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James last won the day on August 19

James had the most liked content!

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About James

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    East Devon
  1. I got that wrong many moons ago with my shiny new EQ6... this was pre my joining FLO, even had to email Steve to ask him where the counterweight shaft was.
  2. Thank you There were some lovely images entered in this challenge and I think I've benefitted a fair amount from where I was and timing as much as anything else James
  3. I thought you and @peter shahwould recognise most, if not all of it Re the hire car.. next time If I get to go again it probably will be without family in part so that I can go outside school holidays, but I'm not really sure of the odds of that happening!! Thats a lot of scope to take over - I couldn't work out any realistic form of shipping that would enable me to get a scope over and not waste lots of time dealing with customs etc.. If you do go over and you plan well ahead try these guys: http://athos.org Don't be put off by the German/Spanish only website. They speak good English too! I left it to the last minute so was more limited in what I could hire from them. Also, I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to what 'mathematical' difference the dark skies make but I was using a 6" Evolution and it was comfortably outperforming my 10" Newt at home in terms of light grasp.. James
  4. Thank you My boy was seven the first time, 10 this time. He's sensible and pretty tough so this time he did a couple of long nights with me We stayed in a small villa with a pool - they'll appreciate that at any age. Driving anywhere does involve a lot of corners/switchbacks so if he's prone to being car sick maybe leave it a time The fast driving comment has made me laugh Our hire car was dismally underpowered and it was quite a struggle to get up the road, on the worst switchbacks it was a case of dropping into first, ramming the pedal to the floor and crossing fingers! You'd never know from the video..
  5. Enjoy!! I understand the temptations - it took a fair bit of willpower sometimes to pack up the car again with lots of water and biscuits and the kit! In hindsight I should have spent one or two more evenings just drinking by the pool!
  6. Thank you both The majority was done using a Canon 6D. Usually 25 second exposures, ISO3200 through a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens (which I hired for the holiday). Thank you Carole
  7. Thank you both for your comments I always find it interesting what part of a time lapse people actually like. It shouldn’t be a surprise I guess but I was surprised just how big Tenerife looks from La Palma...
  8. This August I was lucky enough to go back to La Palma with the family for a couple of weeks. Perhaps more importantly I was able to take my cameras, and this time I hired a telescope over there rather than look at the skies wishing I had my scope with me. Same as last time we were unlucky with the weather, by La Palma standards, and several nights were lost to very thick Calima - dust laden winds blowing from the Sahara . These clog up the sky and raise the temperature quite drastically. It also severely hampered my ‘schedule’ of timelapses I wanted to get but living in the UK I can expect perhaps one night in two weeks to be clear. I can’t complain at the loss of 4-5 nights out of two weeks! Although it was frustrating to miss the Perseids again - they were on the one night it actually rained!! La Palma, perhaps surprisingly for one of the best locations for astronomy in the world, is a very cloudy island. When conditions are ‘normal’ it is usual for the inhabited parts of the island at less than 3000 ft to be frequently cloudy at night time. The cloud comes and goes but is often there and can be seen in several of my timelapses. There is an inversion later at approximately 3000ft though above which it is as clear as it’s cloudy below. So, if you can get high enough you can get above the clouds and almost guarantee starry skies. But, the same situations that give those clouds give us cloud waterfalls over the Cumbre Vieja (the ridge of hills linking the north and south of the island) and some amazing fog. I could go back to La Palma just to do timelapses of the fog/cloud! If you can get high enough it’s truly worth it. Up at altitude the skies are very steady and clear. I could see detail and texture in the Milky Way right through from beneath Scorpius/Sagittarius, right overhead and down into Cassiopeia and Perseus. The Milky Way was visible right down to the horizon and the stars were pinpoint spots of light - no twinkling, not even low on the horizon! There are various spots at the side of the road you can set up on - although be prepared for a number of cars to drive past with their lights full on! I was quite surprised at the number of cars - several of my timelapses show the observatories lit up by cars with their lights on full. Of course, arguably I was part of the problem… but then I was happy to drive around on sidelights (once I’d sorted out turning off the cars internal illumination!) I met and spoke with a surprising number of people, mostly Spanish and German. But it was frustrating whilst taking a timelapse to have people drive up and take pictures of themselves pointing a torch at the Milky Way, right in my field of view. Some of my timelapses show this despite my best efforts. I was able to take Tom up with me a couple of times (even Kate came up too one night!). I quite like being on my own at night but at altitude and with the humidity at less than 5% and the walking around often being on rocky broken volcanic surfaces it was good to have company. Of course, Tom being 10 he can see way better than me, something he was happy to point out regularly! I've put together a timelapse which I’ve called the Road to the Roque. Whether you approach the Roque from the east from Santa Cruz de la Palma or from the north west (Hoya Grande) it’s