Friday, August 28, 2015

Goto Meer Fence

If you visit Bonaire during the rainy season, you'll see a long wood fence stretching from the East shore of Goto Meer waaaay out into the water.  If you pass by Goto Meer during the dry season, you'll see why the fence is so long.  It has to extend way out into the lake in order to still make an effective goat barrier after the water recedes during the dry season.

This fence had gotten somewhat run down over the years, but a crew was hard at work rebuilding it last Saturday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another SX50 HS shot

Here is another shot from my bike ride last Saturday.  I had seen this image in my mind's eye on previous rides and finally brought along a camera to try to capture it.

I'm going to try making a large print, sometime soon, just to see how much image quality I can eek out of this small sensor camera.

Canon SX50 HS - Oldie But Goodie

I keep seeing great stuff on my Saturday morning bike rides, but being the weight weenie that i am, i usually don't have a camera with me.  But I took my SX50 HS along for the ride last week and got a couple nice shots.
My nephew, Dan, clued me in to the Canon SX30, one of the early "super zoom" compact cameras, back in the day.  I told my father in law about it.  He took one to Africa and came back with some great wildlife shots.
The SX50 HS isn't the newest camera in the line, and it doesn't have the most megapixels, but i think it hits the sweet spot for a small camera with a big zoom.  It can occasionally be had at crazy great prices.  It is about $350 on Amazon right now, but back in July, Canon was selling refurbished ones for $170.  That is a no-brainer price.  If it gets that low again this fall, and you are into birding, or wildlife photography, buy one immediately.  You can't go wrong.
Now I have indeed gotten some higher quality images with a DSLR and a L series telephoto lens, but the SX50 HS's portability and bang for the buck can't be beat.
I haven't used this camera all that much actually, about 500 images over two years versus 10,000 images over four years for my T1i, but I think I'll start carrying it around more from now on.

Here are two downsized but un-cropped images from my bike ride on Saturday. One is at the 24 mm zoom setting and the other was shot from the exact same spot at the 1200 mm setting.  Sorry about the tilted horizon.  Can you spot the flamingo in the wide angle shot?  It is right in the middle of the frame.

One secret is to take lots of shots and hope that you aren't wiggling the camera for a few of them.  You know that Olympic Biathlon event where they rev up their heart rate by cross country skiing and then try to shoot at teeny tiny targets.  Taking pictures while on a bike ride is similar.  I've never had this kind of trouble holding a camera still when I just hopped out of a car to take a picture.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mercury Rising

We've seen a number of Bruce Willis movies over the years, but I'm not sure if we've ever watched Mercury Rising...   But that isn't the focus of this post.
On Monday evening we saw the planet Mercury low in the west, to the lower right of the crescent Moon.  The sky was pretty clear that evening and Mercury was surprisingly easy to spot, at least here on Bonaire.  The moon is higher and brighter now, but Mercury should still be there, low in the West, after sunset.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Milky Way at Red Slave

The night sky was very clear a week ago, so i went out to Red Slave with Craig, who was visiting Bonaire with his family.  He brought along a nice William Optics refracting telescope and we had a good time looking at some of the southern sky objects that he can't see well from back home in California.

I also shot a few images of the Milky Way as it appeared over the slave huts.  This picture is a combination of a four minute exposure of the stars with a brief exposure of the huts when Craig's headlights hit them as he drove up.  You can see the shadow of my head, my chair and the camera tripod on the first hut!

This second shot is a combination of five four minute long exposures of the huts and sky.  I also Photoshopped out the garbage can!  It has been cloudy and hazy since then. (makes for great sunsets) but seems to be clearing up today.  Maybe we'll have clear skies for the Perseid meteors Wednesday night.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Summer Milky Way

There was a high haze in the sky tonight, but it was still better than normal, and worth heading to a dark site to have a look.
I also tested a Zeiss 35\2 lens (thank you Dennis) to see how it did with stars.  I shot some frames at f2, f2.8 and f4.  The stars were looking like "seagulls in the corners at f2.  It was better at f2.8 and quite good at f4, especially the right side.
The haze created a glow around the brighter stars, which actually makes it easier to see the constellations.
I'll post one version with constellation lines and one without.  These are from the frames I shot at f2.8 and are downsized, but not cropped.  (one minute at ISO 1600)  Prob. should click on these to see them somewhat larger.
 I didn't put in any lines, but you can just barely see Scutum at the top left corner of the frame, and you can see Corona Australis halfway between the bottom of Sagittarius and the bottom of the frame.
 I hope we have a really clear night soon, so i can do another test. :)