Tuolumne River by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra

I made it out this last weekend to take some photos with my IR and UV cameras.  I went on a field expedition with my dad to survey an area along the Tuolumne River where we found an ancient Miwok Village site.  He is in the process of confirming with UC Stanislaus to see if this is a documented site to the state or if it is another discovery that can be added to the list.  He has discovered several sites by reading Gold Rush Era publications and studying terrain on Google Earth.  We found several bedrock mortars along the river.

The Salmon Run is going on right now, which confused our Lab quite a bit.  She could tell that there was something else in the water, but the fish weren't visible from the surface.  First image is Alternative Processing with IR and the second is UV.  You will notice that the areas where the dog's fur is the most saturated with water is darker in the UV photo than in IR.  I also took some comparison photos or flowers, moss, lichen, and rust in the above gallery.  Each starts with the IR photo and then UV.

I will have to do a water lily study one of these days in homage to Claude Monet.  His eyesight suffered from cataracts and a side effect to his surgery was the ability to see Ultra Violet light.  It is speculated that this is why he had a started painting things in cooler tones later in his career.

A unique bedrock mortar formation was discovered along the Tuolumne River.

Update: Added YouTube Video 11/17/2014

California Coast Conservation by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra


On Saturday, I took part in the California Coastal Cleanup.  My ministry found a disgusting amount of trash in our water ways.

The top 5 things we found were:

  • Cigarette butts
  • Snack packaging
  • Beverage bottles (water, juice, and beer)
  • Fast food containers
  • Indistinguishable pieces of paper

Perhaps the most offensive were the cans of spray paint. Not only were people being lazy about cleaning up after themselves, but they were actively disrespecting the environment.  I understand that teens need to test boundaries to define their independence, or looking for acceptance from the wrong people, and I even get that sometimes they forced into situations where gangs become a false sense of security.  I really do, I get it.  But that being said, I still find it just sad that they have something that could be really beautiful yet they choose to destroy it.  The water is something that has the power to give people peace just by listening to the sounds that it brings: the ripple of water, the birds calling, the rustling of the wind through the tullies..  Or it can be that of the stagnating trash transport.

With the help of about a dozen people at our site, we were able to get the place cleaned up again with just a half days work.  This was a state-wide event with 54,124 volunteers.  Of the 75% information cards have been tallied from the volunteers, these are the results so far:

576,571 pounds of trash
109,494 pounds of recyclable materials
686,065 pounds or 343 tons total

Update on results can be found on the California Coastal Commission site.


On Sunday, I decided that it would be fitting to take a day to relax and enjoy the coast.  I took my IR and UV cameras out to Santa Cruz to observe what our tide pools had to offer.  I've done UV film photography before, but this would be the first time I did a proper test run with my recently UV converted DSLR.  I think the most surprising thing I saw was that the images from my UV camera showed color from the yellow and red ranges peaking though.  At first I thought that there was IR showing through in the exposures until I took photos of the same subjects with my IR camera.  The obvious difference with the IR and UV can been seen in the mussels.  In IR,  the shells of the mussels look black while in UV, they glow yellow.  I'm not sure how to interpret this information, but the two light spectrums definitely have a different reaction to the environment.  I do know when looking at skin cancer, it will show up as red with UV.

I also found what I thought was a trilobite, which upon discovering I couldn't help but think, "this is the beginning of a very bad SyFy movie..." (not to be confused with actual Sci-Fi movies, which are great.)  Photographer casually out with their camera, takes close up of thing that is suppose to be extinct, with confusion decided to inspect further and gets face eaten off: cut to title screen: Trilo Bite! (yep- it would be that bad.)

This little guy hanging out with the mussels is actually a type of Chiton called a Mopalia Muscosa which is native to the Pacific Coast from BC, Canada to Baja, Mexico.  Although he may look beetle-like and trilobitesk, it is actually more closely related to a garden snail as it is a type of mollusk.

It's Big Bird!  I'm really enjoying the play in perspective where the heron on a much closer rock looks as large as the surfers in the background.

Reclaimed by Nature by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra

Much Mushy Marsh

Took my IR Camera out this weekend to a marsh nearby.  As we near the end of summer, it becomes very obvious what plants are dead and still hanging in there in IR.  Initially I thought everything out there was dead until I started shooting.  The white to blue patches that you see in the photos above are plants that are still kicking.  With the blue skies alternative processing to the right, it is the yellow patches that are alive.  As one would suspect, it is the ones along the edge of the water which are doing better.  

Ultra Violet Balls

When I converted my other DSLR to UV a couple months ago, I wasn't correctly outfitted to take good exposures with it.  My lovely L-series lenses are coated with many nice things to help images look awesome in the visual spectrum, but not so much for UV.  One of those fine coatings includes reducing the transmission of UV.  On top of that (or perhaps below) is the glass itself which is an issue.  Glass also absorbs UV...  /facepalm

I am excited to say that I will be able to start showing tests from my UV camera soon.  I just got a lens that made in the 60's in the mail today.  This old fart doesn't have the fancy coatings working against me.  It has been tested by other scientific photographers so I'm pretty confident that I can start tackling some UV images.  It does have the down side of having a -2.0 EV transmission for UV, but the price is right.  Quartz lenses or lenses designed specifically for UV photography costs 3 to 5 grand.  I am also currently in the processing on getting short wave and long wave UV lights for my gear inventory as well.  I wish I knew how much all of this specialized gear cost when I was still at Brooks.  I had done some UV testing while I was there, but I didn't realize how fortunate I was to have access to that equipment until now.  If my new studies start producing interesting results, I may rent this bad boy for a weekend.

Time to start seeing things in a new light... UV.