Beyond 90 Seconds DSLR Snohomish Washington weather

Northern Lights dazzle in Snohomish, Washington

(Snohomish, WA) We’re fortunate to view of lot of nature’s wonder in the Pacific Northwest.

But two prized moments have long eluded me in my 53 years: the site of orcas in Puget Sound, and witnessing the Northern Lights. 

Well, I can finally cross one of those long-held dreams off the ol’ bucket list. 

And it almost didn’t happen.

Sure, I’d read the news reports on Saturday, stating that the Northern Lights might be visible during the approaching night. 

But over the years, I’d chased the Northern Lights on several occasions…without success.

So, around the time Saturday was surrendering to Sunday, I was feeling the pull of my couch a tad more than the tug of my camera. 

But that’s when Andrew Kim set my night on fire with the following tweet: 

Surely, my eyes were wide open now. 

A few minutes later, and I was out the door.

Upon arriving at Glacier Peak High School, it was not obvious to me that the Northern Lights were in plain view. 

But as I walked up to the area that overlooks the football field and the distant valley below, the lone interruption in a starlit sky appeared as a very long, arc-shaped cloud.

Are those the Northern Lights?, I thought.

As I turned on my camera and adjusted its manual settings, my adrenaline intensified.

I opted for a 20 second shutter speed, knowing I’d likely get small star trails with the 28-135mm lens affixed to my Canon 7D.

My mind quickly raced through my immediate to-do list. 

Quick, set up the tripod.

2-second delayed shutter release.

In a moment, I’d have an image, press the playback button, and see the result on the camera’s LCD screen.

Would the Northern Lights be revealed to me in all their glory?

Or would it be a simple—albeit, tremendously large and somewhat rainbow shaped—cloud?


The site of so much green in the long exposure image now on the LCD screen left no doubt. 

The Aurora Borealis dominated the night sky before me, and appeared to stretch from the west to the northeast.

I considered that its green hue was largely obscured from the naked eye due to the area’s light pollution.

Over the next half hour or so, the Northern Lights seemed to bend, zig, zag, and intensify. 

It wasn’t long before a friendly young man and woman approached this same patch of ground above the football field. 

They explained that they’d been out on the town just prior to visiting the school.

“You know, ‘Hey, let’s go visit my old high school and see the changes,'” Victor Gaspar explained. 

Gaspar, 23, shared that he’d graduated from Glacier Peak High School in 2012.

“Yeah, we’re spur-of-the-moment people,” Gaspar’s fiancé, Noelle Fernandez, quickly added. 

And they had no idea that this moment would have them witnessing something neither had ever seen.

Given this set of circumstances, I couldn’t help wondering, What did they think when they saw this dude with a camera alone in the night?

So, I asked that question.

Fernandez immediately let out a laugh, as if to say, You don’t want to know!

I politely prodded her to let me in on that first impression.

Fernandez obliged.

“Okay, so when we first walked up,” she began, “and he (Victor) pointed at someone (me)…I was like, ‘What if he’s a murderer?”

“That’s fair enough,” I replied with a chuckle.

Next, Gaspar offered his first impression.

“I thought the school probably hired someone to take pictures of the night and all that’s here,” he said.

With the ice now broken, I explained that the Northern Lights were right in front of us. 

Gaspar would later reveal his first thought in response to my claim.

Those can’t be the Northern Lights, can they?

I asked the couple if they’d like to see some of the photos I’d just taken.

They said they would, so I directed their attention to the images displayed on the back of my camera.

“And sure enough, they were (the Northern Lights)!” Gaspar said. 

“It’s so pretty,” Fernandez offered.

“Super cool,” Gaspar added.

The light show persisted.  And I soon returned to taking pictures.

It wasn’t long before Gaspar asked if I’d take a picture of him with his bride-to-be…framed beneath the Northern Lights.

I was happy to do so.

A moment later, I asked Gaspar and Fernandez if I could take more than one photo of them.

They obliged.

Gaspar later explained that he thought it would be cool to have such a photo to add to a “small video” that would be played “for the wedding, to show-off to everybody all of the times we’ve gone out on adventures.”

Before parting ways with the young Everett couple, I showed them all 24 images I’d taken on this very early Sunday morning. 

One image puzzled me; one I was likely to quickly conclude suffered from “operator error” and dismiss.

It’s an image I’d normally never consider sharing.

The photo includes a transparent pattern resembling a human hand in the night sky.

I don’t recall placing my hand in front of the camera. Not something I’d normally do, but it certainly appears I did so here.

You might also see something that appears to resemble a smudge.

But it’s this same image that seemed to immediately resonate with Fernandez.  

In a near whisper, she said something that included the word, “mom.”

