Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Snow at Lick Observatory (Part 1) - Mt. Hamilton, CA

On 30 December 2021, my parents and I took a trip up to Lick Observatory in Mt. Hamilton, CA to see the snow. Snow in the San Francisco Bay Area is very rare, and I hear on this day, Mt. Hamilton received record breaking levels of snow the night before. The day I was there, it was pretty foggy up on Mt. Hamilton with clouds and fog drifting in and out, but towards the end at around sunset, the clouds and fog did clear for a really spectacular sunset. I took photos with my mirrorless camera. The photos are split into 2 blog posts. I hope you enjoy viewing my photos.

Full Resolution Photos: If you want to see full resolution photos of any of the photos you see here, use the following links. If you wish to purchase prints of any of the photos, please contact me here. To view my best Lick Observatory photos, use this link. To view my best sunset and night photography photos from 2019 to 2021, use this link. To see all of my photos from this trip, use this link.

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This is part 1 of the photos I took at Lick Observatory that day. The photos for today will feature State Route 130, the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope, the 36-inch Crossley Reflector Telescope, and more! 

Message from the Photographer: These photos from December took a really long time to process. While the experimental treatment for visual snow did partially fix my day time vision, taking photos is still a challenge, and I can't process the photos that fast. I am still visually impaired and night blind, just not as impaired during the day compared to before. I know these photos are a few months late, but this is the best I can do.

A snowy scenery photo of Lick Observatory (top center) and State Route 130 shot on Mt. Hamilton.
In the photo are 36-inch Crossley Reflector Telescope (top center), and North Dome Observatory & Visitor Center (slight left from top center).
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 33" N 121° 38' 52" W

Black and white process of the photo above.

A foggy and snowy scenery photo of State Route 130 shot on the side of State Route 130 on Mt. Hamilton.
Photo shot near the same position as above.

A long exposure foggy and snowy scenery photo shot near the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory. In the photo is State Route 130 (center).
There were actually a ton of people at Lick Observatory that day to see the record breaking levels of snow. I used an ND filter on my camera so I can do a day time long exposure and blur out most of the people in my photo.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 33" N 121° 38' 18" W

Photography Tip: If you're somewhere crowded and you don't want that many people to show up in your photo, you can add an ND filter to your lens and take a long exposure photo. The ND filter will cut the amount of light reaching your camera sensor so you can take long exposure photos even during the day time. People that are actively moving around are a lot less likely to show up in your photo. If it is windy and your subject is moving, it will blur in the resulting long exposure. You will require a tripod or some method of keeping your camera stationary for the duration of the long exposure, and don't forget to turn off image stabilization (if your camera and/or lens has that feature). I recommend a 9 to 10 stop ND filter for this purpose. Please note that not every person will be gone, some people will show up as ghosts like in my photo above. The same method can also be used on vehicles, but usually with less success.


A snowy scenery photo of the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope at Lick Observatory.
The clouds partially cleared temporarily allowing the sun to shine through onto the Shane Telescope.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 36" N 121° 38' 12" W

Black and white process of the photo above.

A snowy scenery photo of the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope at Lick Observatory.
The cloud cover gradually came back in again.
Photo shot near the same position as above.

Black and white process of the photo above.


A snowy scenery photo of the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope at Lick Observatory.
The sun was mostly gone at this point.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 36" N 121° 38' 13" W

Black and white process of the photo above.

A snowy scenery photo of the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope at Lick Observatory.
It gradually became overcast again.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 36" N 121° 38' 12" W

Black and white process of the photo above.


A long exposure snowy scenery photo of the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope (left) at Lick Observatory. There were a few people in my frame which I used an ND filter to blur out.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 34" N 121° 38' 16" W

A long exposure foggy and snowy scenery photo of the Shane 3-meter Reflector Telescope at Lick Observatory. The fog started rolling in again. There were a few people in my frame which I used an ND filter to blur out.
Photo shot near the same position as above.

A long exposure foggy and snowy scenery photo shot near the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory.
In the photo are 36-inch Crossley Reflector Telescope (slightly left from center), North Dome Observatory (slightly right from center), and State Route 130 (center).
I used an ND filter to blur out the people and to get a softer edge on the clouds in the sky.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 33" N 121° 38' 18" W


A sunset scenery photo with clouds and fog from Lick Observatory.
In the photo are 36-inch Crossley Reflector Telescope (slightly right from center), North Dome Observatory (right), and State Route 130 (foreground center & right).
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 33" N 121° 38' 19" W

Black and white process of the photo above.

A sunset scenery photo with clouds and fog shot near the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory.
In the photo are 36-inch Crossley Reflector Telescope (slightly left from center), North Dome Observatory (slightly right from center), and State Route 130 (center).
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 20' 33" N 121° 38' 17" W

Black and white process of the photo above.

This is all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed the photos! Next time I will show you the rest of my sunset photos shot that day. Please don't forget to share the blog post with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Instagram. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

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