When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon?

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The post When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

Moon phases are a key to understanding when you should be out taking photos. These days it’s easy to predict where and when you will see the moon for the type of photos you want to produce.

First let’s start with some tools you might want to look into, then options for different moon phase photos.

Tools

Astronomers have known the secrets of the moon’s phases and timing for eons. Ancient civilizations built monuments and shrines in regard to locations of the sun, moon and stars long before computers were invented. Our modern tools are a little easier to access.

Newspapers and Websites

Not into learning full astronomy? My first suggestion is to Google the phase you’re looking for. It’s that simple. One of the top sites that will appear in the results is Time & Date. You can find all the phases of the moon, based on the location of your Internet connection, right here. If the location isn’t correct, simply search for your city and the site will give you all you need to get started.

Another great option (that also has an app, but it is so much better on a large computer screen) is The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE). I wrote about using TPE here on DPS and they have a Web App available for those who don’t use phones and their apps.

The US Navy has a simple site that allows you to print out a year’s worth of times for any location on the planet.

Don’t have an Internet connection while you travel? Newspapers still print the information for the moon and sun phases (as well as setting and rising times).

Apps

Everyone loves a good app, and there are three that I keep loaded on my phone for photography purposes. All of these apps will show you the angle of the moon at any time, its phase, and some even help you calculate the best time to photograph the moon.

Full moon over Washington’s Cascade Mountains

My choices are:

Catching the Full Moon

The best time to photograph the full moon is the day before or after a full moon. Why’s this?

A full moon is marked at the height of its path across the heavens and this is often after midnight. Let’s say the moon reaches the height of its fullness at 12:26 am on July 2nd. This means the full moon actually rises on the day BEFORE that which is marked on the calendar. Throw in use of Daylight Saving Time and the timing can be wonky.

Full moon rising above Washington’s Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound

Going out the day before the moon is actually marked as full means you’re catching the moon rising just about at the same time as the sun is setting. So the sun is lighting the moon and often the foreground of your scene. This gives a nice, even lighting to your scene.

The same can be said for shooting the full moon setting the day it is marked on the calendar.

Late at night, you can still capture great images of the moon. However, you have to understand that the contrast difference between the moon (a giant reflector in space) and the black sky will be immense. This means you will lose detail in the moon if you attempt to hold the shutter open long enough to exposure the foreground. Some creative light painting can come in handy in this case.

Full moon and chorten with the Himalayas in the background. Mong La, Nepal

Half/Quarter Moons – Daytime wonders

Some people call them half-moons because half of the moon is illuminated. Some call them quarter because they are at the quarter phase of a full cycle. Either way, they look the same.

Half-moons will rise or set in the middle of the day. It matters on whether the moon is waxing or waning, meaning if it is getting closer to full or further away in its cycle. This is a good time to use an app or Astro calendar to plan ahead.

You’ll be best served by catching a half moon when it is rising or setting, just like with a full moon. Having it closer to the foreground subjects will help it appear larger. Let me give you an example.

Here’s the half moon rising in Canmore, Alberta, Canada just behind the Rocky Mountains.

Half moon and the Canadian Rockies

Nice and large when using a long lens and the moon is close to the ground. It is fairly high in the sky here as I am looking way up at the mountain.

Now, here are two examples with a nearly half moon over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and another of it over Seattle, Washington.

See the issue? It’s still a half moon, but later in its cycle, when it is far from foreground objects, it is relatively small and loses some grandeur.

Slivers or Crescents

Slivers, or crescents, are visible just before and after a new moon. Look for them a couple of days before and after the new moon and, just like full and half, try to find a time when they are low on the horizon.

Crescent moon setting over the Himalayas

You will also notice the sliver will seemingly rotate as it crosses the heavens and this may affect your composition choices. As with the half moon, you will have even more trouble giving the moon prominence in a mid-day shoot when it is high in the sky.

Lunar Eclipses

Lunar eclipses are all the fashion these days with this or that news source touting, “This will be the last blah, blah, blah for decades!”  But don’t let them fool you; lunar eclipses happen often enough – about once a year. However, their location can be the biggest issue. Let’s go back to Time & Date’s site for more info on upcoming lunar eclipses for the next 10 years. You’ll need to click on the “Lunar” tab once on the page.

