Art

Thursday, December 13, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: The Tower

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 12:31 PM

The Tower standing at the end of V Street in Arcata, near the Marsh. Photographed in 1991. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The Tower standing at the end of V Street in Arcata, near the Marsh. Photographed in 1991.
The tower once stood silent sentinel in the quiet fields near the Marsh in Arcata, lonely and abandoned when I discovered it. Long disused, it rose above the tall grasses and blackberry brambles covering the broken concrete rubble of the bygone structures once surrounding it. Its floor was piled deep with broken chunks and slabs, sloughed like skin from the walls of its own insides.

I think what it once was must be apparent to many people, but I have never been sure, and I’ve avoided certainty. I have relished the mystery, for it allowed my imagination to run free when I photographed it, and in my thoughts of it since. It is The Tower and inside it lives the Guardian. It’s no longer there for you to see but for me it will always be available, one of my Avalons in the mists.

“The Tower” was the first of this pair of images that I photographed. I don’t recall how many nights elapsed between the two photographs. I had noticed in The Tower that I had captured the Celestial Equator, which is the division between the northern area of the sky in which the stars appear to revolve around the northern polar axis (which was above and behind me) and the southern part of the sky where the stars are revolving around the southern polar axis, which lies beneath our horizon. Upon observation one can clearly see that the arc of the stars is upward near the top of the photograph and downward in the lower portion of the image. Capturing the Celestial Equator was purely unintentional, and it fascinated me. In fact, the idea of it had never occurred to me and the phenomenon puzzled me at first. But after finding it through my photography and thinking about the processes behind it, I understood how it came about. Now I can reliably find the Celestial Equator in other parts of the sky.
Exposure notes for negative No. 15, “The Tower”, written in 1991. In those days one couldn’t see the photograph until the film were processed. Neither did the camera record the exposure information, so keeping a record was crucial in building my understanding. That 24mm lens from the notes was my favorite then, and I still occasionally use it on my current Nikon. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Exposure notes for negative No. 15, “The Tower”, written in 1991. In those days one couldn’t see the photograph until the film were processed. Neither did the camera record the exposure information, so keeping a record was crucial in building my understanding. That 24mm lens from the notes was my favorite then, and I still occasionally use it on my current Nikon.


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Saturday, December 8, 2018

North Coast Night Lights:The Covered Bridge of Elk River

Posted By on Sat, Dec 8, 2018 at 3:39 PM

Berta’s Ranch Covered Bridge is a couple miles out Elk River Road on Berta Road. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Berta’s Ranch Covered Bridge is a couple miles out Elk River Road on Berta Road.
Humboldt County is home to a number of noteworthy bridges, two of which are wooden covered bridges built in the 1930s. Both of these are still in service out Elk River Road and I’ve thought for a while that catching an unusual view of them beneath the stars would be interesting. Earlier this year I visited the pair, hoping to find angles that would include the Milky Way flying over them. Yes, you know I love to include it over my landscapes. The Milky Way’s structure is the most visible reminder of the vastness of the cosmic space in which we drift and it comforts me to know that we are really too tiny down here for our problems to matter much in the true scope of things.

It’s quiet out Elk River on a week night. I photographed both of these bridges at about 10:30 p.m., just a few days apart in July of 2018. Only a couple cars passed by either night and I was probably photographing for about an hour both times. Humboldt has a third covered bridge, built in the 1960s, out past Jacoby Creek but I have yet to work out an angle for that one that could also feature the Milky Way.
Also off of Elk River Road, Zanes Road covered bridge is another half-mile or so past Berta Road. The red light at the end of the tunnel is me holding my headlamp. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Also off of Elk River Road, Zanes Road covered bridge is another half-mile or so past Berta Road. The red light at the end of the tunnel is me holding my headlamp.


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Thursday, November 29, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: Milky Way over South Fork Eel River — Painting with Light

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 12:29 PM

South Fork Eel River beneath the Milky Way at the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove on the Avenue of the Giants. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • South Fork Eel River beneath the Milky Way at the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove on the Avenue of the Giants.
The word “photography” literally means “light painting” and there is something about taking that idea and actually adding my own strokes of light that appeals to me. Nighttime gives me the opportunity to make images that are illuminated in ways we don’t usually see, whether from moonlight, artificial ambient light sources or light that I may apply to an area myself. Let me share with you one such light-painted image from a dark summer’s midnight in Southern Humboldt.

