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Atmosphere (March 20-25, 2007)

Howard Wilkinson

South Gare, Redcar

Kathy Wheeler

Of Wind, Whine and Singing Wires

Albury, Australia

March 23rd, 11:53 local time.

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© 2007 Kathy Wheeler, All Rights Reserved.

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Caption

Atmosphere. What an interesting theme. There are so many possibilities ... and different interpretations. Where to begin and what to focus on? Why not let the atmosphere itself determine my directions - what if anything would the time-window bring?

For the first few days I did some test shots, looking for inspiration. Then on the 23rd of March the wind picked up. It brought with it cold, high cloud and if the ants were right, maybe some rain.

I quickly did the rounds of sites chosen in the previous days - doing a few quick spins and extra nadir shots.

Then as the wind picked up the rotor tip flutter of our wind-turbine caught my attention. So off to the roof for an extra spin. This could be interesting - unplanned, hand-held, over my head, into the sun, with the wind-gen spinning and twisting in the wind.

It is amazing to watch a small wind-generator in strong winds. They are much more responsive to minor variations in wind direction than the magnificent towering structures used in most wind-farms. Although the wind can seem to be strong and constant in direction it has eddies like flowing river of water and can swing wildly, almost frantically at times.

The wind-gen rotor - hub with blades attached - has a 3m (10') diameter. In a good wind it can produce 1000W, 1500W peak, of power to feed into our battery bank. The wind at the time this was taken was 24.5 KMH, gusting to 38.9 KMH, air temp 31.8C and 36% relative humidity. The wind-gen was contributing around 700 watts towards our power needs.

The audio track accompanying this pano is the sound the blades make from 10 metres away as they slice through the air. It is quite directional and as the rotor assembly swings away so does the chopping sound of the blades and the hum of the generator motor is just audible if you listen closely enough.

Later in the day and into the next few days the wind swung around to the south east - and the fence wires started to sing. It is a delightfully eerie sound, almost sub-audible - as much felt as heard - and best heard from inside the house, sheltered from the extraneous sounds of the wind in the gum trees and your ears! The sound from the singing wires seems to propagate well through solid structures, and up to 3 discrete different notes can be heard. Unfortunately it remains too elusive to record ... so far.

At full zoom on the full screen pano you can see the wires strung between the metal posts looking out over the city. The fence, which curves out deliberately, marks the front of the house and a 5 metre drop - our home is earth covered and this was taken on our "roof".

And the ants (one of my alternative Atmosphere panos) were right - the day after these panos were taken, it rained. I do not think we yet know for sure what it is the ants can sense that warns them days in advance that rain is imminent. Perhaps it is something in the atmosphere ...

Location

Australia - New Zealand / Australia

Lat: 36° 1' 12" S
Long: 146° 56' 24" E

Elevation: 320m (1050') AMSL

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: Low. Intentionally hazy, due to privacy concerns.

Equipment

Camera: Nikon D70; Lens: Peleng 8mm; Hand-held; Software: Photoshop Elements; PTGui; Cubic Converter; Quicktime Pro.

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