Last “W” stories voting reminder . . . and snow on Mauna Kea

Note: If you are using the WordPress App in Android and reading this with the Reader in Dark Mode, you won’t see much of the post because of a bug in the behavior of the app.

The “W” stories voting block is about 20 hours from closing. As usually happens late in the voting block, we have fairly significant movement by one of the stories.  If you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — now is the time to nudge friends and family into reading it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you) and to cast their votes.

No matter how you come to them or who you vote for, if you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, snow on Mauna Kae (the Big Island of Hawaiʻi) . . .

Composite of six photos taken in portrait mode.

That shot was taken from Highway 19 just north of the Kawaihae port while heading up to Waimea.

That was a little over three years ago. It wasn’t often we would see snow, and not often it was that clear when we did (notice the haze at lower elevations). From that location, the peak is 25 miles away as the crow flies.

You can click on the photo for a version twice as large, or you can go to the SmugMug album linked at the bottom to see a full-size version. I’m not linking it here because while it’s passable, 25 miles of atmosphere distorts and reduces the details you can glean from a photo.

On the other hand, this 10-photos panorama is taken from Waimea (18 miles away) and it’s a little better. Wait . . . before I share it, disclosure time. This is the original (a small version; only 640 pixels wide, don’t bother clicking on it).

I didn’t like the powerlines and pole in the shot, so I removed them.

Now, that’s a nice panorama if you have a huge screen and can download the original (I’m not linking to it, but you can view it in SmugMug).

Side Note: Although I often shoot multiple photos with the intent of doing panoramas, these files end up being huge and difficult to work with. This old computer still handles them, but I still have to be careful not to tax it too much or it slows to a crawl. For example, each edit creates a 400MB file (I don’t overwrite because I might not like what I get and may want to go back a few steps). Those files went through merging, sharpening, Luminar AI, Color Efex Pro 4, and DxO Film Pack. Lots of megabytes gave their lives so I could bring you these photos (don’t worry, they get resurrected when I delete the originals). While each program is doing its thing, I can’t do much more than ponder on the absurdity of life and planning my next snack.

Anyway, you can click that photo for a version twice as large . . . but, really, the money shot, what’s of interest in the photo — and no, it’s not the wires I removed — are the observatories. These are crops (and still not 1:1) of the above.


From 18 miles away and with a 200mm zoom (350mm effective), that’s not too bad.

Side note 2: Here’s the thing I remind readers. If you want to see really good photos of the observatories, plenty be online. I don’t claim these are great, but I post them for me and for others who might be moved to explore more than what’s here. Also, if you happen to be on the Big Island and think about grabbing a similar shot with your phone, don’t be disappointed with what you get. These have been worked a lot to get them to where they are.

This LINK will take you to the SmugMug gallery that has the full-size versions of the above and also photos from recent reminders. Be warned the originals are large. If you want to see the full-size, be patient (unless you have Speedy Gonzalez Internet).

Here’s a gallery of the above, including monochrome conversions . . .

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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