Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Off to Spain with a Jaunt to France

September 23rd, 2010 at 3:04 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We had not planned on going anywhere for exploration for the rest of the year, but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose for us (the adult half of The Traveling Richters) to dine at the famed elBulli restaurant in Spain and personally meet famed chef Ferran Adrià, so we have wrapped an expedition for all of The Traveling Richters to explore parts of Spain around that event to take advantage of being in Spain for the special occasion at elBulli.

Our Itinerary:

  • Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2010 – Bilbao & San Sebastian, Spain
  • Oct. 1 – 2, 2010 – Toulouse, France. Just passing through southern France
  • Oct. 2 – 4, 2010 – Roses, Costa Brava, Spain
  • Oct. 4 – 5, 2010 – Zaragoza, Spain
  • Oct. 5 – 8, 2010 – Madrid, Alcala de Henares, and Toledo, Spain

In addition to having secured reservations at three of the top restaurants in the world for this trip, we’ll be exploring various museums like the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Prado and Reina Sofia in Madrid. We also have a docent to guide us through the history of Toledo, the life and times of Cervantes (author of “Don Quixote”), and an olive oil, ham, chocolate, and Tapas tasting tour in Madrid. It will be tiring, but we’re up for the challenge!

And we’ll be home just in time for our country to change on 10-10-10. We stay on the same island, of Bonaire, but the country of the Netherlands Antilles will be dissolved on 10-10-10, and Bonaire will become a municipality of The Netherlands. More on that here.

Depending on how busy we are in our travels, we may or may not post travelogues. Jake has started an on-line graduate program in photography, so we expect most of his on-line time on the road will be spent meeting his obligations for his classes.

However, if any of you have recommendations on other places we should not miss in the areas we will be traveling in, please let us know!

 

Views of Hong Kong Across Victoria Harbour

July 18th, 2010 at 4:16 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Victoria Harbour, also known as Hong Kong Harbour, is an amazing place – both in terms of traffic and adjacent building density as well as in terms of sheer imagery. The harbor is a natural one, located between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula.

We had booked a Harbour View room at The Peninsula, which is located on the southern-most portion of Kowloon, and the view from our 25th floor room was certainly a sight to behold. In fact we spent several hours just sitting in chairs facing the harbor, watching the lights and boat traffic.

View from our room at The Peninsula, by day

View from our room at The Peninsula, by day

View from our room at The Peninsula, at night

View from our room at The Peninsula, at night

While the images above are just a portion of the entire view, below is a panorama stitched together from multiple shots. If you click on it you’ll go to Flickr where you can view the entire 7,389 pixel wide panorama. You can also click on the above images to see larger versions of those shots.

Panoramic view from our room at The Peninsula by day

Panoramic view from our room at The Peninsula by day

 

Viewing The Ocean From Afar

May 14th, 2010 at 12:06 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

About 10 years ago, working with my college friend Dan Senie, we installed the world’s first permanently mounted WebCam in a reef system. We called it the Bonaire ReefCam, and there was a Bonaire ReefCam of some sort in operation (even two at one point) until the Fall of 2008, when Tropical Storm Omar severely damaged the Bonaire Pier ReefCam.

Over the last decade the various WebCams I have installed on Bonaire have allowed millions of people to experience Bonaire above and below water from afar via the Bonaire WebCams web site. But top-side WebCams apparently only go so far – people have really missed watching marine life under the water’s surface, and have made sure to let me know that fact.

Well, now that I’ve been home for a long enough stint (9 weeks), I have had a chance to install a brand new replacement Bonaire ReefCam. This one too shares the name of its predecessor – the Bonaire Pier ReefCam, since it is located under a pier. I installed it two days ago and it’s been working great ever since. The images you can see on the Bonaire WebCams site update internally every minute, and every 1-4 minutes for viewers (frequency depends on your membership level at the site).

Jake on the Bonaire Pier ReefCam right after it was installed

Jake seen on the Bonaire Pier ReefCam right after it was installed

Because I was installing the camera very close to land and in shallow water (it’s only 2-3 feet under water), I was able to design a very simple underwater camera system, which involved a high quality NTSC bullet camera, a couple of pieces of PVC pipe (one big, one small), clear resin, a UV filter, and about 60 feet of heavy garden hose to run the thin cable through and provide good environmental protection. Once the camera was potted, I attached it to a small two-by-four wood chunk, and then used cable and tie wraps to attach it to one of the pier pilings. I worked very hard to avoid damaging any of the orange cup corals on the piling during my installation efforts, and ran the cable and tie wraps between the small coral heads.

The Bonaire Pier ReefCam with school of silversides

The Bonaire Pier ReefCam with school of silversides

Once I verified the orientation was good, I used underwater epoxy to cement the camera and wood to the piling. This morning I went back for a quick snorkel inspection and I was pleased to find that the epoxy had set very well – I wasn’t sure it would because it was very soupy when I applied it (and the small bit of surge at the time didn’t help) – I ended up wearing a fair bit of the epoxy during the application attempt.

