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Humble Beginnings – Ramadan 1433

I was out last night and this evening in search for the new crescent moon that marks the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.  Last night, that would be July 19th, 2012, the moon was not seen.  It was only 12 minutes behind the sun and at the same time we had some fog to contend with.  Similarly, the moon was not positively seen anywhere in the world on the evening of the 19th.

This evening was a different story.  The conditions were perfect and the moon was easily seen.  Not that it made much difference, as the 19th was the 29th day of the previous month and was the critical day in determining when Ramadan would start.  However, it is my “thing” to be out there photographing the new moon, so out I went again this evening.

The moon was easily seen and a thought suddenly occurred to me.  For the longest time as I can recall the moons of Ramadan have appeared in a lack-luster entrance.  Quiet, humble and just there.  Suddenly it all made sense to me.

“Oh you who believe, Fasting has been proscribed upon you as it was proscribed on those who were before you so that you might increase in piety” ~ Quran.

Piety, this month is about piety.  Piety is never flashy.  Its not glamorous or forward or vain.

Its about humility, being patient, reserved, and quiet.  This evening it was quiet out there.  Few people, mild temperatures, slight breeze, very unassuming.  The moons of Ramadan have arrived showing us the very qualities that this month is designed to foster in all of us.  I am in awe.

Ramadan Moon

Ramadan Moon

To all my Muslim Readers – Ramadan Mubarak!  Make use of this month to come out as humble and pious as the moon.

To all Peace.

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Taking The Stage

Annular Eclipse of May 20, 2012

Annular Eclipse

On May 20th 2012, the Moon and Sun came together in a show that did not disappoint.  However, it was the Sun that took center stage as it was the object of occlusion that was to produce sights that few have seen.  It was an exhilarating event that did produce the excitement promised.

However, the eclipse of the sun could not have happened with out the moon.  This month’s eclipse eclipsed the fact that what took place was the conjunction of the moon and the sun, an event that takes place in every lunar cycle.  Conjunction marks the moment when the moon passe directly between the Earth and the Sun. Most months the Moon’s plane of orbit places it either above or below the Earth’s plane of orbit around the Sun and thus an eclipse of the Sun does not occur.  Yet each and every lunar cycle brings a conjunction and the birth of a new moon.

Fortunate is the one who had the opportunity to witness the physical conjunction take place on this current lunar cycle, for most months it is an invisible event.  The moment the Moon passes that conjunction the moon is born and the angle between the Moon-Earth-Sun, known as Elongation, begins to grow until it is large enough that light from the Sun will start reflecting off of the Moon and the surface of the Moon becomes visible to our eyes.

Last night it was the Moon’s turn to take center stage and reveal itself as the fine crescent that it is when it is a new moon.  On a first day, the Moon is not visible before sunset and in most cases it will not be visible until close to 4/9ths the time between sunset and moonset.  Many factors are involved in the visibility of the new crescent Moon after conjunction. Elongation, Moonset lag time after sunset, Percent of the Moon’s Illumination (also known as the Arc of Illumination), its Altitude at the time of sunset and the Age of the Moon past conjunction.

Last night at sunset the Moon was about 25 hours and 45 minute old.  A very young Moon.  It had an Elongation of only 12°, a value that is below the accepted 15° that is needed for easily seeing it and it was only 1% illuminated, the actual minimum that is needed to be seen.  At best it was going to be a difficult moon to see even with perfect sky conditions.

When I arrived last night at my normal viewing location atop Russian Ridge  just west of the SF Bay Area at 2300 feet above sea level, the sky was not looking good.

Sunset on May 21, 2012 from Russian Ridge

Sunset on Rajab 1, 1433

The horizon was nearly completely covered in high clouds obscuring the sky and almost any hope of seeing such a young crescent moon.  To make matters worse, this new Moon was to mark the beginning of the 8th month in the Islamic Calendar, Rajab, a hallmark month, and one that is critical in establishing the beginning of Ramadan just two months away.  For a new Moon sighting to be accepted according to Islamic Jurisprudence, two adults must witness the new crescent Moon as a naked eye sighting without any optical aids.  I was just one man, who could only coax his 12 year old and 6 year old daughters to accompany him.