at the top of a long very switchbacked road. Driving up and down 7-8 times over the two weeks burned out the hire cars brakes - thank goodness for power steering! You can’t get to the top without going up the road - the views along the way were stunning so any timelapse I put together I wanted to include that part of the journey! The car brakes really were burned out. On the last day driving back to the airport they were noisy enough I felt it best to leave the car in second gear for the last 13km (downhill).. I hired a telescope for about a week out there from an outfit that turned out to be just 10 minutes up the road ( http://athos.org ) A German setup (the guy I spoke to, Jan, spoke perfect English!) which has to be the kind of place I’d happily just move to (just as soon as that lottery win comes in). They have a place with several small houses for accommodation, observing platforms, observatories, plenty of kit and are in a truly dark spot. Absolute Paradise! They kindly gave me a guided tour (they took care I didn’t wake up some of the astronomers that had been up all night) but the place was great. I have started siphoning off money from my joint account… (luckily Kate doesn’t go on SGL!). I hired an Evolution 6 with Starsense. My rationale was to have something I could carry around easily and for it to be smaller than my main scope at home and something I haven’t used before. It worked out perfectly, the little 6 inch was giving me much better views than my 10” Newt does a home and many an hour was spent looking at Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus and looking at objects in the lower reaches of the Milky Way that we can’t normally see from the UK! The starsense was cool - level, aim north, hit a button… and it just worked! I could blether on for hours but won’t - here’s a link to the time-lapse I’ve done. Its missing some stuff I wanted to get but some stuff worked better than I’d expected so I can’t complain. A couple of the timelapses were done in strong dusty winds, in one of them I spent an hour hunched over the camera on it’s tripod holding a large black cloth as a shield for me and the camera from virtually gale force winds. Amazingly that one worked well although my shoulders weren’t so happy! Getting lost on the path on the way back down to the car was a bit hairy (the caldera was 20 ft to my right) but a bit of judicious Maps usage on my phone (most of the island provides at least 3G) enabled me to figure out that the all but invisible path I needed was just a few feet back from where I was… Finally, all else aside, I can’t overstate what having dark skies does. I live in a dark part of Devon and am grateful for that but the skies there were obscenely dark. The little villa we were staying in near Puntagorda on the north west of the island - you could walk literally straight out of the lit kitchen onto a patio and bang, there was the Milky Way, better than we even see it here, visible clearly in completely un dark adapted eyes… five minutes later and it’s enough to make you think… I could work from here you know, no need to go back to the UK…. I’ve started blethering again. Here’s the timelapse, I hope you enjoy it!
  9. That's cool I'm guessing that was next to a banana plantation The Milky Way is pretty clear considering the moon! Each night I went out I ended up chatting to people, mostly Spanish and German. I swapped half a pack of biscuits with one lot (there's had more chocolate and they'd never had hobnobs... done my bit for international relations. Timelapses are taking forever James
  10. Thank you I dunno Steve - I reckon I need to go back again to get it right this time
  11. Vastly easier to drive uphill than walk!!
  12. Thank you 25 seconds, ISO3200, 14mm f/1.8 Canon 6D. In hindsight I should have gone for either less time, less ISO or less wide open, prob less wide open, say f2.2 and 20 secs. In processing this and the others for a time lapse I’m having the dubious pleasure of having to turn down settings
  13. Good luck @knobby Don't click the following link unless you have plenty of data allowance on your phone or are on wifi Have a look here: http://lapalma.hdmeteo.com/index.php?user=meteo-elcharco This is pretty much live weather stats on La Palma (the location is a little bit up the hill and north of where you are (I'm guessing your near Las Indias/Fuencaliente). You'll see from the stats from the second map, up at the viewpoint at El Charco the humidity is 24%... there's definitely no cloud there! If you are able to do half a mile uphill? From memory it's a pretty steep hill mind! Looking at this stuff is a bit of a trap though unless you have a generous data allowance on your phone.. (and a tolerant spouse!) James
  14. Sorry! Missed your reply... I can't speak for October but statistically it's wetter and has less sun (not just because of shorter days!). If you get to altitude that would probably be irrelevant (although if you do go to altitude you'll need more clothes!). The top of the Roque in August was between 12-15c at night each time I was up there, although a couple of nights were windy and I would have appreciated a bit more clothing. Oddly, one place I went to only about 700 feet lower in altitude was 27c!! I needed my coat to ward off the mossies. Beneath the 'inversion layer' the temperatures are 'fairly' constant year round. Mid winter the Roque can get snow/ice... Being an island the weather is very 'temperate' and based on the direction of wind and predicting the weather is pretty variable (we're used to that in the UK!). I think if you take the approach that you'll drive up to somewhere at a higher altitude then the time of year isn't as important except in terms of clothing and astro targets. If you are constrained, i.e. don't have the option of driving up to higher altitude then the summer months will give you more chances. Hopefully there's a few on SGL that have been there at different times of the year and can chip in as I know that's all a bit vague!! James

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