Everglades (Sail) Kayak Trip 2017

Everglades time again! This year I went for five days/four nights with my sister Diana Pray from LA. We did a lazy double figure eight route around northeastern Whitewater Bay and the Gulf. [Gallery] With the exception of a few distant motorboats we were completely alone for four days, quite remarkable!

 

The wind was southerly the entire trip, so the first day we started out sailing almost all the way to the Roberts River Chickee.

 

I brought along a 360° panoramic camera and took some impressive shots! Here we are on our own little planet.

 

The next day we took The Cut-Off over to the North River and ate lunch on the Watson River Chickee. Then we got lost in The Labyrinth on our way to the Shark River.

Surprisingly we ended up on what I call “Dad’s Creek” where my father and I dumped the canoe in 2005. This set us up for a very pleasant twilight excursion up stream to the Shark River Chickee.

The next day the water was like glass as we headed into one of the northern channels of the Shark River to set up our boomerang out to the Gulf of Mexico. [The river reverses flow twice a day, down with the outgoing tide and up with the high tide. So if you time it right you can ride the current both ways! I call the upstream flow the “Everglades Escalator!“]

This trip was remarkable for how many sea creatures we saw! We watched dolphins feeding/cavorting at least ten times, including their habit of laying on their side in the shallows and splashing fish onto the shore.

We saw a Manatee come up for air and then swim under us in the Labyrinth. But the highlight was returning up the Shark River where we were in the middle of a group of Sea Turtles (maybe ten!) who would popup randomly for air and be gone in a second. [It reminded me of whack-a-mole!] One actually ran into Diana’s kayak!! The heads were huge so I think the were Loggerheads.

We got back to the Watson River Chickee at dusk, promptly ate and went to bed. The next morning we were greeted by dolphins feeding a few feet away!

The next day was a leisurely float down the eastern side of Whitewater Bay.

We got to the Lane Bay Chickee well before dark and had some time to relax and swim. The breeze finally kept the bugs off <smile>.

 

The next day we worked our way down through the maze of Hells Bay.

Back on Whitewater Bay we encountered a 10-15 mph headwind. It was a bit of a slog but so much better than a canoe!

A quick return trip across Coot Bay finished our most excellent adventure!

Intro to Spherical Photography

I’ve always been fascinated by 360° spherical photographs (sometimes called “mirrorballs, planets or wormholes”). [Click to Enlarge]

I bought a Ricoh Theta S with two 180° fisheye lenses pointing in opposite directions. The raw photographs are similar to equirectangular maps where the equator is “normal” and the poles are stretched. To prove this point I took a random map from the web and transformed it into a globe…

Here is the Theta S equivalent of the source map above…

The camera is controlled from a smartphone, and comes with software to turn the flat image into a sphere (top), a planet, or a wormhole (below).

The photos above were taken with a special tripod that is mostly invisible. The camera does have a physical shutter release so it can also be used as a handheld. [Note the giant hand, but where’s the camera?!]

 

You can flatten the horizon for an ultra-wide angle panorama.

Or bend the photo into a 360° planet

 

In the two photos above, the camera is mounted on a two foot mast just in front of my feet.

Trim the top and bottom and you have a 360° conventional panorama

You can also hold the camera above your head for an interesting effect…

 

I finally understand how these Mars Curiosity self-portraits are possible, again where’s the camera?!

Denver Colorado 2016

We are enjoying the fall colors in the Mile High City. Most of the flower photos in this gallery are from the Denver Botanic Gardens.

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The temperature is abnormally high due to the global warming “hoax” and the pollinators are still hard at work! Notice her little red tongue!

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More bees at work on this huge white waterlily

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And here’s a very large and colorful bromeliad

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And finally here is a vertical panorama of a magnificent cottonwood

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[All of these photos were taken with an iPhone 6se.]