Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Sad Day...

It is a sad day at Ketelsen West as we learned that David Allen Harvey lost his battle with stomach cancer earlier this morning.  While we saw him rarely, especially recently as he moved in and out of the hospital with rounds of chemo, we frequently exchanged thoughts on each other's blog posts.  He is likely fully responsible for about half of the comments we've gotten the last year or more. 

While we both work at Steward Observatory, we moved in different circles - me in the optics side, he was well regarded as programmer in instrument and telescope control for the many observatories the astronomy department operates.  I think we first crossed paths at the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association a decade or more ago.  Of course I admired his imaging and photographic skills, and while he showed a gruff exterior, he was friendly and willing to share his skills once you got to know him.  As a tribute to him, all the images here are a few of my favorites I've picked from his prolific blog album.  I encourage you to go take a look at his amazing work.

My absolute favorite of his recent work was from just this last June for the Venus transit.  Shown at left, it is a double exposure with sun appearing in silhouette against the McMath Pierce Solar Telescope at Kitt Peak with the black inkdrop of Venus on the disk.  It is combined with a second exposure taken a minute later without filter after the sun dropped below the mountaintop to provide background illumination.  I think it is just amazing and displays some of the vision he sees in his composition.  Similarly, the photo at right is a composite of the annular solar eclipse from Monument Valley in May, which is where the top photo was taken as well.
While he often admonished me that "real" photographers don't take pictures of bugs, flowers, or bugs on flowers (demonstrating I'm not much of a photographer), he often turned to taking exquisite images of birds. At left here is a Red-tailed Hawk at the Desert Museum, and at right a Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Sweetwater Wetlands.
If you go to his blog you will see he does a lot of imaging of sporting events and architectural shots of the UA campus.  Of course, with all the big "football lenses" for capturing low light levels, he also applied them to another of his loves, astronomical imaging.  We shared an interest in that, and I only wish I had spent more nights with him to get some tips that he applied to his art.  He does some great stuff, like the Orion Nebula complex at left, and the composite of Perseid meteors from last year.
And some of his images just screams "right place at the right time"!  From spectacular sunsets at the local missions to lightning strikes, Dave had the knack to catch nature at her finest.  I guess part of that is always being prepared for what appears in front of you.
I'll miss Dave a lot - from his sometimes snarky but always friendly comments to our blog posts, to following his photographic exploits around Southern Arizona.  We've lost a man of vision and skill and a friend that cannot be easily replaced.
Edit:  I forgot to link to Dave's website too!  There are many more examples of his fine portraits and archetecture shots to enjoy there...


Anonymous said...

Oh my, so very sad. Condolences to his family and friends.

Anonymous said...

What a nice post. I didn't know him as long or as well as many people did, but still he made an impression on me and I will miss him. You selected some very nice photos of his, and I plan to peruse his blog thanks to your link. ~Ewica

Anonymous said...

Now that I have somewhat recovered from the initial shock of this news, I can say that Dave did indeed have a gift of unique sight, through a lens.

His images are stunning, and I have enjoyed perusing through his blog now and then; always amazed at the images. His vision will stay with us in those images.

Thank you for such a very lovely post. Ewica is right, your post is a very nice tribute to him. In my first reply, I was just stunned and did not know what to say. Thank you for posting some of Dave's most memorable images. I know you and Melinda will miss him lots.