Outdoors

Friday, September 21, 2018

North Coast Night LIghts: Fernbridge Beneath the Milky Way

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2018 at 11:51 AM

Historic Fernbridge sits out in the cosmos beneath a layer of sweeping clouds and the majestic Milky Way. Mars is bright at center. The lights from passing cars illuminated the shore and provided the reflections. Sept. 11, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Historic Fernbridge sits out in the cosmos beneath a layer of sweeping clouds and the majestic Milky Way. Mars is bright at center. The lights from passing cars illuminated the shore and provided the reflections. Sept. 11, 2018.
A photograph is not merely an impression of light, it is a combination of light and time. We don’t usually think about that as we snap our shutters in fractions of a second. Not much that we can notice changes in a fraction of a second. But when that element of time is extended a lot of things can happen, and nothing will look as it would in a daytime image, nor will the final image look as it did to our eyes at the time. Playing with that element of time is one of the most exciting aspects of night photography.

Fernbridge beneath the Milky Way is an image I have long desired. A beautiful span crossing the Eel River between the community of Fernbridge and town of Ferndale, it is probably Humboldt County’s most historic bridge, and has been in operation since 1911. For over a year I’ve ached to photograph it beneath a dramatic starry night sky and the Milky Way. But things sometimes stand in the way. Much of the year there is no Milky Way over it, and that time is now fast approaching. The moon is in the sky about half the time, too, drowning out the stars. I think it must be overcast at night there more than half the time and the rest of the time it’s hard to find someone to go with me. Then, too, beneath that bridge is not a place where I want to be by myself late at night. This time I reached out to the Photoshop class that I teach in the Digital Media department at College of the Redwoods (I highly recommend the program) for anyone interested in learning something outside of class and two students who wanted to learn my technique came out with me to find out how I approach my night photography.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Let's Hear it for the Redwoods

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 11:19 AM

Get out and see the redwoods. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Get out and see the redwoods.
Humboldt County’s natural beauty is once again garnering attention with the travel guide Frommer’s giving the region’s tall trees a shout-out in a slideshow and National Geographic featuring the short film Redwood about — as you might guess — Redwood National and State Parks on its website.

National Geographic’s team, which is curating cinematic fare for its Short Film Showcase, plucked the work by brothers and filmmakers Will and Jim Pattiz as one of the featured pieces.

“We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world,” the magazine’s website states.

Redwood is part of the Pattiz brothers’ "More Than Just Parks" film project, which they say on their website was “born out of their love for the national parks and enthusiasm for engaging multimedia.”

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: South Fork Bridge, July 2018

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 11:38 AM

The Milky Way arcs from horizon to horizon above the South Fork Bridge in this panorama on the Main Fork Eel River, Humboldt County, California. July, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The Milky Way arcs from horizon to horizon above the South Fork Bridge in this panorama on the Main Fork Eel River, Humboldt County, California. July, 2018.
Built in 1910, this old railroad bridge crosses the Main Fork of the Eel River just upstream of the confluence with the South Fork Eel River. I’m not absolutely certain what to call the bridge, having seen it variously called “South Fork Bridge,” “Dyerville Train Trestle” and “Dyerville Bridge." It is part of the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad that used to run through Humboldt County until the end of the 1990s or early 2000s. Two of the four spans of this bridge were washed away in the 1964 flood; I imagine they were the two spans on the left, being shinier and perhaps newer.

This summer I went out on two different nights to this bridge with a photo friend of mine, the first night becoming overcast early. Illuminating the bridge was an exercise in painting light with a flashlight, adding touches of light here and there in the dark. Some light also came from street lamps along U.S. Highway 101 across the river far behind us. A combination of those lamps, the light painting, long exposures of around 30 seconds, a high ISO setting (light sensitivity) and a fairly wide aperture combined to make the scenes bright and detailed.

