Join Signal Cartel’s elite group of wormhole explorers based in Anoikis, beyond the infinite, beyond imagination…
Image: @Cassandra Habalu. Check out more from Cass at her blog: It’s Not Personal, It’s Strictly Business.
Join Signal Cartel’s elite group of wormhole explorers based in Anoikis, beyond the infinite, beyond imagination…
Image: @Cassandra Habalu. Check out more from Cass at her blog: It’s Not Personal, It’s Strictly Business.
It was a quiet night at ESR Central Command. And before you get any false ideas in your mind about what that is, it’s basically a few small desks in a tiny, cluttered office buried deep somewhere within Paleo station. Even though the space has been mine for close to a year now, I still get turned around sometimes when trying to find it. “Labyrinthine” is a pretty word that comes to mind.
At any rate, it was quiet. A Dead Parrot and I were just sitting around chatting. While not an “official” member of the SAR crew, Parrot’s work with Allison has made him an integral part of what we do, and he’ll often be found in the SAR office, working on one thing or another. It was getting late on this evening, and we were done working and had turned to discussing how to encourage our rescue pilots to keep at it, brainstorming ways to keep the heart fires lit and to help keep enthusiasm high. Parrot was right in the middle of saying something about Allison’s role in all of this, when the stillness of the office was disturbed.
It was the chime that we both love (a chance to help!) and dread (what if we can’t?), the alert we get from Allison any time a rescue pilot enters a system with an active SAR request: “ESR Team, I just flew into J111629 (An active SAR system) with Holphi Kord.”
Parrot was startled out of his reverie. “Holee cow poop! Now I have to stay awake.”
“Wow,” I replied. “How’s that for timing?”
“Amazing.” Parrot was already springing into action to check on Allison’s logs.
Allison’s alert had gone out over the network to all of our Coordinators. We got a reply right away from Triff: “One of you two got this? I’m out and didn’t want to have to remote in.”
Parrot was already on it, spooling back up the main systems that we had just put to sleep for the night. “Iggy, are you in touch? I can check Allison’s logs if you need me to. Maybe find the kspace connection.”
“That would be great. He’s not sure the exact route he took in. Looks like he came from null. He’s scouting connections now.”
With Igaze in touch with the rescue pilot, Triffton was off the hook, so he rang off. (We do like to give our Coordinators a break ever now and then!) Parrot realized pretty quickly that we did not have any recent intel on the system Holphi had discovered, and we communicated all of this through Igaze so everyone was on the same page.
After a few minutes of discussion, Igaze got back to us: “I’m letting Holphi map. I’ll be off for 30 minutes or so.” And than about 15 minutes later we received an update: “He found a null exit. I’ll be available again in an hour.”
After another 30 minutes, Allison notified us that Angel Lafisques had flown into the same system with Holphi. The two of them did their thing, and got every connection to this system scanned down and noted in Tripwire.
Igaze came back on: “I’m going to try and get back to Thera and then see if I can get there. The null connection is 38 jumps out though. I, of course, am buried as far from k-space as I can get, I think.”
“Don’t kill yourself to get there,” I told him. “Especially since we have other pilots in system. Have we heard from the stranded pilot yet?”
“No. Been mailed, though.”
About 30 minutes later, we heard from Igaze again: “Ran out of time. Sitting in a C1 with low static. Angel is scanning routes but won’t be on until again until 20+ hours from now. I’ll be back in 8 or 9 hours to see what’s been scanned down.”
So that was the end of it for the night. Until the stranded pilot replied, there was little more we could do but wait.
Then, early the next morning, Igaze provided a status update: “Angel has things mapped out. Pilot just responded and will be available in several hours. I can’t be on then, but I think Angel has it in hand.”
So we each went about our business, always mindful of this stranded fellow capsuleer, anxious for the next update, eyes unconsciously darting to the clock every few minutes. Several hours later, we received a notice from Allison that Holphi was remapping the system, updating it with the most recent connections.
Igaze had been in touch with the stranded pilot and was hopeful. “We might get this guy tonight. He’s online now and Holphi is talking to him. We’ll see what they figure out.” We all sent our best wishes to him, Holphi, and Angel.
About five hours later we received final confirmation: “Looks like the rescue was completed!” There was much rejoicing, a little bit of paperwork got filled out, and we all went back into waiting mode — ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice when our services were once again required by some poor, lost soul.
This is not an atypical rescue. They are each different. Each comes with its own unique challenges and each requires a team of dedicated pilots and office personnel. If what you just read sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, consider joining Signal Cartel, and get ready for the first time our copilot AI, Allison, tells you: “Captain, this system has an active Search & Rescue request.” It’s a completely new way to get your heart pumping and your adrenaline surging, as you become a vital part of the EvE-Scout Rescue team.
