Wings, Logs, and a Sunrise

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 29th, 2009 by MadDog
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This morning, Kar Kar Island  was all moody and sombre in the pinkish dawn light. I went back into the house to get my Olympus SP590-UZ to get a long telephoto shot of the big volcano. I came back out and climbed up on the roof of our truck to get a little more of the mountain sticking up above the trees on Kerosene Island.  As I was framing a shot, I heard the morning Air Niugini flight coming in from the east. I waited until it was directly over Kar Kar Island  and voila!

The morning Air Niugini Flight coming in over Kar Kar Island

That was surprise shot number one for today.

This next one interests me because it’s an example of an image that turned out to be more than I thought it would be:

Pacific Blue flight taking me home to Madang from Brisbane

As I was leaving Brisbane on the Pacific Blue / Airlines PNG flight to Port Moresby, I did a couple of quick snaps out the window. I don’t know what method airlines use to determine who the serious amateur photographers are and consistently seat them directly over the wing, but I hate it. So, noting my seat position, I had already decided that the flight was a dead loss, photographically. However, when I looked at the image above, it started talking to me. So, I fiddled with it for a while until I was happy with it. It is one of those images that adds up to more than the sum of its details.

This one speaks for itself:

Really smart move; selling your birthright for a bowl of soup - LOGS FOR SALE!

I suppose that somebody out there (probably someone who is making money from it) will blab on about “sustainable logging.” Would you like to try to convince me?  Have a go. I don’t mind sticking my neck out to make a prediction. At some point in the future, unless drastic cultural and societal changes occur in this country, all profitable timber will have been removed and the people once inhabiting those lands will be destitute. Why? Simple. These logs will continue to increase in value decade by decade until the pressure to sell them is too tempting to resist. It will be impossible to control. Is it possible to avoid this catastrophe? I’d say yes, but only if there is a sea change in attitude. Selling one’s birthright for a cup of soup is a long human tradition.

Okay, enough complaining. This is not a particularly colourful sunrise, but I love its symmetry:

Dark Sunrise Panorama

That’s about it for today.  Thanks to all the people who emailed, commented and left notes on my Facebook account congratulating us on our 45th wedding anniversary. I only wish I had another 45 years with her.

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45 Years Is a Long Time

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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I can’t let a milestone event pass without comment. As life goes, it’s a rather small milestone, considering the others that have gone before it. Nevertheless, two people living in the same house together for 45 years without either suffering violence from the other is not to be sneezed at.

Saturday night we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary with some of our best friends. Those who were there were but a small sample of the many wonderful friends we’ve enjoyed over nearly thirty years in Papua New Guinea.

There were several notable highlights during the evening, but I’ll show only a couple of them. Our lovely Scottish lass Laura Carse is back in Madang for a few weeks. Laura worked with the Creative Self- Help Centre when she was here before. She brought us a lovely silver quaich as an anniversary gift. When we first came to Madang, there was a chapter of the Caledonian Society here, because there were quite a few Scottish folk around town. Since their numbers were small, they invited us to become associate members, as we have no Scottish blood. We remember many evenings when the ‘cup of friendship’ filled with the finest single malt passed around the room. Laura got us going with her wonderful gift. Putting a foot on the table or standing on a chair while sipping is considered good form, but becomes more difficult with each round:

Starting to pass the quaich around the room - the foot on the table is traditionalI recommend very small sips, as it is likely that you’ll be holding it again in a few minutes, depending on the size of the crowd. It’s considered very dashing to “quaff the quaich” (meaning tossing back whatever is left), but that, I do not recommend. It can lead to serious imbalance and memory loss. As with most things that are fun, moderation is the key to enjoyment.

Just to give an example of how silly the whole shebang got, here’s a shot of us cutting the cake. Nobody can say that we worry much about looking goofy in public:

Two clowns cutting a cake

The cake was a bit of a mystery object. We’d ordered a cake from one place, but the oven wasn’t working. Then Eunie ordered a cake from Coastwatcher’s Hotel, but they failed to tell her that they wouldn’t actually make the cake until she came in and paid for it, so when she went to pick it up, of course, it wasn’t there. GRRRRRRR! How much effort would it have taken for them to say, “You have to pay for it before we’ll make it.” Coastwatchers gets a FAIL mark for that one.

