ABACO DAWN: WHERE NATURE MEETS ART…


Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 3

DELPHI DAWN: WHERE NATURE MEETS ART…

There’s a moment when certain photos suddenly look as if they are paintings. This may be especially true of skyscapes or seascapes – or both together. Here are some recent daybreak views from Abaco which could as easily have been painted from a bright palette. And in case you think the effects have been produced or enhanced by some photoshop-style jiggery-pokery, all these images are exactly as I downloaded them, and no ‘special effect’ settings were used to take them. I just pointed and shot… J.M.W.Turner, what could you have done with a Pentax?

Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 1Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 5Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 2Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 6Delphi Sunrise 4

THE SUPERMOON: LUNAR SEA ON A GRAND SCALE


Supermoon, Rio AP / Daily Mail

THE SUPERMOON: LUNAR SEA ON A GRAND SCALE

A supermoon is “the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth”. These huge, bright moons are not particularly rare, but they are undoubtedly spectacular. The most recent occurrence was on July 12, 2014 and generated many wonderful images around the world, such as the header image (AP / D Mail) which cannily  shows a shot from World Cup Land. The moon also brought a flurry of good photos from Abaco, for example these from Char Albury and Rhonda Pearce that were posted on FB. The visible detail of the moon’s surface is amazing – craters, seas, mountain ranges, lines and all. The source of radiance oddly appears to be  a large crater I’d never heard of, called Tycho.

Supermoon, Abaco (Char Albury)10488111_10152314020043720_423772678214367628_n

The event was a dream for selenologists (lunar scientists) and selenographists – those who study the surface and physical features of the Moon, and are involved in mapping and naming the lunar seas, craters, mountain ranges etc. A surprising amount of detail of the moon’s surface was visible even to the naked eye. Nowadays, orbiting spacecraft have made the scientific tasks much easier, and even the moon’s backside has been thoroughly charted (not to be confused with the frequent charting of The Dark Side of the Moon). In the UK we also noticed the phenomenon – a large, heavy moon hanging brightly in the sky. I took a few shots in the countryside where there is gratifyingly little light or air pollution, without thinking that the object I was focusing on was obviously much the same for everyone everywhere… Supermoon, Dorset Then I got to wondering what exactly I was looking at. I had a vague memory of some of the seas – Mare Imbrium for example – but I couldn’t remember any crater names at all. So I did a bit of research in an amateur serenographist kind of way and came up with this: Supermoon marked map This led me on to thoughts of the moon landings, and in particular Apollo 11. Wasn’t there something about touching down in the Sea of Tranquility? But whereabouts exactly on the supermoon? Here’s the answer. The moon below (from SOERFM) is at a different angle, but it can still be compared with the supermoons above. Apollo-11-landing-site Soerfm And what of all the other Apollo landings? Did they all aim for the same spot where Neil Armstrong staked his claim for mankind? Or were other landing areas tried by the Apollo moon missions? NASA has the answer: Apollo landing locator NASA Then I wondered about the names given to the seas and craters. Are they all modern or are some historical? I came across a wonderful map that shows that many names were given and recorded centuries ago. The moon map below is confusing – it is upside down compared with all the ones above. However, it is clear that by the c17, the naming of lunar geographical features was already largely settled. Almost all the names I added to the moon above can be found on this map of 1647. Double-click on it to get an enlarged legible view. It’s worth noting that it was published only 5 years after Galileo’s death.

MoonMap1

Map of the Moon by Johannes Hevelius (1647)

220px-Dark_Side_of_the_Moon

Photos: Charmaine Albury, Rhonda Pearce, RH, SOERFM, NASA; other credits as noted in text

‘BURNS NIGHT’ – CONTAINING FOREST FIRES ON ABACO


Abaco Forest Fire 4

‘BURNS NIGHT’ – CONTAINING FOREST FIRES ON ABACO

Every year Abaco has a number of forest fires, especially in the south of the island. The timing is variable –  sometimes it’s March, right now it’s… right now. The fires are good in some respects for the forest, and regeneration is remarkably rapid. Links to previous posts on the topic are shown below. Many, or most, are (allegedly) started by hunters clearing scrub and undergrowth so that the dogs can chase the hogs. The rights and the wrongs are debatable, but what is beyond doubt is that a change of wind can cause fires set in forest on the unpopulated west side to jump the Highway across to the east side. There are farms and settlements there, and these are regularly put in peril. The Delphi Club has had a couple of close calls when the thick coppice between the house and the pinewoods failed adequately to deter the flames (in theory, it should!); Crossing Rocks had some nights last year when the whole community united to protect the settlement. Now it’s the turn of Bahama Palm Shores, where the fire service and volunteers have spent the last few days – and nights – trying to prevent fire reaching the houses. So far, so good. Abaco is a wonderful place, but the fires can be powerful and scary, spreading rapidly in the wind.

Luc Lavallee is one of the volunteers, and hasn’t had a lot of sleep recently. He has posted regular bulletins during the night on the BPS Facebook Page to keep everyone informed of the situation and the work in progress – for example creating firebreaks. Here are some of his photos over the last few days; the aerial shot is by photographer David Rees, who takes wonderful ‘drone’ photos.

