Double Eclipse! (a preview)

WOW!!  I haven’t made a post  since April.  I am long overdue, but it has been for good reason.  I have had 15 workshops since April, one of them being to Arizona where we photographed many iconic locations including the Great “Ring of Fire” Annular Solar Eclipse over Horseshoe Bend in northern Arizona. I have also photographed the partial eclipse of the “strawberry” moon in early June, follow by the “transit of Venus” crossing the surface of the Sun, the following night. Three eclipses in just as many weeks, So lucky to have been apart of them all. The eclipse BlogEntry is coming next week! This is just a  little teaser of what is to come! Enjoy! We all arrived at 12 noon (5 1/2 hours before the eclipse began, just to “claim” our spot) and I’m glad we did.

Annular Eclipse May 20th, 2012 – Northern Arizona

Annular Eclipse – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, May 20th, 2012

(above)The eclipse started at 5:32pm and ended beyond sunset around 7:24pm. This image was taken in the final minutes before the sun set in it’s partial eclipse phase.  

(above) This photo was created during the Maximum Eclipse Phase around 6:34pm on Sunday May 20th, 2012.

   Be sure to check back next week for the full post! Cheers! Jeff

LAUNCH OF THE NEW WEBSITE!

Jeff Berkes Photography just got a drastic overhaul on the website! New and improved galleries make viewing all  galleries faster and more enjoyable!

Whats new with the website?

Well, just about everything! The entire format has changed, litterally. The “image collection” has a brand new format with large thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail to enlarge it, see captions and descriptions for each image, click on that image again to return to the thumbnail gallery, simple right?

 The “Photo Tours” page has up to date information on 2012 workshops! As of now there are two (2) Nighttime / Meteor Shower Workshops planned for 2012, with others being added in this Spring. The “Exploring America”  Photo Tour page  has two (2) Adventures planned for August and September, one visiting Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as Deadhorse State Park.  The other Tour will be in Yellowstone National Park – Geysers, Landscape and Wildlife.

Hope you enjoy the new design!  If you happen to find any errors please inform us, so we can fix any issue asap! Thanks in advance.. Feedback is always much appreciated!

“Islands in Autumn” Reaches the Hompage of National Geographic!

“Islands in Autumn” has become my most popular photograph over the last two weeks. Ten of thousands of visitors have reached my website and the feedback that I have read and received, has been wonderful.  I have read comments about it being a comet,  asteroid  or an iridium flare. I would like to tell everyone that indeed, this is a genuine Orionid Meteor. I have followed meteor showers for at least the last 10 years. I was a teenager when I  saw the Leonid Storms of the 90’s from my back yard and it really sparked an interest. 

One of the biggest factors that hurts your chances of viewing these showers  besides the ability to stay up all night is light pollution and  weather.. If it’s cloudy, you won’t see a single meteor and with light pollution, it turns night into day. I have photographed various meteor showers from many places in the US , some of those places are  Mauna Kea, HI,  Kauai, Maui, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Hampshire and St. Thomas. 

Here is a photo of a Perseid Meteor exploding over the Pacific Ocean .  Taken from the southern coast of Kauai, August 2010. I love the reflections in the water.

Kauai - Perseid MeteorQuadrantid Meteor 2011 Quadrantid Meteor Over Coastal Maryland.

Perseid over Utah 2011

Perseid Meteor - Utah

Quadrantids January 2011. Maryland

Quadrantid Meteor Over Coastal Maryland.

New meteor photos November 2011 will be posted the first week of December 2011. Good luck!

Fall back, Spring into Action!

A strong front has just passed allowing cold Canadian air to rush into our region. Temps will go down int the low 40’s tonight for the first time in a long time.  It has reminded me of a trip I take every year to document the changing of colors in New England.  It has got me pretty pumped because as a landscape and nature photographer I have weeks of amazing photo ops ahead of me. If you are a hardcore outdoor photographer like me, you can chase the colors for over a month, or even two! 

Here are some recent photographs I have taken in Vermont during peak conditions the last 2 years.

Morning Fog in North Dorset, VT.

Mountain Waterfall. Central Vermont

Green Mountains , Vermont

Arlington, VT

Shark Fin Pond, VT

Vermont Birch Tree – Green Mountains, VT

Moss Glen Falls, VT

Manchester, VT

Final Light – Manchester, VT

To view more of my American Landscapes visit me at    www.jeffberkesphotography.com

Space Shuttle Discovery’s Last Transit Over the United States

Photo of the Day: 3.10.2011

Discovery’s Final Transit  

3.8.2011  –  7:23:24pm to 7:25:49pm EDT.  Chester County, PA

It’s was upsetting to know that Tuesday night would be the last time to see the Space Shuttle Discovery in the night skies over my town. I was 4 years old when Discovery first launched in 1984 and it’s sad to see something I’ve known for so many years retire. I have only seen it once in person when I was very young, but yet there was something about that visit to the Kennedy Space Center that inspired me. I can still picture clearly the Discovery being slowly rolled out to the launch site as a kid in the 80’s and I feel very fortunate to be able to photograph its final transit last night. The clouds parted briefly allowing me the two minutes I needed for this shot. I think the clouds added some interesting colors to the image and the crescent moon was a special bonus on a special night. The space shuttle Discovery and the ISS sweeping by the Pleiades with the hanging crescent moon and moon corona setting in the west. You can’t beat that for a farewell to almost three decades of service and 39 missions under the belt. Hope you enjoy this image as much as I enjoy creating it.

 Thanks Discovery! You will be missed!

Colors of Autumn are Coming!

