Millennium Issue

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"Millennium Sunrise"  
January 1, 2000

"First Dawn of the New Millennium"

At 6:30 A.M. on January 1, 2000, I left my house for a nearby hilltop to witness the dawning of a new millennium. I wore my old torn coat, my old hat, and my old worn gloves; and I carried my old camera.

It was around the freezing point, and the sky was crystal clear. The crescent moon was low in the southeast sky, with Venus underneath it to the left and near the horizon.

Around 7:00 a.m. the sky was marred by only a wisp of distant clouds that stretched along the eastern horizon. The sun was still well below the horizon, but still the sky brightened to a deep pink with low pencil-thin crimson clouds.  I patiently watched the rapidly-changing sky (the precursor to a thousand- year event) without taking a photograph -- anticipating the approaching scene that had been last viewed on this continent by Native Americans in the year 1000. Gradually, Ol' Sol rose closer to the horizon, causing the colors to change in intensity from the deep rich wine tones of predawn to the brilliant yellows of the sunrise.

As the first ray of light broke the horizon, my mood changed from a placid appreciation of the grandeur of predawn to an intensity aimed at the urgency of the moment. The light became so brilliant that only quick glances were possible to frame the picture, with longer stares at the frosty leaves in the shadows around me to allow my eyes time to adjust to the sun's intensity.

A church bell chimed in the valley, and a distant rooster crowed -- a fitting greeting for the first sunrise of the 21st century.


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"Full Moon"            M-602 
Last full moon of the 2nd millennium, and the brightest and largest moon in 133 years.
December 22, 1999

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"Crescent Moon"      M-603 
The 1st moon of the 3rd millennium.
December 31, 1999
January 1, 2000

"Full Moon"

At the end of the 20th century (and the 2nd millennium) I photographed an astronomical event which happens only once in 133 years. On the eastern horizon hung the largest and brightest full moon I had ever seen -- as had every other living person on Earth. It was the night of the winter solstice (when the sun is closest to the earth), which occurred that year in conjunction with the lunar perigee (the point in the moon's orbit that is closest to Earth.)

I first saw it that evening with my eldest daughter (Kelly), and told her to look and remember -- this event had last been seen in 1866 by her great great great great grandfather, John Eveland at age 22, and his father, David, aged 63. It was the moon of her forefathers, also seen in 1733 by another ancestor, John Eveland aged 29, and his father, David, the family's first settler in America. One by one I summoned my younger three daughters (Lindsay, Haley,and Shanley) to look and remember. 

"Crescent Moon"

On the eve of the new millennium, I reveled with my wife and three youngest daughters in Pittsburgh. It was a special moment -- a time of celebration, of family, and of reflection. My youngest daughter, only seven years old, had caused us to question the wisdom of being out so late, but she was the last (at 2:00 A.M.) to want to leave the city for home in the suburbs.

While most revelers slept, I slipped out to capture on film the crescent moon -- the last moon of the old century, and the first of the new one.