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Shooting … stars

Two days ago was the new moon, the best moment to take pictures of the sky. So I took my camera and my tripod and went along the coast to try to shoot the stars.

The French Riviera is a very dense place with a lot of lights, so not the best place to have clean shots of the stars. However there is a small reserve stuck between two cities where the landscape is beautiful and the lights are few, that’s where I went.

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Map with light pollution from https://www.lightpollutionmap.info

Equipped with my Canon EOS 700D and my wonderful Sigma 18-35mm F1.8, I took this :

I found this experience very magical, the camera is like a magic eye. Once correctly configured it is able to see beautiful things that the naked eye can’t see.

My best shots are here : https://www.flickr.com/photos/146110970@N02/

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New lens

I’ve just purchased the famous Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8. I used it for a couple of hours with my Canon EOS700D, so far i’m in love. Here is what it took this afternoon :

Initially I wanted to get a 35mm prime lens. But then I discovered this one and I found out and it fits what I what to do, so it’s now my new companion !

You can find my best shots on my flickr profile : https://www.flickr.com/photos/146110970@N02/

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Introducing ProfesseurCadeau

I’m currently in Toulouse for 3 weeks, so I’m not working on any “physical” project. However this article is about an other project that I’ve been working on for 6 months.

I’ve always been in trouble when I had to find a gift for someone so I created a website which gives you suggestions … a lot of suggestions.

The website is available here : ProfesseurCadeau.fr however it is in French only, so don’t go there if you don’t speak french (sorry about that).

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homepage of Professeur Cadeau

You simply enter the age and gender of the person that you want to please, then you select some keywords about how the gift is (for instance if you want a funny gift or a useful one). You then select the budget and finally, a selection of gifts is displayed like so :

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This was a very interesting project (while writing this I realize that I always say that … maybe all my project are simply awesome ? 😛 )

Link to the website : ProfesseurCadeau.fr

Twitter :  https://twitter.com/pr_cadeau

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ProfesseurCadeau

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Spotting MILAN 73

I already wrote an article about the trackers. Now here is the other water bomber based on the Dash 8 Q400. Its capacity is big : it can hold 10t of fire retardants.

The pictures were taken at Cannes during the unfortunate fire that happened at the North of Nice at the beginning of July 2017. Almost half of the french fleet was dedicated to this fire (1 Dash, 6 Trackers and 4 Candairs + 1 Beech for surveillance + helicopters).

For the moment there are only two “MILAN” in France, their callsin is Milan 73 and Milan 74. But the french government has just announced that they will purchase more Dash in order to replace the Firecat Trackers which are getting old.

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Homemade ring box

In this video, I created a ring box from oak wood. It was the first time that I used wood to create something very small. It was once again an interesting project. The result is not perfect but good enough to do what I had to do with it.

I found the idea of using scotch to join the 4 pieces together on a video and it was very useful (especially for such a small box).

It is the first I sew in a project, It could have been better.

The overall budget was very low (except for the ring). I bought a miter box which was very helpful. However I regret the fact that is in plastic as it is more flexible …

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Tracking the trackers

In order to fight fires in France, the Sécurité Civile has a big (but old) fleet of 26 airplanes. Among them the most known is the CL415 (popularly called “Canadair” which is in fact the manufacturer). Their callsign is Pelican followed by the number on the tail of the aircraft. During their mission there are usually 2 to 4 of them.

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3 pelicans low pass during and exercice near Cannes

But this article is about the Firecat Trackers who are less known but still effective against wild fires. Initially these aircraft were used on USA aircraft careers so they are very easy to manœuvre which is perfect to fight fires (especially in areas with mountains).

Unlike CL415 they cannot scoop on the water. They have to be refilled on the ground in places called Pelicandrome.

There is one in Cannes that can be seen on this chart :

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It is placed near the threshold of the runway 17 (used more than 90% of the time) so they can take off very quickly.

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Holding points A1 and A2 are used by “normal” aircraft and a Tracker at the Pelicandrome

Their callsign is Tracker followed by the number of their tail. There are 9 of them in the French fleet. They are now based in Nîmes Garons (South of France, roughly between Montpellier and Marseille). In order to gain time (every minute is precious with wild fires), 2 of them will be based in Cannes during this forthcoming summer.

They usually fly by two, in a relatively close formation. They have priority over other aircraft (which makes the situation complicated during heavy load of traffic in Cannes). Each one can carry 3000L of water (usually fire retardants).

They are getting old will be retired in 2020 (initially it was supposed to be 2008). We don’t know yet which one will replace them. But for the moment it is a pleasure to see the professional pilots using their skills in order to save lives !

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