Sunday Stills: Being #Celestial

Pink moon in eclipse

I’ve always been fascinated by cosmic events, the night sky and constellations, moonrises, comets, and meteor showers. Years ago I witnessed the Space EX launch that we saw in the skies over San Diego.

SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California

The Northern hemisphere reached meteorological summer this week and in light of the recent full lunar eclipse, our Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is “celestial.”

Definitions of Celestial

The Oxford Dictionary defines celestial as positioned in or relating to the sky, or outer space as observed in astronomy. Other synonyms to get you thinking include: supremely good, heavenly, holy, celestial being (aka angels), sky, otherworldly, unearthly, blissful, ethereal, spiritual, supernatural…

For Marsha’s Writer’s Quote Wednesdays, I submit this quote for this month’s writer’s choice…shall we say celestial?

“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.”

Michelangelo

Cosmic Events

Last year, we got a glimpse of comet Neowise on a dark night in the delta. It was just a vague smudge which was a remarkable sight. But as I looked again to show someone else, I saw the light of the international space station juxtaposed against it in its orbit. I almost fell over with delight!

Trust me when I say I will do what it takes to get my camera ready for an eclipse which is what you see in this image from Instagram. I took this shot at 4:15am, and it was already getting light outside. I saw better lunar eclipses posted, but I’m happy with it. Some of you already saw this on Instagram and Facebook.

Being Celestial All Week

While my daughter visited over the Memorial Day Weekend, I looked to the skies for inspiration. They did not disappoint.

A hot air balloon flies low over Spokane neighborhood…seen from my brother-in-law’s deck!

In downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park, old meets new under the skyway as the iron sculpture of the Salmon Chief seeks a blessing for his catch. The Spokane River’s lower falls that run through the downtown area were a fishing spot for native Americans for thousands of years. This sculpture was created by Colville Reservation native Virgil Marchand.

In the same area, the remaining skeletal structure of the Pavilion, built for the 1974 World’s Fair, lends an otherworldly sight to downtown Spokane.

Wild sunflowers at home reach for the setting sun in their celestial quest.

Sharing these ArrowLeaf Balsamroots for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Cosmic Songs of Galaxies

Celestial events are popular inspiration recorded in pop music. According to Spinditty, there are 134 songs relating to astronomy.

Recognize any of these? I was greatly influenced by the 60s-70s generation of music that spoke so eloquently of the cosmos. (By the way, due to copyright infringement concerns, I’ve only published snippets of the lyrics of each song).

“And all that is now and all that is gone
And all that’s to come and everything under the sun is in tune,
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

Pink Floyd

“When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets, And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius…

The Fifth Dimension

“Once upon a time there was light in my life, but now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say, a total eclipse of the heart.”

Bonnie Tyler

“This is Major Tom to Ground Control, I’m stepping through the door. And I’m floating in a most peculiar way, and the stars look very different today.

David Bowie

Celestial images captured by our lenses spark the imaginations of what really lies beyond.

When Celestial Becomes Infernal and Funereal

Despite recently installing satellite internet, I crafted part of my post this week without internet. High winds messed with our dish, then the 4G mobile network was intermittent due to excessive heat this week. I could have sworn we moved to Northeastern Washington but it feels like we are still in Sacramento if the weather is any indication. The very antithesis of the meaning of celestial.

As you read this today, we are traveling by car from Portland, Oregon, back to Spokane. My family traveled from far and wide to attend the celebration of life for my cousin’s husband, who passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. Though the circumstances were solemn and sad, we know he rests in peace with our Heavenly Father. In our grief, we managed to enjoy seeing everyone in person since before Covid. Nice to be among my fellow vaccinated family.

“The Ancients often believed a celestial event like an eclipse to be a bad omen, that the sun or the moon vanishing from the sky was a harbinger of disaster, a sign of devastation or destruction to come.”

Jenna Wortham

Hmmm, food for thought. Nothing surprises me now that we have experienced a pandemic first hand.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below is the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite vacation photos. And with that…

Blogger Links from May 23: Favorite Vacation Spot

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to reading your creative choices for CELESTIAL!

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Sunday Stills: Lighting Up the #Night

Sunday Stills Night

This week, as the northern hemisphere languishes in gloomy, shortened Winter days, let’s explore night photography. For those enjoying sunny summers or climates, it gets dark somewhere, right?

I admit right off that I am no expert when it comes to night photography. I know there are all kinds of aperture settings to capture images at night. Here is a useful article that explains the different types of night photography.

For now, lets explore what we have.

On Christmas night we got a record 8 inches of snow, adding to the three inches that previously fell. Now for all you snow experts out there, please indulge me a moment. I stepped outside to let my dog out into the backyard and the night sky at 9:00 pm was lit up!

Night Light

Where we are staying in suburbia, the area is surrounded by nearby businesses a few blocks away. Between the white snow on the ground and the clouds, punctuated by street lights, it looked more like twilight than night. I took these with my Galaxy Note phone and did very little editing. I walked outside and needed no extra light.

