Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jupiter Moon conjunction

It's one of those days where I have a huge list of things to do but somehow nothing can be done in parallel and there's a lot of waiting around, never with quite enough time to get on with something else useful. I write this as I'm waiting for two programs to finish running and give me results for a paper I'm finally writing up having met up with a collaborator in Greece last week - of which more, perhaps, soon.

Anyway, after dinner with some friends last night I got home and saw the moon in near conjunction with Jupiter. I took a few shots and put two of them together to make the following, where Ganymede, Io and Calista were easily seen with the 300mm lens.

Jupiter and the moon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Milky Way over Milos

I haven't taken any landscape shots since I arrived here in Milos. Everywhere is stunning by the times we've been out of lectures the light hasn't been that interesting. However, last night after dinner I took myself round to a secluded corner a few minutes walk from the hotel, set up the tripod and took an hour's worth of photos of the spectacular sky, the milky way slicing it in two and Jupiter lighting up a good part of it. In this photo Jupiter is the bright light in the top left.

Milky Way from Milos
In this photo you can clearly see the Lagoon nebula just above the horizon in the band of the milky way.
Milky Way over Milos
The colour balance is a bit wonky in this panorama so I'll try and replace this when I have time after my talk on Friday:
Milky way panorama
The first two photos were taken with a Canon 17-85 at 17mm, f/5 and around 60 seconds exposure at ISO 1600. The last photo is a panorama of six photos taken with a Canon 50mm at f/1.8 for 30 second exposures at ISO 400.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Milos on the fly

All is well here in Milos. I spent an enjoyable 24 hours in Athens, caught up with a friend I used to share a flat with in England, gourged myself on feta, moussaka, sun-dried tomatoes and baklava, caught a glimpse of the Acropolis, panicked about my talk, finished a bunch of calculations which have been dragging on and attempted to get some sleep before heading out here on the boat.

The island is beautiful but I haven't had any time yet to explore, this is the double-edged sword of being on a beautiful island with your collaborators! Still, the talks so far are not bad, and the coffee time discussions are proving useful (I've well and truly fallen off the coffee abstinence wagon). I haven't had a moment to take any photos yet but I plan on heading out to a peak to catch the sunset if I can tonight.

The next few days will doubtless fly by, then I have a couple of days in Athens, before I head back to Spain where I have to dive straight on with projects and finally getting one of my papers written up...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Off to greece

I haven't had a moment to think about my trip to Athens followed by Milos, starting tomorrow. It's been a very enjoyable but utterly chaotic week with lots of work getting done along with some time spent turning 30, and little sleep.

I'll see if I can update from Greece but it looks like that's going to be non-stop too. I hope that everyone else is managing life at a more reasonable pace...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Islas Cíes (With thanks to Daniel for the correction)

It's been a decent 13 hour work day so far and it seems like the week is going to continue in this fashion. With two projects to finish off, a talk which I desperately need to write for Milos next week, a friend and visitor (one and the same) turning up on Wednesday, a precarious pile of papers which I need to catch up with before the conference and a dozen other things which absolutely have to be done in and out of work, it looks like it's going to be a busy one.

Sunday saw a trip to the Islas Cíes which I'll post up if I have any time in the next couple of weeks. The Isla is one of Galicia's greatest treasures and the Galicians are very proud of pointing out that it was once voted the best beach in the world in a Guardian list a few years ago. The water is beautifully clear, the sand is truly some of the finest I've ever walked on and the forested hills covering the island are stunning, but any beach which backs onto such East Atlantic waters is going to have some problems in the water temperature department - I managed nothing more than a five minute swim. Anyway, definitely worth a trip across on the ferry from Vigo if you're in town.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A little light and colour

It's been a non-stop week with a depressing number of hours spent simplifying a pair of equations - finally to good effect, but such mindless work is pretty tiresome.

The weekend has also been pretty non-stop but I'm taking a couple of hours this morning to catch up on a little Chinese. I've had some great couchsurfers from the States this week including a photographer who has passed on some great photoshop hints and tips.

I like to follow the position of the sunsets through the year, the position of the moon in the sky through the month and the planets as they pass through the constellations. I find that having scraps of this knowledge mean that wherever I am I feel quite settled because I can orient to these phenomena. We've been having some great sunsets for the last week and the position of the sun right now casts a shadow from the hills in the distance across the slopes to the South with some spectacular sunbeams. This was taken last week as dusk set in.

Santiago sunbeam

When my friends were out from England last week we went up to the church on the hill at Pontedeume, a lovely fishing town with some wonderful windy streets through the old town on the slopes. The walk up to the top of the  hill is a good few km of stunning views as the bays below pan out. On the way down we passed some felled trees, and the colours in the early evening were particularly vibrant.
Pontedeume colours

Next week a good swathe of the department is out of office at a meeting but I'll be busy preparing for the conference in Milos towards the end of the month. I'll be talking on a paper we wrote earlier in the year and have to remind myself of a fair few subtleties which have faded in the mean time.

so, until next time...