Not all of those eclipses will happen in your neck of the woods, so you’ll have to click through and see where they will happen. As with solar eclipses, when the sun is blotted out by the moon, people will often travel far and wide for lunar eclipse shots.

A full lunar eclipse, at its height, means the moon will be completely in the shadow of the Earth. Because of the distance between the Earth and moon, some light still slips past the Earth, which causes it to have all colors except red stripped away. This is why lunar eclipses are sometimes called blood moons.

Again, having a foreground subject helps because the eclipse often happens high in the sky. The whole sequence of the moon moving into and then fully out of the Earth’s shadow can take a little over an hour, and you should plan accordingly. The colorful and best ‘action’ of the eclipse will span maybe 5-10 minutes.

More tips on capturing lunar (and solar) eclipses are found in this DPS article.

New Moon or No Moon – Photograph the Stars

When the moon’s not out, it’s a great time to photograph the stars. And my, oh, my, do we have a batch of great articles to help you with that!

Conclusion

Moon photography is a fun and challenging subject because the moon is constantly changing phases and its location in the sky. Thankfully, we have plenty of tools at our disposal to track and plan for great moon photos. While full moons are alluring, try your hand at the other phases, too.

Feel free to share your photos of the moon with the dPS community in the comments below.

best time to photograph the moon

 

The post When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

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Mount Everest expedition installs highest weather stations on Earth

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Scientists installed the two highest weather stations in the world in an expedition to Mount Everest that wrapped up this week. A team led by the National Geographic Society and Tribhuvan University installed the two weather monitoring stations at 8,430 meters (27,657 feet) and 7,945 meters (26,066 feet), as well as three other stations across Everest. Data gathered from the stations will help scientists better understand how rising global temperatures are impacting the rapidly melting glaciers.

"This is one of the faster warming continental regions in the world, but we don’t know what’s really going on above 5,000 meters," said Paul Mayeswki, the expedition’s scientific leader, in an interview with National Geographic. The nearly two month expedition involved more than 30 scientists from all over the world, including 17 Nepali researchers.

The team also collected the world highest ice core sample at 8,020 meters (26,312 feet), which will help scientists study the deep record of precipitation on the mountain and composition of the atmosphere during pre-industrial times. Another milestone of the project was the world’s highest helicopter-based lidar scan and the most detailed photogrammetric imaging (also with lidar scans) of the Everest Base Camp area and the entire Khumbu Glacier ever completed.

National Geographic

The results of the expedition are a positive development during what’s been an extremely bad year for Everest. Bad weather and overcrowding due to an increase in tourist climbers contributed to a death toll of 11 this year on the world’s highest mountain; the highest since 2015. The Nepalese government recently hauled over 24,000 pounds of trash from Everest, the result of decades of human activity.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: National Geographic

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Fiverr shares climb 90% in first day of trading

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Freelance marketplace Fiverr had a good first day on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company priced its IPO at $21 per share last night, raising around $111 million. It then started trading this morning at $26, with shares climbing for most of the day and closing at $39.90 — up 90% from the IPO price.

Fiverr is one of the most well-known companies facilitating the so-called gig economy. When it filed to go public last month, the company said it has facilitated 50 million transactions between 5.5 million buyers and 830,000 freelancers.

Investors seem willing to bet on the company despite the fact that it’s losing money, reporting a net loss of $36.1 million on revenue of $75.5 million in 2018. In an interview this afternoon, founder and CEO Micha Kaufman noted that the company’s negative EBITDA is shrinking (at least when you compare the first quarter of 2019 to Q1 2018).

“We are on the path to profitability,” Kaufman said. “That’s the balance we’re trying to keep — focusing on growth while building a business that would be profitable in the long term.”

I’ll have a full story on our interview tomorrow morning.

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Here’s what you can make in revenue from Mixcloud’s “fan-to-creator” Select service

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Like most streaming revenue situations, it’s complicated.

Yesterday, streaming platform Mixcloud outlined how much money it’s doling out from its “fan-to-creator” subscription service Mixcloud Select, and while it’s arguably the best way for DJs to make money from online mixes, it’s not quite at the scale of similar artist crowdfunding sites like Patreon – primarily because there’s a lot more people that need to get paid.

