Sunday, June 28, 2009

Midwinter Festival

Temperature: -57.4C
Wind Chill: -74.2C
Wind Speed: 7.2kts

Okay, a week has gone by, figured it would be a good time to update you all on something that Cully already has about five days earlier! Midwinter Festival...and, yes I will probably use a couple of Cully's photos, too!

Midwinter Festival is a time for a lot of us to realize that we are halfway through our stay down here...and it's a time for the rest to know that they passed the halfway point a while back! Just like Sunset Dinner, the place was decked out with a single long table, bottles of wine,

the lounge had appetizers while we waited for everyone to assemble...

and then it was time to feast! Started off with a salad,

and then came the soup course...pumpkin, with a sour cream swirl. Of course the galley staff had a tribute to Cully and I, which was evident when I got my bowl...

The rest of the meal was delicious, with surf & turf as a main course...a sight to behold

followed by one of the most decadent desserts I have seen...Baked Alaska!!

Dinner was delicious, and I took the opportunity later that night to get a photo with some guys that decided to model their hair style after mine...

The following day, the gym was transformed into a carnival, with games strewn all over the floor...ring toss, putt-putt golf, tarot readings...pretty cool.

Then came the auction,

and there were many items to bid on, from snickers bars, bags of a pie in the station manager's face!

I wound up bidding on a hand made flute, made by one of our heavy equipment operators out of a cherry tree on his property back home...sold for $240. I figured I was justified since the bag of Doritos went for $66!

Soon to follow came the concert, and there was a lot of talent up there! We listened to some vocals to start off with,

and that was followed by the electric guitar groups. The last group, in particular, was really good, and played a lot of high energy music.

During their set, they requested my presence on the floor (and this is where the talent ends...) to dance for one of their songs. Those of you who know me, know I don't dance, well or otherwise, but for some reason it seemed safe to act like a raving lunatic in front of everyone...

apparently there is a u-tube posting, and I'm sure I'll be revealing that to you when I find out what it is! At the end of the night, some kind folks helped polish off the brew, to keep from having to store it of course, and I caught some interesting shadow work...

That weekend was extremely draining, but it was well worth it for what we got to experience!

Since then, we have had some pretty awesome skies, and I hope you enjoy the skies as much as we do down well as some of Cully's entertainment!

Hope everyone is safe and doing what they enjoy!
Capt. Splash

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Auroras and Competitions

Temperature: -55.6C
Wind Chill: -74.6C
Wind Speed: kts

Just a quick note to let folks know I am trying to get reaquainted with my camera again. Last week, before the moon dove under the horizon for the next two weeks, I was able to snap a couple more aurora pictures from ARO.

Our pool competition is nearing regular completion play...before the finals start, and right now I am sitting pretty good. I seem to have lost some of my game, though, so we will have to see how the next couple weeks play out....

On a lighter note, I have some unexpected news! Some people down here entered a photo competition out of Tasmania, celebrating midwinter in the southern hemisphere. They sent in a couple shots, and waited a couple weeks to find out if they had been selected as one of the finalists. The photos are about the size of a sheet of paper when they are printed out, and the finalists have the option of having those prints be shown at another gallery in Australia. A couple friends talked me into entering a couple of my pictures, and I just found that the one of Cully launching one of our ozone balloons got selected!

We'll see where this goes, but I am really glad I got talked into submitting into this competition!! Looking forward to seeing what the outcome far three of us from the station became finalists...our sous-chef, and our PA also got selected!

Midwinter Festival is coming up on station as well, delicious food, live music, and games will be the order of this weekend. I will try to snap a few shots of some of those good times! In the mean time, take care and we'll keep the rest of the real world up to date with the goings on down here!

Capt. Splash

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Temperature: -65.1C
Wind Chill: -84.6C
Wind Speed: 8.1 kts

Cully's a genius! Over the weekend, he ripped my camera apart, and fixed it! Now the sensor isn't blocked anymore, and it will actually take the picture!!

When I went out to work the next morning, I decided to spend a little bit of time on the roof, and in front of ARO, familiarizing myself with my camera again. I happened to be up on the roof while the Lidar was in the middle of its rotation, so I got pictures with a couple different laser angles.

The Southern Cross was right above the building, so that was a good follow up...

While I was outside, a small aurora showed up, so I went to the front of ARO and, with the moon being as bright as it was, tried to figure out exactly what shutter speed to use...I could have possibly overexposed these pictures

Taking a look at the pictures once both myself and my camera had defrosted, I realized that the pictures were a tad bit on the blurry side. Thinking that I might have actually damaged the lens during the camera's premature dismount off the tripod, Cully took another look at the camera. He readjusted the manual focus ring on the lens, labeled a couple set points, and handed the camera back. These were a couple pictures that I took yesterday...

I need to spend some more time with the camera outside, weather permitting of course, but I'm really happy with what I have so far!

Thank you Cully!!!

Hope everyone is staying warm!
Capt. Splash