Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A little rest and relaxation in Puna

It's Sunday evening on the Puna coast roughly halfway between Kalapana and Kapoho and the place I go to relieve stress. Just before taking the photos I met a very interesting guy - retired and clearly well-off with a large house just above the shoreline. He used to be a photographer and cameraman and had worked for many of the major movie companies in the US and had clearly done quite well financially! It turned out he used to live and work in California and shared my love of the Monterey/Carmel area and the whole central California coastline. He was walking his dogs and clearing up the trash on the "beach" as he does every day. I hope to meet him again and maybe give him a print or two of these photos. His dogs were also super-friendly!

Rock pools and surf. The waves weren't too high but the water was very "messy" with no regular wave sets. It made timing interesting!

The sun was setting and made the colours interesting despite most of the lava rock being a light-sucking black.

One black & white shot because I thought it made things look a little more dramatic, but that wave almost got me!

A change of position because the waves were getting a little dangerous considering where I had perched myself. I kept looking out for whales since this is the height of the whale season but unfortunately saw none.

It was getting quite dark now so switched position again to take in the wonderful colours of sunset. And the blackness of the lava of course...

Puna is on the east side of the island so not great for sunset shots, but the sky and ocean can still take on magical colours at this time of day.

And that was it for the evening. A short drive back home, stress somewhat lowered and relieved to find I could still remember how to operate my camera...

As always, you can view larger versions of the pictures by clicking on them.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A well-deserved award

The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) won an award from the Royal Astronomical Society. It's a bit of the way down the page but it's a well-deserved award that reflects some pretty damn hard work lots of people have put in over the last few years. It doesn't include me of course, I'm just a grunt, but I like it that way...

Almost the same

There's a picture I saw in a recent edition of Outdoor Photographer, a magazine I've subscribed to for the last couple of years, that made me say "What the hell, that's my photo!". You can see the picture at the top of this article. My picture is above.

It wasn't my photo in the article but it looks as though the photographer took his photo from almost the same spot as I did last year. It's a nice photo and captures those crepuscular rays a regular reader will know I love, except I'm not blogging regularly these days so that's a bit of an oxymoron. Anyway, it got me thinking - why not just pick up the camera again and start taking some photos? Well, my camera is still in storage but I promise to bring it out soon. The photo in that article made me realise that I'm not a complete muggins when it comes to capturing the beautiful scenery here although the real reason I've not being active recently is that I've been too busy. I need to change that and get my life back into a proper perspective.

I'll also say that even if you prefer the picture in the article, at least I know how to keep my horizon straight!

Just a couple more from that trip to Maui. They've appeared on the blog before...

PS. I should add that the picture in the printed version of Outdoor Photographer looks much better than the online one and has had some extra processing done.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Steve Rawlings

I'm stunned, and so are many members of the astronomy community. Rather than hearing through the grapevine I just happened to read this article on the BBC site this morning about how Steve was found dead yesterday.

Steve was a good friend and was a regular UKIRT observer. I supported many of his runs and we spent a lot of time together both at the summit of Mauna Kea and having dinner and beers in Hilo. Steve stopped coming out to Hawaii a few years ago mainly because we switched to survey operations and had fewer visiting observers, but he always complained that when he visited it always snowed and he never got any observing time!

Steve will be missed by his many good friends at the UKIRT and JCMT and I'm sure around the world. He was a wonderful person and lots of fun to be with. We once talked about arranging a cricket match in Hilo against the local softball team and he was going to bring his cricket gear out and also arrange to get the game onto the local news! Unfortunately it never happened, but my main memory of him was us having fun, especially on the soccer field! (Scroll down to the report at the end of the newsletter - in the picture Steve is second from right in the front row and there's even a rare shot of me - front row centre in the blue top kneeling down).

I know everyone at the JAC, both current and ex-employees, send their heart-felt condolences to Steve's family and friends. This is such a shock.