Jupiter Mars Conjunction January 6-7, 2018

Moon, Mars and Venus Setting over Mount Whitney

A past conjunction: the moon, Mars and Venus setting over Mount Whitney

The planets in our solar system orbit the sun in a plane, the “ecliptic plane”.  Seen from the side within that plane from here on earth, they appear to travel in a line in the sky.  As the planets travel in different orbits at different speeds, they sometimes seem to pass one another along that imaginary ecliptic line in the sky, as seen from here on earth. From the United States, the pass will occur between the mornings of January 6 and 7, 2018. Mars and Jupiter will pass within 1/4 degree, 1/2 moon width, of each other.

For the image above from the moon, Mars, Venus conjunction on February 20, 2015, I identified several locations to the conjunction as the moon and planets set over Mount Whitney, near Lone Pine, California. This time the planets will be about 3 times closer to each other.

Here are some actual photos of Jupiter and Mars approaching each other in the sky on recent nights:

Jupiter Mars Conjunction January 7

Jupiter and Mars on December 30, approaching conjunction January 6/7 2017

Approaching Jupiter Mars Conjunction

Jupiter and Mars January 2, rising before dawn

Astrophotographer Jeff Sullivan

On January 5 Jupiter and Mars continue their approach towards conjunction January 6

Here’s a time-lapse of the planets rising on the morning of January 2:

The images and sample time-lapse were captured at a modest 200 mm focal length, the event will be more interesting when they are close enough to shoot at 300-400mm or more, their movement towards each other becomes even more obvious, and while the moons of Jupiter become even more apparent. The two planets will rise over the eastern horizon around 2:45 am on a zero degree horizon here in the Pacific time zone (at a compass angle of 112 degrees, a bit south of east), but I’ve been watching them past 6 am on recent mornings, so you can catch them from when they rise well into twilight. With my actual horizon being more than zero degrees, the planets will appear to rise closer to 3 am for me.

Here’s my result showing the progress of the planets, footage from the mornings of January 2, 3, 5, and 7:

Aside from the planets close together, what else might have been shot? With a long enough exposure and an interesting horizon, a time-lapse video of the planets rising could be interesting, somewhat like this prior shoot of a planetary conjunction setting:

Moon – Mars – Venus Conjunction Setting Over Mount Whitney from Jeff Sullivan on Vimeo.

I chose not to travel to an interesting landscape for this event due to a stormy weather forecast for much of the week here in the Eastern Sierra, including rain on January 6.

Venus Jupiter Moon Conjunction

Venus Jupiter Moon Conjunction, August 23, 2014

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2017 Best Nine: Nature, Landscape, Travel Photography

2017 Best Nine photographs from California

2017 BestNine photographs by Jeff Sullivan Photography.

There a site that can analyze your Instagram feed and arrange the nine most popular ones into a new image for you to share. Scroll to the bottom here to create yours:

Drop by my #2017BestNine on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know when you’ve uploaded yours, and I’ll go check yours out!

The site will also let you create your #2016BestNine if you haven’t already done so:
Best Nine of 2016?

Last year I also created my #2015BestNine, as shown here:
Best Nine of 2015?

Another option you have is to include statistics on your account for the year:

2017 Best Nine photographs from California

2017 BestNine photographs by Jeff Sullivan Photography.

It says roughly 40,000 “views”, but they seem to actually be likes. If the views-to-likes ratio is similar on Instagram to what I see on Flickr, the views would be roughly 10X more, or 400,000.

I had a few more “views” (or likes) in 2016, but had to upload more photos to get them:

2016 Best Nine photographs from California

2016 BestNine photographs by Jeff Sullivan Photography.

Overall my audience growth is pretty slow on Instagram, and I still have a lot more views on Flickr, the photos get views for longer, and the strong keyword tagging and search features means that the photos get found occasionally for commercial licensing. Obviously Instagram’s parent company Facebook has tremendous resources to invest in Instagram, and with nearly 600 photos there already, I remain optimistic that I’ll see more of an uptick in activity on my photos on Instagram in 2018!

