Monday, April 23, 2012

Washington Park Roads back to Normal

We had some rain last week and the roads in Washington Park are bumpy again.  They are still much better than they were back in March after the rainy season, but they are not billiard table smooth any  more.
The places that usually have mud puddles and ruts have them again, and there are bumps and lumps on the uphill sections from pickup truck rear tires slipping and gripping.
But the packed down mud makes for easy peddling on a bike, even if the ride is no longer super smooth.
I spotted a couple pelicans drying their wings in the early morning sunshine at Boca Bartol.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Astro Time Lapse Looking North

Here is a short time lapse video of the night sky, looking to the north from the 1000 Steps area on Bonaire.  The constellation Auriga is on the left side of the frame and the Big Dipper is upside down at the right side of the frame.  The stars all seem to revolve around the north star, which can be see to the upper right of the tip of the small tower  a little to the right of the middle of the frame.  I think the video looks better if you click the link to view it on the YouTube site itself.

Star Trails

Here are a couple star trail photos.  The first one is using some of the images that made up the time lapse video I posted recently.  The second photo uses some of the images that make up the time lapse video I'll post in a few minutes.  I could only use a small fraction of the images I shot because most of them had clouds in them, which really messed up the resulting picture.
In the image above, we are looking towards the south west over the Radio Nederlands radio station.  You can still identify the southern cross in the lower left corner.  The south pole is below the horizon, here on Bonaire, but you can get a feel for where it is from the way the star trails curve around it.
This one is looking towards the north from the 1000 steps area.  The north star is just above the horizon a little to the right of the middle.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time Lapse Asto Video

I've assembled 477 pictures like the one I posted recently into a video clip.  The Southern Cross is at the lower left and moves to the right.  Orion begins on the right edge of the screen and moves off-screen.
You can see a number of airplanes fly by and there are a few ships that cruise along the horizon.
I'm not sure how much you'll be able to see in this embedded video.   But you can always go to YouTube and see it larger.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some Kibrahacha Trees Are Blooming

Although it has been very cloudy here, it has also been dry.  But we had a nice downpour the other morning and today I noticed that some of the Kibrhacha trees in the hills to the east of Mentor and North Salina are starting to blossom.
I think they will be looking nice by tomorrow and should still look great on Saturday.  If I do a before-work bike ride tomorrow, I'll check out the trees to the east of Sabadeco and further north to see if they are starting to blossom too.  My guess is that only some of the trees will pop and the rest will wait for the next big rain storm at some time in the future.

New Old Sunset

We saw a mind bogglingly beautiful sunset the other evening, here on Bonaire.  I snapped a few pictures.  I haven't looked at them yet on the computer, but I doubt that they will be able to capture the glory of the event.

I've been experimenting with the free beta release of Photoshop 13.  You can go to Adobe and download it too, if you'd like to try out Photoshop (for a limited time) without plunking down the big bucks.  I've also watched a bunch of instructional videos about the new software.  One thing that caught my attention was a demo of the new version of camera raw.  The instructor commented that it seemed to cause fewer gnarly edge artifacts than the previous versions.

Well, I just happened to have a nice picture of the sun setting behind some cacti, that has awful edge artifacts.  Last night I hooked up one of the trusty E-SATA hard drives that I use for archiving my old stuff and found the original image file from the camera.  And, yes! the new camera raw let me make all sorts of adjustments without getting any nasty artifacts.

Here is a link to a few images from 2010, when I was out by Washikimba and took lots of pictures of the sun setting behind some cacti.  And below is a new improved image.  If you click it to see a larger version, you can probably see a little green along the top edge.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


We had a few pretty clear nights lately.  I'm still waiting for an epic clear night, but we only get a few of those a year, and this has been a cloudy year.

Here is a shot from the dirt road between Sabadeco and Rincon.  You are looking towards the southwest, over the Radio Nederlands transmitting site.
BelNem and the TWR towers can be seen at the lower left side.  Bopec is just out of the frame to the right.
The bright lights along the horizon towards the right side of the radio station are ships.  One tanker was super bright.  You can see the trail an airplane made, low on the horizon, during the 20 seconds the shutter was open.

I have a few hundred images like this that I hope to make into a time lapse movie in the near future.
You can click on these images to see them in a larger form.  The second picture includes a few constellation lines and names to help you orient yourself in the sky.  The eta Carina nebula complex can be seen half way between the Southern Cross and the false cross.  The false cross always looks larger than the real cross.  I'm not sure why they look the same here... might be lens distortion.  I'm pretty sure that I've marked the false cross correctly, because there is a star cluster to the right of the right hand star and below the bottom star.

