH-46 Sea Knight
- F-16 Fighting Falcon
- P-51 Mustang
- Japanese A6M Zero
- F6F Hellcat
- The Oracle Challenger stunt plane
- M-1 Abrams Tank

and, of course, the famous Blue Angels!

Check out the pictures here, then head over to my Facebook page for even more!

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

F-16 Fighting Falcon - Miramar Air Show 2011

F-16 Fighting Falcon - Miramar Air Show 2011

F-16 Fighting Falcon - Miramar Air Show 2011

F-16 Fighting Falcon - Miramar Air Show 2011

F-16 Fighting Falcon & P51 Mustang - Miramar Air Show 2011

Oracle Challenger - Miramar Air Show 2011

Oracle Challenger - Miramar Air Show 2011

Oracle Challenger - Miramar Air Show 2011

Miramar Air Show 2011

F6F Hellcat - Miramar Air Show 2011

AV-8B Harrier - Miramar Air Show 2011

AV-8B Harrier - Miramar Air Show 2011

AV-8B Harrier - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

The Blue Angels - Miramar Air Show 2011

Chino Hills State Park

I went on a little hike yesterday through Chino Hills State Park. It was my first time visiting and I have to say, it's a really great park. Despite the abundant power lines and air traffic overhead, you feel pretty detached from the surrounding cities. I love rolling green hills - classic California landscape - and Chino Hills SP has plenty of them!

I think it was a little bit early for peak bloom this Spring, but there were a lot of flowers out. I saw poppies from a distance, purple lupines and tons of these little white guys (see pictures) for which I don't know the name. Also saw lots of coyote and mountain lion tracks in the mud.

Could have used a few more clouds to spice up the skies and sunset a bit, but oh well. I'll be back before too long. I was out maybe a total of 4-5 hours and I am ridiculously sore today. I need to go hiking with a full backpack of camera gear more often!