My most popular photo on Flickr, with 1,538,443 likes, 21,292 favs, 1023 comments:
Water Cuts Rock

My most popular photo on Instagram?  886 likes, 33 comments:

The stats themselves don’t mean much, obviously I’m focusing on my photography not social media or I’d have more Instagram activity.  If I produce compelling work, the rest will eventually take care of itself.  But with little times to spend on social media and photo sharing sites, it’s useful to pay attention to where what little time I do have is best spent. So I’ll continue to pay attention to where my photography seems to get the best reception.

Other ways to look back at my new 2017 images and fresh edits of older ones?  I collected my favorites in a post on this blog:
Top 10 Travel Photos 2017

I selected those from over 100 that I nominated during the year as I was taking them, stored in a 2017 Favorites album on Flickr:

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Recent Artwork Uploaded for Printing and Gifts

Prints, mugs, T-shirts, and more, available for a limited time only, all with a money-back guarantee from Fine Art America:
Photography Prints

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online

Art Prints

Photography Prints

Photography Prints

See more of my current print and gift offerings at:

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The Road To Bodie Is Open!

November Snow in Bodie State Historic Park, California

Winter approaching, November 29, 2017

Bodie Road, State Route 270, is currently open all the way to the historic Wild West “ghost town” of Bodie.  The park is open year ’round, but the road is subject to closure when conditions warrant.  The Open Snow long range weather forecast says that models predict that we could some precipitation moving in after January 5, so if a winter visit to Bodie sounds good to you, get up there in the next week or so, while the road is open!

All Rodents Lead to Bodie, Bodie State Historic Park, California

Several inches of snow in Bodie, May 8, 2015.

If we do get some snow, will that close the road?  If it looks like the first in a series of storms, it’s probably simpler and safer to leave the road closed for the season.  Bot now that the ground is frozen up in the dirt portion of the road, it’s less likely that wet conditions will make the road muddy and subject to damage from vehicle traffic (or cause vehicles to get stuck).  So a brief and not-too-deep snowfall won’t necessarily close the road.

Bodie on a Snow Day, Bodie State Historic Park, California

May 20, 2014

Some of my favorite visits have been in May when we get a late snowfall.  I’ve seen the road stay open with as much as 8″ of snow on it.  It doesn’t get plowed, so at those times you must have a vehicle with high clearance, and it’s best to have 4WD to minimize the odds of getting stuck.  I believe there’s a chain control sign at one point on Bodie Road, so you could well be required to have 4WD and “M+S” mud and snow rated tires, or snow chains installed on vehicles without 4WD.

Window on Bodie, Bodie State Historic Park, California

Snowy Day in Bodie May 20, 2014

Thanks to Mono County Tourism for reminding me that the road is open! And thanks for sharing my Bodie photo, with credit, on Instagram and Facebook. The image is from one of the night photography workshops that I lead every summer… about 5-6 times most years, and over 30 times already! I should hear back on my 2018 date request by February.

There may not be much snow on the ground at the moment, but it doesn’t take much to create a whole different atmosphere in town, and there is probably noticeable patches of snow on the surrounding peaks. So if you can make it up soon, check out Bodie before the road closes for the winter!

Big Wheel Keep on Turning

Cold Seat

View from Ranger's Roost by Parking Lot, Bodie State Historic Park, California

Snow in Bodie on May 22, 2017

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Spring in Yosemite Photography Workshop Highlights, 2017

Sun Rays on Yosemite Valley Morning Fog (color)

Sun Rays on Yosemite Valley Morning Fog (color)

Yosemite Valley SpringWe had great conditions for my Yosemite in Spring photography workshop in May, 2017: mixed weather with morning fog, brief rain to created mist alongside Yosemite’s granite monoliths, clouds to decorate sunrise, “moonbow” lunar rainbows at night, a rainbow in Bridalveil Fall that I anticipated from the sun elevation and compass direction, blooming dogwood trees and wildflowers, waterfalls, creeks in high spring flow, and so much more. Of course all of this needed to be experienced from the right vantage point at the right time of day.

