On the Road – Honolulu at Night

Posted in On Tthe Road on March 31st, 2008 by MadDog
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Wow, It’s hard to get on line here.  I wanted to do a post every day, but it’s been impossible.

The other night we spent an evening with some friends on the side of some mountain outside the city. I took this shot that might amuse you. I always forget how BIG Honolulu is. This is just a tiny bit.

Honnolulu at Night

We leave for Indianapolis tomorrow evening (on seperate flights – go figure). I hope to get connected up better there. Adios.


On the Road – Hides Corner, Cairns

Posted in On Tthe Road on March 28th, 2008 by MadDog
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Now in Honolulu, I found a computer agreeable to do my bidding in a public library. It’s slower than we are used to in Madang (if you can imagine that), but it’s compliant with my demands.

I’ve been capturing some interesting images here, but first I want to show our Madang friends a place that most will recognise.

We stayed at the Hides Hotel.  At the end of the block is what I presume is a famous landmark – Hides Corner.  Here’s a night shot of it.

Hides Corner, Cairns

The hotel is just the way I like it – clean, cheap, friendly, and where the action is.

Stay tuned for more

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On the Road – Sydney Skyline

Posted in On Tthe Road on March 27th, 2008 by MadDog
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We’re in Honolulu now.  What a miserable trip. Here’s a shot of the Sydney Skyline taken from the International Terminal.

Sydney Skyline

Tomorrow I hope to find a computer that will agree to download the night shots of Cairns. I’m also hoping to visit some very out-of-the-way places in Honolulu so that I can amaze you with amazing amazement. Yes, I’m jet lagged. Goodnight.

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On the Road – The Big Smoke

Posted in On Tthe Road on March 26th, 2008 by MadDog
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Got nice night-time shots in Cairns last evening, but couldn’t get them downloaded to the Internet Cafe’s cursed computer.  Oh, well . . .

Off now from Sydney to Honolulu.  I hope for better luck there.


Happy Birthday! Clyde Barrow and Steve McQueen

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 24th, 2008 by MadDog
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A Creepy Criminal

Clyde Chesnut Barrow was born March 24, 1909, near Telico, Texas. Clyde’s father, Henry Barrow, moved his family to Dallas in 1922. Four years later, Clyde was arrested for the first time on a charge of auto theft. Undeterred, Barrow next committed a series of Dallas-area robberies over the next four years.

Soon after meeting Bonnie Parker in 1930, Barrow was jailed for burglary in Waco. He soon escaped using a handgun Bonnie had slipped past the guards. He was caught a week later in Ohio and sentenced to fourteen years hard labour in the Texas State pen. Barrow was paroled in February 1932, however, and over the next two years he became the infamous head of a gang of armed bank robbers that included Bonnie.

On April 13, 1933, the Barrow Gang narrowly escaped being captured in Joplin, Missouri. Police raided their hideout after a tip from suspicious neighbors. The latest two lawmen in what was by then a long string of murders, were killed in the shoot-out. A now-famous roll of film containing pictures of Bonnie and Clyde was found in the hideout.

Clyde’s brother, Buck, and Buck’s wife Blanche had become members of the gang. Buck was killed, and Blanche was captured in a later raid in Platte City, Missouri. Bonnie and Clyde escaped again. In 1934, they freed a former gang member from Eastern State Prison in Texas, along with another prisoner. It was a daring machine-gun raid in which one guard was killed and several were wounded.

After another robbery spree in Indiana, the Barrow Gang was tracked to a farm in Arcadia, Louisiana. Leading the search were Texas Ranger Francis A. (Frank) Hamer and FBI special agent L.A. Kindell. Hamer arranged a roadside ambush in Gibsland, Louisiana. Travelling alone, Bonnie and Clyde were killed in a flurry of gunfire. Their bodies were put on public display in Dallas before burial in their separate family plots.

Wanted Poster for Clyde Barrow

If you’ve read this far, maybe you’re wondering the same thing that I am. How do sub-human slugs such as these get to be seen as some kind of heroes?

Steve McQueen – Everybody’s Favorite Cool-Guy

McQueen’s screen persona — blue-eyed cool on the outside, rebellious turmoil on the inside — made him a box-office smash throughout the 1960s and early ’70s. He was in the early TV western Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-61) and the cult horror film The Blob (1958). But it was his work in The Magnificent Seven (1960, with Charles Bronson) and the WWII epic The Great Escape (1963, with James Garner) which established himself as a lean, laconic action star. He received an Oscar nomination in 1966 for The Sand Pebbles, but he remains best known for The Great Escape and for the 1968 cops-and-car-chases flick Bullitt. He died at a clinic in Mexico in 1980, after undergoing surgery for cancer.