Then, as if by magic, Maureen Hill produced a cake, seemingly from thin air.

Madang is that kind of place.

Thanks to the wonderful mob of characters who made our anniversary so much fun.



More Sunrises – Are you Getting Tired Yet?

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 27th, 2009 by MadDog
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This makes two days in a row on sunrises, but these two are worth taking the risk of boring you. As I was driving in this morning wondering what I was going to write about had how I was going to figure out how to do it before I have to go back home and get the boat ready to pick up my Saturday divers, I came around the long way to see what the sunrise was doing. From my house it didn’t look very promising.

I got a pleasant surprise as I approached the Coastwatchers Monument:

The Coastwatchers Monument and the Rising SunI could see that it had promise, but I was too close to the shore. I pulled around the end of the golf course and parked in front of Trevor Hattersley’s house just in time – two minutes later would have been too late. You can see the monument on the left and the sun just coming up over the horizon on the right.

Then I noticed people walking along Coronation Drive. I wondered if I might get phenomenally lucky.

Early morning walker on Coronation Drive new the Coastwatchers Monument

As it turned out, I did. I caught a guy just as he was passing in front of the disk of the rising sun. You can’t really plan this kind of shot.

It’s a gift.

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Sunrise Madness

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 26th, 2009 by MadDog
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I just read back over my post of yesterday.  I take back nothing that I said about Telikom, but I must have been bombed out of my skull. I remember taking the photo of the “Dog in the Red Dress” in my neighbour’s yard, but how I made the connection to Telikom is beyond me. Blame it on the toxic cocktail of cold remedies.

I’m still steaming about not being able to get a phone. A technician came to my house yesterday and finally admitted that there is not a single copper pair to the entire area of DCA that is clean. They all have faults. When I get an incoming call the phone just goes “brrrp” once. That’s what it sounds like, “brrp”. When you pick it up, it is dead silence. I must have gotten twenty calls today, since tomorrow is our big party for our 45th wedding anniversary. Sorry, folks, I can’t answer my phone. It won’t let me.

Anyway, I blew away the time when I felt like getting our of bed to work on some sunrise shots that I hadn’t gotten around to yet. I did find a few interesting ones:

Sunrise with towering cumulus casting shadow

I like the waves in the one above. Also notice that the towering cumulus cloud just to the left of the rising sun is casting a shadow in the thin layer of cloud that appears orange from the glow of the sun and allowing the blue sky to show through.

This shot is the same sunrise taken a few minutes earlier:

Sunrise with towering cumulus casting shadow (earlier)

The towering cumulus hasn’t grown tall enough to cast as much of a shadow, but you can see it developing.

There’s not much to say about this one. It’s darker and moodier. However I like the purple cast. The lights of town are very nice on the water, also. This was about a ten second exposure. That is why the water looks smooth and silky:

Purple sunrise

I think that I may have shown this one before. I reworked it this morning because I wasn’t satisfied with the colours.Sunrise with baot

Of course, few of the colours in my sunrise shots are as bright in real life as I depict them in my interpretations. Even mom nature can stand a little improvement around the edges. When I do shots like these, I’m not even thinking of them as photographs. I’m thinking that I’m painting with light. I can’t paint or draw at all. I have no artistic talent. However, give me a camera and a computer and I can create somethign beautiful. You can. Anyone can. That’s the beauty of photography today. Anybody with a camera and a computer can do what the great photographic masters of the past would have thought impossible.

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A Dog in a Red Dress – TELIKOM

Posted in Rants and Rages on June 25th, 2009 by MadDog
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Well, I’m as sick as a dog and stuck at home. This is going to be short, because I can’t stay on line with the decades-old copper wires that Telikom laughingly calls a phone system.