In a Medium post, Mixcloud breaks down the percentage split between the company, the creators making the shows and the rights holders for the music itself. The bulk of the earnings from fan subscription fees go to rights holders identified by audio fingerprinting – 65%. Another 30% is split between Mixcloud and the show’s creator, with 5% covering transaction fees.

Mixcloud infographic

As it explains, Mixcloud had to make direct deals with with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Merlin, Warner/Chappell Music Publishing and ICE among others to make this happen. The streaming service says these deals are “groundbreaking” because they identify the “long form audio creator” as a part of the royalties puzzle.

Of the 30% that goes to Mixcloud and the content creators, 60% is given to the talent running the channels and 40% is invested back into Mixcloud’s platform – administering licenses, maintaining the website and the apps, hosting the audio and paying rent. In real terms, this means that 18 cents of every dollar goes to the creators, or roughly 54 cents of each $2.99 monthly subscription fee.

Since launching last year, artists, labels and independent operations including John Digweed, Beats In Space, Dekmantel, Lefto, Worldwide FM and Soho Radio have all signed up to the service. In return for supporting the channel of their choice, fans are treated to exclusive content and offline listening as well as the warm feeling of supporting their favorite creators – “essentially the price of buying a monthly coffee”, as Mixcloud puts it.

It’s not a huge sum, and if a creator can amass 1,000 fans willing to pay for a monthly subscription, they would make $540 a month – not an inconsiderable sum in what are trying financial times for musicians. However, Mixcloud Select’s model relies on fans being dedicated enough to pay a monthly fee for a single creator’s content among subscriptions for Spotify, Netflix and whatever else they may pay for, and it’s unclear from the artist profile pages how many people are signed up. A thousand fans might be attainable for John Digweed; it’s less feasible if you’re an unknown DJ who needs to pay the rent.

It’s difficult to compare what Mixcloud Select is doing with any other service, because it’s not doing what other platforms are. Rights clearance startup Dubset has made it possible for DJs to get their mixes onto streaming services thanks to a series of deals, but it’s the rights holders that get the money, not the DJs mixing the music.

The closest comparison is Patreon, where artists can make exclusive content available to people willing to pay on a tiered pricing basis. Its charges vary depending on what plan you’re on and the size of individual donations, but a creator should expect to keep 85 cents on a $1 ‘microdonation’, and $2.60 on a donation of $3. While the share is higher than Mixcloud’s, Patreon isn’t providing audio hosting or paying royalties to rights holders – a necessary expense if you’re a DJ that wants to make money legally from the music of other people.

Supplying Mixcloud Select with enough content to keep your audience interested is easy if you’re a main stage DJ or radio host. If you’re working a side job, it may become difficult to maintain that level of content. As with any platform that requires your labor to function, it’s probably wise to consider how much of it you’ll need to expend to make it worth your time – and how much your labor is worth in the first place.

Read next: How the technology behind Bitcoin could change the music industry – and help everyone get paid

The post Here’s what you can make in revenue from Mixcloud’s “fan-to-creator” Select service appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

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We polled over 1,000 people about what they want from their mobile banking app. Here’s what they care about most — and least.

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Most and least desirable features- mobile banking

  • A Business Insider Intelligence study found that mobile banking customers rate security and control features as the most-desirable features in a mobile banking app. Some of these features are already in most banking apps, while others are very rare. 
  • Customers also highly value the use of fingerprint scans for login. As face scanning technology becomes more prevalent, that feature will likely replace fingerprint scans. 
  • They’re least interested in voice and chat features, even as half of banks in the study had at least one of those features in their app.

People use their phones to find dates, trade stocks, and even order helicopter rides. They are also, increasingly, using their phones to bank.

With myriad banking apps out there from Wells Fargo to Chime, both big banks and up-and-coming fintechs are racing to include features that are important to potential customers. But what do they want? It’s security and control features, according to a study conducted by Business Insider Intelligence of over 1,000 customers. 

As data breaches continue to make the news, it’s not totally surprising that customers are overwhelmingly focused on security. The most popular smartphone feature, putting a temporary hold on a card, was rated as extremely valuable by nearly half of people polled by BII. It allows customers to protect themselves from fraud while potentially avoiding the inconvenience of getting a replacement card.

