Monday, December 07, 2015

Comet Catalina

The Moon was right next to Venus Monday morning.  In fact, the farther west you live, compared to Bonaire, the closer the Moon will be to Venus.  The Moon will pass right in front of Venus around mid day as seen from the west coast of the USA.  You can read all about it here.

Comet Catalina is lurking nearby too.  These shots show the Moon, Venus and Comet Catalina.  The comet is a faint greenish fuzz.  You'll probably need to click on the thumbnails to see the full size images.  The upper image is a one second exposure.  The low image is a two second exposure.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Animal Shelter Annual Christmas Sale

The Bonaire Animal Shelter, or Dierenasiel, had its annual December sale and flea market this past Sunday.  There was music, food, and many bargains to be found; but funny enough, I didn't see any fleas.
Good thing Sandra wasn't with me or we probably would have come home with a puppy!

Reception Reports from Far Off Lands

We received a reception report from a listener in Finland early last month.  He heard the Spanish language program, Mujeres de Esperanza, and sent us an mp3 recording of Annabel doing a Station ID at 1 am, Bonaire time.

Later in November we received a report from Jose, in Garciasville, Texas.  He heard La Voz Alegre at 9 pm, Bonaire time.

Here is a look at the post card Per-Ole sent us from Finland.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

TWR on the World Wide Web

Here is the latest news from TWR's online media portal.  There is audio and video from 108 ministries, in 41 languages on TWR360.  Be sure to check it out today.

TWR360 received a record number of visitors in October, 563.069 to be exact, from 221 Countries and Territories.  October 27 set a new one day record of 19,603 visitors to TWR360.

Brazil lead the way in sessions from Web browsers in October.  The rest of the top 10 countries, in descending order, include:  USA, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Russia, Colombia, South Korea, and the Netherlands.

The USA lead the way last month, among visitors using Apps to visit TWR360.  The rest of the top 10 countries connecting by Apps include:  India, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, The Dominican Republic, Argentina, Singapore, and Japan.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

projector mount bracket

I recently installed a video projector (known as a "beamer" here, not to be confused with a Beemer, which is a car) at our church here on Bonaire.  It is on a pretty long post hanging down from the roof beams.  It is pretty stable, considering how windy it can be here.
Here is a shot of the bracket the attached to the roof beam. (there is a story behind this seeming random post)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Moon, Venus and Mars with Foreground

Here is what the moon and planets looked like this morning.

Jupiter was up quite a bit higher, so I cropped it out of the picture, which was looking too tall and skinny for posting online.

Mars is to the upper left of the Moon and Venus is to the lower left of the moon.

You'll probably need to look at the full size image to see Mars.

Saturday Morning Moon and Planets

The Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter looked great in the pre-dawn skies this morning.  Here is a shot that shows them all, and one that shows just Mars, Venus and the Moon.

Jupiter is pretty far to the upper left of the Moon and the other two planets. Better click on the thumbnails to see the full images.

I hope to have another picture later today.  A dawn bike ride is calling my name right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Planets on the Move Oct. 17-26

This picture represents much loss of sleep in the interests of science.  ha-ha.
We see Venus, Jupiter and Mars changing position between Saturday, October 17 and Monday, October 26.
Venus is at the top of the image and slowly moves down (to the East) day by day.
Jupiter starts out just below Mars and moves slightly up (West)  Actually, Jupiter doesn't move very much at all with respect to the fixed background stars.
Mars starts out just above Jupiter and slowly drops down (East).
You can't see the background stars in this composite image, but I used them to make sure that each frame was registered correctly relative to the other frames.  So the changing positions of the planets are real.  Venus and Mars really were moving eastward relative to Jupiter and the background stars, which made Jupiter look like it was moving up from Mars to Venus.
Venus will be down by Mars by the end of this week.
I'm not sure how well the planets will show up on a Web browser, but if figure it is worth a try.  The image is 1920 pixels wide, so if you have a 1920x1080 monitor, and click on this thumbnail, you might be in luck.  I'll have a look with a few different computers to get an idea of how this is working.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Morning and Evening Planets

The Bonaire skies were pretty cloud free last night, and I was tempted to attempt a shot of the crescent moon near Saturn and Antares, but decided not to...  'cause it wasn't that clear, and the Moon really mushes out if there is any haze in the sky at all.

