Monday, 25 May 2009

Sad news

Prominent Auckland painter Peter Siddell has a terminal illness. Stuff has an article:

"A lot of my painting relates back to childhood memories," he adds, "that, and a lot of it are about places I know, certainly the vistas of Victorian villas and volcanic hills are just the sort of stereotype of Auckland that I remember from my childhood."
His paintings are noted for their lack of human interference no telephone poles, cars, pollution or graffiti mar his work. His art is a monument to the memories of his childhood, featuring significant images held by a young and inquisitive mind.

I really like what he says about painting:

Siddell sees painting as "an exercise in controlled disappointment you start off at the beginning with a brilliant idea and think `oh, this is going to be a great painting', but as soon as you make a few marks on the canvas then you find that what is planned is going to be affected by the initial brushstrokes and the painting ends up very different from its original conception.

Read the whole article here.

And you can enjoy a selection of Peter Siddell's paintings here. Many of the paintings in his image gallery are accompanied by his own illuminating commentary.

Mutant space jellyfish!

It's so tempting to look at astronomical pictures and find forms we recognise, or think we recognise, in the shapes of nebulae and dust clouds.
This is a very handsome view of the Carina Nebula. But tell me you don't see the mutant space jellyfish in this detail.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Crepuscular and anti-crepuscular rays

Crepuscular rays are areas of brightly-lit air that appear to radiate outwards from the sun when it is setting or rising. They are caused by clouds or mountains near the horizon casting shadows across the sky. Under good conditions the rays can be seen crossing the sky all the way to the point directly opposite the sun, the anti-solar point, where they appear to converge. In fact both the apparent divergence and the apparent convergence are illusions caused by perspective. The sun's rays are parallel but we perceive them as converging in the same way as we perceive a railway track as converging in the distance.

A full explanation, diagrams, and examples, can be found on Les Cowley's brilliant Atmospheric Optics site, here.

There was an amazing sunset here in Christchurch on January 17th. Clouds near the setting sun cast shadows across the sky that resulted in dramatic contrast between sunlit and shadowed air.

This was the view towards the sun:

This was the view to the north. You can see the rays' paths across the sky, travelling to the east...

At the anti-solar point in the east, the rays appear to converge. Around the anti-solar point these are known as 'anti-crepuscular' rays:

Crepuscular rays and anti-crepuscular rays are different ends of the same phenomenon, as can be seen in this wide-angle image taken of the same January 17 sunset at Birdlings Flat, some 50km from where I took my photographs.

I photographed a dramatic single crepuscular ray on April 5:

Phil Judd interview

Stuff today has an exclusive interview with Phil Judd, formerly of the Swingers, Split Enz, and Schnell Fenster. Read it here.

And here are a few clips:

I particularly remember The Sound of Trees, Schnell Fenster's first album, which featured Love/Hate Relationship and other such classics as Whisper.