Thursday, 31 May 2012

In anticipation of Tuesday's Transit of Venus

The sun as viewed through the D300 and 300mm lens with
homemade solar filter attached

Astronomers and photographers around the world have been fine tuning their photography skills in anticipation of Tuesday's historical Transit of Venus.  Depending on where in the world you live, Venus will 'move' across the sun between June 5th and June 6th.  With proper solar glasses (a pair was included in the most recent issue of SkyNews magazine) you will be able to see the black disk of Venus make its way across the sun.  How neat! 

Yukoner's will see the transit begin at 15:30 and end shortly after 21:30 on Tuesday, June 5th.  This celestial show will not occur again until Dec 11,  2117 (the last Transit of Venus was in 2004, and prior to that, in 1882).

Last night I tried my hands, for the first time I might add, at solar photography.  I had cut out one of the solar filters found on the solar goggles and taped it to the removable filter on the Nikkor 300 f/2.8 telephoto lens.  With lens attached to the Nikon D300 camera, and firmly set on a tripod (with cable release), I aimed towards the sun.  Within seconds it was obvious my homemade solar lens was a success.  See camera settings below.

Now, if we can only pray for clear skies for Tuesday - somehow,  I don't think many of us will be around to see this show again in 2117!

Don't forget about Monday's partial eclipse of the moon!!

I'll post more images of my set up shortly with images from the Transit posted on Tuesday.

Good night from the sunny Yukon!

More info on Tuesday's transit can be found on Transit of Venus website (click on link)

Camera settings:  Manual focus for both camera and lens;  Vibration Reduction ON,  ISO 250 at f/5.6,  1/125th of a second.  Cable release

Friday, 25 May 2012

Hans Blohm - Member of the Order of Canada

Unofficial Photo of Hans receiving the Order of Canada by 
his Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston, 
Governor General of Canada
© Reuters/Patrick Doyle

Congratulations Hans on your appointment to the Order of Canada – a recognition well deserved.
The Investiture Ceremony was held this morning at Rideau Hall.  More information of Hans' appointment can be found on the Governor General of Canada's website.
We are all so proud of your accomplishments Hans.  See you soon.

See post on announcement of Hans' appointment in December, 2011

UPDATE:  Hans was also awarded, by the Governor General, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during the evening reception.

From the Governor General's Website

Hans-Ludwig Blohm, C.M.
Ottawa, Ontario

Hans-Ludwig Blohm has helped to protect, preserve and promote Canada’s northern culture through his camera lens. An acclaimed photographer, he has travelled extensively throughout the country’s northern regions, capturing images and stories of the Inuit, and chronicling the lives and events that have shaped the region. His exhibitions, which also feature his innovative work in microchip photography, have toured the world, while his photos have graced the pages of many books, magazines and Canadian postage stamps.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Alaska - a weekend getaway

Going for a walk-about (grizzly bear cub)

Grizzly bear cub 

A walk along the beach

Curious grizzly bear cubs

Grizzly bear cubs play fighting

Grizzly bear cub checking out its surroundings

Moose alongside the Haines Hwy

Breaching humpback whale

Partial eclipse of the sun (Sunday, May 20)

Flowering Praire Crocus (Putsatilla patens)

Flowering Shooting Star (Dodecatheon sp.)

At long last the unofficial kickoff to summer 2012 has begun!

Last weekend, during our Victoria Day holiday (four days), I had an opportunity to join a couple friends on a road trip to Haines, Alaska.  Throughout the weekend we were treated to endless photo opps thanks to chance encounters with wildlife, breathtaking scenery and a partial eclipse of the sun.

One of the many highlights of our excursion was photographing three two-year old grizzly cubs foraging on sedges and clams on the tidal flats near the Chilkoot River (Haines, Alaska).  With camera and tripod in hand, I spent close to two hours photographing the young bruins as they went about their business feeding, playing and scouting out their surroundings.  Soft lighting, a vibrant green background and cooperative bears made for a successful photo shoot.

On Saturday afternoon we were treated to an unexpected bonus – two humpback whales breached directly in front of us while we were eating our lunch on the rocky shores of Chilkat State Park.  Unfortunately, for me, I did not have my 300mm lens on hand.  Oh well, watching the whales enjoy themselves in the waters was a sight I won't soon forget.  Apparently, according to the locals, this is the time of year when the whales return to the Inlet to feed on krill.

The first of the flowering plants were also in full bloom as the praise crocuses, lupins and shooting stars added splashes of purple across the landscape. 

The weather did not cooperate for Sunday's partial eclipse of the sun.  Overcast skies obscured our view for most of the day.  We did, however, catch a few fleeting glimpses of the eclipse throughout the afternoon.  I guess we, here in the Yukon, will have to wait until Oct 23, 2014 to see and photograph the next eclipse (that one will also be a partial one).

Roadside encounters with moose, black bear (11 in total), porcupine, elk and mule deer were common occurrences. For some strange reason we didn't see as many swans as we did on last years road trip.

Alaska continues to impress me with its pristine wilderness, snowcapped mountains, salmon filled rivers and colourful folks who call this place home.  I'm already looking forward to my next visit come June.

Ahh, beautiful Alaska!!  We could not have wished for a better weekend.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend.


Photo info:  Grizzly bear shots photographed with a Nikon D700 camera, Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens with 1.7x convertor, mounted on tripod, cable release.  320ISO, f/6, Aperture Priority mode.
Flower pictures:  same camera, Nikkor 105 f/2.8 Macro lens, mounted on tripod, cable release

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Super moon 2012

Super moon rising over Pelly Crossing, Yukon

Did you get the chance to see last night's moon rise?  It was simply spectacular.

Last night's full moon was referred to as a "super moon".  The phenomenon, also known as a perigee moon, is caused by the elliptical shape of the Moon's orbit around the Earth.  Last night, the moon appeared 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of 2012.

For us, here in Pelly Crossing, last night's super moon was partially obscured by a thin layer of clouds.  Nevertheless, the moonrise had a dramatic flair to it.

Super moons occur, on average, once a year.

Check out last year's super moon 

Photo info:  Nikon 700 with Nikkor 300mm with 1.7x tele convertor (total 500mm).  ISO 800, f/6.3 @ 1/15sec. Mounted on tripod with cable release.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Shorebirds have Returned!

Lesser Yellowlegs

The first of the shorebirds have returned to the Yukon.

This afternoon I spotted four Lesser Yellowlegs milling about on the shores of a partially thawed pond near Pelly Crossing, Yukon.

I'll return there this weekend for more photography.
Nice to see these critters back for another season!