Various & Sundry: Independence Day Edition

"Pyrotechnic #261", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Pyrotechnic #261”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely holiday weekend (for those of you celebrating Independence Day here in the U.S). I’ll be out the remainder of this week on a family camping trip, too, but will be back in the saddle next week.

Most locales here in the U.S. celebrate the holiday in part with fireworks, so now is a good time to point out new pieces in my Pyrotechnic project that I’ve just published as part of a general refresh of that portfolio.

Later tonight (July 4th) NASA’s Juno spacecraft will hopefully be safely inserted into Jupiter’s orbit. This is a very exciting mission to study Jupiter’s magnetosphere (among other things), and you can read more about it on Space.com. There is a fascinating video here (with data from the Hubble Space Telescope) with more about the ultraviolet light auroras of Jupiter, too (with 80’s style guitar soundtrack as well).

One last thing…I loved this Elegy for the Arctic, a beautiful piano piece by Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi performed by him amidst the ice (really).

New Craftsy Course: Editing Techniques for Night Photography

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My new (and first) Craftsy course just launched today – you can sign up and purchase the course at this link. The course is called Editing Techniques for Night Photography, and you can see a trailer of the course below:

http://www.craftsy.com/video/course?courseId=10620

(sorry the embedding doesn’t work!)

If you use the link above you’ll get $30 off the course, a discount that I’m able to offer my followers. One of the great features of Craftsy.com is the interaction they facilitate between students and instructors — there is an online forum where students can ask questions, post images, and the like. Please let me know if you have any questions about the course or anything else!

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Harmony of the Spheres

From "Harmony of the Spheres", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
From “Harmony of the Spheres”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

I’m very excited to announce my newest body of work, Harmony of the Spheres. It is one I’ve been thinking about and struggling with for years, and I’ve finally started to crack it. This is very much just the beginning, too — here in my underground lair I’m already working on new variations of this. Using motion of celestial objects such as stars as my source, I’m inspired by myriad things such as classical views of the Universe, music, and printmaking.

You can see the first photographs from the series here, and you can read my project statement here.

This work will be exhibited in a group exhibition at PhoPa Gallery in Portland, ME, as part of the Maine Media Student Exhibition (I worked on this project as I was auditing the Projects course). I’ll be at the opening in Portland Friday 5-7 pm (that’s tonight!), and the exhibition extends from until June 11th. I’ve seen everyone’s work develop during the course and there are some truly wonderful photographs in this show, so definitely check it out if you are in the Portland area.

Various & Sundry: Spring Break Edition

"Codex Natura #17", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Codex Natura #17”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

Spring break for my daughter is a few days in and we are heading out tomorrow to visit family, so I’ll be away until Monday the 25th, and I wanted to highlight a few things before I left.

April’s full moon is going to happen on Friday, April 22nd (when I’m gone!), with moonrise at 7:58 pm and sunset at 7:29 pm on Friday night. Thursday night should be good for photography, too, with moonrise earlier at 7:01 pm and sunset following at 7:28 pm.

Good news here in Maine…the Maine College of Art just announced that they are merging/adopting the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies., which is great news for fans of serious documentary work.

My favorite event of the last few weeks was unquestionably the landing of SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 first stage booster on a floating drone barge. I love that they are taking on this incredibly challenging task that is an important step in reducing the costs of space flight. I love the fact that they named the barge Of Course I Still Love You after a sentient starship from Iain M. Banks’ science fiction novels. And I’ve loved watching the landing over and over.

Google acquired Nik (makers of plug in software like Silver Efex Pro and Dfine Noise Reduction) a little while back and everyone was a little bit worried about what would happen to the software. I’d say they should still be worried. The good news is that Google just announced that the software, which used to cost hundreds of dollars, is now free. The bad news is that this development likely means that the software will no longer be updated. So enjoy it while you can, but know that eventually some software update to your operating system will eventually mean that you won’t be able to run it any more.

I’m excited to announced that I have two pieces from my Codex Natura series included in a New York Center for Photographic Art exhibition opening this weekend at the Jadite Gallery in NYC. Find out more here…Congratulations also to Jane Yudelman for her Grand Prize win for her wonderful Frozen Lijimght series in the same exhibition! You can see an online version of the exhibition here.

Two quick notes on Maine-based photographers…I really enjoyed this video about DM Witman’s work…and congrats to Cig Harvey on her exhibition at the Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe that just opened (and check out this interview, too).

