Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No. 264 Crown Point Vista House, Oregon

Vista House, Oregon Columbia River Gorge

Crown Point Vista House
40700 E Historic Columbia River Hwy
Corbett, OR 97019


Crown Point Vista House was built between 1916 and 1918 by Multnomah County as a scenic viewpoint and rest area for early motorist traveling on the Historic Highway 30. Vista House octagonal stone structure sits 733 feet above the Columbia River. The domed rotunda is 44 feet wide and 55 feet tall with clerestory windows feature opalescent glass in a simple tracery pattern, with similar colored glass at the tops of the windows. Stairs lead from the rotunda to an elevated viewing platform at the base of the dome. The exterior is gray sandstone, with a green tile roof. The interior is extensively finished in marble, even in the toilets. The dome interior has bronze lining. 
Crown Point was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971 and Vista House was later placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. 

Vista House
Vista House Interior - Matthew Roberts 
Vista House, Oregon Columbia River Gorge
Taking a break along Historic Highway 30 
Vista House, Oregon Columbia River Gorge
Glass Windows of Vista House 
Vista House, Oregon Columbia River Gorge

Vista House, Oregon Columbia River Gorge
looking west down the Columbia River 
Vista House, Oregon Columbia River Gorge
Looking east down the Columbia River 

Monday, April 14, 2014

No, 263 Total Lunar Eclipse 2014

(Diagram by Fred Espenak via MrEclipse.com, licensed via Creative Commons)

It has been 4 years since the Pacific Northwest has had the chance for a total lunar eclipse and this evening we just might be able to see it happening barring any clouds or rain that is.
Starting around 10:30pm Monday night April 14th, 2014 the moon will move across Earth's shadow from right to left as it moves across the western sky. Just after midnight the moon will complete pass behind Earth and remain in the shadow until around 1:30am Tuesday morning. 

Astronomy Event Details:

Date: Monday April 14th, 2014 to early morning Tuesday April 15, 2014 
Time: 10:30pm to 2:30am
Total Eclipse: 12am to 1:30am

What is a lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse is when the full Moon passes directly through the Earth’s shadow. Although the full Moon happens every month, lunar eclipses usually only occur twice a year. They can occur more or less often, and are not always visible from the same part of the world.
First you’ll see the edge of the Earth’s rounded shadow, crossing across the face of the Moon. When the Moon passes fully into the Earth’s shadow, some of the Sun’s light is refracted around the Earth by the atmosphere, causing the Moon to look reddish. In fact, it’s the same effect as what makes sunsets look pink, red, and orange. The Moon will be basking in a ring of sunset light for a little more than an hour.
How and where should you watch?
You’ll want somewhere with a nice view of the southern sky, but the Moon will get high enough in the sky to see over many obstacles, so I recommend your backyard, or the sidewalk of a side street that runs North-South.

How to Photograph the Moon 

Camera :  I recommend a DSLR camera body for shooting images of the moon and night sky because it has a larger sensor and manual controls over smaller Point and Shoot Cameras. 
Camera Settings 
- Image Quality set to RAW
- Manual Shooting Mode
- Aperture between f11 and f16 for sharpness
- Shutter speed of 1/300 to 1/60 depending on ambient light
- Manual focus to Infinity 

test shots April 13th, 2014
Settings : 1/125 ISO 100 f/18 300mm

A sturdy tripod with a ball head that can handle your camera + lens combo is essential to capturing sharp images of the moon. Attempting to hand hold your camera will not result in many crisp and sharp images. 

Cable Release
After you spent a good 5 minutes centering the moon in the middle of the viewfinder and dialing in all the settings the last thing you want is to cause your camera and lens to shake as you press down on the shutter button. When shooting with zoom lenses the littles movements on the camera get magnified. If you have used a tripod in the past but had soft or blurry images chances are you introduced camera shake by pushing down on the shutter button. 

Mirror Lock Up
If your camera has this shooting option then use it. When having Mirror Lockup enabled you are taking two steps to make an exposure. The first press on the cable release swings the mirror up, after a few seconds the second press on the cable release then takes the exposure after the vibrations of the mirror moving have subsided. Using this shooting option will increase your chances for a sharp image. 

Infinity Focus
Cameras with Auto Focus may have a hard time focusing on the bright white lunar surface. Select manual focus and using the focus ring on the lens rotate to infinity. 

Aperture Range
Every lens has its own range of sharpness. I would start taking test shots around 10:30pm with f8 and then take test shots with increasing aperture numbers f10, f11~f20 etc. Remember though that as you stop down your lens you may need to use a slower shutter speed to make up for the loss of light hrough the lens. 

