I just got back from a 2 week trip to Boston for work (and PAX East). Just prior to departing, we went on a boat dive to Molokini Crater. It’s still whale season for another month or so and our dive was constantly serenaded by the sound of male humpback whales.
While diving, you always hope that you can encounter one of these enormous animals underwater, but it’s typically not that common (even in a place like Maui, that has a lot of whales around this time of year). Despite the odds being against us, we were extremely fortunate:
I had the GoPro mounted on top of my camera and was able to capture some video of it as well:
Here’s the description I posted on YouTube:
At the end of a dive at Molokini Crater, we were alerted to “some whales being around” by our captain. We we kept our heads down and continued to hope that we could be lucky enough to spot them. Eventually, they came into view – a mother and a calf. The calf was swimming about its mother and eventually came up for a breath. I know how large humpback whales are, but I didn’t actually appreciate it until the moment where you see mom come into frame. There was a rather overwhelming urge to back away once I could see just how large she was because, seriously, these things are HUGE. It’s one thing to know how large they are, but another to experience it yourself in very close proximity. The video makes it appear that they’re further away from us than they really are. As if we needed another surprise, there was a male escort slowing following the pair, which you see slowly cruise directly underneath us at the end of the clip. You always hope to have an encounter like this while diving, but you never think that you’re lucky enough to experience it. Today, we were that lucky. This was shot w/ a GoPro Hero3 with a red filter from polarprofilters.com on it. This is why the sky is all red when I bring the camera out of the water. Had I not been completely overwhelmed with the moment, I would have remembered that and not tried to get a shot of the whales breathing because the color is all messed up. I decided to leave the audio completely unchanged. All the whale songs you hear are what we were actually hearing (the whales you saw were not the ones singing) and the “machine gun” sound is the camera that the GoPro was mounted on top of.
I think it sums up the moment as best as I can. It’s still very difficult to put into words.
There’s a few more shots from the trip that were uploaded to the Underwater Gallery that are worth checking out… but little compares to a 50′ long mother humpback whale.
We had a sunrise whale watch yesterday that was pretty amazing. I didn’t bring my camera gear with me because the plan was to head up to Honolua Bay to snorkel afterwards (which meant leaving thousands of dollars in photo equipment in the car – which I’d rather not risk). Instead, I just brought my not-awesome set of underwater photo gear with me.
Due to a lot of recent rain, the top 2-3 feet was really murky. There was also a really crazy thermocline that kept the top really chilly. The entrance was also particularly frigid. After toughing that out, we were rewarded by getting to see our first manta ray ever:
There’s a few more shots of this guy in the Underwater Gallery.
Also had the opportunity to shoot a turtle getting some cleaning
and a moray protecting his home
As far as brief snorkel trips go, this one was top notch!
I wanted to quickly post some pics from our whale watch last Thursday.
The first is a shot of a whale breaching. He did this a few times for us and I managed to get a few nice shots. You can see Molokini Crater in the background.
You can see a couple more shots from the same whale watch in the fauna gallery.
The next is a shot of the west Maui mountains. It was just before sunset and we had about a week of really gloomy and rainy weather. While the grass loves the rain, it usually makes for some bad photo opportunities. I think the clouds add some character here.
I’m getting ready to get a new iMac. This will be an upgrade to my “primary host” which is currently an older Macbook Pro (though not so old as to not be an aluminum unibody). I expect that the laptop could die virtually any day and I’m trying to be prepared.
My normal routine is to bring the laptop into the livingroom with me and work off of that. The main thing that locks me onto the laptop is my RSS feeds.
A long time ago, I started using OS X’s Mail.app to manage my RSS feeds. It made a lot of sense to keep it in the same place that I receive my mail. The biggest problem with this solution is that Mail doesn’t sync the feeds to anything. And since I follow 50 separate feeds, having two out-of-sync clients is a horrible idea. If I’m going to use a fairly unmovable iMac, then I want to utilize my iPad when I’m not in my office. It’ll also be a huge benefit when I’m traveling, as I prob won’t have a laptop to bring with me and an iPad is a great laptop replacement for travel.
So there are two issues to overcome:
- I need to find an RSS client that can sync across multiple clients
- I need a way to export my current feeds into that new client
Problem 1 was solved with Google Reader. It works great in a browser and on the iPad. Everything stays synced when you view items on different machines. It’s really awesome.