My hope was to make a panoramic image of the bridge with the Milky Way arcing over it. I’d scouted it out in the daylight and I saw that if I came back at night I would find the image I sought. But it’s often overcast along the river late at night, and such proved to be the case the first night. I took a few photographs, but the sky grew progressively cloudier and, though we waited patiently, we were never to get a clearer view of the Milky Way and I didn’t make the panorama.
South Fork Bridge beneath an annotated panorama showing the planets Saturn and Mars, the latter large as it neared its close approach, as well as some of the notable stars along the Milky Way. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • South Fork Bridge beneath an annotated panorama showing the planets Saturn and Mars, the latter large as it neared its close approach, as well as some of the notable stars along the Milky Way.
We returned a few days later and were graced with perfect, cloudless weather. Mars hung bright on the horizon beneath the bridge, nearing its closest approach to Earth since 2003, when the two planets came closer together than they had been in 60,000 years. Nearby, Saturn was visible in the heart of the Milky Way. The air was warm and everything felt perfect. We were stoked.

I made the panorama by shooting four vertical photographs of the bridge side by side, each of the images overlapping the next. Later I would match them together in the computer to show the entire, wider scene. It was a challenge to illuminate the shots consistently with only a flashlight but it’s necessary in order for the separate images to blend well with each other.
A variation in lighting on the bridge from the first night out, before the clouds overcame us. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A variation in lighting on the bridge from the first night out, before the clouds overcame us.
One can see this bridge from a broad overlook on the Avenue of the Giants, complete with info signs, just to the north of the Honeydew/South Fork exit off U.S. Highway 101. From that spot, look southward up the left-hand Main Fork Eel River to see the bridge. It’s also visible from the freeway in that area. The South Fork Eel River valley branches off to the right.

These are the same railroad tracks you see against the bluffs across from Rio Dell and the tracks that run along Eureka’s waterfront, where you can still find some rusty trains sitting on the rails down at Commercial Street and Waterfront Drive; they're the tracks that run along 101 between Eureka and Arcata, and the ones that continue out past Janes Road toward Blue Lake. It’s easy to forget as younger generations grow up without them that not too long ago the trains were running, and one could watch them pass daily and hear their whistles and rumblings.

To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx or his website mindscapefx.com, which Wilson says he updates less frequently.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: Trinidad Head Under a Full Moon

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 10:47 AM

The full moon rises over Little Head, Trinidad Pier, and Trinidad Harbor. Trinidad Head is the silhouetted land mass on the right. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The full moon rises over Little Head, Trinidad Pier, and Trinidad Harbor. Trinidad Head is the silhouetted land mass on the right.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of showing off Trinidad and Trinidad Head to an old family friend who was visiting from the prairie. Prairie folks don’t often see the edge of the continent, let alone this coastal gem that we have here on the Humboldt shore. Of course, my idea for a tour around the Head was to hike around it at night with my camera.

Trinidad Head extends into the ocean between Trinidad Pier and State Beach, a large forested promontory that shapes and protects Trinidad Harbor. A bulwark against the heaviest Pacific seas and weather, it also affords fantastic views from high above the ocean along a trail that skirts the formation’s perimeter while climbing a couple hundred feet of elevation.

My brother and I brought our friend to the base of the trail at State Beach after sunset Aug. 25. We each had flashlights, but with the light of the rising moon I knew it would never be completely dark. I was already powering up the trail to reach the big vistas near the top when immediately we were given a view back across the pier and harbor: a beautiful shot with the moon fresh above the horizon, its reflection skimming across the water to meet the glows of the row of lights on the pier. Setting up to take some photographs of that scene, I felt grateful that these unplanned gems so often present themselves when I go out.


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Monday, August 27, 2018

Mill Creek Fire at 74 Percent Containment

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 10:02 AM

mill_fire.jpg
The Mill Creek Fire, which has burned nearly 3,700 acres as it enters its second week, is now 74 percent contained.

State Route 96 between Weitchpec and Hoopa remains closed to traffic except for escorted trips three times a day, when fire activity allows for safe travel. Meanwhile, air quality is expected to improve in the coming days but remains in the "unhealthy" zone for Orleans, Weitchpec, Bald Hill, Willow Creek and Hoopa.

