It may look like a movie frame showing an Evil Mad Scientist lair, but it’s just a one-minute exposure photograph of Lick Observatory, as seen from Kepler Peak. It’s part of a series of outstanding shots of this beautiful place by Laurie Hatch. I asked Laurie to tell us about herself and show us her work.
My academic and career background is in music and art. Many of the photographs are associated with high mountains and astronomy; my professional photography career began in the early 1990’s when I fell in love with an astronomer and moved to Lick Observatory on Mt Hamilton in California, which overlooks Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay area.
I lived there for 18 years. During that time I was invited by University of California Observatories to photograph W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Island of Hawaiʻi.
Several years ago my husband and I moved to the Eastern Sierra near Mt. Whitney, although Mt. Hamilton and Lick Observatory will always be ‘home’ as well.
Coincidentally, I was intrigued to learn there is an astronomy connection between Lick Observatory and Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,505 ft / 4,421 meters. The stone Smithsonian Hut Shelter on Mt. Whitney’s summit was constructed to support the 1909 Lick Observatory / Smithsonian expedition.
One more thing: A controversy is brewing within the University of California about their potential closure of Lick Observatory. UC administrators recently voted to gradually terminate funding for the Mt. Hamilton facility over the next few years, to the considerable dismay of the greater science community which is protesting vigorously.