However, this morning, when I saw Mars really close to Jupiter, with Venus shining up above and Mercury glowing way down below, I just had to venture out and try to capture it.

I enhanced the planets a little in these small images, so that on the screen they'd look about like what I saw with my naked eye.

Mercury is hard to see, directly to the right of the "Y" in the word Mercury.  Mars, Jupiter, and Venus are easier to spot.

The original image is 9500x5500 pixels, so if and when I print that up, the planets should be easy to see.  I also bracketed my exposures for the bottom of the image, so i can go back and get some more detail in the mural before I try printing the image.

Monday, October 12, 2015

TWR360 Update

 Did you know that if you can't listen to TWR Bonaire on your radio, like you live at the North Pole or something, you need to check out TWR360,  There is audio and video in 41 languages on TWR360 right now.  Don't be left out.  Check out today.

TWR360 received a record number of visitors in September, 505,123 to be exact, using a variety of devices. The breakdown is 65.38% in the mobile category, 31.23% using desktops, and 3.39% using tablets.

In September, Brazil lead the way in sessions from Web browsers. The rest of the top 10 countries with visitors to TWR360 using Web browsers include: USA, India, Vietnam, (unknown), the The Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia and Kenya.

And the USA lead the way among visitors using Apps to visit TWR360 last month. The rest of the top 10 countries using Apps include: India, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and Venezuela.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sunday Night's Eclipse

The Bonaire skies were nice and clear last night's eclipse of the Moon.  A bunch of us hung out in the parking lot at the International Bible Church to view it.  I shot a zillion images and have combined them into a time lapse video of sorts.

Unfortunately, I bumped into the scope a couple of times, so there are some big wobbles.  And there are some gaps, when the camera stopped shooting.  I can't wait for the next eclipse, so i can try again. You can see the moon pass by and over a number of background stars during the course of the eclipse.  That is pretty cool.

I'm not sure how the clip will look embedded here.  You can see if 1080p version on YouTube, if this one isn't too good.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Morning Planets Meet the Moon

Venus and Mars are looking quite nice in the pre-dawn sky these days.  Jupiter will be joining them soon.

This morning was special, because the Moon was right between Venus and Mars.

Venus is to the upper right of the Moon, and Mars is to the lower left of the Moon.  They make a straight line and Mars is more or less twice as far from the Moon as Venus is.

The darker photo includes a meteor that flashed by.  The lighter photo shows more stars.

You'll need to click on the images and see the larger versions to see much detail, I think.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Men's Conference in the Dominican Republic

We are airing some spot announcements on 800AM and 89.5FM about a big conference for men that will take place in the Dominican Republic from September 24-26.  The goal is to shed light on a Biblical model of masculinity.  The meetings, sponsored by Ministerio Integridad y Sabiduria,  will also be available online.

The sessions will be in the Spanish language I assume, but here is an overview of the events, in English.

Thursday, September 24

7:00am-8:30am---Doors Open and Registration

8:30am-9:00am---Welcome and Worship

9:00am-10:00am---Session 1:  Be a Man of Purpose (M. Núñez)

10:00am-10:30am---Announcements and Break

10:30am-12:00pm---Session 2:  Be a Man of God (O. Strachan)


3:00pm-4:00pm---Session 3:  Workshops

     -Be the Spiritual Leader of Your Wife (O. Strachan)

     -Be a Man of Pure Eyes (T. Challies)

     -Be a Strong Man in "Mid-Life-Crisis Years" (F. González de Chávez)

     -Be a Mature Man (O. Sánchez)

4:00pm-4:30pm---Break and Worship

4:30pm-6:00pm---Session 4:  Be a Biblical Man (T. Challies)

Friday, September 25


7:00pm-8:15pm---Session 5:  Be a Man of Integrity (T. Challies)

8:15pm-8:45pm---Break and Worship

8:45pm-10:00pm---Session 6:  Be a Man of Influence in Your Society (O. Strachan)