Customers are hungry for products that can balance security with convenience. They rated both the ability to dispute charges and to view the status of disputed charges in their apps in the top five most popular features. These dreaded tasks can be stressful enough without the challenges of actually doing them in-person or over-the-phone. Even though consumer demand is high, only five banks allow you to dispute charges in their app (Capital One, Citibank, US Bank, USAA, and Wells Fargo) and only two allow you to view the status of disputed charges in app (Citibank and Wells Fargo). Wells Fargo was the only bank in the study to have all the security features found in the study.

Another very in-demand feature, the ability to login with a fingerprint scan, is directly tied to advancements in smartphone technology. With the coming ubiquity of face scan technology, expect that to become a main expectation for customers in coming years as well. Banks are ahead of customers; all but two banks offered face scans (Regions and BMO Harris were the outliers). 

But mobile banking customers said they’re less interested in voice and chat features, even as half of banks in the study had at least one of those features in their app. These features, including the ability to bank through an Amazon Echo or Google home and the ability to bank with a chatbot within a banking app, made up the four lowest spots in customer demand in the study. This may be because of security concerns; according to a previous Business Insider Intelligence study which showed that the main reason customers avoided voice payments was because of security concerns. Banks see this technology as a way to provide more personalized attention to their customers, without having to hire more human employees. Some banks are actually having their chatbots proactively reach out, in hopes that this will make customers feel more comfortable with the technology.

Check to see if you have access to the full report through your company or subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence to get access to reports like this. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

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One designer went and redesigned the cheese-grater Mac Pro

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You’ve got to admit, whether you like or dislike the Mac Pro 2019, there’s no ignoring it. Especially if you’re from the design community. As a designer (turned writer) myself, here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt the hard way. There’s a general air of designers “knowing what they’re doing”. I’m just as complicit, when I defend my design to a client, or to a marketing team. Sometimes criticism, even if its constructive, can often deliver a slight blow to our ego, which comes from the philosophy that designers make the world a better place. Another very strong behavior that I’ve tried hard to unlearn is the fact that designers tend to look at everything through the lens of a designer… which means everything is a potential redesign project. With my negative feedback of the Mac Pro’s “disgusting” grille, I, for a second, became that person. I still think that Jony could do better (or different), but hey, he operates in a world of unlimited potential, zero constraints, and zero answerability (a part of me is jealous too, yes). My appreciation (or the lack of appreciation) has zero bearing on Ive’s strangely secretive design process. That being said, feedback for the Mac Pro has been extremely divisive, and Hasan Kaymak’s put together a design that he believes captures everything good about the Mac Pro’s 2006 and 2013 editions.

Hasan’s Mac Pro 2020 doesn’t deviate from the silhouette of the 2019 Mac Pro. In fact it embraces it, and comes in the 2013 Mac Pro’s black color, giving us the best of both worlds. The most noticeable change is the absence of the dual-side CNC machined grille detail, which Hasan replaced with a much more traditional slot and mesh. While the revised design detail isn’t particularly eye-catching, it plays it safe… and considering the grille never really faces the user, a relatively normal design detail seems like a fairly logical way to go. Besides, playing it safe would also bring down the relative cost of the Mac Pro by a couple of hundred bucks (given that you don’t have to have a complex CNC machining task), making it slightly less of a pocket pincher. On the opposite side of the grille, Hasan’s added 8 USB-C ports, for connecting all sorts of devices, from hubs, to the iPad Pro, to any other compatible devices you may have. Two audio jacks also sit right above the ports for good measure.

Another design detail change is the vault-lock mechanism on the top of the Mac Pro, which seems absent in Hasan’s concept. Rather than corrupting a clean surface with a fairly large clamp and handle, Hasan goes for something much more discreet, allowing you to simply remove the upper body by pressing down on the stainless steel rods on the top.

The redesign touches upon a common public sentiment, that the Mac Pro doesn’t need to be outright revolutionary. Unlike the iMac or any of the laptops, Mac Pros usually either sit behind monitors, or under tables, or even in render farms. As a device, the Mac Pro has always aimed to look beautiful, but its intent has always been to be functional first… especially given that people are shelling out large sums of money not for looks, but for raw computing power. It doesn’t need to be made using a complex, thick, two-way machined aluminum grille. But hey, who am I to express distaste? I’m just a guy who uses WordPress on a Windows laptop.