 

As August fades, and September’s cooler temperatures settle in, the leaves begin the final stages of their lives. We are all often in awe when the leaves change from a  lush green to a vibrant yellow, orange or red. It often raises questions such as, “Why do leaves change color in autumn?  Why do some trees turn yellow, orange and others red? How come the color varies in intensity from year to year?” Well what if I said the leaves are always yellow and orange and the green just covers it all up? It is true, these colors exist in the leaves all year and are covered up by the green chlorophyll.

 

The Fall Leaf Cycle starts at the end of summer with the shortening of the days and cooler nights. At that point, the trees do not receive enough light to produce food for themselves, and the production of chlorophyll is haulted.  Some trees that turn fire engine red, like a Maple ,

have glucose trapped inside it. A combination of sunlight, shade, and the cold nights help turn the glucose into this red color we see.  I have seen some of the most spectacular colors of my life in New England and along the Appalachian Trail. Shenandoah National Park offers some of the best vistas and hiking trails in the East! 

This picture was published in Popular Photography and Imaging Magazine October 2008. Itwas taken in Shenandoah National Park during a weekend camping expedition.

 

During the Winter, the tree will loose  it’s leaves so it can survive the harsh season ahead. My Autumn usually begins around the second week of September. The weather patterns seem to change and cooler air is filtered down like clockwork making beautiful fog-filled scenes at sunrise and sunset. Like this..

or this…

or this…

Even this morning, I was blessed with some nice low-lying fog and a beautiful  morning sun halo.

You are not just limited to photographing leaves and trees, you can also photograph activities that take place during this season, or incorporate them into your shot.

Riding Harley Davidson’s in New England.

 or fishing in Vermont..

Maybe all you need is a little good luck this fall!

I love taking hikes through Ricketts Glenn State Park in Pennsylvania! You can see so many beautiful waterfalls and thick forests filled with photo ops!

Check out the Green Mountains of Vermont!

FORCES OF NATURE: Volcanoes (Hawaii)

The Big Island of Hawaii is a place where new earth is created and taken away on a daily basis. On this island you will encounter several ecosystems and microclimates. A microclimate is the climate of a small, specific place within a larger area. Places such as your back yard, National Parks, or Islands can have many microclimates depending on the sunlight, shade, altitude, exposure to the wind, or lack there of etc. I remember one day sweating in 90 degree heat, with little wind, while photographing a cactus on the west side of the island. Later that day, I was in an Arctic Parka over 13,000ft with  40mph winds, making it feel like 15 degrees. The big island still remains a wilderness and depending on where you are traveling and how far your ambitions for adventure take you, it is possible you may never leave this island. 

Here are some photos from the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Puʻu ʻŌʻō (often written Puu Oo), pronounced “poo-oo oh-oh”, a cinder / spatter cone, is located on the eastern rift zone of the Kilahuea Volcano. Puʻu ʻŌʻō has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries.

Saddle Road / Route 200 traverses the width of the Island of Hawaii, from downtown Hilo (East) to its junction with Hawaii Route 190 near Waimea (west). In May of 1849, G.Judd proposed building a road between these two populated areas. After 10 years,  12 miles of road was completed. The eruption of Mauna Loa in 1859 caused the workers to abandon the site. In the wake of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the U.S Army built a poor access road in 1943 strictly for military vehicles of all kinds. After WW II the government handed over the road, which was eventually renamed Rt.200. The last lava flow that covered Saddle Road was  in 1984 when the Mauna Loa eruption was triggered from an eruption at Kilahuea.

In the photo above: You can see the newly paved (in spots) Saddle Road from it’s most recent lava flow. Mauna Loa continues to erupt every 8-10 years, and is due for another eruption any day now.

I probably saw at least 50 rainbows in Hawaii during my 2 week stay on 3 islands. I am standing in a desert lava field when I took this photo.  The rainbow marks the spot of another microclimate.

Mauna Kea is a dormant shield volcano, and if measured from it’s oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 33,000 feet tall, much higher than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea is over 13,700 above sea level. In Hawiian mythology, some say the peaks of the island of Hawai’i are sacred, and Mauna Kea is the most sacred one of all. Mauna  Ancient Hawaiian law allowed only high-ranking tribal chiefs to visit it’s peaks. Today some people seem to disregard that law. In this photo you don’t see a mountain in the background, it’s the shadow of Mauna Kea as the sun sets in the West. Talking about shadows of Mountains… try living in this one. With little oxygen at its summit, unhealthy, overweight, and people that have been scuba diving within 24 hours are advised to find another adventure.

Mauna Kea’s summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomy because of its high altitude, dry environment, and stable airflow. The access road to the summit was completed in 1964 and since then thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit.

Astronomers of all levels converge on the slopes of Mauna Kea to catch a glimpse of our universe from an unparallel location.

This Lava flow was the first to have burned down a home on the island in over a decade.  The flow started at the end of July 2010 amd was heading east towards the Kalapana Gardens subdivision. More than one house was burned to the ground including a church. This is the biggest Lava flow they have seen in ages! Timing is everything.

The Puhi-o-Kalaikini ocean entry, which is almost 1 km (0.8 mi) long, continues to feed the ocean after first reaching the pacific in July 2010. This photo is taken from a boat about 15feet or less from the actual entry point. I must admit it was hot, steamy, and a hell of a good time… most likely the most insane thing ever! Strong sulfur dioxide odors can be found in the plumes from both ocean entry and the Kilauea Caldera. Sulfur dioxie fumes may reach such dangerous levels that the National Park, which sits in the middle of it all, will close and evacuations are put into place.

 Kilahuea Caldera, Milkyway, and a Perseid Meteor. Taken during the Perseid Meteor shower in August 2010.

Hope you enjoyed some of my photos! I know I enjoyed creating them!

*Some facts and information found at wikipedia