Blueblood Images – Another Welcome Home

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 22nd, 2009 by MadDog
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Another way that I can tell that I’m home is that I spent Sunday afternoon at Blueblood, up the North Coast with some of our best friends. There is cosy little beach house at Blueblood. We sit under the thatched roof or play in the water or engage in whatever odd activities that come to mind. Here is a nice shot by Val Jerram of a small contingent of us chilling out in the shade:
The cosy little shack at Blueblood - photo by Val Jerram
Here is another nice image of the “lounge room” by Val:

Mike Cassell and me at Blueblood - photo by Val Jerram

I think that Mike Cassell and I were discussing politics, or maybe women. I do remember that it was a complicated subject.

And, Val comes through again with a beautifully framed shot of a cloud covered Kar Kar Island – a very active volcano:

Kar Kar Island as seen from Blueblood - photo by Val Jerram

There is a string of small islands just off of Blueblood. The tide was very low and people were out walking on the reef. I got this shot from about 400 metres with my new Olympus SP-590UZ at 26x optical zoom – a very pleasing result from a camera that costs only about US$400:

Kids in a canoe

In the shot above, I could just barely see the canoes without the camera. In fact, it makes a pretty handy telescope!

Since I never tire of show you photos of me, here’s another one by Val:
MadDog - The Thousand-Year-Old-Man - photo by Val Jerram

I call it The Thousand Year Old Man. Of course we all love to party, and partying usually involves a good deal of smiling, so I’m glad that I was smiling. We wrapped up the afternoon with a spirited game of  Pétanque. Our team won. Not that anybody particularly cared.

We arrived back in Madang at our house just in time to see the wine light flooding in on Madang Town just across the harbour. It is a sight that always starts a warm breeze flowing through my mind:

Winelight on Madang Town

Blueblood is a special place to me. I’ve enjoyed hundreds of hours relaxing there with my closest friends. I’ve met many new friends there also. Some of my favourite memories originate there.

It’s a place that stirs thanksgiving in my heart.


First Underwater Images from the Canon G-10

Posted in Under the Sea on June 21st, 2009 by MadDog
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Yesterday I had my first dive with my new Canon G10 and the WP-DC28 factory underwater housing. I’ve been enormously satisfied with the results I’ve gotten over the past year with the G9 and its factory housing. Given my style, mostly available light rather than flash, the camera suited me well and always gave me good images.
The G10 camera and housing are both improvements on excellent products. The G10 seems to be much less noisy in low light conditions. Here is an example of how well it can deliver even when the photographer is not paying attention:LionfishI was far too far away for the shot, but it was near the end of the dive and I just couldn’t be bothered to take the time to get in close for a proper exposure.  Even with the poor lighting, I still have a usable image. Lionfish shots are a dime a dozen, anyway. You can see some of my other Lionfish images here, here, here, here, and here. The Lionfish also appears on a PNG coin.

Here’s an even better example, this one with flash. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a better shot of a Clark’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii):

Clark's AnemonefishThey are very cute, of course, but devilishly difficult to shoot. They never hold still and the coal black body against snow white bars makes an impossible contrast ratio for the camera. If you click this one to enlarge, you’ll even see some detail in the black and white areas – something I’ve not been able to achieve this well before. I think I’ll do even better when I get used to the camera. More fun with Clark’s Anemonefish here (orange variation), here, here, here, here, and here.

At 15 megapixels, the camera gives you plenty of image to mess with. You can take a shot from a little farther away, providing the water is clear enough. This allows more perceived depth of field so that everything is nicely in focus. The camera focuses in an instant and almost always on what you want to be in focus. I need to fiddle a bit more with the focus settings – there are a ton of them:

Clark's AnemonefishI’m not very happy with the software that came with the camera. Correcting both tint and colour temperature require visiting two separate dialogue boxes. This is unlike Photoshop in the Camera RAW filter (I always shoot RAW mode for underwater – it’s the only way to go) where both controls are right next to each other in the same dialogue box and you can see the results in the preview window as you slide the controls. The only problem is that I haven’t gotten the latest version of the Camera RAW filter to work yet. It contains the code necessary for the G10.