Designer: Hasan Kaymak

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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Scammed Out Of $340 Million By Couple Who Pulled Off $810 Million Ponzi Scheme

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Warren Buffett's investment company Berkshire Hathaway took a $377 million hit after investing in a solar panel company that ran a $800 million Ponzi scheme.

Getty Image / Alex Wong / Staff

Buffett is nicknamed The Oracle of Omaha and The Sage of Omaha and is widely regarded as one of the greatest investors of all-time. But it appears that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway made an investment into a solar company that was actually a “Ponzi-type” scheme.

Buffett’s multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway invested $340 million into DC Solar between 2015 and 2018. The money was poured in tax-credit investment funds sponsored by the California-based clean energy company.

DC Solar was founded in 2008 by the husband and wife duo of Jeff and Paulette Carpoff. DC Solar built a line of mobile solar-generation equipment and light towers that could be placed on wheeled trailers. The portable power generators were used at sporting events and other outdoor venues and were solar instead of diesel, meaning that they were eligible for tax credits.

DC Solar boasted on how many of their generators were being leased, but in reality, a fraction of the generators were leased. DC Solar would typically sell mobile generators for $150,000 but only had to pay $45,000 in cash — the maximum amount of the tax credit they could claim. DC Solar was able to attract at least a dozen investors and raised funds with tax-equity funds.

DC Solar would lease out the equipment to companies such as telecom companies and the lease money would pay for the remainder of the $150,000 cost. The extra income from the leases went to the investors. DC Solar promised “very favorable tax consequences” to investors. The problem is that DC Solar allegedly inflated the number of generators they were leasing.

Government investigators found that DC Solar employees placed GPS transponders in various places, but “in truth, they were not located,” according to the government filings. Some of the mobile units that were said to leased out were sitting outside DC Solar’s offices and were not in use at all.

DC Solar claimed they built and leased more than 12,000 mobile generators, but the government discovered that most did not exist and there was only a fraction in use. Federal authorities said DC Solar “engaged in nearly no legitimate business.”

The solar company allegedly took on new investors without making new generators and then used the new investor’s money to pay for the old investors. Soon enough, DC Solar boasted that they had sales of over $60 million.

Authorities believe that DC Solar had fraudulently secured funds from investors totaling $810 million. The founders of DC Solar also took the money to finance a luxurious lifestyle that included rare supercars, world-class vacations and extravagant properties.

Before founding DC Solar, Jeff Carpoff was an auto mechanic, but saw the demand for solar power take off. Jeff and his wife, Paulette, launched DC Solar and soon were able to swindle powerful investors such as Berkshire Hathaway, half of a dozen regional banks and huge companies such as Sherwin Williams.

With their seemingly inflated corporation, the Carpoffs purchased more than 90 high-end cars. The couple won a charity auction by spending $1 million on a 2007 Ford Mustang GT 500 Super Snake.

Other expensive vehicles included two Bentleys worth $372,009 each, a $325,800 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, a 1930 Cord L29 Brougham that cost $300,000, and a $125,000 Prevost Outlaw Motorhome, just to name a few.

The Carpoffs bought 25 properties worth more than $29 million in total, according to court filings. The couple spent $500,000 on expensive jewelry and $783,000 on a luxury box at the Las Vegas Stadium, which is the new home of the Raiders. They even bought a professional baseball team, the Martinez Clippers outside of San Francisco.

“At staff meetings, Jeff Carpoff often would pull out a wad of cash from his pocket — at times more than $2,000 — and ask employees to guess how much he was holding, according to people familiar with the matter,” according to court filings. “The person who came closest, if within about $50, would get the money, one of the people said.”

At a DC Solar Christmas party, they featured the one, the only, Mr. 305… Pitbull. DC Solar even sponsored NASCAR driver Kyle Larson.

The FBI and IRS raided DC Solar’s headquarter in Benicia, California, in December of 2018. Authorities seized $1.8 million in a safe and in one of the couple’s offices. Then in February of this year, DC Solar filed for bankruptcy.

In the first quarter of 2019, Buffett’s Berkshire took a $377 million hit to reverse the tax benefit.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Scammed Out Of $340 Million By Couple Who Pulled Off $810 Million Ponzi Scheme

Getty Image / Jemal Countess / Staff

[Bloomberg]

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