Monday, October 29, 2012

Birdy Sunday 2012-10-28

Together with my dad, we went to the airport to accompany my sister before she departs for Singapore. Afterwards, we head to the SM Mall of Asia for lunch and waste a few hours there. While waiting for the scheduled birding trip, we saw the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and many of her crews.

After taking some shots and observing the ship, we decided to go to the meeting place earlier and just waste our time there. When we meet our club president and other interested birders, we were told to go to LLPCHEA ahead of the group.

After the group have assembled, there was a short speech by Mike Lu and a short introduction by Mark Villa before we started birding.

We saw a lot fewer birds this time, but those kingfishers never fail to impress the group of newbie and oldie birders.

Common kingfisher

White collared kingfisher

Black crowned night heron

Before we left, we were treated to a nice view of the colorful sunset.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Astronomy in October

After weeks of cloudy sky, the rainy season is near its' end. At my place, I'm already getting some nice clear sky either during the day or night. Astronomy season is finally here.

October 18
I got home with a nice clear sky. Initially, I took my 15x70 bins out to scan the sky. After a few minutes, I couldn't hold the itch to image something. I took out my portable setup: a Canon SX120 digicam on an EQ-1 and start capturing the Andromeda galaxy, that's Messier 31 to number geeks. Then I saw Jupiter rising. It was already about 25 degrees from the horizon. So I took out my 102mm mak and set it up on a CG-4, find the target and start shooting. The seeing was still flaky at best, so I waited until the target reached 30 degrees. Then I took a few more clips. Not long after I started shooting, my batteries ran out of juice. I managed to collect these images.

October 22
The sky is clear again, but I have a lot of things to do, so I simply took a few moon shots from my Apex 127 mak to satisfy the astro fever.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sun 2012-10-07

After a few months of cloudy sky and anti-astronomy weather, I was finally able to do some astro session. I initially thought the sky will turn cloudy later, but I was wrong. The warm sun stayed open the entire afternoon. I took a short peek at the sun, but found out that some sunspots are available for imaging, so I took these.

 Sunspot 1582

Sun with spots 1582 and 1585, plus another small one on the upper left near the edge of the disk.

I used my 102mm Skywatcher mak, EQ-3 and Canon Powershot A590 digicam to capture these images using afocal method.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Marian Hill in Rizal 2012-10-07

A day earlier, I was biking along the Manila East Road when I saw something that caught my attention. From a distance, it looks like a statue of Jesus Christ on one side of the hill. I tried to get as close as possible, but the road seems to go up steeper than I'm willing to ride up with my folding bike, so I turned back.

The following day, I tried hiking up prepared for a long walk, but finished the hike up in less than an hour. Along the way, I encountered several groups of mountain bikers and a few hikers like me. The first half of road after the village is cemented, while the second half is a trail. There were many crucifix along the way up until I reached the gated area where the statues are located. Inside the gated area, there are several side paths each leading to a different statue.

Once I finished exploring the area, I continued along the path and found that the trail simply looped around to another way down that intersects the main trail. Earlier, while going up, I was unsure whether the path I took was the right one. But now I know that no matter which path I take, the result will be similar. Along the way down, I tried another path with steps. When I reached the end of the steps, it simply connects to the main trail again. Basically, you can't get lost or reach another place on these trails.

When I reached the end of my solo trek, I boarded a ride home. I don't even need to take a break because the climb was very short. It took me just 20 minutes to go up and a little over 15 minutes to go down. A short but fun hike to a new place.