I had three previous posts alerting readers to the December 21, 2020, Saturn and Jupiter Great Conjunction (LINK, LINK, LINK) . . . and I’m a bit behind in documenting the actual event.

This will be a “longish” post taking us From December 10th to December 21st. There will be another post documenting the days after the 21st’s closest (visual) approach of the two gas giants. But for now, let’s proceed.

This post documents days in which I was able to photograph the planets in reasonably clear skies — six days, starting with December 10th and ending with December 21st.

December 10, 2020, 17:10 — Marion, Illinois
Nikon D7500, Nikon AF VR-Nikkor 80-400mm 1:4.5-5.6D
Photo: 80mm 3 sec. f/7.1 ISO 500

Impressive, no? That’s what happens when you forget to change camera settings . . . but, luckily, I shoot RAW, so I can salvage something from that.

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

That coyote was photographed at Little Big Horn — yes, that Little Big Horn — with my Nikon D100 and Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens.

Voting has picked up some for the current round, a good thing that.   

If you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge U-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon, Chicago time, on Wednesday, December 16th.

So, hawks. Specifically, Red-tailed hawks. There were a lot of them in Colorado, but this next hawk is the subject of the first successful series of photos that included passable flying shots. These were taken with a Nikon D200 with a Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR lens . . .

Don’t get me wrong, the Nikon D100 served me well from 2002 to 2009 (and still does an admirable job if called to perform) but the D200 was a step up in noise reduction and resolution (LINK). I had a few decent hawks photos taken with the D100, but the frequency of “keeper” photos was low.

A few weeks ago, on an unusually warm day, I drove to Crab Orchard Lake Refuge in the hopes of finding a few birds to photograph. I mean, I’ve not seen all that many birds there, but it’s supposed to be a bird sanctuary . . . maybe someone should tell the birds.

As luck would have it, an eagle was hanging around near where I drove.

Nikon D7500 and Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR. Hand-held at 400mm (600mm eq.)

Hanging around is a colloquialism. It was perched, as you can see. You might notice all the technobabble writing under the photo. That’s my way of saying that it wasn’t close to where I parked.

The location on the parking lot is pretty accurate since it’s where I parked and I stayed in the car. The other end is an approximation. It could have been 235 yards, or 255 yards. Either way, a long way away.

But, I can bring it closer.