Saturday, November 10, 2012

David has left us

Hello all. I'm David's wife Gwen. It is with great sadness that I inform anyone who follows this blog or stumbles upon it that David passed away on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 after fighting a valiant battle with cancer. The world has lost a fine man with a warm and generous heart, a desire to understand the universe we live in, and a gift for observing and recording its spectacular beauty.

A small group of family and friends scattered his ashes on September 13 at a location where David liked photographing the sky. We had a memorial for him on October 21 at the Flandrau Planetarium, the place where he and I first met over 30 years ago. The place was packed with friends and family, many of whom talked about their memories of David. Under the starry skies of the planetarium theater, we played some of David's favorite music, showed many of his finest photographs, including two montages put together by David's former business partner Michelle. The first was photographs of the photographer (I'm amazed we had so many since he hated to be photographed) set to a song that had particular meaning for David, Days Are Numbers by the Alan Parsons Project. The last montage included some of his finest celestial and nature images set to Claire de Lune by Debussy. Many years ago he told me he wanted that song played at his funeral. Who could guess that day would come far sooner than we imagined. He was 54 when he died.

It is a complete tragedy, not only for me and for his children and everyone else who knew and loved him, but for the world since now we will not get to see the images that he had yet to capture. He had so many plans for more photo shoots in places around the world.

I'm including a partial copy of his obituary as featured in the Arizona Daily Star on September 23, 2012.

This photo was taken by David's friend Frank Gacon, who featured in a number of the posts on the blog.

David Allen Harvey 54, of Tucson, AZ died of gastric cancer on September 6, 2012 at Casa de la Luz hospice. Born on March 7, 1958 in Big Spring, Texas, David was the oldest child of Thomas Harvey, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and Sallyann DeWoody Harvey. David's interests included photography, computer programming and astronomy. He graduated in 1976 from Millard Senior High School in Omaha, NE and won several Kodak Gold Key awards for photojournalism. David attended college at the University of Arizona, majoring in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and worked at the Flandrau Planetarium and then at the UA Office of the Vice President for Research. In 1982 he began working as a systems programmer at Steward Observatory where he developed the control system software for the University's six large astronomical telescopes, including telescopes on Kitt Peak, Mt. Lemmon and Mt. Graham. For helping with the Catalina Sky Survey, colleagues named an asteroid after him. He worked at Steward for 30 years, finally retiring in April, 2012. In addition to his work at Steward, David earned his instrument-rated pilot's license and founded and ran two businesses: David A. Harvey Photography and Comsoft. The latter business specialized in telescope control systems used in over 70 telescopes worldwide. In the early 1990s he began working with digital photography. With his business partner, Michelle Rasmussen, he ran a studio portrait business from 2004 - 2009. He then branched into corporate, architectural, and nature photography, garnering numerous awards and publications. David was a member of the Professional Photographers of America and National Press Photographers of America. He became known for his stunning celestial images such as solar and lunar eclipses. Some of his best work incorporating his scientific knowledge, technical expertise, and keen artistic eye is currently being exhibited at the Dakota Café, Tucson. Feisty, brilliant, generous, and dedicated, David was loved and admired by his family, friends, and colleagues. He was taken from us much too soon. Donations in his memory can be made to PBS/NPR at Arizona Public Media, P.O. Box 210067 Tucson, AZ 85721 or the Flandrau Science Center, 1601 E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721.

Rest in peace, David. We all miss you terribly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Medically Occulted

"If you don't leave a comment - I don't know you were even here."

Well, last week I was back in the hospital as my cancer decided to eat my blood and required me to get numerous transfusions and other medically complex treatments. I'm still in the hospital but was allowed out for three hours to observe and photograph the daylight occultation of Venus by the Moon.

My wife drove over with a minimal amount of camera equipment to do the job. We setup on the second floor of the parking garage just northeast of the ER entrance. This provided some protection from the wind as well as some shade out of the 110 degree temperatures.

When it was done, I was completely exhausted and subsequently admitted to the ICU. I'm still here - for the time being.

Monday, July 16, 2012


"If you don't leave a comment - I don't know you were even here."

This weekend Frank and I went to the Reid Park Zoo and to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - Again, sigh.

I don't know what this bird is - I do know it is shy, elusive and quick.

Frank in his natural element.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"If you don't leave a comment - I don't know you were even here."

Images from the exhibition - great friends and family. I love you all. Thanks to Daniel Hoffman and Keith Hoffman for providing the following photographs. Kudos!