It was not looking good.  Nonetheless, I waited, scanning the sky back and forth, referring to an ephemeris for guidance as to where in the sky the moon should be.  I looked, I measured, I waited.  The light was fading so I decided to do the Sunset prayer up there on the ridge.  Once finished I continued to look.  Text messages were filling my phone quickly with questions asking if the moon had been seen.  My only reply, “stay tuned”.  I only knew of one other person out looking in our area and even though he did say he would meet me up on the ridge it looked like he was not going to make it.

As the optimal viewing time approached I looked even harder, but to my disappointment the area I needed to be clear, where the Moon should be was obscured by clouds.  I decided to just start taking photos of the sky in the vicinity of where the moon should be and then later after I returned home I could examine them closely for any tell-tale signs of a crescent.  It would not count as a sighting but I could still check.

Just then my eyes caught a glimpse of a thin white curved line just poking out of the clouds.  I looked harder and to my utter amazement it was the crescent Moon! It was exactly where I thought it would be hidden behind a thin gray curtain of moisture in the sky.  My daughters rushed over and asked where it was.  I pointed it out and my eldest saw it immediately.  It was 8:53 pm when we made that first sighting, and I pointed the camera at it and started to photograph.  In between the shutter releases I would reply to the text messages in the confirmation of the sighting.  It was still not a valid sighting as I was the only adult, a situation that I have fallen into many times in the past, especially for the month of Rajab.

All of a sudden, in the twilight, I heard some voices.  I looked back to see it was my friend and his family.  They arrived just in time.  I called out to them to hurry before it sets.  They came up to me and I pointed it out and all but one of his younger sons could see it clearly as it continued to sink closer to the horizon.  We had a confirmed sighting and my demeanor changed instantly from contented sadness to jubilation.  I can’t remember a sighting event where I was so happy to have another adult with me to establish a positive sighting.

The Crescent Moon of Rajab, 1433 (May 21, 2012)

Rajab 1433

This Moon was only 26.3 hours old past conjunction.  One of the youngest moons I have ever had the pleasure to see and photograph.  As thin as this moon was it most definitely took the stage last night.

So to all my Muslim readers, a Rajab Mubarak!

Peace to You All!

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Disappointment Deals Delight

The Sun

The Light Source

This past Sunday was dedicated to photographing the annular eclipse of May 20th, 2012.  I had prepared for it on many levels from what exposure to use to where I would drop my tripod to how I was going to make what I captured unique, and had done so for weeks ahead of time.  The one thing that I failed to plan for was equipping my four photo/travel assistants with what they needed to view and keep themselves entertained for its duration.  Despite my earlier attempts to find solar viewing glasses I could not find any vendor who was not sold out.  In addition, the day before the eclipse I found myself in a discussion with another photographer who was making plans to photograph and produce HDR (high dynamic range) photos of the event showing both the eclipsed sun and landscape as they would normally appear to our eyes.  I contested his claim but he was insistent that it could be done.  This caused me to waiver in my plans, and coupled with the possibility of a mutiny on my hands with my assistants forced my hand to change my plans nearly entirely.   I found myslef the night before, rather than getting a good night’s rest, up late scouring various sites on what was capable while still maintaining a real look to HDR photography.  Then I happened to land on a news page about the museum and visitor center at Turtle Bay Exploration Park / Wild Bird Sancturay in Redding, Ca.  The article stated that they would be selling solar viewing glasses for $1 and the article was only written that day, the information had to be accurate, right?

Crescent Sun Ecplisped by the Moon

Crescent Sun

In the 11th hour, I changed all my plans.  My destination was now Turtle Bay Wild Bird Sanctuary in spite of the fact that there would be hundreds if not thousands of people there.  Redding was not that far off the annularity line that it would change what I actually had in mind, and park environment would placate my assistants should the need arise.