“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” – Sean O’Connell, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
I figured it’s about time to share some astrophotography tips. After taking 30,000+ images, I’ve learned a thing or two that I hope you will find helpful. However, I’ll be the first to confess that my gallery is more about quantity rather than quality for the simple reason of time. If I truly took the time required for each and every image capture, I’d still be exploring my first region. There are moments when I simply have to stop and take in the beauty of New Eden and try my best to capture a quality shot and that’s what this blog entry will focus on today. TLDR – Astrophotography is serious business!
We’re fortunate to live in an age of technology that allows us as capsuleers to focus on the subject, rather than the technical aspects of taking a picture. No longer do we have to worry or fuss over aperture, shutter speed, focus, etc, as all of that is taken care for us. We can now concentrate on the artistic aspects such as composition and framing. It’s quite honestly point and shoot today.
How to work your camera controls. Here’s the image capture command sequence:
1. CTRL-F9 (Turns off the HUD)
2. PrtScn (Captures the image) | MAC OS use Command (⌘)-Shift-3
3. CTRL-F9 (Turns on the HUD)
You may want to setup a single command that executes the sequence for ease of execution and reliability. More than once I’ve found myself in a hostile system and was thankful I could quickly line up a shot, take it, and move on, with the execution of a single command.
Depending upon your pod’s operating system, your images will be processed and placed in your data repository at the following or similar location:
The first rule is, there are no rules. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to take an image. It is, after all, what intrigues or interest you, that moment in time you wish to capture, cherish, and share with others. So, as long as it’s pleasing to your eye, then you have achieved your goal. But as in all things, you’ll learn in time and experience to master your craft and instead of taking fair or good images, you’ll be taking great ones.
Well, it’s more of a guideline than a rule but it’s a good one to follow and should be broken in the right circumstances. Beginning astrophotographers, or someone who’s in a hurry like myself, usually line up the main subject in the center of the image. It’s only natural, as humans we look directly at our subject of interest. There’s nothing wrong with that per say and it can work, but often times it fails to provide a balance and it can eliminate an interesting environment surrounding the subject. Remember, looking at an image is more than just looking at the main subject, because your eyes will want to wander. A good astrophotographer will capture the main subject in its natural environment as well as provide a balance to the scene.
Here’s how the Rule of Thirds works.
Break your capture resolution up into thirds along the horizontal and vertical axis and visualize nine equal areas on your screen. Now, where the lines intersect, imagine cross hairs, there should be four of them.
With the lines and intersections visualized, you now line up your main subject, as well as other things of interest, at the intersections and along the lines. Why? The thought process is it will provide a natural balance to the scene that your viewer will be able to interact with. Take advantage of lines and curves to lead your viewer on a journey around your image.
Mastering the Rule of Thirds is a great start to taking good images, but as you line up your shots, you’ll want to watch the outer edges and see if you can “frame” your subject. If possible, you can use other objects and/or the environment to provide a natural frame. Try to include natural lines and curves in a manner that will highlight, but not distract from the main focus. If you need to cut into your main subject, do so in a manner that looks appropriate. For example, making sure the object still looks whole and that the bulk of it remains.
You may end up bending or even breaking the Rule of Thirds to properly frame an image, but that’s fine if the end result takes a good picture and makes it a great one. Watch, however, because in general you don’t want to cut objects in half. Either position yourself or your camera to include them fully or eliminate them entirely.
There are however, times when cutting an object in half will enhance the frame, but only if it’s large enough to cover more than half of that particular edge. Again, not necessarily a rule, just a guideline, you have to experiment to see if the final image is going to look and feel right.
Taking a look at these two examples, we can see in the first one I’ve cut into the planet leaving some space to be seen behind it as well as cliping it along the bottom. A minor adjustment to the camera position takes care of that issue. In the second example, I’ve cut the customs office in half which really distracts from the overall image. Simply zooming the camera out moves the office completely into the scene and it helps to break up the bleak blackness of that part of the image.
I’ve often heard that black and white photography is the most difficult to master. You may ask why, because it’s simply black versus white, but therein lies the catch. It’s not about black and white at all, it’s about shades of gray. (Not fifty shades of gray, mind yourself!) A great black and white photographer succeeds by taking a picture with as many shades of gray as possible. From the blackest of blacks, to the whitest of whites and all the grays in between. The same is true in color photography in trying to show stark contrast with shades of color. See how many shades of color you can achieve. For planets, I try to capture the shades from the night side to the light side. A fully sun lit side of a planet can be dull, but there are the extremes, like silhouettes, that can provide for some truly amazing shots.