Forest fire, BPS, Abaco (David Rees) Forest Fire, BPS, Abaco (Luc Lavallee) Forest Fire, BPS, Abaco (Luc Lavallee) Forest Fire, BPS, Abaco (Luc Lavallee)

This photo captures the fire raging in the middle of the night, making an almost abstract imageForest Fire, BPS, Abaco (Luc Lavallee)

FOREST FIRES –  BURNING SENSATIONS

FOREST FIRES – TOO CLOSE TO DELPHI

FOREST FIRES – REGENERATION

INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY AT SAWMILL SINK REVEALED BY FIRE

Finally, here is a shot I took last year from the Delphi balcony looking west to the sunset. The fires had burned for several days, and the suns rays in daytime had to penetrate clouds of smoke and ash. The effect was striking.

Forest Fires, Delphi Abaco 2013

 

 Credits: Header & last pic- RH at Delphi 2013; aerial shot – David Rees; other images – Luc Lavallee

 

 

BURNING SENSATIONS: FOREST FIRES ON ABACO


Forest Fires, Abaco 11

BURNING SENSATIONS: FOREST FIRES ON ABACO 

My last post was about SAWMILL SINK – not the famous Blue Hole itself, but the detritus of past logging activity in that part of the Abaco pine forests revealed by last month’s forest fires. I mentioned that this destructive burning of the shrubby understorey is (allegedly) the work of  hunters making it easier for their dogs to pursue the hog denizens of the forest. The evidence suggests that nature alone could not cause so many separate seats of fire to appear in a matter of days over such a wide area – and in springtime at that.

This year, the fires came uncomfortably close to several small communities and outlying residences – and to the Delphi Club itself. Many people spent nights hosing down undergrowth and building on the edge of settlements, with neighbours all joining in. Electricity poles are vulnerable, with obvious consequences for the supply should they burn through at the bottom, as often happens. One pole a short way south of Delphi on the highway has the burnt remains of 3 utility posts beside the current (ha!) one. At Delphi itself, the vegetation from around all the poles along the mile of drive had to be cleared.

This iPhone photo was taken from the Delphi balcony. The fire is in fact on the far side of the highway, with the pall of smoke – and therefore the fire’s direction – heading south. The question is, when and where will it jump the highway, and what will be the wind direction then…Forest Fires, Abaco 12

This picture shows the extraordinary effect of the smoke-laden atmosphere on the sunset. The header picture is another example. The fire is now into the pine woods between the Club and the highway, and the theory that the damp coppice nearer the Club will act as a barrier to prevent its spread is about to be put to the test overnight…Forest Fires, Abaco 9

It soon became clear that the fires were not going to be discouraged by the coppice.  Sandy is always eager to find volunteers to go out in a truck to feel the heat, so to speak. He is apt to dismiss concerns that one is sitting on top of a large tank of inflammable liquid by pointing out that diesel is less combustible than petrol. This is invariably comforting to all occupants of the vehicle. So with the fire burning bright, and with tree-tops suddenly bursting into flame like torches, off we go…Forest Fires, Abaco 3Forest Fires, Abaco 5Forest Fires, Abaco 7Forest Fires, Abaco 1Forest Fires, Abaco 2

In the morning, a smokey mist lies over the trees and the bay to the northForest Fires, Abaco 14

An uncomfortably short distance along the guest drive, it is clear that the coppice has burnt quite easily, though not devastatingly. In fact there are still flames to be seen…Forest Fires Abaco 19Forest Fires Abaco 18

Later, out on the Marls, a plume of smoke is visible, with several more in either directionForest Fires, Abaco 4

Despite the widespread damage caused by the fires, the capacity for regeneration is amazing. New growth is visible very quickly, and within the year the burnt-out areas are mostly back to normal. I’ll end on that optimistic note, and with another dramatic sunset above the haze of smoke over the tree canopy.Forest Fires, Abaco 8

“AIMING AT THE MOON” – A LUCKY SHOT!


“AIMING AT THE MOON” – A LUCKY SHOT!

I took this in the late evening because I noticed the gull flying directly towards the moon. I had a point and shoot camera, and very little time to fire it up and take aim. I was hoping the bird would actually cross the face of the moon (“Homage to E.T.”) as I clicked… In many respects it’s a bad picture – unsharp in the fading light – and yet… there are the craters, the seas, the mountains of the moon clearly visible. And one blurry seagull on its way home. So I am going to inflict it on you. Think of it as a misguidedly poetic offering from an essentially prosaic person…

HURRICANE SANDY: VIEWS FROM SPACE, STORM SURGES & THE THREAT TO NEW YORK…


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1. SCARY BEAUTY

HURRICANE SANDY: VIEWS FROM SPACE

LATEST NASA-GOES IMAGE 29 OCTOBER

 

Photo credits NASA-GOES, NOAA, BBC & honourable tips of the hat to sundry Sandy magpies

2. STORM SURGE

HURRICANE SANDY’S THREAT TO NEW YORK

US EAST COAST FLOOD PROJECTION MAP

“12 FEET” The biggest fear from this storm in the New York City area is the storm surge. Right now anything from 6 to 12 feet seems quite possible. The greatest storm surge in modern history at Battery Park was 10.5 feet in 1960. Irene’s storm surge was a little over four feet in New York. That’s why you’re seeing evacuations in New York (extract, Guardian UK)

sandy storm surge

Photo credit: Noaa.gov

FOR 9 MORE REASONS THAT MAKE SANDY AN EXCEPTIONAL STORM, CLICK HERE

ABACO CLOUDSCAPES – DRAMATIC SKIES IN SUN & RAIN


ABACO CLOUDSCAPES – DRAMATIC SKIES IN SUN & RAIN

A random mix of cloud formations, fiery dawns, and storm clouds mixed with sunlight taken in June (a couple of the later ones were actually taken at Compass Point, Nassau – same storms, though…)