Here’s a nice shot of a Bulb Anemone that shows the level of detail and low noise that the G10 delivers. This shot was sans flash on an overcast day at about 25 metres – pretty impressive results, I’d say:

Bulb AnemoneYou can see a couple of other bulb anemones here and here.

Here’s another shot that is interesting from a technical view. The highlights on the anemone bulbs would have been completely blown out (washed out blank white) on any previous camera that I’ve used. In this shot there is still  detail and gradations of shade:

Bulb AnemoneI’m really happy with my new rig. People pay thousands of dollars for underwater cameras that don’t produce images any better than these. The differnce is that the extra money buys you mostly more light on the subject. If you are willing to stay within the confines of available light and limit youself to close shots when using flash, you can take professional quality undewater photos for way under a thousand US$. The G10 costs about US$400 and the housing was, I think, less than $200.

I don’t see how one could do much better. It is one of those delightful situations in which you can still get a lot for your money.

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Bats, Sunrises, Water and a Wasp Nest

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 20th, 2009 by MadDog
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I call this one “Blue Fountain Sunrise.”  As you may gather, since I’m waxing poetic, it’s been a long day. I’m preparing a post to be released on Saturday morning so that I don’t have to go into the office. I have to go into the office to do anything because Telikom is totally incapable of giving me a pair of copper wires that will conduct electricity. I’d say that they are about a century behind:
Blue Fountain Sunrise PanoramaIt’s an interesting sunrise, anyway.

Here are some of our famous Flying Foxes (giant fruit-eating bats) flying around in the morning before settling down in the trees to nap all day:

Flying Foxes at SunriseThis is a mixed bag, so let’s throw in a wasp nest:

Wasp Nest
That nest is about as big as my hand. I don’t know what kind of wasp would live in it, but I was being very cautious.

I’ve never seen a water drop that I did not want to photograph. These are no exceptions:

Water Drops
I like the way that I can see my own reflection in the drops. It somehow calms me. The water tells me that I am real.

Man, it HAS been a long day!

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RSS and Email Feeds of Madang – Ples Bilong Mi

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 19th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve come up with two entirely new ways to annoy you.

A couple of people asked how to get an RSS feed of Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.  Since it wasn’t obvious how to do it (usually through your browser), then I decided to put an RSS Subscription button at the top of the sidebar. If you know what RSS is, then you’ll know how to use it.

If you would like for me to annoy you through your email inbox, I can do that also, or alternatively, or both at once, as you desire.

There is a box near the top of the sidebar that looks (something) like this:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Just put your email address in and hit the “Subscribe” button. You will have to prove that you are a human being by typing in some letters that appear in a box (oh, if it were only that simple to prove one’s humanity). Then it will send you an email with a link that you’ll have to click. It will tell you that you’re all set. Then, each time I post, you’ll receive an email.

Won’t that be fun?

I’ll leave you with an unusual image:

Eunice Messersmith on the left, Juli in the middle and Eunice Messersmith on the rightOn the left is Eunice Messersmith, my wife. In the middle is Juli, whom you have met before. On the right, the baby, is Eunice Messersmith again. Juli has, as Eunie’s strong right hand to maintain the household, raised her children, and now her grandchildren in our house. She and her kids have been an indispensable part of our lives for over twenty years.

A Wecome Home Sunrise

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 18th, 2009 by MadDog
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When I got up this morning and saw the golden light flooding in through the front windows of our house, I felt that I had finally returned home. I got my camera and went to the water’s edge just in time to catch this boat passing between me and the radiant sunrise:
A passing boat backlit by a beautiful sunriseAs I stood there admiring the sun’s handiwork, I shot a couple of panoramas:

Today's first panoramaIt only takes a couple of minutes for the scene to change. In the tropics, sunrises and sunsets occur alarmingly quickly:

And another sunrise panorama for today

As I was returning to the house I was amazed at the huge pile of flowers that has accumulated over the last few days from our blooming Fishtail Palm:

Huge pile of flowers from our Fishtail Palm
If you check here, you will see how the tree looked only a few days ago.