The big annual AIPAD show is going on in NYC happened last week and weekend. If you, like me, wish you were there but couldn’t attend, the next best thing is Collector Daily’s exhaustive summary of each booth at the show. Part 1 of 4 is here.

March 2016 Full Moon tomorrow

"Chaste Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Chaste Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

I’ve been away from Maine much of the past two weeks, and I’m leaving again for next week, so I know things have been a bit quiet around here. But luckily my week in Maine coincides with March’s full moon, as here in Maine the moment of the full moon occurs at 8 am tomorrow morning (March 23rd).

Moonrise tonight, with an almost-full moon, is promising for photography but the moon will be relatively high in the sky at the time of sunset. (Moonrise tonight is 6:13 pm, and sunset earlier at 6:51 pm, all times midcoast Maine). Tomorrow night is the classic moonrise configuration with sunset at 6:52 pm and moonrise just after at 7:11 pm. And for you early risers out there, moonset tomorrow morning is at 6:40 am, just after sunrise at 6:32 am.

March has been productive for me over the years in terms of photographing the full moon as part of my Adventures in Celestial Mechanics series. I’ve included a few here in this post as a sampling, both leading off and below.

The March full moon is of course known by many names across different cultures. One of my favorite names from any month is from March, as the Dakota Sioux called the March full moon the Moon When Eyes Hurt from Bright Snow. Popular names for this moon include the Algonquin names Full Worm Moon and Sugar Moon, as well as the English Chaste Moon and the Colonial American Lenten Moon.

"Chaste Moon II", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Chaste Moon II”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Worm Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Worm Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Moon When Eyes Are Sore From Bright Snow I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Moon When Eyes Are Sore From Bright Snow I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Lenten Moon IV", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Lenten Moon IV”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Lenten Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Lenten Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

Various & Sundry: Hunger Moon Edition

"Trappers Moon III", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Trappers Moon III”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

I like to share things that are of interest to me in these occasional Various & Sundry posts, but first I have an update — I’ll be mostly unavailable for printing and such in the first half of March. I’m teaching The Winter Night Landscape the first week in March and will have limited availability, and then I’ll be on road until March 17th (when I’ll be far from the printer and have even less availability). So let me know as soon as you are able if you have any prints or other issues that need handled before then.

In the free online video category, the MoMA in NYC has a new, free, online course called Seeing Through Photographs. It is offered through Coursera and has six separate lessons. You can either watch the videos for free or you can pay a fee to get a completion certificate.

I enjoyed this short video interview with Lee Friedlander as well (about 9 minutes long).

There are two upcoming deadlines for artist residencies here in Maine – first up, Hewnoaks Artist Colony on Kezar Lake due March 2nd (I spent a week here in 2013). The Mohegan Artist Residency has applications due March 15th.

NASA’s JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, a former employer of mine for a semester many years ago) just released these wickedly cool posters WPA-style travel posters for the solar system — for free. You can safely assume I’ll be printing some of these for myself.

The February full moon happens today (technically, it happened this morning around 6 a.m.), and tonight should be a good opportunity to view the rising full moon. Here in midcoast Maine moonrise is at 5:23 pm with sunset at 5:14 pm and the weather is actually promising!

The February full moon goes by many names, of course — one of my favorite names is the Hunger Moon, named for this being the time of year for Native American tribes that winter stores were running scarce. Other popular names were the Snow Moon, the Ice Moon, and the Trapper’s Moon, all names derived from winter conditions here in New England.

Leading off this post and below are a few of my February full moon photographs from my Adventures in Celestial Mechanics series.

"Hunger Moon I", Copyright Jim NIckelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Hunger Moon I”, Copyright Jim NIckelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Trapper's Moon II", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Trapper’s Moon II”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Trapper's Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Trapper’s Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

January 2016 Full Moon

"Great Spirit Moon II", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Great Spirit Moon II”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

January continues to fly by and the time of the first full moon of 2016 is almost upon us. January 2016’s full moon is this Saturday the 23rd. Unusually for here in the Maine, the weather forecast is actually reasonably promising for seeing it.

If you are interested in moonrise, you can see Friday’s moonrise at 3:27 pm (with sunset at 4:27).(All times based on Maine, roughly speaking). You may not be able to see the moon right at moonrise because it will still be relatively light, but if not you should be able to see it soon afterwards. Saturday’s moonrise is at at 4:27 pm and sunset at 4:29 pm making it a very good photography opportunity. Sunrise/moonset on Sunday morning should be a good opportunity, too, with both moonset and sunrise at 6:59 am.

