Shumba Camp - September 2015

Sep 23, 2015 Shumba Camp
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The morning of 28 September 2015 marked the final supermoon lunar eclipse in the recent cycle of four. A supermoon is a full moon at the point in the moon’s orbit that brings it closest to earth – a mere 358 289 kilometres (222 631 miles) away! This point is referred to as a lunar perigee. At this point the moon appears 13% larger than normal and 30% brighter. The lunar eclipse part marks the point where the moon falls completely into the earth’s shadow. The end result is when the supermoon appears dark red in colour due to the refraction of the sun’s light as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. This has only occurred four times in the last 100 years.

Never being a camp to miss a rare event, whether on the ground or up in the skies, our first intrepid astronomers-cum-photographers set off from Shumba at 02h00, accompanied by professional photographer, Dana Allen. Setting off early with a travelling breakfast setup, they had planned a number of spots and were ready to chase the moon across the sky to get their shots of the eclipse behind some of our well-known giant fig trees.

The rest of us left at a slightly more comfortable 04h00 to see this rare celestial event. The bush is by far the best place for such sightings given we have zero light pollution. Various lenses, shutter speeds, apertures and exposures were used, some with greater success than others!

As the moon set, our guides set off to a pre-arranged spot not too far from where the Shumba team had assembled breakfast in the bush, washed down with Buck’s Fizz, or just straight Champagne for some!

Our guests were delighted and thought this was the end of the morning’s surprises, until just before we sat down for our eggs and bacon. Eric, our hot air balloon pilot, suddenly appeared in the balloon from around the tree just next to us! When the wind is going away from you, the balloon is almost silent as the sound of the gas burners travels away from you. It is a huge canopy as you can see from the picture!

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