She politely asked if she could have this photo, too. 

“Has your mom passed,” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“I’m sorry.”

While that hand-like pattern is almost certainly the result of this photographer’s inefficiency, I don’t think it matters to the young woman who stood beneath the stars on this early Sunday morning. 

My encounter with Fernandez and Gaspar concluded with the friendly exchange of contact information and mutual gratitude.

It was a night to remember. 

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September’s Symmetry: “Humpy Run” (Pink Salmon) on the Snohomish River

Post updated on July 14, 2013.

It’s an odd-numbered year, so watch-out!  Large numbers of pink salmon (nicknamed “humpies”) are about to return to Puget Sound.

Want to whet your appetite for the upcoming humpy run?  Check-out the video below.  It features a full-helping of beautiful scenery on the Snohomish River captured during the 2011 pink salmon season.

The shots were taken over the course of a few weeks during early mornings, middle of days, and evenings, too.

So, go ahead and click the video’s play button.  Cast off.  And slowly  reel-in this beautiful fish story.


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VIDEO: Silver salmon jumping on Snohomish River

I couldn’t yet see the Snohomish River, but after getting out of my SUV and taking a brief walk, I could hear the familiar sound of salmon “having a splash.”

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Beyond 90 Seconds DSLR Seattle Washington

First Time Lapse: Seattle

After a few years of watching the emergence of DSLR cameras, I finally took the leap and bought one a couple of months ago.  I primarily fancied (well, darn near drooled over) these cameras for their ability to produce stunning, high-def video.

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In the jargon of photography, it’s said a histogram can have a nice curve.  Still not as steep, though, as the learning curve I’m climbing.

To date, I’ve shot and edited three videos using the Canon 7D.  Each time I learn a bit more.  And each time, I come to appreciate that there is still much more to learn.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to work on my first time lapse.  But this was done with significant helpful instruction and guidance from a true pro, Ric Kasnoff.  Also in our group that stood shooting from an overlook in west Seattle on Wednesday, Kasnoff’s friend and  fellow-photographer Jerry Kacey.

Together, we each had cameras programmed to take photos at regular intervals while pointed across the water towards the Seattle skyline; thousands of individual photos destined to become three videos.  “My” timelapse appears below.  I use the word “my” very loosely.  Kasnoff was a great help. For this exercise, I used one of his cameras, a Nikon D7000. In no way can I claim that this timelapse is the fruit of my sole effort.

Both Kasnoff and Kacey were very gracious as they indulged my asking all sorts of questions related to DSLR cameras.

Meantime, I didn’t let the opportunity pass without shooting a few stills with the Canon 7D; as the conditions offered yet another opportunity to experiment with the settings and learn more about them.  I was pleased with the way the photo below turned-out (click image for larger view).

Photo taken with Canon 7D

Beyond 90 Seconds New Mexico police unsolved unsolved mysteries

Evelyn Romero reacts to “man’s claim” that he’s her long-missing son

AUDIO: Evelyn Romero phone interview conducted September 15, 2011

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LA Times: “Prosecutors reveal payments to suspect in model’s killing”

Update: June 28, 2010, 8:38am PST / The Los Angeles Times has just published the following correction:

Model’s slaying: An article in Saturday’s LATExtra section about the case against a woman accused of killing Juliana Redding said that Dr. Munir Uwaydah, whom prosecutors identified as the suspect’s employer, had been convicted in an unrelated fraud case. That case was a civil matter, not a criminal one, and Uwaydah was “adjudged to have committed fraud,” according to California Medical Board records. –Los Angeles Times

Updated at 2:51pm PST, June 26, 2010


The story hit the Los Angeles Times website around midnight. An eye-opening report wherein we learned that prosecutors in the Juliana Redding murder case  believe that the prime suspect received “hundreds of thousands of dollars from a troubled physician who was in a foundering business deal with the victim’s father.”

That opening revelation alone—I’d contend–goes well beyond the LA Time’s characterization of the case taking an “intriguing turn.”  In fact, largely armed with a motion filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday, the newspaper unleashed one sizable chunk of new information after another.

Many of the details included in the LA Time’s story are addressed in a special video report here.  Still, be sure to read the full story on the newspaper’s website.  After two years of relative silence on this case, it’s a must read. It includes the following:

“Redding’s father, Greg Redding, was ‘involved in a business negotiation with Dr. Uwaydah that fell apart…five days before the murder charged in this case,’ Santa Monica Det. Karen Thompson, the investigating officer in the case, wrote in the bail motion.”

-Los Angeles Times

Browse the headlines from the Juliana Redding archives

Read the original March 17, 2008 blog post, “Who killed Juliana Redding?”