We awoke Sunday morning and prepared our supplies for the day’s drive and viewing.  We were out the door with plenty of time and the  four and a half hour drive started out pleasant, however the further we drove the more tense things became in the car.  The tide of pleasant anticipation in my assistants was starting to turn.

We arrived with two and a half hours of buffer before the start of the eclipse.  The plan, buy the viewing glasses, eat lunch, find a suitable viewing location and then wait.  Disappointment met us from the beginning.  First the museum under estimated the response for viewing glasses and was sold out the day before.  Not to worry the employee told me, they will have 500 more glasses arriving at 4 pm, and will be available at the annex store by the famous Sundial Bridge.  By the time we arrived we found a line of about 100 people standing in the hot sun in 90° weather waiting to get in to the store at 4pm.  The roving employee there let us know we were in a part of the line where we might not get any glasses as each person could buy up to 5 glasses, putting us in a risky part of the line.  So with great hope we waited.  Slowly patience began to wear thin among my crew. One wanted to light a fire just because it was so hot, his incredulous claim was he could do it with just a focused pinhole of light.  Another wished he did not leave his water in the car.  Then the other wanted to play, and sleep and be carried on my head at the same time.  My patience was starting to wane.  By 4:45 we were inside and we made our purchase – lady luck smiled on us.

Solar Eclipse Obscured by High Cirrus Clouds

Obscured

We had less than 15 minutes before the start of the eclipse.  I announced that everyone should evacuate bladders and such for once I start the photo sequence there was no stopping.  No one heeded my words.  I was suspicious.  By the time we finished eating and squelching some sibling rivalry fires, the eclipse had started and I missed the initial contact of the moon with the sun and disappointment found its way into my head.

For the next two and a half hours, it was one dispute after another, one distraction after another, one question after another.  My mind was not focused at all on what I was doing.  My photos were not being timed carefully and I would miss the twenty second mark I had planned for each photo more times than I could keep count of.  I was also plagued by clouds, thin nefarious clouds that were just thick enough to keep the light levels jumping all over the place.  I could not make a sequence of more than 4 or 5 photos that had the same exposure level that I needed to make a time lapse sequence possible.  I also saw in my view finder this very odd haloing and glow around the sun nearly the whole time.  Something I did not notice in my practice photos.  It brought me great concern that I might find flares in all these photos making them useless in the end.  My mind started slipping into thoughts of inadequate equipment syndrome, something that did not torment me in more than a decade.

The Annular Eclipse of May 20th 2012 in total annularity

With This Ring

As the moon continued its encroachment of the sun, the anticipation of my assistants increased.  The arguing vanished into amazement, the prevailing thirst quenched with wonderment, and I as well was awe struck by the magnitude of what was occurring before my eyes.  Here was the moon, an entity in our sky that could not be seen if not for the light of the sun, moving in front of the source of what makes it existent to our eyes and blocking it out.  However, rather than overshadowing the sun it instead forms a ring of heavenly light as the the two wed in the sky for nearly 4 minutes in a display that had no beginning and no end.  It was as if time stood still and the world became dim and humbled in the grandeur of their union.  Being so close to a multitude of people, even though out of eyesight, we were not cheated out of hearing the cheers that belted out throughout the park as the ring became complete.  It was a spine tingling moment not to be soon forgotten.

The moon breaks the ring of light as it exits totality

Broken Light

Nonetheless, being created things that had a beginning so long ago, their nature is to end and they exhibited their primal nature with the moon breaking the ring of light as it continued on its way past the sun and ending totality.  Again a second cheer rings out among the crowd.  The event everyone came to see had happened.  In my exhilaration any thoughts I had about not capturing the eclipse the way I had intended had vanished if not for just a brief time.  I continued until the dreaded clouds that obscured the sky and mustered havoc with my exposures obliterated the light of the sun, just 10 minutes before the eclipse concluded.  A disappointing end, and one that brought question if I would have any usable photos at all.

