Category Archives: Photography

Conejo Valley Panorama #2

Where yesterday’s panorama was taken looking due west toward Moorpark, this one was taken looking more northwest, toward the far western end of Simi Valley.

This was taken from the replica White House South Lawn at the Reagan Library, which can be seen at the left hand side of yesterday’s panorama. Naturally, this means that the location from which yesterday’s panorama was taken is seen at the far right side of this picture. (Geometry, FTW!!)

You do get some fantastic views from up here – probably one of the reasons they built the Library in this spot.

It must have been an amazing place to be last November when about 90% of what you see was on fire. I’ll let the built-in security cameras take those pictures. There are pretty much only two narrow roads in or out of the Library grounds. If it’s surrounded, you might have a “bad day” on your hands.


Filed under Panorama, Photography, Travel

Conejo Valley Panorama #1

From last weekend, taken at the Reagan Library, looking out to the west toward Moorpark.

Who’s that in the turquoise, watching the goober out in the blazing sun taking pictures?

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Filed under Panorama, Photography, Travel

No Context For You – July 25th

Highlights! Interviews! Analysis!

None of the above!

Sometimes you’re just too tired to do much more than twitch. Good thing I’m not using any heavy equipment. Like, a pen. Or a paper clip.

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Monsoonal Moisture

None of it reaching the ground and it’s hotter than hell and muggy (not Mississippi muggy, but at least Indiana muggy) but it’s causing some interesting clouds with the high level winds blowing from the west at sunset.


Filed under Photography, Weather

Sunset Remnants

After yet another loooooooooooooooooooooong day at the office, tonight I got to follow it up with a trip out to the hangar to deal with a situation.

Coming down the Camarillo Grade on the 101 northbound (by which I mean “due west”) out of Thousand Oaks there was a sunset that was a couple of steps above average. By the time I got to the hangar and parked it had faded, but it still didn’t suck.

Getting home at or after 22:00 and having just the time and energy to grab dinner and crash and burn (and post pictures) – now THAT sucks!

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ISS Pass – July 19th

Good planning.

I knew exactly where it was going to rise, where it was going to set, how high it was going to be. (Thanks, Heavens Above!)

I knew where the edge of the frame was. (Just past that honkin’ big tree, good landmark!)

I knew where to move the camera when it exited the frame so that I could see where it was going to go over the horizon to the northeast while being in the shadow of the telephone pole to block the light from that street light.

Check the focus.

It’s earlier and the sky’s brighter than it’s been the last couple of days, so go back to one second exposures instead of five seconds. Can I do two second exposures? Maybe, but don’t push your luck, stick with what has worked.

Trust the data.

Trust the plan.

I was ready.

Go ahead, click on that image and enlarge it! Look down there in the lower left corner where the first three or four dozen dots are almost lost in the coastal haze out over Malibu. Trust the data, indeed. There it is in the first frame, just peeking over the neighbor’s roof, exactly where I expected it to be! Then look up in that upper right corner, where on frame #6085 it’s just leaving the frame…

…and 24 seconds later, having moved the camera and lined it up, frame #6086 shows it coming into the frame here in the upper left! Nailed it!

One thing I wanted to see the picture for because it was really obvious to the eye – look at the bottom center where the ISS is just about to go over the horizon. See how throughout its path it’s about the same brightness, fading just a little as it got into the haze off toward Bakersfield? But just about there it got noticeably brighter for about 12 seconds? The data’s there. It happened.

My guess is that, being at the end of the daylight portion of the orbit, the big solar panels were maneuvering into position to pick up the sun coming around on the other side and in doing so they flared. Just my guess, but it fits.

The only downside tonight was that the focus was just a tiny little bit off. Not much, but enough to be a little annoying since almost everything else was perfect.

It’s been a great week for ISS passes here in LA!


Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

ISS Pass – July 18th

A “so-so” pass I believe is how I referred to it last night. Well, yes and no.

Yes — it didn’t get super high and bright. Which, I now know, means that it’s only about the same brightness as all of those 737’s and 777’s out there. Not quite “dim.”

No — now that I’m getting my act together and making sure that I focus correctly and got much better control of the manual settings of the camera, it still makes some nice pictures!

A lot going on here – the ISS is the trail from just to the left of below center, passing behind the top of the big tree, then up to the middle right. The other things are aircraft.

What I forgot was to trust my data and start shooting about 30 seconds before Heavens-Above said that the ISS would rise. I waited until I saw it. Trust your data!

These are five-second exposures since I wasn’t facing straight into the street light and it was well past dusk. A couple of cars rolled by while I was shooting, and their headlights (and brake lights, lower right) lit up those trees nicely. But even the mountain a mile away behind the palm trees (not burning tonight) is well lit. Of course, the other factor is shooting at f3.5 instead of f5.6.

Then it was time to shift the camera – yeah, I did a much better job of making sure I took pictures until the ISS was at the edge of the frame! But there’s a street light over there too…

But there’s also a telephone pole.

The ISS is the upper trail here, starting just to the left of the telephone pole in the middle, headed toward the lower left corner. Again, the other trails are aircraft headed into Burbank.

Getting there! Planning ahead, focus, proper camera settings… It’s almost going to be like I know what I’m doing!


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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space