Laurie Hatch Photography
Size: 2.5" x 3.5" (6.35 x 8.90 cm)
This magnet features a glossy weather resistant protective covering, rubber magnet, plastic backing, and high quality color printing. It is made and sourced in the USA using at least 60% recycled American steel, and is 100% recyclable.
MOUNT HAMILTON SUMMIT
LH0002 LICK OBSERVATORY LIGHTNING
1999 September 8
In this one-minute time exposure looking west from Kepler Peak, a turbulent cloud hurtles lightning into Mt. Hamilton foothills. Across Silicon Valley, more bolts shock the Santa Cruz Mountains twenty miles away. Thunder rumbles across hillsides announcing repeated strikes. Sheets of rain drench valley neighborhoods. It is a spectacle of rare intensity on Mt. Hamilton, and one that will continue past daybreak. Domes remain closed for the duration of the storm, shielding telescopes from the assault.
On the evening of September 8, 1999, a massive storm system engulfed the greater San Francisco Bay Area. My astronomer husband Rem Stone and I watched from the southern window of our home on the summit of Mt. Hamilton as a behemoth fast-moving cell advanced north like a juggernaut toward San José. Clusters of lightning pulsed from its dark belly. We grabbed my camera gear and raced to a windy vantage point on Kepler Peak. I began to shoot one minute exposures of the Observatory as the giant cell approached Mt. Hamilton’s foothills ten miles west of the summit. In every direction as far as we could see, storm clouds spiked jagged bolts and sheets of rain into cities and bordering hills. For nearly two hours I continued to shoot while ‘safety officer’ Rem monitored cells which surrounded us, counting eerie interludes between flashes and thunderous explosions, and marveling as mega-amps discharged into the ground. It was like being on a surreal sci-fi movie set.
The storm continued overnight and well past daybreak. It was the most chaotic and photogenic lightning event I experienced in eighteen years of residence at Lick Observatory.
A VIEW FROM LICK OBSERVATORY
Lick Observatory crowns the 4200-foot summit of Mt. Hamilton above central California’s Silicon Valley. This research station serves astronomers from University of California campuses and their collaborators worldwide. Eccentric Bay Area businessman and philanthropist James Lick funded construction in the 1880’s, envisioning the Observatory as a premier astronomical facility, and also as his memorial and final resting place. Lick is entombed in the base of the Lick 36” Refractor, the most powerful telescope on the planet when built. It remains the world’s second largest refractor. The mountaintop is populated by ten telescopes which are supported by resident staff and by headquarters at UC Santa Cruz. Acclaimed for academic excellence, technical expertise, and superior instrumentation, Lick Observatory probes the expanding frontiers of space.
Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 lens
Kodak Supra 100 Color Negative film, scanned-digitized
Exposure: 1 minute @ f/8
Tango Drum Scan
Raw image file data were adjusted, optimized, and sharpened for digital output.
© Laurie Hatch Photography All Rights Reserved
All images and text are property of Laurie Hatch Photography; unauthorized use is a violation of copyright law. You are welcome to email Laurie Hatch with your usage requests.
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The photographer extends sincere gratitude to University of California Observatories astronomers and staff for their generous and invaluable assistance in producing this photograph.
Lick Observatory, 7281 Mount Hamilton Road, Mount Hamilton, CA 95140
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