Parrotfish and Deep Focus

Posted in Under the Sea on May 30th, 2010 by MadDog
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Saturday dawned brilliant and promising. I was looking forward to going back to The Eel Garden near Pig Island  to find the Leafy Sea Dragon which has been reported to be on the old catamaran. I looked in vain for it last week, but a fellow diver, Hendirck, told me that he had found something promising. In return for the information, I dragged out my old Canon G10 and its underwater housing for him to try out.

Unfortunately, with all of the juggling around of cameras, housings and memory cards, I managed to show up at Magic Passage for our first dive with my G11 showing “NO MEMORY CARD”. Ai ya yai ya yai!  Stupido!  So, I did a very nice dive on which some very interesting critters were spotted, but I had no camera.

Never mind. I pretended to enjoy it, playing Divemaster and pointing out all sorts of fascinating items which I determined to burn into my brain memory cells instead of my usual memory contained in my camera. The camera is much  more reliable.

On the second dive at The Eel Garden, Rich Jones was not diving, so I used his new G11 which was out on its virgin underwater experience.

There were many very colourful parrotfish about. This is simultaneously exciting, euphoric and frustrating. If you are a snorkeller or diver you understand the first two. If you are an underwater photographer you get the latter. Google parrotfish and look at the sad offering of images. It is nearly impossible to get close to them. You must depend on the occasional quick shot when one darts past:

I don’t know the species of the one above. My fish book is at the office and I have photographed so few that I can’t remember most of the names.

This one, I do know, but I would call it a “failed” image:

It is a Hump Head Parrotfish (Bulbometopon muricatum).  They are huge. This one was at least 1.5 metres long. Unfortunately, they are delicious and easy to spear. In some areas of the South Pacific they have disappeared completely. This was a quick snap shot at the end of a long tiring chase during which I managed to corner it long enough for a very poorly framed image. The closer you get to them the bluer they look. I was about two metres away from this one in fairly dirty water.

I’ve been playing around with a photographer’s technique called “deep focus”. It sounds exotic, but it is easy to understand. The smaller the hole you are looking through, the more “depth of field” you will get. In other words, objects from near to far will be in focus if the hole is small enough.

Theoretically, a pinhole will have a focal range from very close to infinity. So, the larger the number of the f-stop you use on your camera (the size of the hole through which the light passes) the smaller the hole will be. I know it sounds backwards, but never mind. Big number – small hole  – more depth of field. That’s the way it goes. If you can get f 16 on your camera, you will get lots of stuff in focus from near to far. At f 2.8 you will get only near or far, but not both.

It works better for non close-up stuff. For instance this shot of the Nudibranch Phyllidia varicosa  doesn’t show much effect:

Sure, most of it is in focus, but there is not much to show the depth of the image. There are no obvious visual clues to indicate depth.

It this shot of coral with an anemone in the background, however, there are many clues to indicate distance:

It requires a lot of light to use the small lens opening, because not much can get through. If you don’t have enough light, you will be forced to use shutter speeds that are too slow to give sharp images. There’s no free lunch. You can have it one way or another, but not both. I manually blurred and darkened the very distant objects at the top to enhance the effect.

In both of these images I failed to note that when I changed the mode of my camera to Aperture Priority (meaning I get to set the aperture and the camera automatically sets the shutter speed) I lost my format setting and it reverted to JPG. I always shoot underwater in the RAW format mode because it allows me much more colour control. Sorry to bore you with these arcane details, but there are a few photographers out there who are constipated enough to care about these things.

Here is a pretty scene, never mind the colours are off, of some coral with Purple Antheas swimming around:

It nicely illustrates the reality which you can get with the deep focus technique.

Okay, that’s it for me. It’s Sunday evening. The sun is below the yardarm. I’m going for a wee dram and lay on the bed to watch some mind-numbing TV for a while. Then maybe I’ll rest my eyes for a bit.

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Safety Can Kill You!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on May 29th, 2010 by MadDog
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Sunday morning rolls around and I look back on the week as a mixed bag of sadness, adventure and success. We lost a dear nephew. Our thoughts have been largely consumed by grief and family concerns. The first real work day of a (yet another) new job left me exhausted but enriched. We also received the amusing news of Eunie’s selection by the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Commerce and Industry to represent the business and industrial interests of the entire nation at a European Union conference of the Pacific Regional Economic Integration Programme to be held in Nandi, Fiji next month. More and more I hear myself introduced as “Eunice Messersmith’s husband”. It doesn’t bother me a bit. Eunie gets a free trip to Fiji.

Yesterday morning was exceptionally pink:

Pink makes me uneasy. This shot is from the back of my neighbour’s house.

Yep, those are pink clouds:

Hard day coming.

Putting the beef in the middle of the sandwich, right were it belongs, I’ll get the the safety gag. Yesterday I was doing my impersonation of a cat on a hot tin roof along with my workmate Benson while we installed a VSAT on the roof of a local business. Being a major player in a hazardous game, they take their safety precautions very seriously. The boss was not greatly amused to note that I showed up at the work-site in sandals. I offered to go back to the office to put on my Harley-riding boots, but I think that they were all so virtually drooling over the prospect of a speedy Internet connection that they simply told me to “stay out of the workshop.” As I had no intention of going anywhere near a workshop, I gave them a gratuitous “No worries, mate.” and we got on with it.

