Monthly Archives: April 2016

New Backlit Print Shown at a Day of Vikings

The event at Barnes & Noble today went very well.  It was not a huge crowd, but just about everyone that came by was very interested in either the Viking Mars Mission or astronomy.  I had some long conversations with people of all ages and, hopefully, encouraged some young people to consider studying astronomy.  It doesn’t get much better than that! The large backlit print on the left side of my table is an experiment I’ve been working on to offer a “premium” backlit print category.  The primary enhancement is greatly increased contrast ratio.  Theoretically, it is more than 500,000:1, […]

Viking Mars Mission

Back in 1976, 40 years ago, the first successful landing on Mars was accomplished by NASA’s Viking 1 mission team.  The lander operated for 6 years and although its technology was very primitive by today’s standards, it contributed immensely to our knowledge our neighboring planet. In celebration of that achievement, the Viking Mars Mission Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP:, is holding an event at the Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble​ in Beaverton this Saturday, April 30, from 11AM to 4PM.  Members of the Viking team will be talk about the science, history, and personal experiences of the mission. I will […]

Astro Photo #1

It has been a while since I posted here.  Among the many things that have been keeping me busy is an attempt to clean up the mess that I call my office, and while doing that I ran across this old photo: That is the first astro-photo I ever took.  It was shot on film (!), so I don’t have the exact date, but it would have been around 2000 – five years before I got serious about astro-photography.  I had no idea what I would capture, but just pointed the camera up and did a long exposure (probably about […]

Astronomy Presentation to Tomodachi-kai

“Tomodachi” is Japanese for “friend” and Tomodachi-kai is the local Japanese/American friendship club in Portland, OR.  Recently, they asked me to speak at their monthly meeting about my astro-photography.  Since I am not great at public speaking and have learned relatively little about astronomy during the last 11 years doing astro-photography, I asked Dr. Katherine Kornei, a real astronomer, to join me in a presentation titled “Exploring the Intersection of Art and Science”. Using some of my astro-photos and a few graphics to illustrate such things as polar alignment, I talked about the techniques of capturing and processing astro-photos, while […]

New Table Saw

I’ve always wanted to have a better table saw, and now that the business is growing and branching out in the area of backlit frames, I could finally justify it.  This Jet “Proshop” saw is used and missing a few minor accessories, but a huge step up from the little saw I had been using. When cutting the acrylic material that forms the light pipe in my backlit frames it is important to make the cuts as clean as possible because ultimately they have to be polished to achieve the necessary optical performance.  The better the original cut is, the […]