Saturday 31 March 2018


There were 7 of us on Sat, 3 of us on Sunday, I alone on Mon - all with photos of
Venus and Mercury, Moon on Sun & Mon, and 3 of us on Tue without a photo. And 100+ photos later, I still have writer's cramp!

So in the interests of freedom, Here are some images from the Wye River at #12, taken from the former railway bridge now serving as a bike/hike trail.

Some high contrast impressions, almost black and white:

The Wye was mostly ice-covered still, and greenish, so there was some colour.

It can be difficult to see the thin line between ice and water - the geese were breaking through.

The eyes on the Wyes have it:


Saturday 17 March 2018

Sunset over Bass Lake

It was cold - someone left the "door" open and there was a draft - 15kmh at -5C and bare heads, often, to take photos. (whoops, editor's note: bare hands - head must have been suffering hyperthermia?)

Here are some:

And then it was soon possible to see Venus lower left of Mercury:

My tripod could not take the cold any longer and its joints cracked finally after nearly 20 years of service - so the last photo was hand-held (loving care, and no shivers, my timbers of Sherwood  Forest.)

Mercury was only half the distance to Venus and had about the same angular size tonight, 10" arc seconds.

 links to Part I
and  to Part II

warming up after a Friday freeze

I spent an hour not seeing a beaver.

Looking North:

Looking East:

Looking South:

So I went home and exposed:

Overly -



Hope everyone is warm and dry.


Thursday 15 March 2018

Close Encounters

the Mute Swan swam right up to me from a distance of 150m or so, today. This American Tree Sparrow flew in on me at the end of yesterday's walk. And waited for me to get the focus half decent.

Now tell me it is not an ATS!

Ok, Doug!


Wanted to share

Close encounters:

As usual,


Tuesday 13 March 2018

Sommer time and the livin' is ...

Since Sunday at 2a.m. we have "sprung forward" into summer time

It has snowed several times each day since - so it must be true. And without the six weeks of Winter that that Ground Hog predicted.

For me there are a couple of birds I associate with Spring into Summer. Here is one.

I think there were two different birds among the shumac.

I hope it is not turning its back on either me or Summer.


Tuesday 6 March 2018

The story of the beaver

"Bill, and the beaver is on your left a short distance after you enter the wooded straight stretch once you come out of the big curve and past the open field heading towards ... " So began my adventure, started by Donald with several breath-taking photos of a beaver. I wanted to see the animal for myself. I actually drove past the place 3 times before deciding to park the car and walk slowly to see if I could see better on the ground.

At first I saw nothing:

I am not very observant - note the little trees left of the large tree trunk and right of the stump at the edge of the brown ice. From a few feet further those little trees look so:

Now this is looking promising. And I did open my eyes a little wider.

And I took a closer look:

And the clinching evidence, maybe:

A beaver!

With its chewing stick:

From 1992!

Well done beaver.


Monday 5 March 2018

Venus and Mercury - Part II: Sunday March 5, 2018

The secret to taking photos of stars and planets in the twilight is to choose a long focal length, a large F/ratio and not be afraid of a fast shutter speed - like 1/125sec. The sky is bright, surface brightness is high - so anything that primarily reduces surface brightness will increase the contrast between point-like sources, planets and stars, and the background sky. Be brave and try: every camera lens has its own story.

So Vicki and I returned Sunday evening just in time to catch the sunset:

And then we were surprised - we don't read the script!

Mercury is so much closer to us than Venus is, that Mercury's apparent motion is dominant for now:
(Mercury is 1.187 AU away vs Venus' 1.655AU where 1 AU is the nominal distance of the Earth from the sun, but really 0.992AU on Sunday since the Earth was at perihelion on Jan4)  Maybe the following graphics will help. Recall that planets move counterclockwise around the Sun.)

I credit John Walker for the model of the inner solar system.
We are looking forward to March 18 when the crescent Moon will be back in the picture.


Venus and Mercury - Part I: Saturday March 4, 2018

Vicki and I attended the Couchiching Conservancy AGM in the afternoon - a great event, a great cause, and a great collection of enthusiastic people. Afterwards, the sky was still clear so we went over to Bass lake, Line 15, on the east shore with a clear view 3km to the western woods to await sunset and to then try to see Venus and Mercury.


Venus and Mercury:

Venus has twice the apparent diameter of Mercury:
Equatorial Diameter    Mercury = 5.67"; Venus = 10.09"
By March 24, their apparent diameters will be nearly equal. Hope that there will be some good opportunities to observe.