Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

As I mentioned in my last two posts I had an amazingly good time on my recent cruise from Whittier, Alaska to Vancouver, Canada. I'll be occasionally posting pics from the trip here in this space as time allows.
There's something wonderful about watching the wake of a boat as its turbulent water interacts with the waves that are naturally there.
When the lighting is just right the interaction of the waves is quite impressive. You can see patterns of constructive and destructive interference as the waves meet.
The wake that most people think about is of the type shown above but there are others too, like what is found in a wind tunnel. In that case there is a stationary object with a fluid flowing past it.
That was the case with this little island in Canada. The humidity and temperature were just right to make the flow of air over and across the island visible, making a wonderful wake indeed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seals. On Ice.

The arrival of the cruise ship may have ruined their nap time but it helped to make my day. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Sense of Scale

It is hard to believe that it has been over a month since my last blog post. Work, and then vacation, has severely limited my time to blog, but there will be more posts soon covering the usual topics (light pollution, Star Trek, astronomy, etc.). Before I get to those I'll be posting some shots from my recent vacation (yeah, yeah, I know...) - a cruise along the coast of Alaska and Canada.

The really cool shots are coming later, but I wanted to start off with something a little different.

One day my wife and I were standing on the deck of the ship taking the view of Canada and the occasional ships gliding past when someone seriously asked, "Is that a Viking ship?"

Um, no. It wasn't a Viking ship, but at a glance it sort of resembles one, doesn't it? The guy asking the question was missing an important sense of scale. The vastness of the ocean and the distant mountains don't easily provide one with enough visual reference points to figure out just how far away or how big things are that can be seen passing through these land and seascapes.

The "Viking ship" was none other than a construction barge with two full-sized cranes on it - vastly larger than the passerby imagined it to be. 
A couple of days earlier my wife and I were out watching this wonderful rainbow:
It wasn't a double rainbow or the biggest, brightest rainbow we had ever seen but we saw it for perhaps longer in time than any other rainbow we had ever seen - 40 minutes or so. The motion of the rain, the boat, and the Sun all combined to make the light show last and last.

While we took in the view another tug boat sailed by pulling a barge with some shipping containers on it.
It didn't look too remarkable until I trained my zoom lens on the barge with the shipping containers. That's when I realized that it was pretty huge.
If you look carefully you'll notice that there are two full-sized Bluebird school buses on the barge. The one on the left is easily seen. The one on the right, much less so (top row, to the right of the blue container).

The things we already know to be big are dwarfed by the enormity and the beauty of it all and I am okay with that. It gives me a wonderful sense of scale.

More pics are coming up in future posts. So expect glaciers (like the one above), waterfalls, whales, dolphins, etc. here soon.