Other than colors and contrast, textures can provide an interesting subject matter as well. After taking so many pictures of planets, they all begin to start looking alike, and you have to turn to something else to make it interesting. You may not think of planets in terms of textures, but they do indeed have them. Especially from high in orbit, where the details of a civilization begin to vanish, and the oneness of the planet begins to prevail. A famous astronomer once referred to his home plant as the “Pale Blue Dot”. Look for textures in your images and see if you can pull them out by highlighting them via the rule of thirds and framing.
Be on the lookout for minor subjects that can help lead your viewer to your main subject. There are many interesting things in space, use them to your advantage. For me, the planets are my main subject matter in all of my shots, but I don’t always have them front and center. Sometimes they’re way off in the distance, but I always have the planet in there somewhere. In those cases I try to use nearby subjects and/or the environment to help the viewer find my main subject. Human eyes naturally follow lines and curves, so it’s fairly easy to find them and then utilize them to pull your viewer in.
This is a difficult one, as it just comes from experience and many times, there’s just nothing in the scene nearby that can help to take what is an ordinary picture and make it into an extraordinary one. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying, nor preventing you from taking the picture anyway, if nothing else for the experience of it. Just be aware of your surroundings and see if perhaps a better position between you and the main subject will help you to pull in other things that can provide some additional interest or contrast. In the case of astrophotography, you may be able to position yourself to utilize the sun, for example, to help make some rings really pop out. Or maybe you can create an artificial sunrise or sunset. Don’t forget about other subjects like your own ship to help spice up a scene. Once you start looking, you’ll begin to see some things you can use. Move around from moon to moon, or objects like customs offices and stations, you just never know what you may find that will turn that first image you liked into something that you’ll love.
Go out and have fun, learn by doing, there’s no better way. Sure, you’ll take some bad images, just look in my gallery, but you’ll start getting those great shots that will have others asking for more. Enjoy yourself and share, don’t be afraid of what others think. Not everyone is going to “get” your image, but you really didn’t take it for them anyway, right? Besides, there are many more who will see what you saw and that’s the greatest feeling of all, when others share in your experience.
Editor’s Note: This post is cross-posted from the EvE-Scout Enclave forums and was originally published in June 2017.
I left [classified] and headed to HQ to get a new shirt to wear for non-capsule downtime.
Literally, I flew the 1,300 LY from [classified] by emerging from the hole in Hilaban, then another 14 LY to my hangar in Zoohen, just to get a new shirt. Is that indulgent and in fact evidence of Anoikis-dwellers’ skewed priorities? Have I spent too long in the dreamworld?
Zoohen regulars will know that New Eden – the New Eden – is only a few jumps away from Zoohen. I realised I haven’t been there this year (I try to go there at least once a year as a ritual) and I wanted to test something.
Since it was the middle of the day in NEST terms, and since I know most capsuleers don’t rise before noon, I expected, and got, a seamless and effortless transit up the long-abandoned and infrastructure-free lowsec pipe to the New Eden system. I even got a traffic control advisory at the Promised Land > New Eden stargate, as if I’d caught the gate crew napping at their posts, because, y’know, what the hell would anybody come here for at this hour?
There’s only one reason to come to this system in this day and age:
The new cluster-wide, universal cam-drone upgrade we all got last month has changed the appearance of the EVE Gate anomaly. It hasn’t really changed at all, and an unaugmented baseline meathead viewing it through a window would only ever see a blinding white mass of heavenly light. To us, the resolution and fidelity and dynamic range at which we capsuleers are allowed to perceive it, means it appears more alive and more deadly than ever. It looked relatively static under the old system, but now we see field lines and what look like hot gas shock fronts, and its apparent magnitude changes every few minutes like a variable star:
The EVE Gate is 3.3 LY beyond the New Eden system, so those pulses in brightness all happened 3.3 years ago. If this huge flaw in spacetime changed tonight somehow, if it evaporated or fixed itself or whatever, then we wouldn’t know about it until the year YC122.
That is, unless the Sisters of EVE deigned to inform us first. I mean, does the SoE tell us nothing about what they’ve found out about that thing because they haven’t found anything out? Or are they as schtum about it as they are about those flotillas in Anoikis?
The trouble with coming here, to New Eden, is you always leave it with more questions than you arrived with, as well as a headache after contemplating how the EVE Gate relates to human existence.
