Sodium Emission vs. Rayleigh Scattering

We’re not far from the ninth anniversary of the founding of Decaseconds, and I came upon this arresting image of Berkeley Marina, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge (never before published here) while searching for just the right anniversary shot. I’m fascinated by the way the orange emission of sodium vapor lamps lighting Berkeley (I’m sure now all swapped for white LEDs) matches the Rayleigh-scattered oranges of the winter sunset. The same wavelengths of light, coming from completely different mechanisms.

Sodium Emission vs. Rayleigh Scattering

Visiting Palmaz Vineyards

Very late last fall, we left the already-frigid upstate New York for a weekend in Napa.

Driving Through Napa

During that trip, we visited the Bond-villain-esque Palmaz Vineyards. Almost the entire winery is underground in an 18-story cavern, using gravity to feed grapes and nascent wine from level to level. These enormous fermentation tanks are on a 24-tank rotating rail system so that each can be filled.

Palmaz Wine Processing

Even the dormant vines in “winter” give the setting an idyllic, “classical landscape” look.


Morning Light Through Napa Hillsides

I’m very sad to share that my graduate advisor, Prof. Charles B. Harris, passed away yesterday. He discovered the quadruple bond and he taught me how to be a scientist and a mentor. Charles was always so proud of the achievements of his students; we spoke last year after I received tenure and I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that he could add yet another successful faculty member to his list of accomplishments. I miss him.

Looking at this picture from the mossy hills of the Bay Area on a misty morning, I’m reminded of his house in hills of Orinda.

Morning Light Through Napa Hillsides

Above the Reservoir

The Californian subject matter mixed with the tiny details in this image, particularly in the cars and buildings around the rim of the reservoir, give it a Group f/64 style. In contrast to those images from the early twentieth century, the expanse of urbanized California in the distance shows a few changes in the state.

Above the Reservoir

New Year: Skyline Watcher with Cactus

The year 2020 is here! “Cautious optimism” remains my default lens for the future, but a look back over the photography of the past decade (like this shot from the Molecular Foundry overlooking San Francisco during my sabbatical), I’m feeling a bit excited. The first major upgrade in my shooting platform is planned for 2020 (the Nikon D7000 is getting a well-deserved retirement) and I can’t imagine the improvement I’ll see when I jump an entire decade forwards in camera technology.

Skyline Watcher with Cactus