The hunter.

I have some photos from our weekend in Port A that I may sort out and post.  Here’s a shot from one of the pre-dawn firmament beach photo sessions.  The constellation Orion.


and a cheat sheet:

Patience wins out.

I packed the tripod for our trip to the coast.  We went to the beach both mornings, while we were in Port Aransas, to once again try to capture a shot of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus together.

Yesterday clouded up just before Mercury rose.  This morning the clouds threatened again, but danced between the planets.   I took this shot looking above the south jetty on the Port Aransas end of Mustang Island.  The lowest in this shot is Mercury, just above the seeping pink glow of dawn.  Above it is the pair of reddish, smaller Mars just below and to the left of larger Jupiter.  And then above them, and the brightest, Venus.  The other stars above and to the left of the ecliptic are stars in the constellation Leo.

The red and green lights on the horizon are some of the channel markers that guide the ships through the channel between the jetties.


Gulf or bust.

I’m taking a vacation day today so that we can make a long weekend of it and take a road trip.   We headed south to the coast.

We stopped in Lockhart for lunch, skipping the amazing barbeque on this trip and ate at a lovely cafe on the town square called T&C Cafe – delicious sandwiches – right across the street from the Caldwell County courthouse:

IMG_9268Down past Refugio we spied miles and miles of windmills.IMG_9275

We took the ferry from Aransas Pass to Port A and have been enjoying the waterfront ever since.IMG_9283

It’s kind of rare to find a place to watch the sun set over the water … in Texas.  But our vantage spot from Port A looking west over the ship canal towards Corpus Christi afforded that kind of view.


Three out of four!

I used a tripod this morning with a long exposure and captured Venus (the brightest), then Mars (smallest, reddish), and Jupiter (just below Mars) together.  If I zoom all the way in, I like to think I can also identify a dot washed out by the dawn near the tree tops that could be Mercury.   If that’s true, I guess I technically have 5 planets in the same frame, if you count Earth.  :)

Factoid of the day:  the origin of the word “Thursday” is “Thor’s Day.”  Thor is the Greek god of thunder, also known as the Roman god Jupiter.  (according to wikipedia, anyway).

Happy Thursday!IMG_4875

Two out of four’s not bad.

I went outside before dawn this morning, to take the garbage can to the curb.  I looked up in the sky and saw two bright planets shining in the East.


I fired up my Sky Guide iphone app to get my bearings.  Venus is the one above, and Jupiter is the one below.   I was disappointed to not be able to see Mars, which should have been just above Jupiter, but it must have been washed out by the light of Jupiter.  Mercury had just risen but was too far below my view of the horizon.  IMG_9257

A fun, full, first weekend of Fall!

We’ve been busy!  This past weekend, we made a roadtrip out to west, stopping first at William Chris Winery, where we caught up with a friend of ours that we ran into, by chance;  then we hopped over to Wildseed Farms to pickup a bunch of seed; then made it over to one of our faves, Becker Vineyards, where we had a tasting, a picnic, and checked out their new field of zinnias.  Just beautiful.

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On the way home we headed over to the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco.  We took the river road south/southeast from Hwy 290 to Blanco, and stopped along the way several times to check out the now lazy river that was uncontrollably raging just 4 months ago, tragically sweeping away homes and families over Memorial Day weekend.IMG_9158

At Real Ale, Monte sampled a flight, and I sipped my favorite – Hans Pils.

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Then Sunday rolled around, and we headed out to see the Anderson Mill historical site, near its original location at Cypress Creek on Lake Travis.   The Anderson Mill Gardeners do a wonderful job of preserving the site and its history.IMG_9183We made it to the boat in time to cheer the Seahawks on to their first win of the season, enjoying the recently repaired air conditioning on Nirvana (yay!).

About an hour before sunset, Kurt, Barbara, Dakota and little Leila joined us on the boat, and we motored out to the body of the lake to drift and watch the supermoon lunar eclipse.

Have I mentioned taking photos of the moon and stars on a moving boat is hard?  I didn’t get any good shots.  But I thought this one was kinda cool… you get the idea.


It was a great weekend, indeed.

Perseids show. 

Pre-dawn today was to be the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower.  So last night after work, and after the rush hour traffic had subsided, we headed to the marina.  We anchored in the cove after sunset and made comfy spots on deck to lay down and watch the stars.    

The best time is typically between 1AM and 4AM.  There was no moon to interfere.  We just had to wish away the partly-cloudiness that arrived with sunset.   And the clouds did clear up and we saw the first burner by about 10:30.  More clouds came.  And then the sky became crystal clear around 12:30.   We were treated to a nice show – dozens this year.   Star gazing on a boat does not lend itself to photographing meteors, so I have no awesome pics to share.  

Even if we hadn’t seen any meteors, sleeping under the stars and this morning’s sunrise would have made it all worth the trip out. 

Now…off to work!

Fair city.

My seat for my flight home on Saturday was on the side of the plane that usually faces away from Mt. Rainier.   So, I was happy to hear the pilot announce that we would be taking off to the west and flying around the city, due to the fact that Seafair was underway and the airshow that accompanies it over Lake Washington.  It turned out that I was treated to the most beautiful views on the way up after all.  Thanks, Mom.  :)


This shot is taken looking to the south east.  Queen Anne Hill is the treed hill to the lower left.  Lake Union is above it.  Downtown is in the center of the picture.  Elliott Bay is to the lower right.   Above downtown is the south end of Lake Washington, and the wispy loops of smoke to the right of the I-90 floating bridge are from planes in the airshow flying over the hydroplane race course.  And, of course, Mt Rainier watching over it all – Mount Adams poking out to its right.  If you look closely you can find the Space Needle, Seattle Center, CenturyLink Stadium and Safeco Field, Boeing Field, Elliott Bay Marina, among other landmarks.

I love this town.

Monday Monday. 

Worked from mom’s house again, and then headed out to meet Colleen and Jake for dinner.  Our table had a beautiful view overlooking Elliott Bay.  Simply gorgeous. 

 The Great Wheel after sunset:  

 And….. The golden hour:


Playing in paradise.

Monte and I joined 2 of my sisters, brother-in-laws, and 3 nieces/nephews for a weekend of fun on Lake Cushman.  It sits just east of the Olympic mountains in Washington State.  The lake temps were in the 70s and clear, sunny and in the 90’s above.  Just beautiful.  We kayaked, tubed, ran up the lake by motorboat, tried the rope swing, tent camped, played games, and just had a really great time together.

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