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Thursday, November 30, 2006

More snow & Ice on Mt. Lemmon

Here's the view to the east from Mt. Lemmon's peak. It was plenty cold during the day and windy. It got even colder the night after this image was taken. It got down to 4 degrees F. Brrrr! That's cold!

Canon 20D - 180th, 20mm @ f/ 9.5, ISO 100

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bitter Cold on Mt. Lemmon

Right after the sun set last night, the clouds rolled in, the winds picked up and snow started to fall on the Santa Catalina Mountains. The next day I awoke to find a half inch or so of snow on the ground but lot of of rime ice on the trees and other plants. Rime ice is formed when liquid water that is below the freezing point gets blown against something and instantly freezes. It shows up as a jagged coating on the upwind side of the object. The trees are covered in rime ice in this shot.
This view is out to the west from the peak of Mt. Lemmon, behind the observatory, where I often take images sunsets. Down below just visible in the blowing dust is the town of Catalina.

Viewers of Tucson's KOLD Channel 13 news at 6pm & 10pm on this date may have seen this image during their weather segment.

Canon 20D - 1/60th, 18mm @ f/ 19, ISO 100

A wild native

Besides the exotics in the greenhouse, Tucson Botanical Garden also has an area set up with flowering plants to attract local species. I caught this one in the middle of a meal.

Canon 20D -1/500th, 300mm @ f/ 5.6, ISO 100

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A not so Dead Leaf

This butterfly from Asia, called a "Dead Leaf" was hanging upside down from its rear legs. Whatever makes you comfortable I guess! It does look a lot more like a dead leaf when it holds ts wings closed.

Canon 20D - 1/500th, 190mm @ f/ 4.5, ISO 3200

Monday, November 27, 2006

TBG Butterfly Magic 16584

While the Tucson Botanial Gardens Butterfly exhibit was ejoyable, not all of the species was identified in the brochure. This is one I couldn't quite figure out.

Canon 20D - 1/750th, 214mm @ f/ 4.5, ISO 3200

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Zodiacal Light

Just minutes before the start of morning twilight, the observers at the 61" Kuiper Telescope are closing down for the night. The glow in the sky behind the Catalina Sky Survey Schmidt telescope is the Zodiacal Light. A good explaination of which can be found at my friend Jim's blog here.

Canon 20D - 30 seconds, 10mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 400

Friday, November 24, 2006

703 @ 10mm

The evening before Thanksgiving, I set up my camera with the borrowed 10mm lens to record an all night animation. This shot is from that series and was made as it got dark.

Canon 20D - 30 seconds, 10mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 400

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Time to rest in the shade

Having no luck in trying to obtain an easy breakfast of quail, our local coyote considers his options,

Canon 20D - 1/350th, 300mm @ f/ 6.7, ISO 400

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Quails and a Coyote

The other morning I noticed this coyote wandering around my front yard. He must have been looking for breakfast as I usually have 30 or 40 Gamble's Quails and other birds around every morning. Sure enough, as he walked, the quail scattered, but not very far. They kept just enough distance to be safe. After about 10 minutes, he left for something to eat that wasn't as mobile.

Canon 20D - 1/500th, 300mm @ f/ 6.7, ISO 400

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Postman Cometh

Heliconius melpomene, more commonly known as a Postman butterfly.

Canon 20D - 1/350th, 214mm # f/ 5.6, ISO 3200

Sunday, November 19, 2006

One Bright Leonid

Using a borrowed 10 - 22mm lens, I shot an all night sequence of images to capture some Leonid meteors. The total number of images shot from dusk to dawn was ~1400.

I was rather disappointed by the lack of meteors that I captured, but this one was rather bright and is clearly a Leonid. The trail points directly at Regulus, the brightest star in Leo.

Canon 20D - 30 seconds, 10mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 400

Great Mormon Butterfly

One of the first butterflies we saw was this one, which I think is a Great Mormon from Asia. Most of the butteryflies on display at the Botanical Gardens are from other continents, so they aren't the typical backyard butterflies in the U.S.

Canon 20D - 1/60th, 190mm @ f/ 4.5, ISO 3200

Butterfly Man

My friend Catherine and I went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens yesterday to see the grounds and also to look at the tropical butterflies on display in their green house - "Butterfly Magic" through February 2007.