After a long drive to Turtle Bay, and sitting square in the sun and heat for nearly five hours, I had to look forward to another long drive home unsatisfied in my work and with no hopes of a return on the investment made.  We arrived home just past midnight and my first act was to see and download the photos.  At first glance all were useless.  Not more than 4 or 5 photos in sequence were exposed at the same settings, making the probability of a time lapse sequence happening slim to none.  So I turned off the computer and retired to bed  hoping to come up with something in the morning.

The next day I started to process the photos to find almost all of them have a glowing halo around the sun that I could not remove without great difficulty.  In my desperation I start to process the photo Broken Light in a manner that I would never normally do to discover that the halo I was seeing was nothing more than the clouds that were obscuring the sun glowing in the light.  The use of the solar filter on my lens allowing me to view and photograph the sun had made the clouds so dark that they did not appear as clouds when normally processed against the brightness of the sun.  So with my modified processing suddenly the lost photos became as surreal as the momentous eclipse itself.  I searched the net for other photos of the eclipse to find that no one had anything like what I had been given.

My disappointment was suddenly transformed into delight.  Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to produce a time lapsed sequence of the moon eclipsing the sun.  However in hindsight, what I had envisioned would not have been very interesting and what I was given instead has pleased me much more.  Funny how things turn out.

Now I am looking 5 years ahead to the next eclipse that will cross over this neighborhood of the Earth, maybe then I will see my original vision come to fruition.

Peace to you All!

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The Best Laid Plans…

For almost one year I had waited for last night. The last time I tried for this I was snubbed by fog at the coast.   The vision: photograph a rising full moon over arch rock at Natural Bridge State Beach in Santa Cruz.  I had everything planned out except for one thing.  To actually see the arch way in the rock and get the the full moon over it on a true full moon night is impossible.  A slight oversight on my part.  To capture what I had truly envisioned, I would have had to photograph it the day before, albeit not a full moon but close enough, at least I would hope so.

Full Moon over Arch Rock

Beyond Blue

Nonetheless, with a full moon at its perigee, closet point in its orbit around the Earth, and the atmospherics present in the coastal environment, the colors were somewhat surreal.  I concentrated on that and came away with what I could.  At the time, I had two tripods set up, one carrying the large format 4×5 camera, which I used to expose 4 sheets of film, and the second tripod carrying the digital camera which captured the two photos presented here.  Had I only used one tripod, I could have been somewhat more mobile to find other compositions with the moon set in different locations among the rocks.

Full Moon Rising over Arch Rock

Full Moon Over Arch Rock

The search continues for the next date when the full moon will rise over Arch Rock.  I will be a little more careful in my planning and time things for the moon to be in a position that the arch will be clearly visible.  For now, I hope you enjoy these.  I’ll keep you all informed of the next attempt.

It was a lesson in planning and preparation.  I considered the day before but for some reason I was too caught up in the moment the moon broke the horizon, rather than when the moon would actually line up with the arch.  When the moon actually did break the horizon, the marine layer all but obscured it making it incredibly faint.  Its vividness, as shown, did not appear for nearly 15 to 20 minutes later.  A mistake that I will not make in the future with this subject.

I hope you all at least had the good fortune of seeing this full moon from where ever you happened to be.  Was was a stunning moon.

Peace.

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Ramadan 1432 Begins!

Ramadan Light

Ramadan Light

Well it was a long night.  Reports came in from many locations and they needed to be tracked down and confirmed.  Reports came in from as far away as South Africa, and several locations in the Caribbean and South America.

Here in the States, the best location astronomically was in San Diego, which by the way suffered like we did in the Bay Area with cloudy or foggy skies.

Fortunately there were two separate sighting groups in south Texas that helped us confirm the beginning of Ramadan this year.  In one case there was a group of 16 individuals that saw the moon initially with binoculars and then of the 16, 3 were able to see it again with the naked eye.  In the second case we had four individuals that saw the new crescent with their naked eyes alone, not far from the the other group but completely independent.

Here in the Bay Area, the day played out nicely.  Fog in the morning that burned off by mid morning and mild temperatuers and clear skies for the remainder of the day…that is until the temperature started to drop.

