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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Venus and Jupiter dancing in the evening sky



As Venus and Jupiter were getting very close together this past week, it's been cloudy in Tucson and I only got a brief hazy glimpse of them about 5 days ago.  Tonight on my way home, though, I was treated to the pair dancing in the western sky as well as the Moon rising in the east.  When I got home, I pulled out my Canon 70D along with my 70-200 f/2.8L lens and took some shots.  Here, I've backed the lens off to 70mm focal length to get the surrounding trees and stars.  A little adjustment in the GIMP brought out more details in the sky and a bit of sharpening helped show off structure in the trees.  This exposure was at 70mm focal length with an exposure of 2 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 1600.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Turkey Vulture over Kitt Peak

While observing on Kitt Peak, I get to watch a number of different types of birds flying overhead.  Big ones love to make use of the updrafts and some play around with the domes, flying close by them while playing with their friends.  This time of year, the Turkey Vultures are quite common and often fly pretty close.  Here is one that I caught a few days ago with my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II on my Canon 70D with an exposure of 1/8000 seconds at f/8, ISO 1600 at 200mm focal length.  I normally wouldn't shoot in broad daylight with ISO 1600, but I had used the camera that morning in twilight for some shots of domes and didn't have much time to think about my cameras ISO setting when I saw the birds flying relatively close by.  On the other hand, 1/8000 seconds sure does stop the bird and the cameras motion.  I love how sharp the images are with this lens - you can see details in the birds eye despite his being at least 100 feet away when I captured this shot.  I cropped this from the original frame.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Venus-Moon-Mercury

I was out in the Tucson Mountains last night taking pictures of the celestial show in the western sky, namely Venus, the Moon and Mercury.  Got a late start and almost missed Mercury!


The Earthshine-lit Moon was very pretty and Venus is off to its left with Mercury near the horizon almost straight below the Moon.  An airplane is visible slightly streaked at the left edge of the image.  This image was taken with my Canon 70D with my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens at 70mm focal length with an exposure of 2 seconds at f/4, ISO 800.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Big Obsidian Flow in Newberry Volcano

One of the youngest lava flows in Oregon occured in the Newberry Volcano only 1300 years ago.  The third image from my last post shows the Obsidian flow from near the highest point on the Newberry Volcano, on Paulina Peak.  There is a nice trail into the Obsidian Lava Flow that gives you a close up look at the devastation of the flow and how the area is slowly returning to a life-bearing landscape.


The start of the trail near the parking lot is wooded with the lava flow nearly 100 feet tall and is visible through the trees.  This image was taken with my Sigma 18-250mm lens on my 70D at 18mm with an exposure of 1/80 seconds at f/9, ISO 100.


Near the start of the trail, it climbs a set of stairs up the side of the flow.  This image was taken at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/400 seconds at f/9, ISO 200.


The Obsidian flow has a lot of different types of lava - this is an Obsidian outcrop with other types of lava and pumice.  This image was taken at 250mm focal length with an exposure of 1/100 seconds at f/6.4, ISO 200.


This outcrop of obsidian shows lots of interesting structure.  The next two frames zoom in on one of the larger blocks of Obsidian, showing its glassy structure.






This lonely old tree has seen better times.  In the distance is Paulina Peak on the rim of the caldera.  This image was taken at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/2500 seconds at f/4.6, ISO 200.


Looking across the Obsidian flow towards Paulina Lake in the center of the caldera.  In the distance are two of the many volcanoes in Oregon.  This image was taken at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/2500 seconds at f/4.6, ISO 200.

This last image is of the photographer and his sweetie next to an old tree growing amongst the lava flow as nature slowly encroaches on the barren landscape.  This image was taken at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/320 seconds at f/8, ISO 200.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Newberry Volcano - Paulina Peak panoramas

If you visit Newberry Volcano be sure to drive up the narrow dirt road to the top of Paulina Peak where you'll get these spectacular views of the caldera as well as distant mountains like the Three Sisters and even Mount Adams all the way in southern Washington.

This first panorama was taken near the parking lot.  The lake on the left is Paulina Lake which is separated from East Lake by a small volcanic cone.  The summit is at 7,984 feet and the original volcano stood probably about 4,000 feet taller before it collapsed about 80,000 years ago much as Mt. Mazama did about 7,700 years ago to create Crater Lake. The Newberry Volcano Caldera may have looked more like Crater Lake at one time, but it is much older and has had a great deal of volcanic activity in the time since its collapse.  The 4 images that make up this panorama were taken with my 18-250mm Sigma lens at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/160 seconds at f/8, ISO 200.