Immediately on entering the green house we saw this man enjoying the butterflies while his cheek became a convenient perch for this individual. The butterfly remanined on his cheek for many minutes.

Canon 20D - 1/350th, 190mm @ f/6.7, ISO 3200

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Earth's Shadow

Last night's sunset created the typical pretty scene to the west, but all who turned around and looked in the opposite direction were treated to the Eartrh's shadow rising up above horizon and into the hazy atmosphere over southern Arizona.

I took this from outside the 60" dome on Mt. Lemmon. The mountain peak off in the distance is Mt. Graham, home of the Vatican Telesacope and the Large Binocular Telescope. The dark gray band is Earth's shadow projected on to the atmosphere. The bands in the lit part of the sky are called Crepuscular Rays and are the shadows of clouds visible in the haze. They always appear to meet at the point opposite the Sun, just as railroad tracks appear to converge on the horizon.

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 18mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 100

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hoo Doo Climbers Revisited

One last image of the climbers on top of the hoo doo at Windy Point Vista on the Catalina Highway. This shot gives a better idea of how tall this hoo doo actually is. The photos in this series were taken from the parking area on the west side of the highway.

Canon 20D - 1/500th, 100mm @ f/ 9.5, ISO 100

Friday, November 10, 2006


Another image from November 1st, this time looking to the northwest. The two contrails near the horizon are what caught my eye at first. I also liked the way the hazy dust in the valleys contrasted with the peaks rising above that layer.
Canon 20D - 1/45th, 81mm @ f/ 6.7, ISO 400

Sunset Clouds

The structure of the clouds caught my eye while watching the sunset from Mt. Lemmon on November 1st. The wispy, "brushed hair" look to the underside of the formation is caused by a smooth flow of air across the cloud.
Canon 20D - 1/350th, 100mm @ f/ 6.7, ISO 400

A Cold Drink in August

I've been archiving my old images and have been coming across images I've taken but never posted. This one is yet another in that series.
A constant in my old home state of Florida is condensation on the outside of a glass holding a cold drink. For most of the year this same effect is a rarity in the desert southwest. In early August it was a bit of a surprise to see my glass covered by condensation and it took me some time to realize how long it had been since I last saw it!
I liked the pattern it created on the side of the glass, so before the drops combined and ran down the side I grabbed my camera and took a few shots. The on-camera flash added a bit of sparkle to each drop.
Canon 20D - 15 seconds, 300mm @ f/ 32, ISO 100

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pressure Gauge and Chains 14508

Canon 20D - 4 seconds, 86mm @ f/ 6.7, ISO 100

Circum-polar Star Trails

This type of astrophoto is the most simple and anyone can try it if their camera has a "B" (for bulb) setting on the shutter and a rigid place to mount the camera, like on a tripod. I've shot very few of this type of image and only one other with the 20D so this was a bit of an experiment. I set the ISO a bit too high, so the image isn't exactly what I was expecting. Converting it to black & white and making adjustments to the levels gave this somewhat interesting result.
Canon 20D - 2,777.4 seconds, 20mm @ f/ 5.6, ISO 800

Sunset from Mt. Lemmon - November 1st

Nature didn't cooperate for astronomers my last run right before the full moon, but she did make some attractive sunsets for photographers.
Canon 20D - 1/1000th, 300mm @ f/ 5.6, ISO 100

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Golden Aspen

I shot this image last week while the aspen tree just south of the 60" dome was still drapped in it's golden coat. The next day many leaves had fallen and a week later the tree is now bare. However that day the leaves were an amazing gold set against the sky which was extremely clear and a deep azure blue.
I've always been struck by the black skies in images made by Ansel Adams, a relatively easy thing to do with black and white film and a red filter over the lens. To get a similar result in color, I added a polarizing filter to my lens and made the sky as dark as I could so it the contrast between it, the white dome and the gold leaves would be at its maximum. This image does give some expression to the feeling of being on the mountain top on a crisp autumn day, the smell of the leaves and the vibrant colors all around.
Canon 20D - 1/20th, 25mm @ f/ 27, ISO 100