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Palomar Mountain

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Kongo visited Palomar Mountain yesterday, which is about an hour’s drive from his home in San Diego.  The panorama above, made from three images, is a view of Lake Henshaw and the Santa Ysabel Valley taken from a scenic overlook on the way up the mountain on the eastern road approach.  The small island in the lake is … Monkey Island!  

The road up to Palomar Mountain is a favorite drive for motorcyclists and car drivers who like hairpin turns.  Kongo had the top down on his 6-speed manual shift BMW and loved roaring up and down the mountain road.

Fires frequent the mountain areas in Eastern San Diego County but the plants always come back.  Above, trees killed by a fire stand amid new foliage.

Another view from the mountain, this time looking west toward Oceanside.

Kongo was hoping for blue skies to backdrop the art deco observatory at the top of Palomor Mountain but persistent clouds foiled those plans.  The Palomar Observatory is home to a 200-inch telescope that for many years was the largest in the world.  The observatory is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology (CAL Tech) and has been used to discover many new objects in deep space, including quasars.

The panorama shot that starts off this post was the first “pano” the monkey has tried.  He sat up his tripod, got everything perfectly level, and took three overlapping shots at the same settings.  At home he stitched them together using Canon software (free download from their site) and did some minor post production editing for cropping.  He used a Canon 7D with a 18-200mm lens at 18mm and used a Hoya circular polarizer.  ISO was 100 and he used a 4.0 f-stop.  Shutter speed was 1/640 of a second.  In the future he’ll try playing around with different aperture settings but this involves a slower shutter speed which brings in more challenges with a panorama shot but hey, digital film is pretty cheap!

Learn more about the Palomar Observatory at its website.

Travel safe.  Have fun.

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