Saturday, September 26


2:30pm-3:45pm---Session 7:  Q&A (Strachan, Challies, Castleberry, Núñez)

3:45pm-4:00pm---Exit to Workshops

4:00pm-5:00pm---Session 8:  Workshops

     -Be the Father that God Wants You to Be (T. Challies)

     -Be a Wise Man (T. Martínez)

     -Be a Man Content Man/Man of Contentment (G. Peacock)

     -Be a Man of Financial Integrity (E. Saladín)

5:00pm-5:30pm---Break and Worship

5:30pm-6:45pm---Session 9:  Be a Disciple of Christ (O. Strachan)

6:45pm---Conference Closing

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Canon SX50 HS again

I did a post or two recently extoling the virtues of the humble Powershot SX50 HS and its surprisingly good zoom lens.  Canon USA is selling refurbished ones, until Sept. 7, for $150.  Since this is an older model, "refurbished" could very well mean new old stock.
I would rate this as a no-brainer if you need telephoto reach from time to time.

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. :)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Timelapse Video of the Sun from NASA

My dad alerted me to this awesome (in the original sense of the word) time lapse video of the Sun, made up of images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite.  The SDO celebrated its 5th anniversary this past February.
The video is made up from individual frames captured at 8 hour intervals, beginning in June 2010 and finishing February 8, 2015. The different colors represent the various wavelengths (sometimes blended, sometimes alone) in which SDO observes the sun.  You can go to YouTube and see it bigger.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Busy Day at CIEE

It was a full day, today, for the CIEE high school students here on Bonaire. They spent the morning snorkeling in the amazingly calm and clear waters on the reef at Sorobon. They tried their hand at windsurfing during the afternoon.

I caught up their tireless leaders, Cinde Wirth and Bud Gillan, (pictured on the stairs) and the full-of-energy students this evening at "1000 steps." Bud said that it wasn't easy to keep the kids
out of the water, but if one has abundant curiosity, there is always something to explore, even from the shore. There were a number of turtles hanging out in like one foot of water!

Mangazina di Rei

One of our son's friends from school recently stopped by the TWR office here on Bonaire.  After graduating from HAVO, our son, Richard, continued his studies in the USA while Izaïn Mercera went to the Netherlands.  Richard is working in New Jersey, in the USA, but Izaïn is back on Bonaire and involved with the Mangazina de Rei cultural park and learning center, located just east of Rincon.

Sandra and I last visited the Mangazina de Rei back in 2006.  It looks like lots has been happening since then.   Some things Izaïn mentioned include internships, leadership development and cultural education for local children and youth.  It sounds like many of the "ansianonan" are being given a great opportunity to pass on the cultural heritage and oral traditions of Bonaire to the next generations.

There is also lots going on for visitors to the island, including cultural discovery tours at 9, 10, 11, 2 and 3 o'clock Monday through Friday.  Work is also progressing on an all new exhibition about the history and heritage of Rincon, due to open in September.

If you are on the island right now, there is a Cultural Market at the Mangazina di Rei this Saturday from 8am to 1pm.  Entrance is free.  Besides great local foods and beverages, a highlight this month will be a presentation, at 10am, about traditional Bonaire architecture by one of the oldest local construction workers, Sr."Cola" St. Jago.  There are some wonderful examples of early Bonarian construction methods on the Mangazina de Rei grounds.  And last but not least, he local band, Kariño, will be performing from 11 to 1.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Moon and Planets

The Moon joined Venus and Jupiter tonight.  Venus is above the Moon.  Jupiter is to the lower right.  You can see the star Regulus to the upper right of Venus.

There is a comet out there too, between Jupiter and the horizon, but there was no chance of seeing it tonight.  I did catch it in an image shot from our driveway the other night.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kibrahacha Surprise

I saw a few Kibrahacha trees in bloom yesterday on my afternoon bike ride.  The still looked good today too.  It was just a handful of trees in northern Sabadeco, and only small parts of each tree.  We're still waiting for a good heavy rain that will make all the trees pop.