Full moon names for January of course focus on winter, with common names like the Wolf Moon of the Algonquin named for the time when wolves ranged across the barren landscape in the heart of winter. Other common January full moon names include Moon After Yule, Old Moon, Cold Moon, Winter Moon, and the like.

One favorite name of mine is the Great Spirit Moon from the Anishnaabe tribes of what is now known as the Great Lakes region. The Great Spirit Moon occurred during the dead of winter when food was scarce, and the Anishnaabe dedicated this full moon to the Great Spirit, their principal deity. The Anishnaabe also referred to this moon as “When the snow blows like spirits in the wind”.

Here are a few more of my January full moons from previous years, and you can see my full moon project, Adventures in Celestial Mechanics, on my website.

"Moon of the Strong Cold", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Moon of the Strong Cold”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Wolf Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Wolf Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Great Spirit Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Great Spirit Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

Favorites of 2015

"Codex Natura #1", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Codex Natura #1”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

I just posted on my photography website my 12 favorite photographs from 2015, along with a bit of commentary about each (and a sneak preview of some of my new work from the Southwest). I’d love to hear from you any comments about this group, either on this blog, there, or directly.

I’d also love to see what consider your favorite photographs of 2015 from your own work for all of you photographers out there. Every year I create a post to highlight the diverse and amazing photographs produced by readers of this blog. This is the last call for submissions as I’ll be posting it on Friday.

If you’d like to participate, just simply send me a small jpeg and a link (if you so desire) by Thursday night and I’ll include your image and link in the post.

(Incidentally, if forced to choose one of my own images as my one single favorite, it is the one leading this post. I’ll likely change my mind a few more times, of course…choosing one single favorite is not easy, I know!)

December Full Moon on Christmas Day

"Long Nights Moon", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Long Nights Moon”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

Well, you don’t see this very often – a full moon on Christmas Day this coming Friday. (For the record, the last one was 34 years ago, and the next time will be in 2034).

The most common name used for December’s full moon is the Cold Moon because of its association with the beginning of winter. In past years I’ve also used Long Nights Moon (one of my favorites, from the fact that December has the longest nights of the year) and Winter Maker Moon for names.

Here in Maine, the precise time of the full moon is at 6:11 am on Friday morning, just missing Santa’s travels. As always, you can usually photograph the moon the day before also and have it appear to be full to the naked eye. Weather permitting,

Thursday night/Christmas Eve is a good theoretical time to photograph the rising full moon, with sunset at 4:02 pm and moonrise at 3:48 pm. Christmas Day is also potentially good with moonrise at 4:45 pm following sunset at 4:02 pm, though there is a risk that it will be too dark at the time of moonrise to photograph both the moon and landscape in the same shot.

Christmas morning is probably ideal, with moonset at 6:51 and sunrise at 7:10 am, but with a 9 year-old daughter that won’t be an option for me.

I’ve included a few photographs of the December full moon from previous years in this post. Good luck if you attempt to photograph it yourself this year, and you can see my entire full moon series here.

"Winter Maker Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Winter Maker Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Cold Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Cold Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

October 2015 Full Moon Tonight!

"Hunter's Moon", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Hunter’s Moon”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

October’s full moon (as well as the end of October) have snuck on me with the full moon happening tonight. Well, technically the moment of the full moon is tomorrow morning, but tonight it should appear approximately 99.4% full.

October has been a consistently good month for my full moon photographs…I’ve been successful each year, and this year is looking promising as well with clear skies here in Maine.

The Hunter’s Moon is the moon following the Harvest Moon and it is by far the most common name for October’s full moon. I’ve used a variety of names from other traditions in previous years, including Wine Moon and Long Grass Moon, but my favorite October name remains Moon of Falling Leaves.

Moonrise tonight is at 5:22 pm here in midcoast Maine with sunset following quickly at 5:35 pm. Tomorrow night is also a good opportunity, with moonrise at 6:10 pm after a sunset of 5:33 pm. And for you early risers, tomorrow morning has a 6:59 am moonset followed by a 7:06 sunrise.

"Moon of Falling Leaves III", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Moon of Falling Leaves III”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Wine Moon I", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Wine Moon I”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
"Long Grass Moon", Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Long Grass Moon”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.