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SS365 – Seagull's Skyscape

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    SS365 – Seagull's Skyscape

    Coming soon . . . SS365 . . .

    The 22nd of November is St.Cecilia’s Day. No, it’s not my birthday, but as my “name day” it is usually an excuse for a celebration of some kind. Sometimes that has taken the form of attending a concert, for St.Cecilia is the patron saint of music and there is usually some special musical event or other taking place. But I had decided that this year the day was going to be different, something extra special.

    It would be the day when I would start my 365!

    I wanted so very much to show pakarang what following his project had meant to me, and just how much of an inspiration it has been. Embarking on my own project would surely be the best possible way of telling him these things and saying the biggest possible thank you imaginable.

    But as the months and weeks passed, I started to consider that my relationship to photography is rather similar to my relationship with music. I love listening to all kinds of music, and even have a knowledge of and appreciation of the finer points of the classical genre, but I don’t actually play an instrument or even sing very well. Similarly I really enjoy just looking at the very best work of photographers.

    I do have some technical understanding of photography (having had a professional connection in two different scientific disciplines), and of course I have a camera and take lots of photos! I do try to ensure that photos I post on CV are reasonably competent and presentable. But I don’t consider photography a hobby of mine, just a useful adjunct to other hobbies, interests and enthusiasms.
    So reluctantly I realised that 365 was not for me. I did manage to be just a tiny bit creative by planning a cartoon saying so for Elizabeth’s thread, but that was intended to be my last word on the subject.

    However…. even before I got around to posting the cartoon, I’d started to see things a little differently ….

    I was attending a conference on meteorological satellites, and this particular day had a particularly early start and rather a formidable number of papers and presentations before the coffee break …. It was all very worthy stuff about agreeing on common standards for data archiving, calibration of data, instrumentation for the next generation of satellites, and suchlike, and there were many tables and figures and graphs to look at …..and then someone actually started his talk with a photo of a CLOUD – not a satellite image, just an ordinary photo looking up at a cloud.

    Ok, it soon became just the “wallpaper” for the graphs and tables in his PowerPoint presentation. But for me it was a eureka moment! Of course, a cloud a day, that was what I could do for my 365!!!!!!!!!!!! A 365 that really was a “seagull kind of thing” that I would actually enjoy doing. Seagull being herself.

    I soon realised that it will be far from easy. The following day it was really far too nice weather to be sitting indoors at lectures, but looking upwards as I eventually emerged for the lunch break, I wasn’t sure that a plain blue rectangle would have been an acceptable 365, nor the equally uniform grey one of the following day! But there were days of subtle variations of shades of grey, and I was beginning to see that choosing the extent of the image was in itself something of a mildly creative act and the result an interpretation of nature’s own abstract art.

    There would have to be days that were more than simply clouds, other motifs could be allowed, even a little bit of the surrounding landscape once in a while, photos that would have been equally at home in CV’s "Gallery of sunrises and sunsets", "Moonlight Serenade" and some of the collections of seasonal images.
    So not CC365 then (Cecilia’s Clouds) but, let me see, it’s going to be SS365 : Seagull’s Skyscape.

    I have already committed to a 365-like discipline of working towards some significant contribution for CV each day, and I hope I will be able to continue that resolve also. (I’ve even been thinking of some spin-off connections between SS365 and other threads and posts that might make it slightly more interesting for others.)

    But really SS365 is for myself and for Jan-Olav, and when I waver in my resolves or it all seems just too difficult or even pointless, I’ll look once again through Jan-Olav’s year of 365 and remind myself what brought me here.

    Originally posted by Seagull View Post
    It would be the day when I would start my 365!
    To both Seagull (Lady C) and Lady E: you can not even imagine how much it means to me that I have managed two wonderful people like you to follow in my footsteps. This is amongst the two best news I have had in a very long time: when I have a bad day (and I do sometimes), these two projects of you two Ladies, makes me smile on the inside and tremble. It's really a good feeling and I can not wait to see the year pass.

    For both of your passionate support, I would have been a different persons.

    Remember what the wise Lady Oprah once said: in a year, you have to choices:

    1/ You will be in a better situation

    2/ You will be in a worse situation

    You, and only you, can make the changes to reach the goal you want!
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page:

    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.


      Big thank you from us both - Following in a special person’s footsteps and yet taking one’s own very individual route feels very very good indeed. Let's banish those bad days with these good feelings. . .



        Regular posting day - Tuesday



          Great opening and looking forward to the whole year together!
          With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

          Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
          Main page:

          Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.


            Day 1 – 2009 November 22


              Day 2 – 2009 November 23


                Day 3 – 2009 November 24


                  Day number 1 is awesome - what a beautiful panorama! That would make a really nice wall in my office.


                  Love day number 1! Despite it being a very dark image, I love the foggy clouds in front of the dark mountain! So much emotion in that image.
                  With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                  Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                  Main page:

                  Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.


                    YIPPEE!!! What an absolutely FABULOUS start!!!! So clever of you--I can't wait!!! And something inspiring to see every Tuesday!! The push I will need to get me through MY week!!!!

                    Hmmmmm--maybe after a while we could talk some others into making an appearance--even only occasionally--on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday....we'd have something really cool every day of the work week!! How cool would THAT be????


                      Thank you pakarang, and ehp, for such kind words and the encouragement that comes with them. It means so much.


                        The Skyscape Diaries

                        Just seconds after I had committed to this project by pressing send to post #1, I realized that I had just become the most likely contender for having initiated the most boring thread in the forum. Well, a cloud a day for a whole year!!!! How geeky is that! How many days before somebody would start muttering about “watching paint dry” and similar sentiments?

                        Actually I’d already realized this to some extent, and in that first post mentioned the necessity of having “some spin-off connections” and things that “might make it slightly more interesting for others”. The question was what exactly these things might be.

