It's not been quite a week since the last post but there have been some pretty awesome pictures taken the last few days with the light conditions improving. I would seriously recommend that everyone reading this checks out my cohorts posts too, they've done awesomely!
Moving on to the pictures that I've been taking the last couple of days, I've finally gotten my head around the processing that comes with the "RAW" file types that are an option on the dSLR that I was lent for this trip. So without much further ado, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
So a little explanation behind the pictures taken, starting from the top. We have the full UNIS complex, an interesting quite well designed building if you ask me. Then there are a couple of pictures of a group of reindeer that I managed to get very close to, they were just chilling outside UNIS one day and so I naturally took advantage of this and went to take a closer look. A few scenic shots of the area in and around Longyearbyen follow, giving a bit of a hint to the beauty that is quite literally on our doorsteps. The slightly yellowish tinge images are from a short walk that Noel, Heather, and I took to just get out of town for a while, cabin fever is a real thing here! The next few images are from the hike that we took yesterday, we walked up to the airport and off up a track that took us to the KSAT site past the famous seed vault (see picture with green funky lighting). In the images, they're (KSAT) denoted by the golf ball looking shelters that house the dishes used to download the data from any of the (near) polar orbiting satellites like the Solar Dynamics Observatory, an imaging craft that I have a lot of experience dealing with so it was a must that I got to see it at some point. Up here, you can just about see the sunset which, as Noel quite rightly said, is the only real light that we get here at the moment. Each day the light gets a little more and we can see a little further into the fjord each time. The cloud cover recent;y has significantly hindered this but we have time and we enjoyed ourselves which was the main thing.
Damn was it tiring though, the hike lasted about 8 hours in total and we covered about 22km. Ordinarily this wouldn't be such a great feat but the snow made it particularly difficult to travel. It was an annoying level of deep and kept collapsing under our weight so most of our energy went into staying up right. The use of the newly coined "butt shovels" at the end made everything that we had just experienced more than worth it. Dropping about 450m using nothing more than a plastic bin lid (may as well have been) was so fun, nearly killed myself mind you but thankfully I had a Kieran in the way to catch me.
And finally there's the picture of the Reindeer that took a particular interest in me, likely because I was getting a little too close for comfort but for a few minutes we just sat there and stared at each other, each acknowledging that neither of us meant any harm. It was really really nice, serene perhaps.
So that's it from me at the moment, I'm sure if there's anything else interesting to happen this week, I'll let you know but right now we're all prepping for the first set of field work that starts next week at the Kjell Henrickson Observatory (KHO), now that will be an adventure.
Time for a cuppah I think.