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Dam Keeper's House, Big Bear Lake, CA (Milky Way + light painting)
Lens: 15-30mm f/2.8 Camera: K-1 Mk I Photo Location: Big Bear Lake, CA ISO: 1600 Shutter Speed: Above 6s Aperture: F2.8 
Posted By: Ken Lee, 05-31-2022, 10:53 AM



The Dam Keeper's House and the Stars Above (2567)
~~~~~
After a fun day of kayaking, I photographed the Milky Way as the moon rose over Big Bear, and then quickly drove over to the Dam Keeper's House. This was built using hand-cut granite blocks in 1890, using the same quarry for the rocks as the dam. This dam, built in 1884, regulated mountain water for citrus farmers in Redlands. The house was comfortable and had the first phone in Big Bear. Dam keepers and their families lived here, keeping an eye on the dam, until 1977. This included local Big Bear legend Bill Knickerbocker, the "Paul Bunyan" of the region, who cut the large timber beams for the house. A larger-than-life man, he chopped down a large tree, whose stump five feet across can be seen in the local museum. And he did this when he was over 80 years old. I also want to mention that despite the fact that we were up here for our one-year anniversary, my wife insisted that I run out and take a photo of the observatory anyway. She figured she was going to sleep anyway, and besides, she knows that night photography is like breathing to me. All the same, I made sure I woke up reasonably early so I wouldn't ruin our day. As usual, I lit the house with my trusty handheld ProtoMachines LED2 during the exposure. By this time, the half moon had been out for quite some time, but I still managed to get a very faint Milky Way nonetheless in this single exposure.
~~~~~
Pentax K-1/15-30mm f/2.8 lens. Single exposure. 15 seconds f/2.8 ISO 1600. 7 August 2020 23:45.
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05-31-2022, 01:08 PM   #2
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Interesting shot.
05-31-2022, 01:38 PM   #3
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Looks like it was a substantial building. I'm a bit surprised that it wasn't maintained. Was it too far away from civilization? Interesting image and site information. Good capture of the rough stone blocks. Good light and shadows. You captured enough stars and the milky way to make the sky interesting above the dilapidated stone building. Good shot.
05-31-2022, 03:21 PM   #4
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I went to visit the Mount Palomar Telescope site in Southern California about 20 years ago. Nice narrow winding road, no city lights, Frenchman's Meadow, etc. This would make a terrific night picture opportunity with the Milky Way as a background.

Best Regards


05-31-2022, 06:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
Interesting shot.
Thanks!!

---------- Post added 05-31-22 at 06:18 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by MikeNArk Quote
Looks like it was a substantial building. I'm a bit surprised that it wasn't maintained. Was it too far away from civilization? Interesting image and site information. Good capture of the rough stone blocks. Good light and shadows. You captured enough stars and the milky way to make the sky interesting above the dilapidated stone building. Good shot.
Apparently, the water company gave it to the U.S. Forest Service, anticipating that they would maintain it. They did not.

It's not that far from the various towns and etc. in Big Bear, just a few minutes' drive away, if I recall correctly. But far enough that the lights don't horribly interfere with the photo. And it was the big granite blocks that really drew me to this angle. I really like how they look. Thanks!

---------- Post added 05-31-22 at 06:19 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by RICHARD L. Quote
I went to visit the Mount Palomar Telescope site in Southern California about 20 years ago. Nice narrow winding road, no city lights, Frenchman's Meadow, etc. This would make a terrific night picture opportunity with the Milky Way as a background.

Best Regards
That would be great. I would love to photograph that. This is sort of my muse for telescopes right now (Owens Valley....and yes, I have special permission to photograph this, and no, it's not public, sorry).

05-31-2022, 06:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ken Lee Quote

The Dam Keeper's House and the Stars Above (2567)
~~~~~
After a fun day of kayaking, I photographed the Milky Way as the moon rose over Big Bear, and then quickly drove over to the Dam Keeper's House. This was built using hand-cut granite blocks in 1890, using the same quarry for the rocks as the dam. This dam, built in 1884, regulated mountain water for citrus farmers in Redlands. The house was comfortable and had the first phone in Big Bear. Dam keepers and their families lived here, keeping an eye on the dam, until 1977. This included local Big Bear legend Bill Knickerbocker, the "Paul Bunyan" of the region, who cut the large timber beams for the house. A larger-than-life man, he chopped down a large tree, whose stump five feet across can be seen in the local museum. And he did this when he was over 80 years old. I also want to mention that despite the fact that we were up here for our one-year anniversary, my wife insisted that I run out and take a photo of the observatory anyway. She figured she was going to sleep anyway, and besides, she knows that night photography is like breathing to me. All the same, I made sure I woke up reasonably early so I wouldn't ruin our day. As usual, I lit the house with my trusty handheld ProtoMachines LED2 during the exposure. By this time, the half moon had been out for quite some time, but I still managed to get a very faint Milky Way nonetheless in this single exposure.
~~~~~
Pentax K-1/15-30mm f/2.8 lens. Single exposure. 15 seconds f/2.8 ISO 1600. 7 August 2020 23:45.
beautiful shot! I miss spending summers up in Big Bear. I'll have to go back sometime for the kayaking and shots!
05-31-2022, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quite the interesting story!
And a great image too.
Angky.

05-31-2022, 07:26 PM   #8
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Great images!!

What comet is that?
05-31-2022, 07:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeeEmm Quote
Great images!!

What comet is that?
Probably Neowise.
06-01-2022, 08:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bad2thegnome Quote
beautiful shot! I miss spending summers up in Big Bear. I'll have to go back sometime for the kayaking and shots!
Great place, although I will say that when we visited there, I was dismayed at how much more crowded it was than when I had visited many years before. But it's still absolutely beautiful.

---------- Post added 06-01-22 at 08:55 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by angkymac Quote
Quite the interesting story!
And a great image too.
Angky.
Thanks!!

---------- Post added 06-01-22 at 08:55 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by MikeNArk Quote
Probably Neowise.
Yes, exactly, NEOWISE.
06-02-2022, 02:38 AM   #11
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There is Kitt Peak National Observatory, along US Route 86, then Rte 386, west of Tucson in southern Arizona too. Beautiful site to photograph.

Best Regards
06-02-2022, 05:38 AM   #12
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Outstanding images Ken and thank you for providing the history of the house as well!
06-02-2022, 12:31 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RICHARD L. Quote
There is Kitt Peak National Observatory, along US Route 86, then Rte 386, west of Tucson in southern Arizona too. Beautiful site to photograph.

Best Regards
If that's the place I am thinking of, it's utterly fantastic, and no, I have not photographed there. Yet. Thanks for the recommendation. Greatly appreciated!

---------- Post added 06-02-22 at 12:32 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ToddK Quote
Outstanding images Ken and thank you for providing the history of the house as well!
My pleasure. Glad you like the history. It takes a while to gather the information and distill it, so I'm glad you like it. Thanks for the kind words about the image as well!
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