Outdoor Photographer Magazine published today that they selected one of my photos from this workshop as the winning image for their recent Iconic Locations challenge.  See their write-up on their site for more information on how the image was created:

OP was kind enough to share the image on their Facebook page and Twitter timeline as well:

Congratulations to @jeffsullivanphotography for winning the recent Iconic Locations Assignment with the image, Sun Rays on Yosemite Valley Morning Fog. “On this sunrise at Yosemite’s iconic Tunnel View overlook, it had rained the day before, but the skies were forecast to clear up overnight, so I figured that it would cool down enough to have the water vapor condense as a ground fog. When we arrived the next morning, it was just thick enough to reach the treetops, creating some nice photographic opportunities. “There had been several dozen people at this viewpoint minutes before the sun rays appeared, but once the sun cleared the mountains, nearly everyone decided to go get breakfast. Someone in my workshop asked about that, but I said, “Let’s give it another five minutes.” Sure enough, when the sun closed the gap in the clouds and started shining down between them, light rays started moving around the Valley. “The dynamic range of the scene was too great for one exposure, so the sun ray image was created from five bracketed exposures, adjusted in Adobe Lightroom and combined in PhotomatixPro HDR software.” * * * #OPAssignments #iconiclocations #travel #adventure #tunnelview #Yosemite #landscape_lovers #sky_captures #landscapephotography #fantastic_earth #landscape_captures #ic_landscapes #ig_exquisite #ourplanetdaily #landscapelovers #instanaturelover #welivetoexplore #allnatureshots #specialshots #landscapestyles @yosemitenps

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Here are more images from that great photography workshop in Yosemite National Park in May:

Yosemite Light Rays on Valley Fog

Yosemite Light Rays on Valley Fog

Light Rays On Morning Fog

Light Rays On Morning Fog

Yosemite Valley Morning Light

Yosemite Valley Morning Light

Rainbow in the Mist

Rainbow in the Mist, Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park, California

Moonbow Reflections 2017

Moonbow Reflections 2017, Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome Behind Parting Clouds

Half Dome Behind Parting Clouds

Climber Lights on El Capitan

Climber Lights on El Capitan

Morning Fog in Yosemite Valley

Morning Fog in Yosemite Valley

See other posts on this site for more images from my photography workshops in 2017: www.JeffSullivanPhotography.com

I’ll release 2018 dates shortly. Let me know if you’d like me to notify you when they’re released.

Half Dome Morning Reflection

Half Dome Morning Reflection

Lower Yosemite Falls Moonbow

Lower Yosemite Falls Moonbow



Cloud Forest

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Top 10 Travel Photos: 2017

Geyser Basin Milky Way and Meteor

Geyser Basin Milky Way and Meteor – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

This year was another productive one for landscape and night photography, with some nice results produced from Death Valley, California to Yellowstone, Wyoming.  Some of the nicer results produced from trips taken in prior years included results from several trips to Utah.  Two upgrades I made during the year that helped recover more results included Lightroom 6 and Photomatix 6.  See my recent post “Why Do Your Fall Images Look Better This Year?” for more on that.  I successfully avoided camera upgrades, but soon I’ll take critical looks at the latest Canon and Nikon models.

Death Valley sand dunes in sunset light, California desert

Death Valley Dunes in Sunset Light

Yosemite's El Capitan in the Fall, Yosemite National Park, alifornia

El Capitan and Fall Colors, Yosemite National Park

Sunrise and weather photography in Yosemite National Park, California

Light Rays in Yosemite Ground Fog, Yosemite National Park, California

Merced River Morning Light Reflection, Yosemite National Park, California

Merced River Morning Light Reflection, Yosemite National Park

Milky Way Over Fall Colors. Eastern Sierra, California. Astrophotography.