We headed out with a group of nearly 40 adult individuals and counting the children we had to number well in to the 60’s.  We headed up to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve hoping for clear skies there, but as we neared, the fog started to climb up from the coast and covered us over.  The marine layer had to be nearly 2700 feet thick!

The above photo shows the full extent of the light we saw on Borel Hill, the highest hilltop in the Bay Area’s Peninsula region.

Nonetheless, we managed to get the sighting confirmations we needed to mark the start of Ramadan.  To all my Muslim readers, Ramadan Mubarak.

Peace.

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Spring Sprung

Each year as winter approaches the world prepares itself to go dormant and fall asleep.  Trees lose their leaves and become only skeletons of what they were.  The land dry and hard awaits the rains that will make it supple once more and fertile for the seeds of the summer to finally take root.  In the winter, everything goes to sleep.

So too should we take a lesson from it and learn how to look inwards and take stock, find a respite, and let go of those things that drive us so that we can rejuvenate ourselves.

However, this past winter I did not see it in that light.  This past winter had to have been one of the least productive times I have ever had as a photographer. Had it not been for the new moon each month I do not think I would have even ventured out with the camera at all.   All the while I questioned my worth as a photographer as no matter what I looked at I could not see anything in such a way that appealed to me to make a photo of it.

Yet when I allowed my auto-pilot to take control, I found that great photos were still coming from me even if I could or would not see it.  ‘Washed’ was the only fruit that was harvested all winter.

Stones on beach washed by waves

Washed

I guess what I did not see happening was exactly what I needed.  I too had gone dormant for the winter.  I needed to take a creative time out to allow for new growth to emerge.

Spring entered and something sprung inside of me.  In early April, still thinking I was in my slump I geared up to go out to photograph the Moon of Jamad Al-Awwal.  Then just as I was about to leave, an emotional train wreck occurred that derailed my outing completely.  Without the time left in the day to make it to my quite place in the mountains to see and photograph the moon in peace, as I normally do, I had only enough time to walk down my street to an opening amongst the trees to see and make a record of my celestial friend the Moon.

The new moon cradled amongst tree branches

Cradled

When I saw the moon just nestled there amongst those branches appearing safe and protected, something inside of me suddenly opened.  My heart saw everything anew and I felt that Spring had finally sprung in me.

The flowers were soon to be blooming and I could barely contain the excitement in me to be out there once again finding light and bringing it back for others to see as well.  The time had come and I made my trek in search of the wildflowers.  I visited all my old haunts to find that even though my spring had sprung this year, for the flowers they decided to take a year off.  I suppose they deserve time off as well.  With just under 1000 miles of driving this year in search of those elusive gems of color, I found only one patch that conveyed my sense of coming to life again.

Miles of Tidy Tips

I Can See For Miles

Standing there in Carrizo Plain I could see for miles.  The elation and disappointment coupled to move me in such a way as to not let the absence of flowers keep me from enjoying Spring and I gave up on the preconceived notion of finding wildflowers and I just went wild.  Photographing things for the shear joy of it.  My creative juices were flowing with such fervor that I did not know when to stop.

I returned home to lead a private workshop and I took my client to all my familiar spots in the Santa Cruz Mountains and along the San Mateo Coast.  I had no preconceived ideas of what I would find and I expected to just stand around most of the time directing my client at all the things that I had photographed more times than I can count without having the desire to do the same again.

The funny thing was that everything looked fresh and new, as if I had never seen them before.  I took more photos in that one day than I had in possibly the last six months!  I was seeing light in a very new way and I liked it.

Deer Fern Frond in Sunlight

Ladder of Light

Then the day came to a close and my elation was given a good stiff clocking to the jaw.  On a beach that I have worked on for years, among hard stone sculpted over the millennia I saw what Mother Earth wanted me to see.  Even though it was a spectacular day, with a slight sea breeze blowing, seagulls calling, the sound of crashing surf, the scent of the redwoods and the sounds of a babbling creek still fresh in my mind from earlier that morning, here was Mother Earth shedding one black tear.  A stark reminder that she is in pain.

Mother Earth sheds a black tear.