Stranger than Fiction

Would you believe that many of the dirt roads in Washington Park are smoother than the roads in town?  It could be true.  They just graded all the park roads, but the roads in town are all really torn up from the new sewer system project.
I can't remember the last time I've ridden my road race bicycle here on Bonaire, but my trusty mtn. bike gets daily use.

Here is a shot of the lighthouse in the park.  They are renovating all the lighthouses on Bonaire, so this one will probably be looking and operating at its best real soon.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Bonaire.  The IBC held its annual sunrise serviced up on Seru Largu at 6 am today.

We started with a time of contemplation as music played on the PA and the sky brightened.

The lights of town were twinkling nicely.  Made up for the lack of stars, heh-heh.

The almost full moon was shining in the West.

Besides singing some Easter songs, and short message from Pastor Baran, we also had an Easter themed dramatic reading.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Dark Sky Astrophoto

Remember the picture,from December, of the constellation Orion rising over the TWR offices?  Here it is again.  ha-ha
Well, a couple weeks later I went out to the east coast of Bonaire, not far from the land sailing track, and shot another image of almost exactly the same section of sky.  The super dark skies allowed me to do a much longer exposure.  You can see the Milky Way, as well as a bunch of fainter stars and Nebulae.
I've labeled some of the points of interest in the picture below.  If you click on one of these small images, you can cycle through larger versions of all three of the pictures to better see the details and to be able to read the labels.
Check out the bright orange color of the "red giant" stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse.  The star Sirius is blue white, and the star, Capella, is sort of in between.  All those glowing red areas are glowing ionized Hydrogen gas.  They are known as emission nebulae.  There is a hint of the blue reflection nebula around the Pleiades star cluster.  The constellation names are in Italics.  Star names and nebulae are in normal type.  These images were all shot with a Samyang 14mm lens, on my Canon T1i, that has been modified by Brent Oliver, to make it more sensitive to the red emission nebulae.

Lost and Found

We were recently visited by a team of auditors from the USA.  I'm happy to report that the audit went well, but their car, the venerable wine colored Toyota Starlet, was stolen from in front of their hotel the last night they were here.  The police found it, about a week later, out in the back boondocks of Bonaire.  It was stripped clean, kind of like the cars we used to see at the side of the Long Island Expressway, while on our way to Shea Stadium as a kid.
 Here are the auditors, pictured meeting with Joe Barker and Donna Gassert, in the happier days before their car was stolen.

All Fired Up

TWR missionary, Brandon Neal's, father is a professional fire fighter.

So while Brandon's mom and dad were here seeing their grandson, oops, I mean visiting their son and daughter in law, Barry presented a training session to the TWR staff about the various types of fires, as well as how to use the new fire extinguishers we have strategically placed around the TWR facilities.

TWR just happened to have a whole batch of obsolete fire extinguishers on hand that needed to be discharged before they could be discarded, so we all actually got to practice putting out a simulated fire!

Happy Birthday

Cees and Clary Bijl love to visit Bonaire.  Cees worked in banking in Curacao for many years and more recently in Canada.  They always volunteer their help here at the TWR office and they are much appreciated.

Cees celebrated his 70th birthday while they were here last month.  He also did the 35km walk from the slave huts to Rincon, in support of the Bonaire special Olympics program.

Come back soon Cees and Clary.

Visitors from Nashville

We were recently blessed by a ministry team that came to Bonaire from the Community Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Rick Smith, below, spoke at the Sunday morning service and at two special meetings for the men.

The ladies in the team held special meetings for women on three evenings.  The women's meetings were well attended, and from what I hear, a great success. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

New Astrophoto Camera from Canon

If you browse through my blog, you'll see that one can take great astro photos with a modern DSLR.  Back in the day, Canon had a model especially for this purpose, the 20Da.  A friend of mine still uses that older camera to get great astro images.

I have a T1i that has been modified for astro photo use.  That mod instantly voided the warranty, of course.  So I'm really happy to see that Canon has decided to make it easier for all of us by coming out with a new camera optimised for astro photo use, the 60Da.
You can read about it at bhphotovideo.  My T1i is still working great, so no, I won't be lusting after a 60Da, but I'm really psyched to see that Canon is continuing to support the astronomy community.

It has been super cloudy this year, here on Bonaire.  I have one ok-ish image of the winter sky from January that I might post sometime, but Feb. and March were completely clouded out.  During the past couple evenings, Venus just went right by the Pleiades, which would have been cool, but we missed it due to overcast skies.  Grrrr.

I do have a whole list of images I want to get if and when the skies clear up here on Bonaire.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

New Mystery Object

I wonder what it is and what it does.

Udo and Caleb both quickly identified the last mystery object that we uncovered in the shop.  Here is another one.  It is a well machined metal part with a nice look and feel to it.  We have a few of them here.