Milky Way Over Eastern Sierra Fall Colors


Lone aspen tree surrounded by a forest of aspen. Eastern Sierra, California

Yosemite Morning Sun Rays

Morning Sun Rays, Yosemite National Park, California

Storm Chasing in the Eastern Sierra

Storm Chasing in the Eastern Sierra, California

Star Trails With Vertical Milky Way Reflection

Star Trails With Vertical Milky Way Reflection, Sierra Nevada, California

Sunrise Rain Shower, Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra, California

Runners UpSunrise Rain Shower Reflection – Mono Lake, California

Geminid Meteor Shower, Nikon D750

Geminid Meteor Shower, Death Valley National Park, California

Another take on 2017 is the collection of most-liked photos I uploaded to Instagram:

New 2017 Results from Past Years

Snow Showers in Yosemite Valley

Snow Showers in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Virgin River Narrows Downstream

Virgin River Narrows Downstream, Zion National Park, Utah

Bodie State Historic Park: Colors of Decay, Arrested

Bodie State Historic Park: Colors of Decay, Arrested

I have many more images that I considered for my favorite photos and moments of 2017, and I’ve collected over 100 of them in 2017 Favorites album on Flickr.

My Favorite Landscape / Travel Photos from Each Year, 2005 – 2016

Here are some of my collections from prior years.  It has been a great dozen years of adventure, I can’t wait to see what I can find to show you in the next 12!

2016 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2016 Top 10 Landscape/Travel Blog Post

2015 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2015 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos Blog Post

2014 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2014 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2013 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2013 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2012 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2012 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2011 Favorites album on Flickr
2011 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2010 Favorites album on Flickr
2010 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2009 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2009 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2008 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2008 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2007 Favorites photo album on Flickr 
2007 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

2006 Favorites photo album on Flickr
2006 Top 10 Landscape / Travel Photos blog post

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100 Photos from Death Valley

As the weather cools and I look forward to returning to the desert in a few weeks, this morning I added a few dozen photos to my album from 2013 visits to Death Valley: 

#DeathValley  +Death Valley Workshops  #photographyworkshops  

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Death Valley 2013
I've added more photos from last year's visits to Death Valley.  See the entire album at: https://plus.google.com/b/116469806647181209109/photos/116469806647181209109/albums/5857035748497514689

My Death Valley photography workshop schedule will be up soon at: www.JeffSullivanPhotography.com
#deathvalley   #Deathvalleyphotoworkshops   #deathvalleyphotography  

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County Barn at Sunset

From our last night photography workshop at Bodie State Historic Park on  August 30, 2014.  I can't wait to go back out in a couple of weeks. With the sun setting around 6:30, we'll have over 4.5 hours of night shooting, roughly double what is available when the sun sets much later in mid-summer!

I've opened up the last few spots for separate night ($325) and interior access ($225):  www.JeffSullivanPhotography.com
 +Bodie Photo Workshops 
#landscapephotography   #photographyworkshop   #nightphotographyworkshops  

Bodie County Barn at sunset, August 30, 2014.

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Light Painting the Hoover House

+Ryan Watamura captured this image of the abandoned house where the brother of President Herbert Hoover lived in the late 1800s.  Check out more of Ryan's work… hard to believe that he only has 534 contacts: 
https://plus.google.com/+RyanWatamura/posts/HQNsU9q48u3 #nightphotography   #ghosttown   #bodiestatehistoricpark  +Bodie Photo Workshops 

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Hoover House and Milky Way, Bodie, California. #bodie +Bodie Photo Workshops +Jeff Sullivan +Maximilian Laue

Hoover House and Milky Way, Bodie, California. #bodie +Bodie Photo Workshops +Jeff Sullivan +Maximilian Laue

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My camera was capturing a time-lapse sequence when a ghostly figure drifted into the scene… It turned out to be +Tex Schneider , who had dropped by to light paint the old Chevy.
Our last workshop in Bodie is coming up October 4 and 5: http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/bodie-night-photography-workshops/ +Bodie Photo Workshops  #nightphotographyworkshops   #bodiestatehistoricpark   #astrophotography  

Light painting the ’37 Chevy in Bodie August 30, 2014.

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