Bright Snowy Night

I know, I’m easily amused. Believe me, I have been in plenty of snowy, night conditions at Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, and with several feet of snow on the ground near the casinos at Stateline, it was still very dark.

Has that been your experience if you have been outside on a dark, snowy night?

Outdoor lights can also illuminate objects like the leaves below.

Backyard porch light illuminates delicate Fall leaves

Ambient light from buildings and other outdoor venues also lends enough light to an image.

Cal State Capitol
California State Capitol

Two years ago I took a photography class to learn more about my Lumix camera and all its settings. The instructor worked with me to get my first moon shot. This was taken on Manual mode and I braced the camera on top of the fence, looked up, and put it on full zoom.

Moon shot

Don’t worry if night photography is not your thing. You can interpret the theme in any way that works for you and your creative energy.

Thank you to so many who shared their 2020 retrospective last week! I always enjoy blogging in the new year as it seems motivation abounds! Please welcome bloggers who joined Sunday Stills for the first time this week.

I’m linking “up” with Becky B’s SquareUp challenge.

Next week we are back to my new-ish monthly feature, with the theme and color “glacier blue.” Hope to see you then!

Have a great week!

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Look! Up in the #Sky!

Blue Sky Half Moon

The theme for Sunday Stills photo challenge this week is “sky.” Three weeks ago, we shared our sunsets and sunrises. This week let’s look at the sky from other perspectives.

Hot air balloons float in a desert sky. Taken in North Phoenix in early January 2019 with my pal Ingrid.

Balloons float in a desert sky

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the last few weeks, I have been in the right place and time to capture decent images of the moon by day and by night. The daylight moon was taken in late spring and is featured for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Spring, hosted this week by Tina Schell.

Blue Sky Half Moon

This was the full moon on July 4th at the Sacramento Delta, framed by the tree. There was still some light in the sky at 8:30 pm, causing my camera to be a little touchy and not getting the clearest shot.

Full moon Perspective

“You cannot look up at the night sky on the Planet Earth and not wonder what it’s like to be up there amongst the stars. And I always look up at the moon and see it as the single most romantic place within the cosmos.”

Tom Hanks

A spring sky in the delta featuring a brooding sunset is enhanced with the Painnt app filter.

Spring Delta Sky

“Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff.”

Joan Didion

Back on Earth, a newly-blossomed sunflower provides a skyward perspective as it turns toward the sun. Cee’s Photo of the Day.

sunflower looks to the sky

Two previously featured photos show the sky from the perspective of autumn leaves…

grape leaves

…and the vast blueness punctuated by the flight of the Blue Angels in their annual Sky Show.

Blue Angels Air Show Sacramento
Blue Angels

And while you are thinking of your perspectives, drop by Becky B’s July Squares challenge this week.

“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.”

Marcus Garvey

What do you see in the sky? Rainbows, clouds, birds, airplanes, superman (as the title suggests), hot air balloons, vast blueness, drones? I can’t wait to see your interpretation!

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© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

The Orbs that Rule #Halloween Night

Full moon captured within the thorny branches

Full moon captured within the thorny branches

This is as close to a Halloween-themed post as I will get. The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge uses Rounded as the theme.

I captured this full moon last year near Halloween with my phone! Really!  I used some post-editing effects with some tweaks in exposure, but it seems to work for this challenge.

For your consideration, here are two more orbs that rule Halloween night.

A real lighted orb to light an outdoor Halloween party

To celebrate our finished master bedroom addition in October 2015 (has it already been 2 years?) we hosted a little get-together on our deck and this lovely paper lantern lit the night efficiently! (Another cell-phone photo).

These Moody Blues lyrics come to mind describing the “cold-hearted orb,” the moon as it lights up the darkness of night.

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room…

…Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight…
Red is grey and yellow white…

…And which is an illusion?

from Moody Blues, Nights in White Satin (Late Lament)
Songwriters: JUSTIN HAYWARD
Nights In White Satin lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, T.R.O. INC.

Seems apropos for a Halloween-themed blog post!

And because I’m not a dark, creepy person and enjoy the color orange, pumpkins and jack o’lanterns, here is a cheery photo of happy pumpkins waiting to be taken home from their pumpkin patch in nearby Apple Hill. Will they grace a family porch as jack o’lanterns, or become wonderful pumpkin pies….or both?

Pumpkin Patch


Although I did not completely accept the “Seven Days, Seven Photos in Black & White Challenge” by long-time fellow blogger and amazing photographer Lucile De Godoy,   who was kind enough to nominate me, my featured image of the cold-hearted moon actually photographed in black and white. I admire those who can photograph in black and white…it is more difficult than one might think! Please stop by and visit Lucile’s blog and take a look at her beautiful photography!

Have a safe and sane Halloween! I’ll be passing out candy to the few neighbor kids who still trick-or-treat in our neighborhood!

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