Close-up of the Bonaire Pier ReefCam - not pretty but very functional

Close-up of the Bonaire Pier ReefCam - not pretty at the moment but very functional

The end result is not particularly attractive at the moment, but marine growth should cover up most of the epoxy and wood in the coming months.  As long as the lens is kept clean, it will work just fine.

Below are a few more photos related to the new Bonaire Pier ReefCam, and you can find larger versions of all of the photos in this post on my Flickr pages.

The pier at Eden Beach on which the Bonaire Pier ReefCam is mounted. It is on the second piling from the left, under where these people are sitting. The garden hose protected cable goes under the pier into the gray box on the Eden Beach sign, and from there, the signal goes into a small server room where it is digitized and uploaded every minute.

The pier at Eden Beach on which the Bonaire Pier ReefCam is mounted. It is on the second piling from the left, under where these people are sitting. The garden hose protected cable goes under the pier into the gray box on the Eden Beach sign, and from there, the signal goes into a small server room where it is digitized and uploaded every minute.

Silversides on the Bonaire Pier ReefCam

Silversides on the Bonaire Pier ReefCam

A happy parrotfish poses with the Bonaire Pier ReefCam

A happy parrotfish poses with the Bonaire Pier ReefCam

 

Another Richter With a Camera

March 25th, 2010 at 12:35 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

One of the pleasures we enjoy during our varied trips is photography – both the act and the art of taking interesting pictures, and then later the reminiscing that occurs as we review and apply our imagery in various ways after our trips.

It appears that the youngest member of The Traveling Richters is now also looking at photography more seriously. While we have tried to engage him with both point and shoot cameras as well as video cameras, his enthusiasm for them waned quickly. He said that the point and shoots were too small and boring, and he didn’t want to deal with editing video after he shot it.

However, when I lent him one of my DSLRs on the very last day of our voyage into the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic, he became captivated with using the camera, and kept at it for a couple of hours, working the angles, the subjects, and lighting.

Bas working the angles while taking photos of moss on a post

Bas working the angles while taking photos of moss on a post

We were on New Island, in the West Falkland Islands area, visiting a rookery featuring Rockhopper penguins, King cormorants, black-browed albatross, as well as caracaras and turkey vultures.

Bas with camera in hand at New Island

Bas with camera in hand at New Island

I helped him sort through his images later in the evening so we could submit three shots to use as part of the cruise slide show. Below are those three final images – all of which are very nice shots.

A rockhopper penguin in the rookery at New Island

A rockhopper penguin in the rookery at New Island

Some of the splendid scenery on New Island in the West Falklands

Some of the splendid scenery on New Island in the West Falklands

A striated caracara sits atop a wreck at New Island

A striated caracara sits atop a wreck at New Island

Bas now says that New Island was the best part of his entire trip, mainly because he had a real camera in hand. I have promised to let him use one of my DSLRs at home so he can practice with it some more. It will be curious to see if his interest remains stronger with the better equipment.

 

Super-Large Panorama of King Penguin Colony

March 14th, 2010 at 4:52 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Now that I’m back in the world of real Internet connections I can upload another panorama I created during our recent trip to the Antarctic region.

While at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia, we witnessed a King penguin colony numbering in the many hundreds of thousands of penguins. I already uploaded one panorama from that day, but have an even larger (and more astounding) one to share today. If you look at the image closely, you can even see skuas flying above the colony looking for easy prey.

Click on the image below to get to the full panorama. Warning – it is 42,043 pixels wide, and nearly 20 megabytes in size. No guarantees that your browser will allow you to view an image that large, but give it a try.

A close-up panorama of the King penguin colony at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia

A close-up panorama of the King penguin colony at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia

Once (and if) the larger panorama image appears in your browser, you may want to right-click on the image and save it locally to your hard disk and use a better image viewer to look at it in detail. You can also use the “Download the Original Size” link to accomplish this.

 

The Black Penguin

March 11th, 2010 at 5:48 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

It figures that something remarkable was seen on our trip, but I completely missed it. Fortunately my daughter Krystyana did see it – and she also managed to take several photos of this unusual critter. I’m speaking of the Black Penguin, a flightless bird with unusual coloring that appears to have taken the world by storm.

Black King penguin next to normal King penguin

Black King penguin next to normal King penguin

Fellow traveler and National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Andrew Evans posted a photo of the melanistic penguin on his blog, which led to another post in the Intelligent Travel blog, and from there it seems to have spiraled into a major news story.

So, to help prove that Andrew’s photo was not an anomaly, below are a few more photos of the Black Penguin.

Black Penguin in the foreground with a regular King penguin in the background

Black Penguin in the foreground with a regular King penguin in the background

The Black Penguin

The Black Penguin

Larger versions of the above images, along with additional photos can be found on Krystyana’s Flickr pages.