Monday, May 28, 2012

Solar Eclipse on 20 May 2012

Wikipedia writes:

An annular solar eclipse took place on May 20, 2012.   This occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus(ring), blocking most of the Sun's light. An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide. This is also known as Ring of Fire.[1]

An animations of this event can be seen at this link:

It was the first annular eclipse in the continental US since the solar eclipse of May 10, 1994.


I had never observed a solar eclipse and so it was a must to go out and see what I could capture.  Although the path from which the full Ring of Fire could be seen - when the moon is 100% obscuring the sun -  was further East, here in the Bay Area we could see the moon partially blocking the sun. 

I choose Treasure Island  in San Francisco Bay to observe this event between 5:30 and 7pm on May 20th and captured the following images showing how the moon 'moved' over the sun.  Each image was taken about 6-8 minutes apart and then put together in post processing.

Using a series of neutral density filters (~6 f-stops) for my camera and protective glasses for my eyes, it was a fascinating experience.  

Super-imposing the series of images onto the San Francisco skyline was just fun - 
done in post-processing.  

Hope you had a chance to observe this extraordinary event.

Til next time,


Looking for some fun photography outings, check this out:

  • Wildlife Babies in Montana in July - an amazing opportunity to photograph Wildlife babies in a natural setting.
  • Did you ever want to see cheetahs run at full speed at 60 miles?  Here is a great opportunity right here in California.  Combined with the colorful Balloon Festival in Reno --a perfect photo opportunity is set. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

PAWS Fundraiser Event

       Poetry beautifully dedicated to all suffering Circus Animals and PAWS Fundraiser

Mara at PAWS

My thoughts today are with all performing animals out in the world that are held against their will, that live in unnatural conditions, are often mistreated and all of them live a sad life.  I wonder how much visitors of circuses contemplate about what kind of life it is to travel from place to place, be confined in small spaces, being made to perform unnatural acts for the enjoyment of humans, having no family which for non-solitary animals such as elephants deprives them of a fundamental part of their life in a herd.

But there are compassionate voices who speak out for the voiceless:  Pat Derby and Ed Steward are remarkable people who since years have lobbied for better conditions of captive animals.  They founded PAWS - Performing Animals Welfare Society - in 1984 in the Foothills of the Sierra.  At the PAWS Ark 2000 sanctuary, rescued animals live in peaceful and natural habitat, free from fear, chains, and harsh confinement. I have visited the PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in March 2012 and was impressed by the dedication of Pat and Ed and their staff.  They truly care for the animals and work towards promoting the best quality of life for the voiceless animals in captivity.

PAWS is holding a Fundraiser on June 16, 2012 in San Andreas.  Please see the specifics below and their announcment at the end of this post.
Please consider supporting the efforts of PAWS dedicated founders Pat Derby and Ed Steward.

Saturday, June 16  

            Wines, Tigers & Beers
ARK 2000 Sanctuary,  San Andreas, CA,  5-8 p.m.
$75 per person; or 2 for $125. ADULTS ONLY EVENT.
Pre-paid reservations required. Call (209) 745-2606.

I'll be there - maybe you'll join me?

Photo Credit:  Carlos Otero

The Circus Animal  
by Christina Sharik

I am the circus elephant

I'm all dressed up for you 

but when alone, I always wear
these chains, just out of view.

I am the circus tiger -
A rare sight to behold;
when whips are snapping near my face
it's hard to stay controlled.

I am the elegant circus horse
I prance and trot around 
I am a noble creature
I'm not a circus clown.

The saddest choice you humans make
it to keep me chained and bound ~
you make me dance, you make me prance
a circus ring around.

When I am tired or sad or sick,
you strike and prod with club or stick ~
I want to run, to play, to roam,
I miss my far, beloved home.

I have no voice you understand,
I cannot make you see
that you should listen with your heart
and simply set me free.

I hear there are some circuses
where only you perform.
I hope that someday soon, perhaps,
they will become the norm.

~ Christina Sharik ~

PAWS Fundraiser, June 16, 5-8pm in San Andreas, CA

Til next time,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Exhibit at Saratoga Library

Meggi exhibits at Saratoga Library

    Dawn of a New Day - Print on Metal  
           [Available for sale as 20x30 metal print - pl contact me:]

From May 15 until July 25, 2012, I am participating in a group exhibit with another photographer and 2 painters at the
                            Saratoga Library
                            13650 Saratoga Ave
                     SaratogaCA 95070
in the Group Study Room across from the Reference Librarian's Desk.

My images include prints from the Portfolio "Urban Jungle", "Clouds over Landscape" and series of new panoramic images, some printed on metal.  
If you find yourself in the neighborhood, please visit the library and enjoy the artwork.
Opening hours:                                                                                                              

Hours: Mon-Tue 1 PM - 9 PM                                                                   
Wed-Sat 10 AM - 6 PM                                                                       
Sun 1 PM-5PM

Please check it out, and enjoy the art works.

