Monday, August 31, 2015

Smoke from Distant Fires

Ames, IA (August 30, 2015)

This is not the photo of a Moon eclipse. The Moon is indeed reddish, but not because it is reflecting the light of a million sunsets. The unusual color is the result of a screen of smoke bringing the news of distant  forest fires, raging in the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest. Brought here by the wind, across continental distances, muting the light of a pumpkin Moon in a smoky pall.

Mayli working at candlelight
The orange color of the Moon is real, and in fact the Sun earlier today was showing the same tint, well before it dived in the lower atmosphere for today's hazy sunset. For the technically inclined, the Moon photo is a crop of a shot I took with my Nikon D700, 200 mm f/4 lens, 1/160 sec exposure. No white balance correction; I left the 4000 K, neutral tint default assigned by Lightroom to the photo at import. This is the same setting as the small photo on the left, which is indeed showing normal skin tones (and a not-very-happy Mayli, being interrupted in her proposal writing activities to act as a living white balance card set). Despite the smoky skies, today's weather was better than it has been for a long time, so we used the opportunity for one of the last dinners outside on our porch, before the inexorably approaching cooling of the seasons, and the unwelcome visitation of a new winter to come. 

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