Telikom is a Dog in a Red Dress:
Telikom - the DOG in a red dress
Don’t ask mye why this strikes my as funny. My head feels as if it is stuffed with wet cotton (may be, for all I know), and I’m doped up on enough decongestants and antihistamines that I can’t actually tell where my fingers end and the keyboard begins. It’s like some kind of weird direct connection. Maybe that’s why I’m typing so fast. Man, I can’t ever remember typing this fast.

Anyway, back to the blood-sucking beast that we call Telikom. They keep telling me how much they are improving. Okay, they gave us some fancy little (cheap) desktop wireless phones that are supposed to connect us to the internet also. Guess what. The drivers won’t install. The local manager Mike Yandt (yes, I’m naming manes) told me on Monday morning that he would have my phone at home fixed the next morning. I asked him if he was sure. No worries was the answer. It’s now Thursday and still no phone that will stay connected. What kind of progress are they talking about . . . precisely?

I’ve given up on the normal means of trying to get things done. I’m going to start writing to anybody who will print what I send them. The Post Courier, The National, radio, tv, I don’t care. I’m going to raise as big a stink as I possibly can. Those of you who know me understand that I can stink mightily.

I’ve been trying to get a decent phone here in DCA for twenty years. Telikom can’t (read won’t) do it.

Okay, if that’s the way it’s going to be, then the gloves are off.


Sedona Again – Montezuma’s Well

Posted in On Tthe Road on June 24th, 2009 by MadDog
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I may flip back to Sedona on any given day. It depends on the weather here in Madang. If it’s a grey day my mind will wander.

One of the more amusing spots we visited in Sedona is Montezuma’s Well:

Montezuma's Well near Sedona ArizonaThough it looks like a big hole in the ground full of water, it’s more interesting than that. It’s actually a huge collapsed limestone cavern.  Here is another shot from a different angle:

Another image of Montezuma's Well near Sedona ArizonaI’m told that a million gallons of water a day come up from the underlying ground to feed the pool. The water is quite clear, though the carbon dioxide level is too high for fish.

There is a beautiful cliff dwelling on one side:

Cliff dwelling at Montezuma's Well near Sedona Arizona

Here is a telephoto shot of the cliff dwelling:

Telephoto shot of a cliff dwelling at Montezuma's Well near Sedona Arizona

The well is not far from Montezuma’s Castle, another group of cliff dwellings. We didn’t go there because I was more interested in the well. You’ve seen one cliff dwelling; you’ve seen them all.

The post is a little short of colour, so here are some more big red rocks:

Sedona - Castle Rock?

I think the one above is called Castle Rock – looks like to could be, anyway.

And why not a cactus flower to finish it off:

Cactus flower

I have so many images of places that I visited during my six weeks in North America that the journal is going to get a bit more confusing than usual.

Stay tuned for more randomness.

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Drip, Drip

Posted in Photography Tricks on June 23rd, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m not sure why water droplets fascinate me so much as photographic subjects. They’re not very animated and they have little character of their own. What they do very nicely is reflect, transmit and modify light. Now light, you see, is something that interests me greatly. I’ve shown you my orange lilies before. Here are some water drops resting on a shady morning:

Shady day water drops on my orange liliesWith no direct sun to cast shadows, they look a bit lifeless and moody. I’ve got more orange lilies now than I’ve ever had before. You can see another water drop shot here. You can get orange lilies and more water drops here – one of my favourite water drop shots. So as not to make the other flowers jealous, I’ll add this.

This drop, hanging off of a hibiscus bud, seems entirely too big to stay put. It seems very precarious to me:

A drop that looks too big to hold onI also like that way that everything appears upside down.

I like this one best. If click to enlarge, you’ll see that the middle of the three drops is reflecting the smaller drop located just above it on the branch:

The middle drop shows a reflection of another dropWhile drops are amusing I usually prefer my water in larger units. Get wetter with more water drops and other miscellanea here, here, here and here.

How’s the Pacific Ocean for a larger unit:

Astrolabe SkyI took Eunie to lunch for her birthday today. We ate at the Madang Lodge. I had fish and chips, but no, I’m not going to make you look at it. The view over Astrolabe Bay was very pleasant today. When I was a kid we called those wispy clouds mares’ tails because they look like tails of horses.

Happy birthday, Eunie.

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