Head Lamp
Using a  head lamp will make changing settings on your camera easier and safer than trying to hold the camera along with a flash light. 

Here is my setup that I used last night to take some sample shots for practice for tonight event 

Tripod + Ball Head
DSLR camera with cable release attached
300mm lens + 2x teleconverter (600mm equiv.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

No. 262 Woodland, Wa Tulip Festival

Woodland Washington Tulip Festival
Woodland, WA


2014 Tulip Festival   April 12-13th 10am to 4pm
                                  April 19-20th 10am to 4pm

Founded in the 1980s by the Family Dobbe, Holland America Bulb Farms is now a well known name in the bulb business with its Headquarters in Woodland, WA and businesses in Washington  and California.
Holland America Bulb Farms produces a variety of colorful flowers on it 125 acres along the Lewis River. Every spring the company donates pots of tulips to decorate the city of Woodland during the annual Tulip Festival.

Holland America Bulb Farm
Residents Garden
Holland America Bulb Farm
Holland America Bulb farms
Holland America Bulb Farm
Royal Dutch Show Garden
Holland America Bulb Farm
U-Pick Tulip Field
Holland America Bulb Farm
Syneade Blue Tulips 
Holland America Bulb Farm
Bright Parrot Tulips 
Holland America Bulb Farm
Claudia Tulips 
Holland America Bulb Farm
Salmon Parrot Tulips 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No. 261 Seattle Center and Space Needle

Seattle Center        Website: http://www.seattlecenter.com/
305 Harrison St
Seattle, WA

International Fountain

Completed just a day before the April 21, 1962 World's Fair grand opening, Seattle Center is a 74 acre area park north of the downtown business district of Seattle. The theme for the World's Fair was "World of Tomorrow" and organizers followed that vision by incorporating new architecture with new technologies. A 1 mile long elevated monorail track connect Westlake Mall to Seattle Center with trains leaving every 10 minutes. The most visible and most iconic structure built for the worlds fair and that is also a major feature of the Seattle skyline is the 605 foot tall Space Needle. Scene from multiple vantage points around the city the Space Needle still towers over the rising local business buildings for now.  The Space Needle restaurant's stands 500 feet off the ground and features a window seating area that rotates 360 degrees in 47 minutes.
Also located on the campus of Seattle Center are performance theaters, auditoriums, grassy knolls,  children museum, Key Arena, International Fountain and skate park. Recent additions include the Experience Music Project, which features interactive collections and exhibits on various types of music, and the Chihuly Glass Garden featuring works by Dale Chihuly.

International Fountain
Rainbow in the mist of the International Fountain 
International Fountain
Looking up the Space Needle
Experience Music Project

Experience Music Project
EMP shiny metal exterior reflections
Experience Music Project
Monorail travels through the EMP
EMP Monorail

EMP Monorail
Red Train arrives at Space Needle

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Friday, April 4, 2014

No. 260 Exotics at Redmond Town Center

Exotics at Redmond Town Center
NE 72nd Way
Redmond, WA
Website: http://www.exoticsat.com/
9am to 11am Saturdays

Weather Permitting the first Meetup of Exotic Cars at Redmond Town Center will be
Saturday April 5th, 2014.
Check the website for further information

Exotics@RTC is an informal weekly gathering of exotic car owners and enthusiasts, and has gown to become the largest weekly car gathering north of Los Angeles.
Starting at 8:30am Saturday mornings the luxury domestic and import cars begin arriving at the Redmond Town Center next to the Desert Fire Restaurant parking lot.
The event is held almost every weekend, weather permitting, and is free for public, but by the looks of these exotic cars to enter your looking at $100k + to play.
The hours are 9-11 AM.
This is gathering of car owners so each weeks turnout numbers and type of exotics will likely change. 
For more information on the event visit E@RTC website http://www.exoticsat.com/

Past attendes have included Cobras, Corvettes, Austin Martins, Alfa Romeos, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Lotus, Audi and Porsche to name a few.

Redmond Expotic Car Meetup

Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Lotus Lane
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Austin Healey
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Maserati Coupe
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Vintage Porsche Convertible (911??)
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Volkswagen Type 2s Light Truck
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Grey Ferrari
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Femme Fetals _ Ferrari Lane
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Yeap that a whole stampeed of Horsepower right there
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Lamborghini Lane
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Lamborghinin Color Wheel
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Classic Alfa Romeo
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup

Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Morgan 3 Wheeler
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup
Morgan 3 Wheeler
Redmond Expotic Car Meetup

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