Black Tear

Even though my creativity and vision came back to me this spring, Mother Earth did not let me forget why I make portraits of her: to remind others of just how fragile she is.  She also reminded me that she goes through cycles for a reason – so that growth can continue.  Down time, rebirth, growth, vigor and waning are all part of a precious cycle that we must adhere to as well if we are to grow.  We also must take heed in understanding that we do not make our own fate as that is in the hands of the Divine.  We cannot produce whatever it is that we preconceive in our minds and that sometimes we just need to be grateful for what is given and appreciate it as much if not more than what we originally wanted.  In the end, we will find that what we do come away with was much more valuable.

Enjoy the rest of Spring, it will be gone before we know it.

Peace.

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In Earth’s Shroud

Last night a celestial event occurred in our sky that has not happened in 372 years.  The Earth eclipsed the full moon on the winter solstice and for those fortunate enough to be in an area in North America with clear skies they saw a truly amazing and awe inspiring sight.

Total Lunar Eclipse of December 2010.

In Earth's Shroud

While there are some that feel that certain astronomical events have an influence on the behavior of humanity and other natural events, as a man of science I must say that such a belief is a bit incredulous as proof is hard to establish.  While at the same time, as a man of faith, belief in the dominion of the Creator over all of creation is central in my understanding of how the universe exists, how it is sustained and how it behaves.

In a sacred tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him) said one morning after the dawn prayer that occurred after a rainy night, turned to the congregation and said “Do you know what your Lord has revealed?” The people replied, “God and His Apostle know better.” He said, “God has said, ‘In this morning some of my slaves remained as true believers and some became non-believers; whoever said that the rain was due to the Blessings and the Mercy of God had belief in Me and he disbelieves in the stars, and whoever said that it rained because of a particular star had no belief in Me but believes in that star.’

A passage in the Qur’an describes the motion of the sun and the moon and through implicit understanding so too the Earth and all visible objects in the heavens.  Each of these celestial bodies follow and obey what we in science refer to as physical laws which we understand and know how they dictate the motions of the heavenly bodies.  However, those of us who go beyond science and have some knowledge of the Knower understand that these laws are not merely physical, but Divine.

When I see an event like an eclipse, my heart is in awe of the power of the Incomparable for not only setting such beauty into place but sustaining it as well.  The skill to capture it and present it to others is a gift that I am aware of and grateful to posses.  I have searched the web today for photos of last night’s eclipse and while there some nice images, I did not find one that moved me in the same way as seeing it in person.  I hope what I have presented above will do that for some.  Enjoy.

Peace.

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New Year Moon – Muharram 1432

The new Islamic Year has commenced. The year 1432 on the Islamic calendar began for me just about 1 hour ago here on the West coast of the United States in the San Francisco Bay Area. The new moon was seen by myself and three of my children, all future moon sighters, God Willing, the youngest being only 4 years old.

Muharram 1432

Muharram Crescent 1432

As usual, my youngest had a hard time seeing it at first, but then finally asked “does it look like a little hair?” To which I replied “yes” and she gleefully said “I see it!”  A moon sighter in the making, I’d say.

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Hidden Pearls

I am not sure how to begin this entry.  I feel melancholy and wonder why.  Every month when the new moon returns, I prepare myself to go out with the hope of seeing it and photographing it once more.  If nothing else, the endeavor reconnects me with the heavens and the Earth.  I am looking forward to it this month, as this moon will not have the fan fare associated with the start of Ramadan or with that of Eid.  It will be a quite trip, a trip of and for the heart, a return to the beginning.  Almost twenty years ago, in the very month of October, I captured my very first moon in a photograph.

First Crescent

First Crescent

It was not the best of photos, but it did capture the moon, one of the youngest I have ever had the good fortune to capture.  Since that time I have seen many moons and have discovered a beauty that is rarely seen.  The new crescent moon, like many things in nature, is a hidden pearl.  I marvel at how the most valuable of things in the world are hidden and require immense effort to acquire them.  Take for example the pearl, a small iridescent orb of crystalline calcium carbonate formed over years inside an oyster or other mollusk deep underwater in the sea.  To find it naturally is quite rare, at least these days, and I cannot fathom how it was even first discovered.  To retrieve a pearl requires great effort in diving down under water tens of feet if not more, wrenching an oyster off the ocean floor, bringing it to the surface and then wrestling open the oyster with the hope that it might contain a single glowing pearl.