Coursing among giant redwoods, the South Fork Eel River slipped quietly by the California Federation of Women's Clubs Grove, while the Milky Way made its silent passage across the sky. Not a human soul was about that night after midnight, though during the day this Humboldt Redwoods State Park spot on the Avenue of the Giants is very popular. I had seen many people enjoying the river and day use area of the Grove when scouting here that afternoon to see how the Milky Way would lie at night.

One of the reasons I am drawn to photographing the night is for the opportunity it gives me to add my own touch in the form of painted light to create something unique. Because it is dark, I have to leave the camera shutter open for extended periods, and that gives me time to apply light selectively to areas of a scene, often using a flashlight. Such was the case with this image.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

SpongeBob Creator, HSU Alum Hillenburg Dies at 57

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 10:33 AM

Stephen Hillenburg - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg, the Humboldt State University graduate best known for creating the beloved animated world of SpongeBob SquarePants, has died. He was 57.

Hillenburg credited his time at HSU for nurturing his fascination with marine biology and love of art, which ultimately merged together in the colorful creatures of Bikini Bottom, including a young sponge who lived in a pineapple under the sea.
In a nod to the role the university played in his success, Hillenburg and his wife Karen recently created the Stephen Hillenburg Marine Science Research Award Endowment at HSU with a $135,000 gift “to provide grant awards for student research projects in marine biology, oceanography and marine fisheries,” according to a September release from HSU.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: 1964 High Water on the Avenue

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 11:52 AM

“High Water Dec 1964,” reads the sign at chest level. Arrows on the pole draw the eye to the true marker far above. Avenue of the Giants at Weott, Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • “High Water Dec 1964,” reads the sign at chest level. Arrows on the pole draw the eye to the true marker far above. Avenue of the Giants at Weott, Humboldt County, California.
In 1964 a perfect storm of snow melt and heavy rains caused a historic flood in Humboldt County and the greater Pacific Northwest. Along the Eel River watershed, the raging flood waters wiped out roads, bridges, and entire communities. U.S. Highway 101 was submerged at some points. That was before my memory, and now most of its effects have been blurred by the passage of time, but there are still some physical reminders commemorating the event visible from the road.

You may have seen the high water marker on the west side of U.S. Highway 101 a little north of the Salmon Creek exit in Southern Humboldt. Another mark sits atop a pole on the Avenue of the Giants at Weott; almost out of sight at the top of the tall pole is a marker showing how deep the Avenue was beneath the surface of the flooding Eel River.

The history and mystery of this past reminder of nature’s awesome power drew my interest to the marker at Weott. I doubt that I’ve ever passed by this marker, nor the one near Salmon Creek, without at least glancing at it and marveling for a moment at the sheer volume of water that the flood had sent gushing through these places continuously for days, all up and down the river, and all over the region. That is a mind-bending amount of water pouring from the skies.
Looking south past the High Water mark along the Avenue of the Giants at Weott. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Looking south past the High Water mark along the Avenue of the Giants at Weott.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: Camping in the King Range

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 10:52 AM

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Paradise Ridge in the King Range, southern Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Paradise Ridge in the King Range, southern Humboldt County, California.

The Fall Equinox of Sept. 21, 2017, found me camping beneath the stars on Paradise Ridge in Southern Humboldt’s King Range, a BLM-managed area of our beautiful and famous Lost Coast. Friends I’ve known since childhood had invited me out to join them for a night of stargazing and Milky Way photography in one of their huge glamping tents from their Wayward Glamping business. Early clouds as we set up our camp dampened my hopes for clear skies, but by nightfall the curtains had pulled apart to reveal the celestial show.

The views from Paradise Ridge are spectacular. To the west it overlooks the Pacific Ocean north of Shelter Cove and south of King Peak, the highest point in the range at 4,091 feet. To the east of the ridge, the view includes much of the South Fork Eel River watershed and far beyond to the dim horizon. Because it is so remote, the King Range offers some of Humboldt’s darkest skies, which is perfect for astrophotography and stargazing.


