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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Dippers over the 61"

Yesterday's image was taken at the base of the 61" dome facing southeast. This shot, taken just minutes later shows the 61" dome along with the Big Dipper as if it were pouring it's contents into the open slit. Polaris, or the North Star, is the bright star directly over the dome. Part of the glow in the lower left is light pollution from Phoenix, 100 miles away. Canon 20D - 20 seconds, 20mm @ f/2.0, ISO 800

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Heart of Our Galaxy

Just before twilight broke this morning, I pointed my camera towards the center of the Milky Way, rising above the Schmidt dome to the southeast. Scorpius (not Scorpio, that's astrology) is seen standing on it's tail on the right side of the image while the teapot shape of Sagittarius can be seen just below and to the right of the dome. The bright star fields are reminiscent of steam coming from the teapot's spout. Spectacular views like this used to be visible to everyone on a dark night, but since we insist on lighting up the night sky for no reason at all, at a cost of billions of dollars annually in the U.S. alone, this beautiful, natural light show is lost for just about everyone now. Canon 20D, 20 seconds, 20mm @ f/2.0, ISO 800

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mt. Bigelow Station

Local Tucson TV stations have their antennas on the peak of Mt. Bigelow. Stewart Observatory also has two telescopes, the 61" Kuiper and the 27" Schmidt, seen to the lower right, on Mt. Bigelow. The 61" was constructed for studying the moon in support of the lunar landings in tha 1960's while the Schmidt was installed for the discovery and study of comets. Today is is still discovering comets and Near Earth Asteroids as the dedicated telescope of the Catalina Sky Survey. This shot was taken from a knob overlooking the front range of the Santa Catalinas on Mt. Lemmon Trail #5. Canon 20D - 1/1000th, 238mm @ f/16, ISO 400

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Grasses on Mt. Lemmon

Canon 20D - 1/400th, 70mm @ f/10, ISO 400

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fish Scale Catwalk

The same low light that was streaming against the side of the wall in the previous image also was hitting the metal openings of the catwalk over my head. I increased the saturation of the blue sky just to make this even more abstract. Canon 20D - 1/1000th, 300mm @ f/ 10, ISO 400

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Window 01

Going for a walk this window in the radar building caught my eye, the strong verticals of the siding, the reflections and the chicken wirein the glass. Canon 20D - 1/320th, 76mm @ f/14, ISO 400

Tonight's sunset

My last night on Mt. Lemmon and it looks like it won't be a very productive night due to clouds moving in from the west. At least it made for an attractive sunset. Canon 20D - 1/100th, 300mm @ f/11, ISO 400

Mt. Lemmon Domes

Here are the smaller domes on Mt. Lemmon, along with the largest one, shortly before sunset. The large geodesic dome in the background used to hold a military radar station when this was the control point for the Titan II missle silos around the Tucson valley. There are plans on removing this dome and installing a larger telescope in it's place. Canon 20D - 1/400th, 70mm @ f/10, ISO 400

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another Arizona Sunset

Well, not really. This image was taken the same evening I took the shot posted on 14 February. The sun is just about to dip below the ridgeline of the Santa Catalinas to the west. Taken from the Mt. Bigelow site, Mt. Lemmon is just out of the frame to the right. Canon 20D - 1/8th second, 55mm @ f/36, ISO 100

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Florida Pine Cones

The ex-wife had collected a large number of these large pine cones from around our property in Floirda, placing them in wicker baskets and using them for decoration inside and outside our house. I took this closeup as an early test to see how well my Olympus C-3020 worked shortly after I got it. Not bad for a point and shoot camera with 3.2 megapixels.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Bandito" Squirrel

Birds are not the only new species I'm discovering. This is the third or fourth species of squirrel I've seen since I've moved here. This one was keeping quiet and motionless in Rose Canyon in the Catalinas. Canon 20D - 1/200th, 300mm @ f/5.6, ISO 800

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rose Canyon Junco

I drove down to Rose Canyon my last full day in the Santa Catalinas before the Full Moon. Other than a few loggers, the birds and I had the canyon to ourselves. I'm usually looking up into the trees and miss the Yellow Eyed Juncos on the ground directly in front of me, only to notice them as they fly up into the trees. This Yellow Eye ws the exception to the rule. Canon 20D - 1/400th, 300mm @ f/7.1, ISO 800

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Painted Redstart

Another new species for me seen during my first trip to Madera Canyon was the Painted Redstart. They tended to keep their distance so it was hard to get a good shot of them. At least this one wasn't hidden behind the tangle of branches. I like the way the black, red and white coloration of the bird is complimented here by the white bark and orange buds of the tree and the flawless blue of the sky. Canon 2oD - 1/800th, 300mm @ f/10, ISO 400

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wooden Starry Night?

While Tim and I stalked birds in Madera Canyon, the worn down branch stumps of a tree along the trail caught my eye. As soon as I started to compose the frame, Van Gogh's Starry Night came to mind.Well my mind at least. Canon 20D - 1/80th, macro 193mm @ f/29, ISO 1600

Friday, April 07, 2006

July 16, 1945

Not my most dramtic shot, but one of great importance.
The primary reason for our visit to New Mexico was to attend the twice annual open house at the Trinity Test Site. This marker is at Ground Zero of the first nuclear detonation. Certainly an interesting and errie place to visit for any student of history, or even if you lived during the Cold War. One could easily say this is where the second half of the 20th Century started.
Canon 20D - 1/125th, 32mm @ f/9, ISO 100

Thursday, April 06, 2006

VLA East Arm

The clouds were a bit unfavorable as the day wore on when Roy and I visited the VLA, but sometimes you have to take what you get. This view is along the double tracks that make up the East Arm of the radio telescope. Canon 20D - 1/800th, 263mm @ f/5.6, ISO 100

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Checking each other out

The Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon has a number of feeder set up for guests and non-guests alike. Interupting the Arizona (or Strickland's) Woodpecker's meal is a Gray-Breasted (Mexican) Jay.
Canon 20D - 1/100th, 300mm @ f/11, ISO 800

Acorn Woodpecker - Madera Canyon

My friend Tim is in town for an observing run on Kitt Peak, so we got together and headed to Madera Canyon. Tim has been there many times, but it was my first trip. It certainly won't be my last! Just about every bird there was new to me, so it was great having Tim along to make the IDs. I found the location a bit challenging to get good photos of the birds there, but this Acorn Woodpecker took pity on me and perched and posed in an atrractive location with good light. Canon 20D - 1/800th, 300mm @ f/10, ISO 800

Monday, April 03, 2006

Double Tracks & Double Dishes

Standing at the fence under the Visitor's Dish at the VLA, looking north, this shot gives a good look at the double railroad tracks that are used to move the telescope dishes. The two dishes seen here are the two closest to the center of the telescope, on the north arm. Canon 20D - 1/50th, 70mm @ f/22, ISO 100

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"The Visitor's Dish"

My friend Roy and I took a three day trip to New Mexico and our first stop was the Very Large Array (VLA) Radio Observatory west of Socorro. This is just one dish that makes up the radio telescope there. The other dishes are spread out along three arms, each about 22 kilometers (13 miles) long. When we visited, the dishes were spread out at their largest configuration, which produces the highest resolution. You can see a number of dishes off in the distance, stretching ou along the North Arm. Canon 20D - 1/50th, 30mm @ f/25, ISO 100