For updated information, visit the wildfire smoke forecast website here.

A $10,000 reward has been offered for information on the fire, which officials say was caused by arson.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

UPDATE: 6 p.m. Pilot Car Available Today, Travelers Asked to 'Be on Time'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 10:43 AM

mill_fire.jpg
UPDATE: A pilot car will be available at 6 p.m. today. Those looking to travel the Highway 96 stretch between Weitchpec and Hoopa are asked to: “Be on time and ready to go.”

PREVIOUSLY:
The Mill Creek Fire interagency management team announced today that the noon pilot car will not be running today between Hoopa and Weitchpec due to fire activity.

The team is still reviewing whether it will be safe enough to conduct the State Route 96 run at 7 p.m. The blaze is continuing to create poor air quality conditions in the Hoopa Valley and other areas of the region.

The fire, first spotted Aug. 16, has grown to nearly 3,000 acres and is 43 percent contained. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information on the arson.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Photos from the Lantern Floating Ceremony

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 5:52 PM

Volunteer Tony Wallin, of Arcata, helped move the lighted lanterns away from the shore into the gentle breeze blowing across Klopp Lake. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Volunteer Tony Wallin, of Arcata, helped move the lighted lanterns away from the shore into the gentle breeze blowing across Klopp Lake.

The Saturday morning lantern-making workshop on the Arcata Plaza was busy with people of all ages making lanterns with personalized remembrances or social commentary for that evening’s 36th annual Lantern Floating Ceremony at Klopp Lake in the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Lantern Floating Ceremony is based on the Japanese Obon tradition of honoring the departed. Our local event was first organized by the city’s Nuclear Free Zone Committee as a memorial for those affected by the WWII bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to increase awareness about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. See the slideshow below for photos of the ceremony.


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Monday, August 6, 2018

Crabs Season is over and Everything is Garbage

Posted By on Mon, Aug 6, 2018 at 3:29 PM

MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar

Well, folks, it’s over. Humboldt’s best summer distraction
has come to a close and now we are all forced to confront the empty misery of
our Crabs-less existences. No more heckling, no more Crusty, no more dynamic renditions of "Go Big Red," no more band at all! Baseball has abandoned Arcata, not to return for 11 months. It’s always a difficult week after our boys head back
home. The town feels … empty. F Street is no longer a perilous route that only
the most courageous and resolute dare ford. We’ve no place to gather together
and bond as a community. It is a time for mourning and bereavement.

The Humboldt Crabs finished the season with a series sweep
against the Bay Area Blues, an all-star team on the eastern side of the bay.
Our boys ended up 37-10 on the year and unloaded 19 runs in the final game of
the season, an explosive display on par with the fireworks Saturday night.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Supes Approve Bay Trail EIR, Eucalyptus Removal but Leave Possibility of Saving the Trees

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 at 12:29 PM

screen_shot_2018-07-23_at_10.03.47_am.png
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today, with Supervisor Rex Bohn absent, to approve an environmental impact report for the completion of the Humboldt Bay Trail that includes the removal of 219 eucalyptus trees along U.S. Highway 101.

But the board’s decision also included a provision to have county staff hire a certified arborist or two to conduct a risk assessment on the trees to determine if there’s a way to keep them and build the new trail without dramatically increasing maintenance costs or county liability.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Huffman Introduces Massive Public Lands Bill

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 11:46 AM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman introduced sweeping public lands legislation today aimed at guarding communities against wildfires and protecting public lands.

The introduction comes about a year after Huffman held community meetings throughout the rural stretches of his district, which allowed him to incorporate input and feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including tourism organizations and recreation groups, restoration specialists and tribes, conservation groups and timber companies, fire ecologists and fisheries scientists.

“From the majestic Smith River to the ancient redwoods and old-growth forests, and the rugged mountains in between, our lands are worth protecting and restoring for future generations to enjoy,” Huffman said in a press release. “Today, some of those landscapes are not fully protected, and others are not managed to their full potential: We can do more to ensure fire resilience, support healthy wildlife, and spur outdoor recreation.”

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