Saturday, 26 June 2010

Partial Lunar Eclipse from Sydney, Oz

Before I went to the footy tonight to see Collingwood belt Sydney, sigh, I was able to grab a picture of the moon. This was before the partial lunar eclipse due an hour or so later. I shot this photo through my Galileoscope with my Lumix Lx3. No special tricks or anything. I just pointed the telescope at the moon and raised the camera up to the eyepiece and fired away.
The photo was F/2.8, at 1/200 sec and ISO-80 and taken from Sydney at 5:47PM. I've flipped the photo to correct the inverted image from the telescope. Click the picture to embiggen.

Unfortunately the eclipse coincided with the annual blockbuster between Sydney and Collingwood out at the Olympic stadium. I probably should've stayed home and tried to get some proper shots of the eclipse because Collingwood smashed Sydney. I did manage to see the eclipse during the the quarter time and half time breaks and from the top of the car park after the game. Pity I didn't have my telescope with me. The picture below is about as good as I could get with a digital camera which only has a 65mm zoom. This photo had an aperture of F/2.8, a shutter speed of 1/500 sec and ISO-80 and taken from Sydney Olympic Park at 10:09PM. Click picture to embiggen.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Southern Cross image fixed.

Thanks to another suggestion from Ian at Astroblog I've re-done the photo of the Southern Cross. Instead of just stacking 3 images I've rotated each to match the rotation of the sky in between shots for a far better result.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A couple of shots of the Southern Cross from Beechworth

Before we went to Victoria a couple of weeks ago I'd been reading Ian Musgrave's Astroblog and he'd written a post about using The Gimp for astrophotography. The Gimp, or Gimp 2, is a free open source Photoshop. It does almost everything Photoshop does but it is free. I've been using Gimp for a while - it was my photo editor of choice for use on my little EeePC for our recent trip to Japan. Using a digital camera you can take multiple exposures of the sky and then stack them in Gimp to create a fairly decent astrophotograph. The stars are quite a bit brighter when stacked.

So armed with my trusty Lumix Lx3 and Gorilla Pod mini tripod I spent an hour or so on a freezing Beechworth night snapping the Milky Way.

For the images below I stacked 3 individual photos. Each of the exposure was around 30 to 40 seconds. As you can see there are some star trails around the edges of the photos. The sky rotates fast enough that a 30 or 40 second exposure creates quite a trail. Next time I'll do what Ian suggested and take a few more photos but limit the exposure to about 8 seconds.

But as a first attempt I'm pretty pleased. By the way the main constellation in both photos is the Southern Cross.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Myrtleford Butter Factory

Long weekends don't seem so long when you're on your way back home. Before heading off on a 7 hour drive you need to have a good breakfast and that is why we stop in Myrtleford at The Butter Factory. Coffee, toast, pancakes with butter and Canadian maple syrup, bacon and eggs and eggs benedict.
The Butter Factory is pretty popular so we weren't able get a seat inside but they eventually managed to get a heater started up on the verandah which made sitting outside marginally less freezing. It had been cold enough that their cold water pipes had frozen earlier that morning. When I was growing up here as a kid our water pipes froze on a regular basis in Winter. Many a morning we'd have no cold water till midday when the sun had a chance to thaw out the pipes.

After brekky team Nixon split up. Moira went south to Melbourne and home and we set a course north for Sydney.
Only one more incident of note for the weekend before we got home. I seemed to be pissing people off this weekend. We stopped for petrol in Albury about an hour into the trip. I filled it up, paid and went to the dunny. I thought I'd better wash the windscreen because it was spattered with bugs and it was pretty messy. I'd just started doing the windscreen when I realised that a 4 wheel drive was parked in behind the Cressida in the queue to get petrol. The woman in the car leaned out and said "You've been there a while. Move out of the way so I can fill up." I thought, give me a break I won't be that long but I said "I won't be long. How about I move forward a bit?"
She said "No move over there," she gestured to the car park about 50 metres away, "You've been there a while." I noticed now that she was quite cranky.
Rude bitch I thought and I picked up the water bucket and squeegee again and went back to my windscreen. I was going to move the car a bit so she could get closer to the fuel pump but she blew it by being rude. She got out of her car to give me another serve. I think fucking dick was mentioned. I ignored her and kept meticulously cleaning all my windows. I had intended to clean all the windows from the get go but now I thought she was really going to be annoyed. And she was. "Now you're just being a fucking prick," she said.
"A bit," I said.
She kept jumping into and out of her car to say a few choice words to me. I told her if she stopped annoying me I could get it done quicker.
By now Michelle had returned from the dunny and I filled her in on what had been happening. Michelle said something to me and the woman jumped out of her car again and started towards us saying "What did you call me?"
Michelle just said "I wasn't talking to you" and the woman sized up Michelle and she got back into her car. She kept mouthing off at us though. I finished the windows and we got into the car and drove off, slowly. The woman rolled her car forward with her head out the window spouting shit at us. I wound down my window and told her to relax and have a good day. Bitch.
I think I just attract/provoke the wrong sort of crowd. Maybe I am a prick.