For the record I haven’t left the New Eden system yet, as I’m ‘typing’ this through the neural interface with my ship that’s docked in SFRIM’s citadel. I might stay jacked-in and program a sleep cycle as I’ve been here before: this lot based here are devout and seem to cross the line between science and religion and back again depending on what mood they’re in. They worship that thing out there like a god even though they know exactly what it is. This citadel is their church. It scares me a bit.
Besides, you can’t get decent coffee this far from highsec.
© Cassandra Habalu – check out more from Cass at her blog: It’s Not Personal, It’s Strictly Business
“There’s that Cheetah on d-scan again” I said as I adjusted my probes to scan the next cosmic signature in the system.
“Perhaps it’s just scouting the chain?” suggested Trevier, the crew chief of my Stratios cruiser who I’d been working with for a number of months now.
“Perhaps. Though I’m suspicious that it’s just appeared after our probes have been out near that citadel.”
“What do you propose? We’ve only found the one relic site in this system. We could leave it and jump to the next wormhole?”
“Let’s warp to 100km from the site and see if there’s any activity. If the Cheetah is sniffing around we’ll leave it.”
Staying cloaked, I land the Stratios 100km from the relic site, a Guristas monument site which I hope will break my run of bad luck and net me a nice pay day. Forty million ISK would be good, maybe more depending on the loot in the cans.
D-scan is empty, no sign of the covert ops frigate which was causing us so much concern. I warp us back to a safe spot in an empty part of space.
“Looks like it’s gone” says the chief
“I don’t like it. Why hasn’t it run any of the sites?”
“We could just do the relic site and get out, keep our eyes peeled and be gone in 15 minutes?”
“Alright. I’m going to warp to 30km and move slowly to the first can. I want to hear the minute something appears on grid.”
Again I warped to the site. I selected the nearest can and approached it slowly. The Stratios cruiser can be a formidable ship in a fight but I’d made the decision to remove guns from it, choosing to avoid conflicts altogether instead of standing my ground. The covert ops cloak fitted to the ship is now my best defence, but that means we are at our most vulnerable when we de-cloak to hack sites.
Trevier’s voice came through my pod “That’s the can within targeting range.”
I checked d-scan one final time, seeing nothing of note on the scanner and turned off the cloaking module. Nothing happened.
“OK. Looks clear let’s crack the can and get out of here” I announce to the chief.
Orbiting the can at 2500 metres I prepare the Relic Analyser module for the process of hacking the can so we can access the loot inside. All of a sudden I see a flash of grey on my grid overview.
I immediately hit the cloak and shout to the rest of the ship “We have company!”
Mentally, I cross my fingers as the camera drones show my ship disappearing from space just as another Stratios lands right on top of me.
Trevier’s voice tells me what I already know “Shit! They’re going to decloak us that close”
The cruiser shudders as I launch a flight of ECM drones and target the newly arrived ship as the first alarms sound around me informing us we’ve been targeted ourselves. I fire an ECM burst and instruct the drones to follow up with their own jamming capabilities, desperately hoping to break the lock so I can cloak again and escape. I try in vain to warp out but the ship has us pointed, so instead I align to a safe spot and wait to see if the countermeasures can get us free.
I fire off a neutraliser module to try and drain my opponent’s capacitor to minimise any damage they can deal to us. At that moment I’m alerted to a second ship appearing on grid, a Broadsword, and suddenly we’re engulfed by a warp disruption bubble.
“Watch the capacitor!” the chief says over comms “We’re dead!”
Another alarm sounds telling me I’ve burned through my own capacitor reserve trying to save the ship. There’s nothing left to stop the attack as I watch our shields and then our armour disappear with every shot from the ambush.
“Sorry chief. It’s been a pleasure having your crew fly with me”
“Just make sure the crew are looked after Gaston” comes the reply.
I send the instruction to my broker to distribute the coming insurance payout to the families of the crew. It’s not enough but it’s something. As the alarms continue to sound louder in my pod I decide if I’m to lose this ship I’m going to do it in style. I swing towards the enemy Stratios and activate the last module I have left, my Signal Cartel issue festival launcher.
Fireworks shatter the space around us in a defiant celebration of my loyal crew, as the last of my armour is destroyed and the hull begins to break apart. My capsuleer’s pod blasts free from the disintegrating wreck of my once beautiful ship and I have a few moments to sit quietly in space, contemplating the folly of going into the relic site against all my better judgements just because I wanted to do right for my crew, who are now lost with the ship.
“Farewell chief” I say quietly as the Broadsword fires on my pod and I feel my consciousness fire across the ether towards my awaking clone back in Thera.