The second took some digging, but I finally came across this post which provides a tool to export your Mail RSS feeds into a format that Google Reader can import. It didn’t work as-written for me because the path it expected was slightly wrong. It also didn’t get feeds that were in folders, which I worked around by copying them into the root folder. It wouldn’t be difficult to build out the script to be more robust, but it’s really not necessary.
Making a quick code patch took only a few mins and, once done, I was good to go.
After a day on Reader, I’m both impressed and very satisfied. Definitely makes the transition to heavier iPad reliance easier.
Just wanted to share some photos from yesterday.
The first is a shot from Ho’okipa around sunset where turtles occasionally haul out for some relaxation in the evening hours. Presumably, it’s also a great way to avoid predators since, last I checked, sharks can’t breath air.
The next set are some cane toads from Haiku.
These guys are a rather horrible invasive species. Native species and pets simply don’t know to avoid them and the toads secrete a really nasty toxin that can kill animals that don’t know better. I managed to snap a few good shots despite it being pitch black when these guys stood still long enough for me to frame them up.
Last weekend, Profiles in History hosted an online auction with a large set (500 separate lots) of original animation art from the Marvel Animated Series broadcast on Fox in the 1990′s. The most popular show in the block, by far, was X-Men.
As a huge fan and a consummate geek, I knew I needed to obtain part of this history.
I’m happy to report that I now own the following cels + backgrounds:
Some of these, such as the Phoenix landing sequence comprise of multiple cels on the same background. Also feel free to enjoy my reflection in some of them as I took photos with my phone.
A few of the lots also came with some original concept art, which I need to figure out exactly what I want to do with. I’m thinking I may want to have some scenes framed where the background and cel is next to (probably in a vertical orientation) the drawing.
Once I get that sorted out, I’ll need to find a good framer and hold my breath for a quote.
Either way, I’m extremely excited and very happy that I now own these pieces of geek and animation history.
I’m getting worse at updating this site. For that, I’m sorry.
I’ll try to do better.
Almost amazingly, until yesterday, I had never swam at Honolua Bay. I’ve driven past it a ton of times, but never snorkeled there.
The last time Corinne visited (about two weeks ago), she came back telling me about seeing some squid — which got me REALLY excited (I love cephalopods). I was really worried that we’d show up and there wouldn’t be any.
Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed! I also took some video, that’s going to take a while longer to go through. For now, enjoy the squid and eel photos that I posted to the Underwater Photo Gallery (along with one nice “seascape” looking up at a huge coral head from about 20′ down).
I just realized that it’s been two months since I updated last. Oops.
I can say I’ve definitely been busy.
At the end of February, I had 2.5 weeks of travel for work. I flew back to Boston and stayed there for a week. Then I flew to San Fran and stayed in Mountain View for 1.5 weeks for training. I got back home on 3/7.
Corinne and I managed to have some good weekends since then and we had one of her friends visit us for a week. In the midst of all of that, I took myself to the ER for what turned out to be kidney stones. It’s been a pretty uncomfortable week due to that, but it’s nothing that’s been debilitating by any means.
And now that I’m fully back into my routine, I’m catching a red eye on Wednesday back to Boston. While I’m going to be gone for two weeks, thankfully only a week of the trip is for work. I’m going out early to hit up PAX East and then I’ll be visiting my mom in NC at the end of the trip.
The day after I get back, we’ll have another visitor and then two more not even a week after the first departs. It’s going to be VERY busy through the end of May.
Should be a blast!
Corinne wanted a whale watch trip for her birthday. How could I deny that – especially when I get to go with her!
One thing she really wanted to see was a spy hop. Unfortunately, as it pertains to humpbacks and especially during their time in the Hawaiian islands, spyhopping is a fairly uncommon activity. But fortunately, someone forgot to tells this delightfully inquisitive whale that today.
I posted an additional 15 awesome whale images in the Fauna Gallery. I took about 1200 shots today and these are the ones that I liked. There were a lot of “empty” frames right before and right after the action in addition to incredibly redundant shots. There are plenty more that I liked that just weren’t as nice. I’m still holding out to get a nice shot of a breach. Maybe after I get back from my upcoming travels.