Thursday, July 22, 2010

And The Clouds Parted

On July 11th at 18:45 universal time, the moon passed directly in front of the sun.

And I was there to see it.

It was gloriously f**king awesome. (Excuse my Anglo-Saxon. :-)

When we woke eclipse morning on the French Polynesian atoll of Tatakoto, it was raining! But the clouds parted for first contact, and then the sun played hide and seek until just before totality, when I got this shot of the diamond ring effect amongst the clouds.

It cleared for totality and then clouded over not long after. It was my first eclipse and it was everything I hoped it would be.

More posts of my trip to follow ...


Update 7/26/2010

It turns out that this may be an image of a rather unique phenomena, eclipse shadow bands. Even more intriguing, is that this is the first time shadow bands have been reported seen in clouds. All of the other reports have been on the ground.

My image, and a number of other images and videos form the path of totality, is actually being used by an astronomer at Steward Observatory in Arizona, Glenn Schneider, to determine if these are really shadow bands.

I think it is incredibly cool that one of my images, from my first eclipse, may have captured something "historically unique".

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Adventure!

And so it begins ...

Shopping for camping provisions

Cheese filled hotdogs!


Baby fowlers toads hopping on the front lawn
(And in the kitchen!)

Too many baloney sandwiches
(And what's meat baloney anyway?)

(Umm ... Beer!)

Anxious music

Alarm going off way too early ... no where near enough sleep

(And eggs, sausage, hash browns.)

How much gear can we fit in a canoe anyways?
(A lot more than we had.)
((And note the plastic bags around our gear.))
(((That's foreshadowing!)))

How much food will we need?
(A lot less than we had.)
((Too many baloney sandwiches.))

Off to get ice ... and more coffee.

Hmm ... this thing is kinda tippy.

How do you steer this thing?
(And why isn't anybody else having difficulty?)
((And why are we always last?))


Success, we made it the lunch spot!
(Umm ... baloney sandwiches)

Where we saw ...

Baby Kingbirds!

Katie, Princess of the Pines and her Frog Prince

Off again

No one but us in the middle of the Pines
(No sight or sound of other humans.)
((Are we lost? Or just way behind?))
(((Did I mention we were always last?)))

"I am paddling, can't you see?"

Rapids! Weeeeeeee!

Lost? Where'd everybody go?
(Why are we so slow?)
((And why isn't my phone working?))

Hey! My Sunglasses!

A juicy pickle, shared.

I'm Going In!
(Good thing for those plastic bags!)

Shoe grabbing mud.

My camera can't swim.
(RIP Canon 300D 2003 - 2010)
((The memory card could!))

Gorgeous dragonflies
(I wish I had taught my camera to swim.)

Eight hours and we've traveled five miles!
(And made it to the campsite.)
((What? No showers?))
(((But delicious cold drinking water.)))

Sitting in the river relaxing our tired bones.

Lots of smiles

Sand in inappropriate places.
(How'd that get there?)
((And no showers.))

Ovenbirds displaying!
(Are you sure this is the Pine Barrens? There's way too many birds.)

Banjo music and tall tales around the campfire
(And physics discussions)
But no poetry.


Whip-poor-will bedtime serenade.
(And who knew sand could be so hard?)

(But only one mug)

Cheese dogs for breakfast!


Bog Asphodel!
(And lots of mud!)

How DO you steer this thing?
(Panic and pirouettes Sunday morning)

Orchids all along the river!

Hey, we're getting good at this!
(Most of the time anyway)
((Sorry about that branch))

"You can't talk and steer at the same time!"

First to Constable Bridge!
(Who's the slowpokes now?)

#@!$!% Snags!
(And *#$@ sandbars)

Rope swing!
(Water, cool and refreshing)
(("No it's cold!"))

Pleasant Mills -- takeout
(We survived!)
((Two days to go ten miles?))

Loud van ride back



More coffee

Looking at trip photos
(While enjoying a very cold beer!)

(My feet are still dirty!)

All this adds up to a wonderful overnight canoe trip down the
Mullica river in the New Jersey Pine Barrens with my bestest birding buddy.

(But next time it's kayaks!)


Thanks to Russell Juelg of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance
for leading the trip. And to our companions for making it such a fun one.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My New Gadget

I want a New Toy (oh ay oh), to keep my head expanding ...
-- Lene Lovich, New Toy

As you might have heard on the news or via the interwebs, Apple released the latest iPhone on June 24th.

And I got one that day. I had to wait in line almost nine minutes, which was just long enough to finish the (free!) mango Rita's water ice they gave me. Once in the store it took another five whole minutes to get my phone and activate it.

I had driven by the Apple Store on my way into work and the line was several hundred meters long. I kept on driving and went back at lunch time. I had pre-ordered, so I got to get in the short line, which was all of four people long, including me.

I upgraded form the original iPhone and this model is much faster and has cool features like a GPS receiver and digital compass. But what has impressed me the most so far has been the camera. Now, it won't be replacing my DSLR anytime soon (unless I keep taking them swimming!) but I'll be carrying my digicam a lot less.

Here are a few handheld shots from my first weekend with the phone. Enjoy!

These images were all taken at Duke Farms, during the BioBlitz on June 27th. I was part of the team doing the bird census.

And here's a shot I couldn't have gotten with my iPhone.

I guess I'll be keeping my other cameras. :-)

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Many people will walk in and out of your life, 
but only true friends will 
leave footprints on your windshield.*

Reminders of a wonderful weekend in West Virginia.

And where have I seen those feet recently?


*With apologies to Eleanor Roosevelt