There is however, a deep wisdom behind this.  For as soon as something of value is discovered, the greed to own as much of it as possible soon follows, and in the wake of that greed much destruction takes place.  I have often pondered on notoriety and obscurity, asking myself which is best.  If we allow ourselves the license to follow the ego, we will strive for notoriety, for the ego always wants to be known, even if it results in its own demise.  Logic would have it, on the other hand, that obscurity is the more prudent path to follow as it will afford one much protection and desiring that protection will always keep a person safely tucked away behind the veil that conceals who they are.  However, before we all go off to hide in our shells we must understand that the hidden pearls are of no benefit if they remain hidden and revealing them and giving them the notoriety they deserve helps spread their benefit to everyone.

Discovering hidden pearls over the years with a camera in hand and sharing them with others has been both a joy and a disappointment. I find great joy in sharing my photos and more so when those who look are overjoyed with them as well.  As we gaze upon what is depicted in the photos we feel a connection with the Earth that brings all of us closer together.  A sense of wonderment and, in some respects, a longing to see in person the same thing as that shown in the photograph develops and with that the wanderlust takes over and  suddenly my audience become my companions in the field.  All of us searching, seeing and falling in love with the Earth and what she gives us, to the extent that the Earth becomes a priceless treasure, in-expendable and worthy of protection.

Obscurity

Obscurity

Unfortunately, as with many hidden treasures, most people are clueless to their worth until they are elevated to notoriety.  In fact, the true treasures of this world live in obscurity for their whole existence with very few ever finding them and fewer yet benefiting from what they give the world.  Although I relish finding and benefiting from the hidden pearls of the world it also brings me much disappointment that more people do not garner for themselves the benefits at hand.

We need to find some hidden pearls for ourselves and drink in the value they posses to enrich our lives then share what you gleaned from them with others in the hope that we can all come to appreciate and value them.  The pearls you find might be other people, or something in nature like a tree or an animal.  Maybe the pearls you find are the words of a poem or a song, or possibly even the precious shining moments of life when they flash before our eyes.  Whatever they might be, they must be found, valued and shared so that we can all come to cherish what we have in the world.

As I said at the start of this post, I’ll be heading out in a couple of days to search for my hidden pearl, the new crescent moon, and soon thereafter, I will return to the mountains to find the veiled autumn color that glows in obscurity.  I invite you all to tag along if you wish.  Just let me know.

Peace.

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Shawwal 1431 & Eid Al-Fitr

The new crescent moon of Shawwal 1431 has been seen as far east as Australia, marking the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal and the festival of breaking fast Eid Al-Fitr. I will be updating this post as the evening progresses with photos from our local area. Please come back here again. For the reports from other locations you can check Here at Crescent Watch and also Here at the Australian National Crescent Sighting Coordination Center.

Expect a West Coast update on this site at about 9pm PDT.  Till then go out and look for the crescent moon, its an uplifting experience.  It will be setting approximately 30 minutes after the sun sets, it will be approximately 3 fingers wide above the horizon (about 5° altitude) and about 2 hand spans wide to the left of the sunset point on the horizon (about 24° to the left).  Best time for it to be seen this evening on the West Coast is 7:39 pm PDT.

Stay tuned.

Update:

The new crescent moon was sighted by yours truly along with about 30 other Individuals at approximately 7:35 pm PDT from Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. Eid Al-Fitr has commenced! Eid Mubarak to all Muslim readers. Photos are forthcoming…Stay tuned.

Update:

Here is the image of the new moon for Shawwal 1431.  It was a beautiful evening with over 30 individuals attending the sighting.  Eid Mubarak to all!

Shawwal 1431

Shawwal 1431

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