It’s good to be home. I have chores to do. Today I have to put in a new ariconditioner in our bedroom and move the old one to Val’s room. Hers has given up the ghost. We need to get started setting up an office for our new company, J & E Enterprises Limited. The company name is loaded with irony. Over thirty years ago, when we were becomming fed up with the business world and planed our excape to Papua New Guinea, the name of our corporation was J & E Enterprises Incorporated.

We’ve now come full circle.

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The Amazingly Fertile Mind of Dean Chetwynd

Posted in On Tthe Road on June 17th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m going to be flicking back to my adventures in North America now and then, because I still have stories to tell and images to show to you.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the strange and wonderful world of Sedona, Arizona artist Dean Chetwynd:

Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd
Just across the street from Avatar Tat2 where I got my latest skin art, is an alley with a little sign that says “Art Show”. As you step into the alley, the world tips a little to side; things get a little weird.

Turn the corner and you’ll be greeted by Dean sitting on his rickety lawn chair with a big wooden stick in his hand. He seems attached to the stick. He is surrounded by his art:

By Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd
It’s a little difficult to describe his style. It combines so many techniques and media that it defies classification. The themes are religio/political in the extreme:
By Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd - Jan Messersmith
To say that Mr. Chetwynd’s mind is fertile would be wild understatement. I couldn’t get him to talk much about his work. He did say that he was concerned that the great powers of the world (especially the USA) were, “determined to make Old Testament prophecies come true.”:
By Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd
That gave me a bit of a chill as I walked around snapping a few of his more spectacular works. He puts an incredible amount of detail into each piece. Inspecting one of his boards is akin to listening to American Pie and trying to figure out what the lyrics mean:
By Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd
He doesn’t talk a lot. I suppose he is very weary of gawkers who come to look and don’t buy anything. He said that he wasn’t looking for much money, but he wanted to get his stuff out into homes where people could look at it. I can certainly sympathise with that notion, considering the amount of time that I spend on this journal:
By Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd
I told him that I would love to buy several of his works to take back to Madang with me (I KNOW that we could appreciate them here!). Unfortunately, I told him. I was unable to do that because I did not have time to build the crates and arrange the shipping. It didn’t seem to matter to him:
By Sedona, Arizona artist, Dean Chetwynd
I could have spent a couple of hours there studying the bizarre symbolism in his images, but I had an appointment with pain.

If you get to Sedona, check this guy out. Buy something from him. Make him happy. He seems somehow to deserve it.

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Terrorist Mouse Delays APNG Flight from Cairns!

Posted in Humor on June 16th, 2009 by MadDog
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Having received a mysterious message from Eunie on my Facebook wall that her Airlines PNG flight had been delayed by a mouse, I jumped on the phone immediately to call the operations manager. Attempted hijackings by terrorists call for quick and decisive action.

Beady-eyed terrorist

I was much relieved when the fellow told me that the situation was under control. He did not know if the mouse had yet been aprehended, but he said that all passengers had been transferred to an Air Niugini flight and my precious woman should arrive safely and on time this afternoon.

That is, of course, if the Flying Foxes cooperate and stay away from the runway long enough for the plane to land. Yes, it is a precarious world in which we live.

By the way, Airlines PNG’s quick action and merciful treatment of their passengers seems to me to require some congratulations.

UPDATE: Eunie tells me that the pilot, upon opening the door of the aircraft, was staring into the beady eyes of the mouse. He had to report it or risk loosing his job. What if someone else saw it and reported it? What if it were discovered over the Torres Straits and PNG wouldn’t let the plane land and neither would Australia. The plane was taken to Australian quarantine services to be de-moused. This is a tricky task, because the mouse must be captured alive. If it dies somewhere on the aircraft, it has to be disassembled bit-by-bit until the tiny terrorist carcass is found.

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