                        Certainly there was the possibility of an occasional cross-reference to a satellite image in the Maritime Academy thread, to show that my complaint that “the sky was just completely grey all day” (or, less likely, blue) could be seen to be absolutely justified and not merely a feeble excuse! But what else could give the project added interest?

                        Then I happened to be watching a BBC TV David Attenborough programme with somebody who hates that sort of thing. And I saw how he perked up and started to take an interest in that bit at the end they sometimes have. The bit where you get to see “how they did it”, hear the discussion in the project’s planning stages, the complex logistics involved, realise the lengths the camera crew had to go to just to get a sequence that lasts only a few seconds in the edited final programme, even witness the things that went wrong. “Diaries” they sometimes call it.

                        So welcome to The Skyscape Diaries.

                        Diary, blog, jottings, explanation of a photo or whatever . . .there certainly won’t be anything consistent or regular about it. Just something that appears from time to time when I’m in the mood and find I have something to say.


                          The Skyscape Diaries – 2009 November 20

                          Day minus two and counting . . . eek !
                          It’s been said of giving a lecture that if you start well and end well, disasters in the middle won’t be remembered or matter too much. Umm, maybe applies to a 365? Better have a brilliant Day 1 then, just in case. Actually I’ve been thinking about this since I “came out” and committed to this 365 thing. Thought I’d got it all planned.

                          . . . and then it started raining.

                          What a time to be starting a weather related project!
                          The news in the last few days is dominated by accounts of catastrophic flooding in many parts of the UK, but especially in the Lake District county of Cumbria in the north west of England. After unprecedented floods and the collapse of several bridges, they are saying that investigations are being undertaken into the safety of as many as 1800 bridges in that area. All time rainfall records have been exceeded.
                          And as well as damage and disruption, sadly, loss of life.


                            The Skyscape Diaries – 2009 November 22

                            Here’s my plan for a great Day 1 photo. I want to photograph a seagull in flight seen against a background of clouds. Now that would be an appropriately personal and slightly creative start to the project wouldn’t it.

                            Several hours later . . .

                            No seagulls swooping around inland. So I took the bus to Leith, alighting at the little harbour at Newhaven which I had thought would be an ideal spot for seagull-with-cloud photography. The tide was in and there were a group of gulls standing on the correspondingly narrow strip between road and water. And that is all they were doing – standing. They might as well have had their feet glued to the ground. Not even one on a post or something tall so that I could crouch and take a shot looking up at the bird against the clouds. Clouds - well, at least there were plenty of those.

                            Took a few photos of clouds-without-seagulls and then decided to walk the short distance to Leith’s Western Harbour where the AIS had indicated there might be a ship or two to photograph. At least that would justify the trek to Leith.

                            At the picnic tables beyond Britannia I looked along the old wooden pier. Lots of seagulls there, behaving generally like their Newhaven neighbours. I wondered how much of a loud noise it would take to disturb them. Right on cue, a truck delivering something to the shopping centre in Ocean Terminal obliged. Sure some seagulls actually flew off, but it was low-level demonstration flying, skimming the water with only inches to spare. But then there were a couple flying higher! I struggled to catch them on camera, as I tried to remember what camera settings had proved most successful in Antarctica during Albatross and Antarctic tern spotting from Fram’s aft deck. Took a while to get back into it. Maybe, just maybe one shot might be usable, and if not I had a substitute cloud … probably.

                            Feeling somewhat dismayed, I was about to turn my attention to the ships when it happened.

                            You know, wondering how this 365 project might turn out, I’d had the thought “wouldn’t it be wonderful if I saw and managed to photograph a rainbow some day” . . . umm, that would need some luck but it would sure be a treat for everyone. It had been nice to daydream and speculate on the possibility.

                            But suddenly, behind me, the sun emerged from the clouds, and in front of me across the harbour was this unbelievable rainbow! For a moment – several moments – I just stood as transfixed as the seagulls had been, marveling at the sight. Then the thought surfaced “I have to photograph this!!”

                            Fumbled for forever, or so it seemed, with camera settings more suitable for birds in flight than rainbows. It was a complete arc in unimpeded view. Far wider than the widest zoom of lens available. I’d recently been posting panoramas of photos “stitched” together on a Trondheim thread, and this was the only way I was going to record the complete arc. The sun, shower, and hence the rainbow was constantly varying. That in addition to the problems normally associated with intended panoramas.

                            Suddenly the superb show was over. I was actually trembling and in tears. Excitement or disappointment? I simply don’t know. I had absolutely no idea right then whether or not I had been successful.

                            Several more hours later . . .

                            Quite a number of photos; difficult to sort out what might stitch together into a successful whole; first couple of attempts useless. Due to the changing intensity of the rainbow, coupled with an inadvertent shift in position, the usual advantages of including more overlapping shots didn’t apply. Eventually I combined three shots and there it was.

                            Oh, and the flying seagull-with-clouds was OK too!

                            Change of plan. The rainbow – what an absolutely amazing unbelievable miracle beginning. Naturally it was to be my 1/365. Shame not to use the seagull though. Decide to make that into an introduction title photo. Seagull’s Skyscape 365 starts right here right now. Keep quite about the rainbow until Tuesday! Feeling a bit stupid though about a thread in Crew Manifest which I’ve already posted, mentioning St.Cecilia’s Day. It had been intended as a hint to pakarang, inferring the project had started without actually saying as much. Didn’t want him to think I’d given up even before I’d started. At least I’d called the thread Happy Day which makes it usable on some future occasion!

                            But that is indeed an apt description of how St.Cecilia’s Day 2009 has ended – thanks to that rainbow, indeed a Happy Day!


                              Day 4 – 2009 November 25