Celebrate the Sky
Sunrise from my Porch
Four Fun Ways to Look at the Sky
Looking at the sky is something most every kid has done on a hot summer day, or crisp fall night. As adults, we often forget to look up. Put a little bit of the wonder back into your life. Celebrate National Look Up at the Sky day on April 14th with these fun, family activities.
Get Up Early and Catch a Sunrise
Check with your local weather for the time of sunrise in your area. Set your alarm for one hour before. Get up and make coffee or tea, maybe some hot chocolate for the kids. Collect some blankets in case it is chilly. Set chairs out on the lawn, facing the east. Wake the family up when the sky begins to color. Enjoy the show.
Some of my best photographs have been of sunrises, like this one, taken from my own front porch. If you have a camera, bring it with you to capture the moment. Use a tripod in low light and a vivid setting if your camera has it.
My Son at Sunset
Catch a Sunset
What's the difference between a sunrise and a sunset? You don't have to get up early.
Exchange coffee and blankets for cocktail wieners and champagne. Invite your friends over, put on your favorite music and enjoy the sunset. When the sun is gone, retire to the house for a night of games or a movie.
Do a destination sunset like the one in this photo. We were camping at Cayuga Lake in New York. You can take your family to a nearby park, preferably with water. A sunset reflected in the water can be a breathtaking experience. Pack up a picnic dinner and a camera and head off to the nearest lake, pond or ocean beach.
Sunrise or Sunset?
Which is your favorite. Do you enjoy rising early to see a glorious sunrise, or would you rather relax in the evening, watching the sun set?
How to Photograph a Sunset
Find the Man on the Moon
Looking at the moon, stars or planets up-close for the first time is a mind-bending experience. View the beauty and wonder of the heavens through high powered binoculars or a good telescope, or just lay on the lawn and find the constellations. Guidebooks can help you locate the constellations, planets and other space phenomena like nebula..
April is a great time to view the night sky. Nights are still cool and clear, offering better viewing opportunities than hazy summers. In northern areas it can still be cold or snowy in April. Prepare for the weather with proper clothing and warm blankets.Find a location away from bright city lights for the best viewing.
Meteors and Comets
I'll never forget, when I was little. My dad woke me up early in the morning...before the sun came up. I grumbled a little,but followed him as he led me outside to look up at the sky. Oh wonder of wonders, there was a comet blazing across the sky. Wow! Was that ever worth getting up for! I've seen other comets since then, including the famous Halley's Comet and beautiful Hale-Bop. Hale-Bop was discovered in 1995. I saw it pass by in 1997. It won't pass earth again until the year 4380! Most comets and meteor showers can be seen with the naked eye. No equipment required. The best time to few comets in in the early morning hours before dawn. Meteors are best viewed at night, when the sky is darkest. One of the best meteor showers to view is the Perseides meteor shower. It occurs every year between July 17th and August 24th. The meteors are numerous and very bright. Just lay out on the lawn and enjoy the show. Check for announcements of the peak shower period..
Shapes in the Clouds?
Watch the Clouds
One of my favorite activities as a child was finding shapes in the clouds. Get your kids away from those video games and help them use their imagination watching the clouds. There is no right or wrong answer. A cloud viewed by different people can be a different shape to each one of them. Let creativity run freely in your child's mind. Take a camera and take pictures of the best shaped clouds, or bring paper and pencils so your kids can draw them to remember their day. Help them write a poem, or read a book about clouds.
What Shape Do You See?
See the dark cloud in the upper-right corner of the photo? What shape do you see? Use your imagination and share your visions of this cloudy sky.