April 2017

As the temperature starts dropping there is a multitude of different effects it has on our environment. The first three photos were taken with my 105mm Nikon Micro lens f2.8. It took a bit of experimenting to capture the fine detail of the ice crystals forming on our lounge windows.

 

Also with the colder temperatures – the Sea Ice was well and truly thickening. On the 3rd Lötter and Tony walked out on the ice. While tied to a safety rope and carrying drilling equipment, they ventured out into the bay to take measurements.

 

As the sea ice returned it was time for the elephant seals to make there way across it to open water and then further to the sub-Antarctic islands for the winter. During the month there was a slow reduction in numbers. It seemed that the younger seals were unsure when to leave.

 

Early in the month the LSA (Lay Surgical Assistants) had a training session – performing a mock operation in the Davis Medical Suite.

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As the days got shorter and the nights longer we seemed to experience our fair share of beautiful sunsets.

 

The following set of photographs were taken around station. Everyone seemed to be settling into their routines of work, rest and play.

Every few days it would snow making the station look very picturesque.

 

The image below is of the Post Office hut at Davis Station. In front of the Hut is a ‘track’ quad bike – it is towing a Herman Nelson heater. The diesel fuelled heater was being used to heat the Post Office – at the time the  temperature was -20℃ (-4℉) inside the hut.

The hut is the oldest building at Davis. It was originally erected on Heard Island in 1953, to house the radio theodolite ( an early version of a radiosonde tracker), known as the METOX or RAWIN hut.

Heard Island closed in 1954, so the hut was moved to the new Mawson Station in 1955 and then onto Davis station in 1959. It deteriorated rapidly and was suitable for its original purpose. From 1963 it was used as an unheated paint and clothing store (The Paint Store). Its changing use continued as Davis Station grew and evolved around it.

It became the music (band) practice room during the 2000’s and has since been converted and fitted out as the Post Office.

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One evening, as I left the Met Office, I was astounded by the beautiful (near) full moon rising on the Northern horizon. I quickly changed the lens on my camera – to the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 and snapped the following two photos.

 

I was becoming comfortable with using any of the 4 lens I carried with me everywhere – one on the camera and the other three in my back pack.

I managed to capture more of ice crystals on the lounge windows and a couple of spectacular sunrises.

 

On the 17th I had the great opportunity to go out on the Sea Ice with Lötter and Richard to take the measurements. We walked, towing our gear on sleds.

The Sea Ice has to be 40cm thick for Quad bike travel and 60cm thick for hägglund travel.

The furtherest ice drilling point is around 4km from station and is is near some ice bergs.

 

The sea ice was thick enough to drive on it with a quad bike. While we were waiting for the approvals, we had a session on quad bike recovery – from deep snow (bogged) or falling in a crack or through thin ice.

While on the sea ice, close to shore, I set up the camera for a self timed group photo.

 

We now had opportunities to take the quad bikes out in the field. On the 22nd I went out with Kirsten and Richard on a ride down Dingle Road. The idea was to ride to the ned of the road and walk the rest of the way to visit Law Cairn.

It was an overcast day with light snow falling. By the time we reached the end of Dingle Road it was snowing heavily and visibility was down to 100m or less, so we abandoned the idea of the walk.

 

The sun was setting earlier and rising later each day. We were essentially losing over 8 minutes of daylight every day.

On the 1st sunrise was at 8:29am and sunset at 7:12pm. On the 31st sunrise was at 10:22am and sunset 5:06pm.

 

I got up a little earlier on the 24th (5am) to start work at 05:45am. There was supposed to be a aurora event. I wasn’t disappointed.

Then later that evening the aurora flared again.

 

The night of the 24th was also supposed to be a good aurora. After taking some photos in the evening, I went to bed after setting the alarm for midnight.

I turned into  one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen – especially at around 1:30am – It was so strong and dancing all across the western half of the celestial dome. The colours and movement were just mesmerising.

The following are the best of my images for that few hours between midnight and 2am.

 

After going to bed at 2am, I got up to the alarm at 5:20am to go to work. On the walk to work, the aurora was still going strong. I managed to add an image to the collection.

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25th 5:45am – from the Met balloon launch site – view to the southwest

 

Later that same day – the 25th – the wind picked up a little.

Then over the next few days I took more pictures of the ice crystals on the windows and with the colder temperatures – the last photo in this group is of the ice formations on the spa.

 

As mentioned before – by the end of the month the sunrise was after 10am.

So for the first part of the morning it was still dark enough to see dancing light show on the 29th.

The following 4 images were all taken from just outside the Met building – view to the WNW between 6:50am and 6:58am.

 

9:21am on the 29th – the anemometer at dawn.

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I Hope you enjoyed my photographs.

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