Chris Kitting and I hatched a plan late in the week - we'd meet at Del Valle Regional Park to photograph Comet Lulin with Shahram, then drive up to Yosemite for a day of cross country skiing. Soon, Viktoria was in too. Then, further consideration of sky conditions had Chris at Del Valle, me in Bonny Doon, and Shahram at his favorite Hwy 9 spot for comet photography. More on that here.
Frosty comet seen through a frosty window. The desiccant plug needed drying, I found, and my six 3-minute exposures of the comet through the 8" f/4 all suffered from icing around the boundaries. However, it made for kind of a nice effect. This is a single 3 minute picture, dark subtracted at T=-30C and mildly photoshop'ed. A faint reddish dust tail extends downward. The comet was about magnitude 4.5 here, similar to the Andromeda Galaxy, and faintly visible to the naked eye near Gamma Virginis. Taken at Cabrillo Observatory under clear, damp, cold skies.
Friday afternoon I picked up Viktoria and we headed off to Chris' place in the Hayward Hills, did a short nature walk out the back door, dinner, movie, sleep, and up before dawn to drive to Yosemite Valley. I'd hoped we'd run into Dave Wyman's photo workshop group but the closest we came was running into a small photo group led by a guy named Lawn (Lon?) who knew Dave well and had done workshops with him before. Regardless, we had a fabulous day of skiing and photographing around Yosemite Valley.