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Friday, November 9, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: Close Encounters on the Avenue

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2018 at 3:08 PM

When the Milky Way lines up with the Avenue of the Giants. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • When the Milky Way lines up with the Avenue of the Giants.
The Avenue of the Giants is as beautiful a drive as you will find. The groves along its 36-mile course line the Avenue with some of the grandest examples of the tallest trees on Earth, the California coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens. Some are thousands of years old. If a disproportionate number of my photographs are taken along the Avenue, it is only proportionate to the beauty that is found there. The image I’m sharing today was photographed from the hillside just off the road near the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove, one of the special places found in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

This particular view of the Milky Way rising just so above the road is only visible for a few days of the year. Why is this? Well, we know Earth orbits the sun, going completely around it in one year. This means that each day Earth’s night side is presented with a slightly different view of the cosmos as we travel around the sun, and as our view of the universe changes, the position of the Milky Way in our sky also shifts a little every night. The most spectacular part of the Milky Way, that area nearest the Galactic Core, is now almost entirely beneath the horizon after dark and we will see less of it each night until the return of “Milky Way season” next spring, when we will again be treated to more of the Core in the night sky.

I waited for months for a night when the Milky Way would rise from the horizon above the bend in the road at this spot. In my mind’s eye, the lines and curves of the road, the trees and the Milky Way would line up and interact interestingly, and, together with light painted in by passing cars, would make a good composition. And then, as so often happens, elements beyond my control intertwined with my own endeavors, with results that exceeded my expectations. I had planned to let passing cars bathe the scene with light but I could not control how they laid their strokes of light. I don’t think I could be happier with how it worked out, and again I thank the universe.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: Humboldt County Skyline

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 2:41 PM

A composite of stills from the time-lapse. The streaks were the paths of the stars as they swung across the sky. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A composite of stills from the time-lapse. The streaks were the paths of the stars as they swung across the sky.
It’s unlikely for one who lives in Humboldt County to be unaware of a certain industry, which shall here remain nameless, and for which the county is known somewhat beyond its borders, and which recently became legal in our state, for the subject naturally becomes a part of many conversations. I could discuss it in one context or another, but hasn’t that been done? And can’t others do that? For fun, I decided to take a look at it from a particular angle: a silhouette of it against the stars.
A Humboldt Skyline: Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) and Cannabis sativa (the herb) silhouetted against the Milky Way and stars as they slowly revolve over the course one hour and 40 minutes.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: This Way to the Galactic Core

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 10:22 AM

The moonlit Kneeland Road leads straight to the Galactic Core. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The moonlit Kneeland Road leads straight to the Galactic Core.
I found myself on a ridge line along the Kneeland Road the night of July 18, 2018, on an impulsive late-night mission to the Galactic Core. It was out there, all I needed was a stretch of road that would take me up to meet it at the horizon.

We live in the Milky Way galaxy, which is a spiral galaxy shaped much like a flattened pinwheel, with arms spiraling outward from its center. From Earth’s position on one of the galactic arms, we seasonally get a view through the thickest portion of the Milky Way, which appears as the milky trail, or way, of lightness that stretches from horizon to horizon some parts of the year. This band itself is often called the Milky Way. It is brighter than the rest of the night sky because when we look at it, we are looking through our pinwheel-shaped galaxy edge-on, right through the greatest number of stars, nebulae, etc. They appear so dense from this angle, and many are so far away, that they blend together into indistinct milkiness. The Galactic Core is the center of all that, the densest part, and in July it’s low on the southern horizon after dark. Looking to either side of the Milky Way band is to look above and below the edge-on view of our flattened spiral galaxy, out where the stars are fewer and less closely packed. If your mind is boggled, don’t worry, it’s probably a good thing. That keeps it from being blown. You’re extremely tiny in all this, helplessly adrift in outer space.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Community Icon Muriel Dinsmore Dies at 89

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 8:45 PM

Muriel Dinsmore - EUREKA HERITAGE SOCIETY'S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Eureka Heritage Society's Facebook Page
  • Muriel Dinsmore
Muriel Dinsmore, a tireless supporter of myriad community causes — from the arts to historic preservation  to education — died this week. She was 89.

Born in Eureka just before the stock market crash of 1929, Dinsmore grew up in Rio Dell and was well-known for the decade she spent as editor of the Times-Standard’s Accent on People section, interviewing everyone from First Lady Nancy Reagan to hitchhikers passing through the region.

Dinsmore was a founding member of the Humboldt Arts Council, which runs the Morris Graves Museum of Art, and the Eureka Heritage Society, along with supporting a wealth of other organizations, including the League of Women Voters and the College of the Redwoods Foundation League.

She also served as College of the Redwoods director of public relations for 15 years.

As news of Dinsmore’s death spread on social media, dozens expressed sadness at her passing, remembering the mother of four as a “classy lady” with “boundless energy” and a “beautiful smile” who gave passionately to the community she loved.

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