Puʻuwaʻawaʻa Video

Another hike… Another video…

A little drone footage, a lot of stills. With the drone, the phone, and the little mirrorless M5 I was carrying three cameras for the morning. Most of my daypack was camera gear, along with a small first aid kit, 1/2 gallon of water and iced tea, and munchies.

I seem to have solved some technical issues that plagued my videos from earlier this year. Using a ND32 or ND64 filter really does help slow shutter speeds in full sunlight. You can see some choppiness in the faster pans, but that is mostly from using 30fps for the final rendering rather than in the source.

What did cause trouble is the vibrant greens of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa, some shots came out muddy yellow-green. Need the check how I am setting the white balance in the drone, need to use fixed sunlight rather than auto.

Hurricane Morning

Arousing a bit before sunrise I lay abed and remembered… Isn’t there supposed to be a hurricane?

Hurricane Douglas from Windy on 26 July, 2020
Hurricane Douglas windspeeds from Windy on 26 July, 2020

Um? No wind. No rain.

As I read the morning news I listened to a light rain start, even now an hour later it is still just a soft light rain, not enough for me to stop watering the plants yet.

Hurricane Douglas is centered about 70 miles northeast right now, just off the Hamakua Coast. It appears that Hawaii Island will be spared any real hurricane conditions. Quite a change from forecasts a couple days ago that predicted a direct strike.

Maui, Oahu, and Kauai may see much more of this storm, otherwise it is a very quiet Sunday here in Kohala.

Update: It is now late afternoon… No rain beyond that bit of light rain in the morning, no wind. It has actually been eerily calm all day.

First Storm of the Season

Here we go again.

Hurricane Douglas approaches the islands, GEOS West infrared image at noon, 25 July, 2020
Hurricane Douglas approaches the islands, GEOS West infrared image at noon, 25 July, 2020

Hurricane Douglas is the first hurricane to threaten the islands this season. The storm was a strong category 3 but has weakened a bit. It still packs 100mph winds and is expected to remain a hurricane as it passes.

Fortunately the path has shifted to the north slightly over the last 24 hours. The storm is now expected to miss the islands by a bit. Not by much, but enough to avoid hurricane force winds making landfall.

What we do expect is tropical storm force winds and heavy rain. We are ready for the winds, I secured everything yesterday. The rain? We could use some rain. The best outcome would be a day of good soaking rains on our side of the island.

Eyepiece Time

Given stay at home orders and a virus haunting our community I have gotten quite a bit of eyepiece time this year. Mostly quick driveway session in the evening, or sometimes the early dawn hours, a solo activity perfect for social distancing.

At the telescope in the driveway again
At the telescope in the driveway again

I usually use my roll-out scope ready in the corner of the garage, a classic 8″ Cave Astrola. Just roll it into the driveway, plug it in using the purpose located power receptacle on the corner of the lanai,. slide an eyepiece in… Ready to go in two minutes.

Last night was a perfect example… It was raining at sunset, but an hour later the skies were clear and dark. Better yet the rain had left clear, haze free air overhead with great transparency. I spent an hour hunting down dark nebulae in Aquila, dark clouds of galactic dust best visible with perfect skies.

The pages of the observing notebook fill quickly, a page or two each evening until the Moon comes back. I have so many object I have never viewed, so many easily visible from the driveway with a fairly small 8″ ‘scope.

Often I come across pleasant surprises, a pretty binary or a deep red carbon star, the region surrounding my target rich with stars and wisps of nebulae, so many wonders I have never seen despite years at the eyepiece.

Comfort Food

Eating habits in our communities have drastically changed. The most obvious evidence of this is the consistently bare shelves in the local supermarket.

Empty shelves in the baking goods aisle
Empty shelves in the baking goods aisle

Going out to do our weekly grocery shopping I wander the isles and make note of empty store shelves that were never empty before. There is a theme in those empty shelves, a pattern that reveals that how we eat has changed in substantial ways.

One of the first things to disappear from our local grocery were what I consider comfort foods… Boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, tins of biscuit dough, and that Hawaiian favorite SPAM. In those early days of stay at home orders people bought foods that were familiar from childhood, offering a reassurance of normalcy, at least in the kitchen.

Continue reading “Comfort Food”

Yet Another Leak

The joys of home ownership continue, but at least not our house this time.

A split PVC fitting sprays water from the house main water supply line.
A split PVC fitting sprays water from the house main water supply line.

Walking alongside the house I hear running water so I stop and listen. The sound is obviously a bad leak somewhere, but the sound is not coming from our house. Rather it is the other side of the hedge, under Bill and Gail’s house!

I push through the oleander hedge and listen again, yup… a leak.

Walking around I find Gail home and tell her about the leak. I crawl under their lanai to find a small muddy swamp and the leak right where the main line comes in from the street. Fortunately Bill is in already Kona, a few phone calls and a visit to Lowes and he is headed home with the right part for the fix.

It takes Bill and I ten minutes to make the fix, cutting the PVC, screwing in a new fitting, gluing the old line into the new fitting right where the PVC line from the street changes to copper for the house. Bill hands me parts while I play in the mud. We spend more time chatting than making the fix, waiting for the PVC glue to cure before applying pressure to test.

No problem with the repair, it was done right from the start. A problem solved and a good start to the day.

Banana Patch MkII

Back in February it was necessary to perform a distasteful deed… I cut down all of my bananas and used herbicide to kill as much of the root mat as possible. The reason? The plants had been infected with Banana Bunchy Top Virus.

The back yard banana patch has been leveled
The back yard banana patch has been leveled

The virus stunts the growth of the each stalk, with the leaves becoming dwarfed and bunched up at the top giving rise to the virus common name. Nothing to do but to kill the entire clump, wait a while and start over.

That wait is ending. Over the last week I have dug out the banana patch and prepared it to be a productive bed again.

To this end I have dug a small pit where the old patch was located. About twelve feet by eight, and about 18″ deep. This will be the new banana patch.

Continue reading “Banana Patch MkII”

Mauna Road

Two missions up into the saddle this week to go comet watching. Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE is rising in the northeast, blocked from view at home by the mauna, need to drive up to where I can see it.

With the comet as an excuse to get out well before dawn I may as well add a few secondary missions to the plan…

Make sure the drone batteries are charged for a few flights to photograph the saddle scenery at sunrise. The lava fields are spectacular at sunrise, one of my favorite places on the island.

The next mission is to photograph pueo along old Saddle Road. I tried two times, both times not a single bird to be seen. Where are the owls?

In any case a couple memorable trips into the dawn.

Looking down the Mauna Loa access road towards Mauna Kea
Looking down the Mauna Loa access road towards Mauna Kea