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Noctilucent Clouds / Crescent Moon Over Portland

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#1 markseibold


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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:34 PM

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Jul. 23, 2009


Mount Tabor in Central Portland Oregon


I ensconced myself on top of Mount Tabor in central Portland Oregon to render a pastel sketch of the two day old crescent moon observed through a Nexstar 5i Cassegrain as one of my usual works. As I was showing the public the moon setting onto Portland's West Hills through the telescope, as I was in deep conversation at about 9:50PM PDT, I noticed a strange silver light in what appeared as the north-northeast sky thorugh the tall fir trees, lighting up with what I thought was aurora borealis. I then realized that I was seeing the most amazing display of noctilucent clouds that I had ever witnessed; perhaps my first ever. I had to drop the pastel chalks, grab the camera and take a vantage point on the slopes of the west of Mt Tabor over the large reservoir with the city skyline to the west. As I hurriedly snapped away at the camera, It was now 10:15PM PDT and fading, an hour and a half after sunset in dark sky with only a hint of twilight glow at the horizons edge. The moon had actually set by the time I finished the photos so the pastel is more a time-compressed impression done later at home from photos for reference; on Strathmore Artagain black pastel paper in 19" X 25".

Camera Technical: Sony Cybershot 5mgpxl slightly zoomed; 2 seconds exp, f/3.5; (2nd Photo.)> Wide angle photo panorama (two photos merged`connected in Photoshop)> 2.5 seconds exp; f/2.8 . *A second set of photos was taken and merged as a panorama to show the clouds northern proximity to the Portland skyline to the immediate west. **The pastel artwork was inhibited by the photography but should follow soon. This was the most difficult pastel rendering I have ever attempted. I may rework another one as not so impressionistic and again still moving toward realism.

(for reference I posted the photos in the following responses)

My CN Gallery

#2 markseibold


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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:36 PM

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#3 markseibold


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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:37 PM

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#4 CarlosEH


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Posted 25 July 2009 - 06:47 PM


A beautiful observation and images of the Crescent Moon and noctilucent clouds over Portland. It must have been a very impressive sight to see both objects in the sky. Thank you for sharing them with us all.


#5 Jaycin



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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:42 PM

Hi Mark,

Beautiful sketch! :bow: :waytogo: :ubetcha: Having recently moved to Oregon from Florida, I have been fascinated by cloud patterns such as these. The sky is much different up here in many ways. I'm still getting used to seeing the stars from this latitude as well.

Once again, a beautiful rendering and nice to meet you!

#6 Tommy5



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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:53 PM

beautiful sketches of these rare clouds, almost surrealistic thanks for sharing.

#7 Jeremy Perez

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 11:51 PM

Beautiful drawing and photographs Mark!

#8 JayinUT


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Posted 26 July 2009 - 10:46 AM


Wonderful sketch and photograph!

#9 kraterkid


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Posted 26 July 2009 - 12:54 PM

Great sketch and photos Mark! :waytogo: Are the spikes above the city skyline transmission towers? Very nice capture!

#10 Shannon s

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 03:01 PM

Great job Mark. Love your work. :bow:

#11 markseibold


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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:58 AM

Thanks to all

Rich; yes as you may compare the first wide angle photo, the Portland city skyline in the lower left distance shows the radio/TV transmission towers on top of Portland's West Hills.

As I began to sketch the noctilucent clouds, I realized it is not easy, so I decided to leave this work very impressionistic. I may do another working from the photographs. To become more photographically real, it would require a tremendous amount of careful and delicate blending and layering of blues and white pastel chalks in a certain method of order. Something that demands great patience and tolerance.


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