I still remember seeing Bullitt for the first time. It’s still a great cop flick. Here’s a beautiful photographic caricature of Steve McQueen by Sebastian Krüger.

Steve McQueen by Sebastian Krüger

Here’s an interesting Five Things You Didn’t Know About Steve McQueen.

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What Colour IS IT?

Posted in Under the Sea on March 23rd, 2008 by MadDog
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I love the colours that I see underwater. It is a different world. But it is not all bright garishness down there.

Like all underwater photographers, I strive to capture colours that mesmerise the viewer while conveying an approximation of what I saw with my eyes. While I want to be accurate, I also need to do what is necessary to convey a pleasing image. This means a little cheating at times.

But how does one create a truly accurate photograph of what one was actually seeing? The interactions of lens and sensor physics, depth, water quality, and computer post-processing create so many variables to deal with that it becomes a highly subjective exercise.


One thing that I’ve discovered is that the flash on the camera is my enemy. The photo above of a Moorish Idol (Zanclus comutus) was taken using only natural light. The flash was turned off. Without getting all technical, let’s just say that available light photography underwater stretches every corner of the photographic envelope. It’s not easy.

Chasing the fish, keeping it centred in the viewfinder, keeping it in focus, remembering that during all that you can’t shake the camera because you don’t have the flash to ‘freeze’ it for you . . . It all uses up a lot of air.

It’s worth it, however, because I can honestly say that the colours that you see in the photo are exactly (as near as I can remember) what I saw. It’s a new photographic adventure for me.

Here are a couple of other similar photos that I took yesterday at Planet Rock. This is an overhead shot of Richard Jones.

Richard Jones

Here’s one of Rich along with Lorraine Collins as they photograph a magnificent anemone. Note that only the brightly coloured anemone stands out. (Click any photo for a larger one.) Another thing that I like is that all the shadows are in their natural positions. Things don’t look as if they are being illuminated artificially by a source not located overhead.

Rich and Lorraine

The colours are not vibrant, but they are accurate. These were taken on a hazy day at about 25 metres. The water above was milky and greenish from the discharge of the Golgol River. Nearer the surface colours would appear brighter, but never as vivid as is seen when using an electronic flash.

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In My Garden #5 – Orange Coconut Trees?

Posted in My Garden on March 22nd, 2008 by MadDog
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I recently saw a PowerPoint slide show presented by Maureen Hill. She had some very fine photos of her trek to Antarctica and South America with Val Jerram. It was a comedy of penguin and blubbery seals on an icy stage. Maureen’s sense of humor was at the boiling point.

I was, however, distracted when she displayed huge boulders that looked as if they had been nearby when Jackson Pollock suffered a conniption fit while carrying a large bucket of bright orange paint.

A sudden and unanticipated wiring alteration in my brain caused small sparks to fly out of my ears, startling the nice ladies on either side of me. The colour splashed on the boulders seemed to be suspiciously similar to the weird orange splotches so common on the flanks of our very own coconut trees! Hey, what’s going on here? Antarctica – Papua New Guinea. Hot – Cold. Rock – Tree. What’s the connection?

Having, of course, taken a picture of a coconut tree in My Garden (memory like mine? – few other choices), I arranged to have lunch with my well-informed friend Mr. Google. He cleared things up for me . . . to a point.

I don’t have Maureen’s photo, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Here’s my snap of the mysterious orange stuff on my coconut tree:

Orange lichen on my coconut tree.

As it turns out, there is a family (actually a genus, but let’s not get picky) of lichens called Xanthoria that are remarkably orange. I’ve always been intrigued by lichens. Hey, we don’t have, let’s say, dogs and chickens plotting, “Let’s mash together and make a whole new thing!” So what’s the deal with fungi and algae?

Anyway, I couldn’t find a definitive page that said, “Yeah, the coconut bilas in Madang is the same as the Pollock paintings in Antarctica”, but my suspicion is aroused that such is the case.

Curiosity now temporarily satiated, I’m musing over the serendipitous fact that if we were invaded by a herd of ravenous reindeer, we would be able to point them to our coconut trees for a good feed.

I also found out that the light green stuff that looks like dried cabbage is yet another kind of lichen. Enough, already

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