Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Milky Way Time Lapse

We had a pretty clear night on May 20, so I journeyed out to a dark site and shot more than 900 exposures of the night sky.  Each shot was 30 seconds in length and there was about a second between shots.  I catnapped in the car while the camera did the heavy lifting.  Later my laptop had to do the really heavy work of processing all those shots.  Then actually assembling them into a video clip then went pretty quickly.

A satellite goes by during the first couple seconds.  Most of the other objects flashing by are airplanes.
At 10 seconds in, Saturn and Spica make a pair towards the top center of the frame.  Scorpius is rising halfway between the cacti and the left side of the frame.
At 16 seconds, the Southern Cross pops out on the right side of the cacti and the Eta Carina nebula and open clusters are setting towards the right side of the frame.
At 24 seconds, The Scutum star cloud is at the far left end of the Milky Way band of stars.
At 36 seconds, Altair and the other stars of Aquila enter from the top left side of the frame.
At 48 seconds, Delphinus the dolphin is at the top of the screen, half way between Aquila and the left side of the frame.
Around 56 seconds, it is getting pretty cloudy, but you can glimpse Piscis Austrinus and Grus rising to the left of the cacti.

I'm embedding the clip here at a fairly large size.  If it doesn't work for you, you can see it smaller (or even larger) on YouTube.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Papiamentu Radio Programs are Online

Project Hannah is a ministry of TWR, offering compassion, encouragement and hope to suffering women worldwide through prayer, awareness and radio programming.  I think that this ministry by women, for women, is coming up on its 15th anniversary soon.  Women's prayer groups have been established in over 120 countries, using a monthly prayer calendar produced in over 55 languages.  I did a quick check and it looks like the Project Hanna radio program, "Women of Hope" is on the air in over 60 languages, with programming in six more languages currently in development.

Some of these Women of Hope radio programs are available online.  And the Papiamentu version, "Muhe di Speransa," is one of them!  You can listen to 5 episodes here, or you can download the mp3s and listen to them later.  More episodes will be added on a regular basis, and if we can find the original radio scripts, they'll be made available too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oh Nooooo, More Kibrahacha Pix

Just when you thought it was safe to visit my blog,  I dug up some more pix from my photo phrenzy the other week.  This latest bunch of pix can be blamed on Ellen Muller, who commented on how many pix I took of the trees.  She was able to use that factoid to reassure her husband, Erwin, that her taking 90 photos of one Kibrahacha tree was perfectly normal behavior!
Well, Ellen's comment got me checking to see how many Kibrahacha pictures I really did take, when all was said and done.  I tallied up 356 with one camera, 28 with a second camera and telephoto lens, and 82 pix with a third camera during my Washington Park bike ride.  That comes to a grand total of 466 pictures. (not counting some total duds that didn't pass a first screening in Adobe Bridge)  In  my defense, I must point out that the most pictures I made of any one tree was a mere 20 images.
This week's Bonaire Reporter newspaper has a couple nice Kibrahacha pictures taken by Johan van Blerk. (that link will work until the next edition of the Reporter is posted online)  I spotted Johan's pickup truck out in the field (above) when I was on one of my photo expeditions.  I wonder how many images Johan shot?   An ad from the Green Label nursery is right below Johan's pictures.  They say that one can buy one's own Kibrahacha tree there.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I'll be there soon to see about adding a Kibrahacha to the Wayaka trees we have growing all over our yard. 

By the way, that Bonaire Reporter issue also has some other very interesting stories, including one celebrating Captain Don's 50 years on Bonaire.

I particularly like the contrast between the yellow Kibrahacha blooms and their more or less dead looking surroundings.  As seen in the photos above and below.