 It turns out that I wasn't the only one checking out the trees.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ostracod Party

Bud Gillan and the CIEE held an Ostracod watching session last night at the Oil Slick Leap dive site here on Bonaire. The group also encountered a swarm of Moon Jellies, and then got out of the water pronto when box jellies showed up.

This week is CIEE Bonaire's first ever session for High School students.

There were loads of people in the water, and I think everybody enjoyed themselves immensely. By the way, the 12th annual "Jelly Jamboree" is coming up Thursday night, downtown at Carl's.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Zooming In on our Intrepid Interns

I was recently experimenting with Photoshop and created a short video clip from a wide angle (40mm lens) shot of the TWR - Bonaire transmitter site.  This clip goes from a full frame view of the transmitter building and towers to an actual pixel sized crop of just Schylar (top) and Elizabeth (bottom) climbing the tower.

Now that I'm watching this video, especially the 720p version, I'm inspired to try the same thing on some wide field astro photos.  Like zooming from a wide angle shot of the Milky Way, all the way in to some specific feature like the "Coat Hanger" asterism, for example.  It has been very hazy and cloudy so far this summer, so this way i can recycle some of my old images.  :)

Venus and Jupiter Planet-gazing

    We held a planet gazing session at the TWR office/studios here on Bonaire on June 30, when Jupiter and Venus were super close together in the evening sky. The skies were pretty hazy and cloudy, but I think most people got at least a glimpse of the planetary pair.

    I set up a small scope in hopes of taking a few planet-pair pictures, but it ended up being too cloudy and hazy.

    Julius Wong Loi Sing brought a fun group from the Dutch Church downtown.  They supplied snacks, beverages and music.

Verlare Vacation

    Former TWR missionary Jim Verlare recently visited Bonaire while on vacation with his family.  During their stay on the island, they volunteered some of their time to paint a large section of the transmitter building roof with a special hi tech paint. (that was donated by other volunteers!)

    Jim and the "kids" were super thorough in power-washing the roof to prep. for the paint. That should really help this "guaranteed for 50 years" paint do its job.

    Maybe we should have a contest to see who can correctly guess how long this "50 year" paint will last in the sun, wind and salt here on Bonaire!

    Thanks Jim and family, for your contribution to the TWR ministry.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Brave Summer Interns

Schylar and Elizabeth are both college seniors studying mechanical engineering.  Here at TWR Bonaire, they are doing a survey of the integrity of the tabs on the vertical legs of our antenna towers.

Bright Planet Pairing

Be sure to go out each evening and check out Venus and Jupiter in the west.  You can't miss them and they are getting noticeably closer together night by night.

Friday, May 22, 2015

BYOF Featured on Adobe Youth Voices Community

I don't think I ever blogged about the recent visit by the King and Queen of the Netherlands with the Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation (BYOF), back on Rincon Day, April 30.  Dennis asked me to take some photos of the event, so I got a rare insider's view of the proceedings, which I inexplicably failed to share with you all.

Fortunately for us all, Adobe Youth Voices has posted a nice write-up of the Royal Visit, and some of the activities of the BYOF.  Check it out.

The BYOF has their headquarters/training center/youth hangout room in what used to be known as Master Control, here at the TWR - Bonaire studios.

Excuses Excuses

So we had our monthly elder's meeting at the International Bible Church last night, and Kees-Jan wasn't there.   Grrr....

Turns out he had a good excuse though.  He and Eric de Jong were in The Netherlands hanging out with the royal family and accepting an award from the Orange Fund for the work Krusada is doing on Bonaire.

Kees-Jan is on the right in the upper photo.  foto's Bert Homburg - Oranjefonds ©

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Southern Cross

The Southern Cross is perfectly placed during the evening hours, here on Bonaire, at this time of the year.  Unfortunately, the winds and haze have made it hard to see much of the time.  There is a great article about the Southern Cross on SPACE.COM, and a nice photo as well.

The Southern Cross is at the lower left side of this photo I shot a few years ago.  The eta Carina nebula is towards the upper right side.  I've been hoping to redo this image this year, but time is running out...