Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Story Behind SkunkBayWeather Being Shut Down

Here is the story.  This past week we had a Northern Lights show that only happens once in a generation.  It was incredible.  I learned a few things.  On my hit counter I saw 
70,000 hits in less than 24 hours.  It was about then that my web host pulled the plug on my site.  No warning.  They just replaced my site with a rude message and no explanation.  They also took away my email.  So, for those who emailed me I had no way to get back to you.  It was then that I found out they no longer have tech support on weekends.  As you can imagine, My frustration level was off the charts.  Getting shut down in the middle of one of the biggest Aurora shows in decades was infuriating.  The next morning through a chat I signed up for a VPS plan.  This more than tripled my hosting fees.  It was the only solution.  It took two days to get my site set up on the new server.

I gave them my backup gmail email address and they started to communicate through that.  They informed me that I had over 339,000 hits in 17 hours and an automated system shut me down.  They also permanently banned me from using a shared server.   I found out that there are several webcam apps that are using my images.  They auto-refresh and each time they do, it is a hit.

The response from the community has been overwhelming.  A very kind community member put up a GoFundMe page to help with these additional expenses.  I have also received some very generous donations via PayPal along with some very kind messages.  This really means a lot to me.

Now, full disclosure,,,,  I have never made a dime from this site,  All of the funds from advertising, donations and consulting fees go directly into my reserve fund.  I report this revenue and pay taxes on it through my business license.  My goal has always been to have the site fund itself.  I funded it out of pocket for many years in the beginning.  These new hosting fees would deplete my reserve fund and I would be back to funding it out of pocket.  So, this new infusion of cash is going to make my reserve fund look much better.

It has been my pleasure to provide this service for the past 18 years.  I am looking forward to continuing this incredibly fun hobby for many years to come.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Somewhat rare March snow events are in the forecast.  Cliff Mass does a great job of sharing some details.

Cliff's Blog - March Snow


Friday, December 8, 2023

20 Year Anniversary Of A Monster Storm and the Fishing Vessel Martle Sinking In Skunk Bay

Editors Note:  I have no control over the ads that show on this page....

This year is the 20th anniversary of a horrific storm that clobbered Northern Puget Sound.  It did serious damage to the Mukilteo Ivars and sank a 60 foot purse seiner off Foulweather Bluff.  The Martle is still at the bottom of Skunk Bay as far as we know. 

This storm came up very fast.  I was on the Edmonds/Kingston ferry coming home from work.  The wind just exploded out of the north and gave us all a good ride on our way to Kingston.  On my drive home to Hansville, the road was littered with debris.  I had a few “religious” moments as the trees were dropping all around me.  The power was out when I got home.  I went in the house to check on things and saw two large fishing boats out front crashing their way through the nasty seas.  I noticed one of the boats seemed to be riding reasonably well and the other was getting slammed.  I watched it bow under to the pilot house and then three quarters of the hull went airborne when it came out of the trough.  I watched it for a minute or two and then went to the back of the house and got the generator going.  By the time I got back inside I checked on the two vessels.  I could only see one.  I grabbed my binoculars and found the second boat….  It was turtled (capsized upside down) off Foulweather Bluff.  I called the Coast Guard and was on the phone with them for about 30 minutes giving them updates. 

There was no local media news coverage at all about this event.  The main coverage was about the damage to Ivars.  I was very disappointed that this wasn’t covered.  I finally found this article that came out 3 years later.  The rescue of the crew of the Martle was a very heroic act of seamanship.  They risked their lives to save that crew.

Here is a link to the story from the Seattle Weekly that gives the details.  It’s a very good read….



Saturday, November 18, 2023

What I Like About Night Photography

Every morning when I first get up, I let the dog out, make a latte and sit down at my computer.  On a typical night there are 4 computers and 4 cameras running all night.  This time of year there is about 12 hours of darkness.  All of the cameras capture an image about every 30 seconds.  Quick math…  That is 1,440 images per cam per night.  That translates to 5,760 images for all cams combined every night.  It would take forever to look at each individual image.  That’s where time lapse comes in handy.  I make a slow time lapse from each cam at 10 frames per second.  This allows me to see each image rapidly.  I can then back up easily to find anything interesting because there is a date/time stamp on each image.  I have to watch carefully for meteors and fireballs as they only appear for 1/10th of a second.  Conversely, events like Northern Lights, Noctilucent Clouds, Light Pillars, Comets, etc. are actually easier to see when moving in a time lapse.

Virtually every night there is something interesting to see.  I have to make a judgement opinion of what is “post worthy”.  Right now I actively post on Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.  Occasionally I post here on this “blog” for those who don’t have social media.

I thought I would put together a review of the last couple of nights of captures to share what I see.  First, an aircraft flying over can make an interesting pic.  A lot of the high flying planes are mistakenly identified as meteors.  After years of doing this I can easily tell the difference.  Here is an interesting one from last night.  (Not Post Worthy).

This morning we had a small meteor that I didn’t post.

Yesterday we had a fireball that I did post.  The difference between a fireball and meteor is very subjective.  They are rated by magnitude.  The smaller the number the brighter they are.  Typically the minimum magnitude for a fireball is -4 which is approximately the brightness of Venus.  Here is a fireball from the night before last.

I reported this fireball to the American Meteor Society.  https://www.amsmeteors.org/  They collect all these reports and provide very interesting information.  For example, there were 5 reports of this fireball and they were able to triangulate the path.  It was visible from Nanaimo to Seattle.  Here is their graphic.

We also had a good example of light pillars last night.  These are ice crystals that are refracting light from a source on the ground.  These are NOT Northern Lights.  Here is the example from last night:

All of this happened in the last couple of nights. 

We see Northern Lights frequently on my cams.  Here is a good show from February 27, 2023

Noctilucent Clouds are visible around the Summer Solstice, June through July.  Here is a nice one from 2020.

Lightning storms are always best at night because of the slow shutter speed.  The more the shutter is open, the better chance of capturing a strike.  I have only captured one strike in daylight.  Here is a nice storm from 2019.

Of course there are always the mysteries that are a lot of fun.  This one was good.  It was solved…. Or was it….  Queue the Twilight Zone theme song….

I have only touched on a few of the bigger night topics.  I have left out a lot of events like Comets, Moonrises, Night Virga, MoonBows, house fires on Whidbey, etc.  A lot of interesting stuff happens at night and thankfully my cams run unattended.  I do my best work when I'm sound asleep.... 😁




Sunday, November 5, 2023

Multiple Aurora Events On The Way

This morning we had a decent Northern Lights show through the clouds.

This is a time lapse of this mornings show.

This could just be the beginning of several shows.  According to Dr. Tamitha Skov there is a lot of solar activity going on right now and most of it is coming our way for several days.  Here is a forecast from her that was posted late November 4th.  

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Smoke Is On The Way...

This morning's sunrise gave us a glimpse of what we have coming.  The intersection of altocumulus clouds and smoke on the horizon made for some interesting textures and colors.

Here is a time lapse...