That’s right, my first astronomy job was in that most peculiar branch of astronomy, solar, at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. At that time Caltech ran the observatory; it now appears to belong to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. This was the last time I used one of my now totally obsolete skills: photographic wetwork. I used to load and unload 35mm movie camera magazines, and processed test film exposures. I also got to play around with the first CCD camera I had ever seen, which I believe we got surplus from a space mission that never flew. During the day I would watch the telescope and make constant adjustments to it. I can still hear the staccato clicking of the flip mirrors if I concentrate hard enough. In my spare time I also wrote image processing software for rectifying digital images generated from a Quantex video processor, and which ran on a PDP-11. And no, citizens of Big Bear, there is not a secret tunnel under the lake. I shamelessly stole the observatory picture from the BBSO web site, but since I once worked there it’s probably ok.

And now “Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, rendered in traditional Kodak Tri-X. This was, of course, back before the world turned color.