This wider panorama was taken below the parking lot where there is a view across most of the caldera.  On the right is the Obsidian Lava flow that flowed to about 2 miles from its source about 1,300 years ago.  Archeological evidence indicates that this caldera has been occupied since at least 9,500 years ago and included a dwelling that was buried by Mt. Mazama ash when Crater Lake formed about 7,700 years ago.  15 portrait oriented images were stitched into this panorama, taken at 22mm focal length with an exposure of 1/160 seconds at f/6.4, ISO 200.


This 4 frame panorama shows the extent of the Obsidian Flow from its source on the southern edge of the caldera to its end about 2 miles away.  This lava flow along with hot springs in the two lakes and other activity (including some bulging likely due to magma movement below the caldera) suggests that this volcano is not finished and might again put on a show at some time in the future.  These images were taken at 37mm focal length with an exposure of 1/160 seconds at f/6.4, ISO 200.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Newberry Volcano - day one

While visiting Lava Butte, the Ranger at the lookout at the top of Lava Butte pointed out the less than completely prominent rise towards the south and said that that was the largest volcano in Oregon and that it was not only still potentially active but had two lakes in its caldera.  He also pointed out that the Newberry Volcano had undergone a blast even larger than the one at Mt. Mazama that created Crater Lake but that it had done so about 80,000 years ago (Mt. Mazama blew its top about 7,700 years ago).  So we decided we needed to visit this mysterious volcano on our way to Crater Lake.

This map shows the location of Newberry Volcano and its two lakes near the bottom.  The green represents major lava flows from the Newberry complex.  Highway 97 comes from Bend Oregon to the north and passes Lava Butte near the Lava Lands visitor center.  The nearby Lava Caves are part of the complex.  Inside the caldera is Paulina Lake and East Lake.  The youngest lava flow in the area is called the Obsidian Flow and is composed of obsidian lava.  The flow is just 1,300 years old and along with some hot springs in the lakes are evidence of recent and potentially future activity in this volcano.

The two lakes are a busy place in the summer with lots of boaters and campers.  This image is from the dock and boat ramp in at the south end of Paulina Lake, the western of the two caldera lakes.  The view east across the lake shows the central volcanic hills that separate the two lakes.  This image was taken with my 18-250mm Sigma lens at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/160 seconds at f/11, ISO 200.

A closeup of one of the many boats on the lake.  This image was taken at 250mm focal length with an exposure of 1/50 seconds at f/11, ISO 200.  The 18-250mm Sigma lens has image stabilization built in and it appears to have helped greatly with this longer handheld exposure.

From the boat ramps and dock, this is the view of Paulina Peak which is the highest peak around the rim of the caldera.  A dirt road allows visitors access to this peak and the views are spectacular as you'll see in a later blog.  This image was taken with my 18-250mm lens at 128mm focal length and an exposure of 1/125 seconds at f/11, ISO 200.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lava River Cave

After visiting Lava Butte at Lava Lands south of Bend Oregon, we headed for nearby Lava River Caves.  These caves resulted from lava flows in the Newberry Volcano complex which includes cinder cones like Lava Butte.  The youngest lava flows in the area date to about 7000 years ago (not long after Crater Lake formed from Mount Mazama about 7700 years ago).  This lava cave is about a mile long and it is well visited, including a ranger guided tour of most of its length.

The entrance to the cave sits in a depression that is maybe 200 meters long with entrances at both ends and the area in the middle is a collapsed section of the cave that is overgrown with plants taking advantage of the relatively damp and cool environment compared to the surrounding landscape.  This image was taken with my 18-250mm Sigma lens at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/40 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 400.

Looking down into the cave entrance, it is surprisingly large with lots of collapsed rocks around the entrance but a reasonable path for visitors.  This image was taken at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/64 seconds at f/4.5, ISO 1600.

The view back to the entrance from about 100 feet into the cave.  This image was taken at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/40 seconds at f/3.5, ISO 6400.

Another view back towards the entrance from farther inside the cave.  My Canon 70D did a great job with a high ISO setting in the relatively dark cave.  This image was taken with my 10mm fisheye lens with an exposure of 1/10 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 6400.

The ranger guiding us through the cave stops to talking about the large ceiling lava tube with high water marks on walls etched by lava flowing through the cave.  You can also see the change in character of the marks from top down to the floor.  This image was taken with my 10mm fisheye lens with an exposure of 1/10 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 3200.

 Our guide uses his headlamp to show off the huge size of the cave here with about a 40 foot tall ceiling.  This image was taken with my 10mm lens and an exposure of 1/4 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 3200.

About 0.8 miles into the cave is one of the least disturbed sections of floor, though it was damaged by early visitors, it is not as badly damaged.  This section is called "Sand Gardens".  It is mostly sediment from deposits that entered the cave long after the lava flowed.  This image was taken with my 10mm fisheye and an exposure of 1/16 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 6400.