Cumberland Island

My son’s troop had a trip to Cumberland Island over the MLK weekend.  We braved the traffic and ice in Atlanta to drive down on a Friday night to arrive in time to meet a 9am ferry Saturday morning (stayed at the KOA in St. Mary’s – which graciously let us check in late at night).

The ferryboat
The gear is piled on the deck in the bow – so if rain is likely it is critical that the packs are properly weather proofed. We were lucky on the way out and had beautiful weather, but on the way back, well that was another story.

Because of the ice there were a large number of cancellations and our scoutmaster was able to arrange for a campsite in the seacoast site. This was probably good as we had some fairly young scouts and a couple of fairly old scouters along as well.

Cumberland island is a live oak/ palmetto forest (or at least the southern half where we were is), with a beautiful beachEast Coast Beach on the east coast and swamp on the west coast.Along the central road There are wild horses wild horses, amadillos
armadillo, racoons, deer, and an assortment of birds, including the ubiquitous turkey vulture.

Indeed we were warned to use a “minibear” bag to keep the racoons out of our food, and I used the chance to teach about the PCT method of hanging bear bags.

The trail map shows a short walk by the Dungenous ruinsThe Ruins out to a place were fill dirt is placed. This fill dirt is full of fossil sharks teeth and fish bones. Since it is disturbed soil and will be used on the road, you are allowed (indeed encouraged) to keep the teeth you find.

Rain was predicted for Monday morning, and as I’d brought a tarp as well as my tent, I thought it might be fun to set up a “Taj Mahal”
my Taj Mahal We hurried back in the rain to catch the 10am ferry and after a 6 hour drive (interrupted by a stop in Brunswick for seafood) were home.

Written by Rob in: outdoors,science,scouting,trail map |

Now I know

Now I know why so many southerner’s are libertarians – local government doesn’t work!  Three inches of snow followed by a small amount of sleet and the city of Atlanta is shut for two days (at least).

Anyway I got some cross-country skiing in – and on major roads that should have been cleared for emergency services if nothing else.

Being familiar with driving on this sort of stuff I could get out, but where would I go? Everything else is shut (slight exaggeration, some of the grocery stores are open).

Written by Rob in: rant |

Night pictures with the A480 & CHDK

Had a chance to try the a480 and chdk to take some star pictures.  The results are mixed.  At low resolution a 512S exposure

looking nearly due north

looking nearly due north

looks pretty good.  (the line is an airplane).  There are many more stars in the image than were easily visible by eye – so the sensitivity of the detector was very good.

A longer picture slightly to the west:

1200 s exposure

1200 s exposure

What is neat is how much the stars move during the time frames.   You can also see some of the color differences for the stars.  The sky was clear enough to see some of these color differences with eyes only (especially one of the arms of orion and one of Taurus’s horns).

There are a couple of problems with this experiment though, which can be seen in the details

detailed section

detailed section

There is some shot noise (probably using raw mode with bad pixel correction would help), and it is slightly out of focus (there was nothing for the autofocus system to work on).   There is supposed to be a way to use CHDK to set the focus to a defined location – just have to find out how to use it.

Using long exposures quickly depletes the batteries, but it’s clear that a shorter exposure will work – so those scripts that take many shorter exposures would probably be best to get the long term circular images.

Written by Rob in: engineering,outdoors,science |

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