It is scientifically proven that the moon affects the tides. Yet science says that the moon has no effect on animal behavior or that of humans. I disagree.
Not because I have a degree, or even fully understand how the gravitational pull of the moon causes high and low tides, but simply because of life experience.
- Ask emergency workers if the moon has an effect on people and you will get an unending pile of full moon stories.
- People who spend time in the outdoors know that animals travel in patterns and that those patterns change according to the phases of the moon.
- Any mother can tell you if there is a full moon without checking, just by the behavior of her children (and husband).
So last week I had a feeling that something was up with the moon, but I wasn’t sure what.
In fact … rewind (My life)
About a month ago I switched our cell phones over to prepaid plans. Last week my husband took off on a trip. He called me around noon to check in and I didn’t hear from him again until that evening when I received an email: “In Nebraska. Phone won’t work. I called company and they said it won’t work outside of Wyoming. Will buy a new phone and call you later.”
Knowing this wasn’t the case and not wanting him to buy another phone, I immediately called my cell phone company. A very pleasant woman answered and I asked her to check my husband’s number to see what coverage he had. She confirmed that we had “Nationwide” coverage. I asked her if “Nationwide” means “throughout the United States.”
She said that was correct, anywhere in the continental United States.
Wait, isn’t Nebraska still part of the Union?
I told her what my husband’s email said, and she asked me where he was. I told her that he was in Nebraska at the time and she told me that the phone would NOT work there, “because he had left the country.”
Confused, I tried to explain to her that he hadn’t left the country, just the state, and that there are 50 of them in the U.S. She said that she realized that, but since Nebraska wasn’t in the U.S., he won’t be able to use his phone there.
That is when I asked to speak to a supervisor and was put on … hold.
Also that week, my younger son came home from school wanting to know the answer to this riddle: “What is the difference between a duck?” (And no, I didn’t leave anything out.)
Then, I was reprimanded by a woman online because I said that Vienna sausages are made from chicken lips and Spam is made out of cow toes. (For the record, it was a joke. Vienna Sausages are my child’s favorite snack and I was teasing him when I said it.) She didn’t find the humor in it and told me, among other things, “Chickens don’t have lips, and cows don’t have toes either!” It was a week of “happenings” and even if science claims there is no proof the moon effects human behavior, I know it effects mine (that is my excuse anyhow). And I am also certain that cows really do have toes, two of them on each hoof.
That whole solar eclipse thing
So … finding out there was going to be a solar eclipse on May 20, 2012, partially viewable from my location. I was relieved that all was right in the world after all. I could just blame the week’s craziness on the moon. I loved the challenge of trying to photograph the shadow of the moon on the sun. And since the last time I saw a solar eclipse was in 1979 when I was in grade school, I searched the Internet to figure out what I would need.
A photographer’s checklist for the next solar eclipse (Shop now!)
I headed to town on Saturday to find a #14 welding shield so that I wouldn’t burn the sensor out of my camera or my eyes, but had no luck. The stores all had #10 and a few #12. I was told that they could order me one but it wouldn’t be in until next week (after the eclipse). I stopped by my parents’ house on the way home and thankfully, my dad had a stack of welding shields. No #14, but he did have a #12 as well as an 8 and a 6. (8+6= 14 right?)
As evening approached, so did the clouds and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get any photos. My son, Josiah, and I set the camera on the tripod, taped the welding shields to the front and took a couple test shots. Manual settings, low ISO (400) to reduce noise.
I don’t have a remote shutter release so I used a combination of a fast shutter speed (1/1000 +) and an aperture between 8 and 4 so I wouldn’t have to worry as much about camera movement blurring the images. Forty-five minutes later we finally saw a hint of moon creeping into the picture. The clouds got darker and interrupted for a while, but backed off again in time for us to see the moon half way and again just before the sun set. The green tinge looking through the welding filters gave the scene an eerie and cool effect.
Josiah and I had fun playing with the filters and experimenting with settings to see what kind of photos we could get. My location was too far east to see the “ring of fire,” but it was still pretty cool to get to see and experience the eclipse with my child.
And since the sun set before the eclipse was completely over, I think next time I will go to the pass at the top of the mountain where I can photograph it from beginning to end … you know … since “next time,” where I live, will be on April 8, 2024.
That should give me plenty of time to order a #14 filter, and maybe by then I can answer the riddle “What is the difference between a duck?”
Editor’s note: And, we don’t even want to calculate how many chicken lips she will have consumed by then.
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