Drum roll, please.... that's the last of the Kibrahacha tree pictures for this year.  Probably.  I have a bunch of cool panoramic shots, but they won't work in the blog so you are spared for now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Astro Time Lapse

The Milky Way is rising over the Spelonk lighthouse at the easternmost point of Bonaire. As the clip begins, the Southern Cross can be seen to the upper right of the lighthouse keepers house.  Alpha and Beta Centaurus can be seen right above the keeper's house.  Saturn and Spica make a nice pair at the top of the frame, a little to the right of the middle. Yellow white Saturn is to the upper left of blue white Spica. 
Part way into the video, the Sagittarius teapot rises along the left side of the light house towards the top of the lighthouse. 
Right at the very end, Altair rises from the lower left corner of the frame.
It was pretty cloudy and hazy, so a better video could no doubt be made at a future date.  But is was also windy and wet, with salt mist in the air.  It looks like my camera survived this time, but I  probably won't be back, unless there is no wind.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spelonk outing

Last week, Sandra and I accompanied Brandon and Ben to the lighthouse and walk-in caves at the easternmost point of Bonaire.
I shot some hand held, available light, images in the cave with the 14mm wide angle lens that I use for astro-photos.  It turned out to be a good cave lens too!   Now I want to return some time with a tripod.  Then I could stop down the lens a bit for more depth of field, and lower the ISO from the 3200 I was using here, to hopefully reduce the "noise" a bit.  Oh, and there would be fewer "jiggles" with a tripod too.  In this instance I made a few exposures of each scene and picked the clearest one.

The intrepid explorers can be seen in the distance in this shot which provides a feel for the scale of this part of the cave.  That is probably an real Indian inscription at the top right corner.  We're pretty far in and it was actually quite dark.  It's amazing what a camera can eek out of the gloom these days.

Here is what the lighthouse looks like right now.  Brandon is telling Sandra all about how he bonked his head on the very sturdy scaffolding.  To my inexpert eye, the restoration looks like it is almost finished.  I studied the lighthouse at length the following evening (see below) and it really does seem to list slightly to the South.  The "Leaning Lighthouse of Bonaire" - cool.
Here is what the lighthouse looked like the next evening.  I shot almost 500 images over the course of 4 and a half hours, that I plan to assemble into a time lapse movie.  The Southern Cross can be seen to the upper right of the lighthouse keeper's house. Alpha and Beta Centaurus are right above that house.  The tail of Scorpius is right behind the lighthouse itself.  It was kind of hazy along the horizon, but you can see the Milky Way starting to appear just above the haze.  The MW will rise higher during the course of the movie.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kibrahacha Trees in Washington Park

I brought a small camera along on my weekly bike ride through Washington Park, in case I saw some Kibrahacha trees in bloom.  Ha Ha.   There were zillions of them!  And I took gobs of pictures.  The park rangers know about how long it usually takes me to ride through the park and they were wondering why I took so long.  Lots of stops for snapping photos.  A fringe benefit of all the stops wasw that my legs were feeling quite fresh for the ride back to Rincon and up "death hill" to the radio towers on my way back home.
Here is another shot of Brandaris to add to my collection.  If you do a search on Brandaris, you'll probably find quite a few shots over the years.  Click on the thumbnail 'cause this one looks good full size.
Here is a view of the back side of Brandaris as seen from Wayaka.  Yes, it was pretty hazy today.  It was quite clear on Thursday, when I took a lot of Kibrahacha pix.  Friday was probably the peak for the blooms, but is was getting hazy.  The trees still looked surprisingly good today as well.

Here is a view from the parking lot at Yuwa Pass. This is just a minute fraction of the trees that I could see from this vantage point.

More Kibrahacha pix

Here are some more views from Washington Park.

I'm going to leave these thumbnails fairly small in size.  You can click on one of them and page through the images at their normal size.

This year is the first time I've seen most of these inside the park Kibrahacha trees.  I was surprised at how many of them there are.
Most but not all Kibrahacha trees are found on the westward facing slopes of a hill.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Foto Frenzy

Sandra and I zoomed around Bonaire yesterday looking for Kibrahacha trees in bloom.  I know where most of them are, but we saw a few that I hadn't noticed before.

Here is one  of our old favorites.  It used to be on a dirt road, but now it is a paved road.  Some houses on the hills of Sabadeco have Kibrahacha trees right in the yard.

I shot 348 pictures of Kibrahacha trees yesterday.  Good thing I wasn't using film!  So I can just about post one Kibrahacha picture per day for a year.  Ha ha.  Here is another one.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kibrahachas are blooming

A few Kibrahacha trees flowered the other week, but they are ALL going off right now.  We had a really heavy rain on Sunday, almost two inches in one hour here in Hato.  Sandra and I went on a Kibrahacha tree observing trip this morning.