Frosty Bright morning

I forgot how cold it can get down in Victoria in the winter time. We don't often get frosty mornings like this in inner Sydney.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Simone's Of Bright

One thing we can be almost certain of in coming to the North East of Victoria is that we will get a good feed at Simone's Of Bright. It is two great meals from two visits for us from this two hat rated restaurant. Forget the overly hyped big city cousins. Simone's is the real deal. And it isn't expensive. On long weekends Simone's has an $85 set menu. Still plenty of choice though. Enough choice to make choosing hard.
First choice for me though was a Brandy Alexander. I haven't had one of these creamy concoctions in years. Nothing like lining the stomach with cream.

Home made focaccia.

Caramelised onion soup with shaved pork hock and cauliflower florettes.

Tortino di polenta con ragu di funghi
Twice baked polenta souffle with wild mushroom ragu, shaved truffle pecorino.

Scallops, cauliflower purre, cottechino pork sausage.

Gnocchi al tartufo
Umbrian Gnocchetti, gorgonzola and taleggio, autumn black truffle.

Maiale locale arrosto con coppa fritta, tonno del chianti e mele seccho
Roasted Berkshire pork, fried lemon braised cheek, grilled radicchio, fennel, Wandi apple, Italian vincotto.

Tiramisu 2009
Classical version of this famous Italian dessert with Mauri mascarpone, Vittoria coffee, Italian pavasini biscuits, shaved chocolate.

Piatto di Cioccolato
Simone's chocolate plate; Dargo walnut brownie topped with white chocolate, baci ice cream, dark chocolate mousse cannoli, rich hot drinking chocolate.

Sorbetto di lupplo
Green galaxy hopped sorbet; variety unique to this valley.
Extraordinary. Best sorbet ever. Tasted hoppy but not overly so. Really unusual.

Campbells muscat. Another top drop but not as ridiculously smooth and delicious as the Campbells Merchant Prince Rare Muscat we had in Beechworth. That was seriously silky.

Simone's Of Bright is at 98 Gavan St. Bright Victoria and it has been awarded a well deserved 2 Hats from the Good Food Guide.

Bogong View Motel

We knew before we went on the trip that getting accommodation in Bright might be an issue on a long weekend. I had tried a few places and the ones that had vacancies had a minimum stay policy for long weekends. 2 or more nights only. We only wanted one night so were lucky enough to get rooms at the Bogong View Motor Inn for the one night. It is just about the cheapest motel in Bright too. On their website it doesn't say anything about WiFi so were pleasantly surprised to turn up and find out that they do have WiFi. It wasn't working at first but after I made a trip to the motel's office and asked them to reboot their router we had free internet. Woohoo.
I have vague memories of coming to the Bogong View restaurant as a kid. Can't remember the occasion or anything. Tonight though we were going to Simone's.

Bright Brewery

Just 7 minutes walk from our motel is the Bright Brewery. As you can imagine the first thing we did after dumping our bags at the motel was head to the Brewery. It looked like it was pumping when we drove past.
Bright is a small town at the foot of the Victorian alpine ski resorts. It has always been very touristy but now it has a brewery. The local school was having a charity auction to raise funds for the school at the brewery. That explained why there were so many people there.
Anyway the brewery makes a half dozen or so brews but the beer of the day for me was the dark Dubell. 9% alcohol. After a couple of those you get a nice buzz going.

Lunch in Myrtleford

Pies and snot blocks vanilla slices for lunch at Heiner's Bakery in Myrtleford. Heiner's was next door to dad's Mobil Depot. Dad was the local Mobile fuel supplier when we lived in Myrtleford. Now the Mobile Depot has gone (picture of vacant block below) and Heiner's have expanded. It was hard to believe that this vacant block once had a Mobil service station and a few really large, multiple thousands of litres, storage tanks of fuel. There used to be a railway line that was next to the depot to but that is long gone too.
The pies and vanilla slices were excellent.


We decided to go the back way from Beechworth to Myrtleford/Bright via Stanley. Stanley is only about 9 kay from Beechworth and I wanted to have a squiz. It has been a long time, 25+ years, since I've been this way. Last year's Black Saturday bushfire raged through this way on its way to Barwidgee Creek where our old home was destroyed. 18 months later and the green is coming back. Some parts of the bush are still black and lifeless though. The fire was hot enough to essentially sterilise vast tracts of bush.