Have a great summer,
and best wishes, 

   Moon over the City


Spring has come and the Hummingbirds in the Santa Cruz Mountains are out in full.  Please join Judy and me for the upcoming Hummingbirds Photo Workshop [click for more information].

Hummingbird Photo Workshops

June 3, 2012 (1st level)
July 22 (advanced)
September 16 (1st level)   and   23 (advanced)

Instructors:  Meggi Raeder and Judy Bingman

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sanctuary Reunites Elephants

Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary reunites long lost friends:

Shirley (52) and Jenny were elephants in a circus and after 22 years, the two are reunited at a Tennessee sanctuary.  Watch the moving story below.

[Ref: YouTube]

This is not a new story but it is remarkable.  After 22 years of separation, The 2 circus elephants recognized each other immediately and the bond was rekindled immediately.  Now they are inseparable.

I hope they can live out their lives together in peace.

Til next time,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Enrichment for Elephants

We all need fun in life.  This is specifically important for animals that are held in captivity often in enclosures that do not offer a lot of mental stimulation or physical exercise.

[Ref: YouTube and Smithsonian NZP]

I hope you enjoyed this clip.

Til next time,

Check it out:
Wildlife Babies-Montana
Reno Balloon Festival and Cheetah Run!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Full "Super" Moon over San Francisco

“According to U.S. clocks, May 5, 2012 features the closest and largest full moon of this year. Astronomers call this sort of close full moon a perigee full moon. The word perigee describes the moon’s closest point to Earth for a given month. But last year, when the closest and largest full moon occurred on March 19, 2011, many used a term astromers had never heard: supermoon. We’ve heard this term again at this 2012 close full moon. What does it mean exactly? And how special is the May 5, 2012 supermoon?

At perigee, the moon lies only 356,955 kilometers (221,802 miles) away. Later this month, on May 19, the moon will swing out to apogee – its farthest point for the month – at 406,448 kilometers (252,555 miles) distant. So you can see tonight’s moon really is at its closest.

The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to an average moon of December 20, 2010 (left). Will you be able to notice with your eye alone that tonight's full moon is bigger or brighter than usual? Astronomers say no, but it'll be fun to stand outside under tonight's full moon and know the moon is closer than it has been since March 19, 2011. Image Credit: Marco Langbroek, the Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons.

How often is the moon in perigee?  The time period between the perigee moon is equal to about 1 year, 1 month, and 18 days. The full moon and perigee will realign again on June 23, 2013, because the 14th full moon after today’s full moon will fall on that date. Closest full moons recur in cycles of 14 lunar (synodic) months:

Moon closest to Earth

March 19
356,575 km
May 6
356,955 km
June 23
356,991 km
August 10
356,896 km
September 28
356,877 km

Will the tides be higher than usual? Yes, all full moons bring higher-than-usual tides, and perigee full moons bring the highest (and lowest) tides of all. Each month, on the day of the full moon, the moon, Earth and sun are aligned, with Earth in between. This line up creates wide-ranging tides, known as spring tides. High spring tides climb up especially high, and on the same day low tides plunge especially low.”

So much for the background of the ‘supermoon’.

Well, together with many photographers, I decided to go up to San Francisco in search of a good viewing point to experience the closest moon.  Thanks for Steven Christenson of Star Circle Academy [], I had a couple of places where I could view the moon rising over the Bay Bridge and choose the closest on Pier 7 at the City Waterfront.  

I explored Coit Tower as well since the elevation might offer a better vintage point but the vegetation around Telegraph Hill is too dense to have a clear view of the bridge.  Back on Pier 7 as the time of moon rise approached, photographers geared with tripods and cameras gathered at Pier 7 to watch the show.  At 8pm very shortly before the moon rise, the San Francisco Bell – a Hornblower dinner cruise – left its mooring on Pier 5 and we were all concerned whether the big slow-moving shuffle boat would block the view just when we were expecting the moon to rise.  
Coit Tower from Pier 7 later that evening.

Well, it did not happen and the Belle was out of view before the moon appeared over the horizon.  The next 1 hour  you could hear the clicking of camera shutters continuously and it was truly a bright sight to see.  It always amazes me how fast the moon rises over the horizon and I observed it traversing behind the Baybridge and almost filling the space between the span and the cables.  

Sailing the Bay under a full moon

Hornblower cruise ship under the Bay Bridge

Coit Tower from Pier 7

Later, the lights on the city waterfront started to illuminate the water with beautiful reflections and I couldn’t resist creating the night panoramas below.  

Night Panorama at the Waterfront

I hope you had a chance to go out and look up to the full moon.  It was a beautiful, unusual warm and balmy night and the City presented itself at its best.

Til next Time,


Spring has come and the Hummingbirds in the Santa Cruz Mountains are out in full.  Please join Judy and me for the upcoming Hummingbirds Photo Workshop [click for more information].

Hummingbird Photo Workshops

June 3, 2012 (1st level)
July 22 (advanced)
September 16 (1st level)   and   23 (advanced)

Instructors:  Meggi Raeder and Judy Bingman