However, not before they brought out these torture garments:

These “Safety Harnesses”, as they are laughably called, are the most dubious contraptions yet conceived by hard-hearted, profit-seeking men. Not to say that a woman couldn’t conceive a similarly diabolical instrument. Aside from the fact that It made me look as If I were wearing a baby-blue diaper thanks to my Lt. Dangle short-shorts (ref:  Reno 911 in case that is too obscure for you) they are extremely heavy and cumbersome. They are made of webbing of sufficient strength to restrain King Kong and they attend to areas of the body not usually subjected to such rough treatment. Walking was a torture not unlike being repeatedly kicked in the crouch by Chuck Norris in his prime.

As if this is not sufficient to deter a worker from applying for a job here, once you are up the ladder you are attached to a huge hook which is in turn attached to a finger-sized steel cable which is attached to a monstrous spring-loaded thing called an “inertia reel” which is in turn attached to some corner of the roof far away from where you need to work. It goes like this: Two guys on the roof attached from their backs by cables which cannot be crossed or you will both die. To progress toward the work site, you must lean forward and trudge against the pull of the “inertia reel” until you build up sufficient weight against it to move forward. You must keep the momentum up, or you will be dragged back to the reel, where you will fall backward over the side of the building and die as you smash up against it, your body held safely dangling above the ground by the “inertia reel”. Likewise, if you get up too much steam, your momentum will carry over the opposite side where you will once again be saved from plummeting to the ground, but will die and dangle in a manner similar to the above.

It is impossible to stand in a normal position. One must constantly lean forward, struggling against the pull of the accursed “inertia reel”. Furthermore, the slightest inattention will find you falling backward, grabbing futily for a hand-hold while hurtling toward the “inertia reel” to be flipped over the side and die cursing all safety precautions.

There’s more, but I think that you get the idea. As a final caution before we ascended the ladder in an overly-cautious and terrified state, the managers offered us the opportunity to view photographs of “displaced testicles”. We declined the kind offer.

It would have been a two hour job if I had considered having them weld the pole for the dish in the middle of the roof instead of on the edge (Duh!) and we had been allowed to live dangerously and forgo the “safety devices”, but we persevered and had the job done in about five hours.

So, that was my Friday.

A few days ago I was standing at the edge of the water very early, just as the sky was lightening. As I looked down I was struck by the clear reflection of the blue sky in the water. I snapped this shot at about 1/5 of a second and was amazed to see that the image stabilisation gizmo in the camera captured a usable image:

I call it The World At My Feet. Inscrutable.

Down at The Madang Lodge and Restaurant a few days ago, I was killing time waiting for Eunie and got a few nice orchid shots:

I have no idea what kind of orchid this is, nor do I much care. The depth of field in this shot leaves a lot to be desired. I was trying to get the coconut trees in the background very blurred. I was going for that “five Piña Coladas” look. Therefore, I had to open up the lens very wide to blur them. Unfortunately, this also meant that parts of the orchid are outside the depth of focus field.

It is true. There’s no free lunch.

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Great Barracuda!

Posted in Under the Sea on May 28th, 2010 by MadDog
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Today begins a new pursuit for our J & E Enterprises Limited company. I’m going out to install the first VSAT dish which we have sold. I’m familiar with the technology, so the job should be simple and take only a couple of hours. On Monday, after the unit is switched on at the Orion terminal in Australia, our customer will enjoy Internet communications and VOIP (voice over Internet – think Skype) the likes of which have never before been seen in Papua New Guinea at the relatively low cost of these units. It really is an exciting event for us. It’s fun to be involved with what, in this country, is the cutting edge of technology. Never mind that it has been available in most of the rest of the world for at least a decade.

Here is your morning sunrise:

Provided I arise early enough, I should be able to show you a new one nearly every morning now that the dry season is arriving.

The subject of this post is the large, toothy critter in this sadly poor photograph:It is a Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda). It’s not called “great” because it’s particularly famous or gifted or nice, but simply because it is big. I reckon that this one was about a metre and a half long. I tried my best to sneak up on it while it was getting the fishy equivalent of a car wash here at a “cleaning station” where tiny cleaner wrasse swim around and pick off tasty parasites from the barracuda’s skin – even inside its mouth! However, the instant it sensed me as a possible threat (pretty unlikely, I’d say), it shot of so quickly that it was just a blur in my eyes. Its departure was accompanied by a sound like a whip snap and a general panicky scattering of all of the fish in the general area as they hurried to get out of its way. It was quite a spectacle.

The water at Barracuda Point was murky, so the photo is very poor, despite my being only about three metres distant from the fangy bullet. This is only the third or fourth Great Barracuda which I have seen here in over 2,000 dives.

I have selected the rest of my images today not for their excitement, but rather for their calm, restful beauty. Here is one of my favourite creatures, the Mushroom Coral (Fungia fugites or possibly F. scutaria):

This one is resting next to the large colony of beautiful green and white Sea Squirts, Lissoclinum patellum.

This is a very lovely Divericate Tree Coral (Gendronephthya roxasia) which is growing between the hulls of the old wrecked catamaran on the ocean side of the barrier reef at The Eel Garden near Pig Island:

The Tree Corals are some of the few things which I like to use flash to capture. The way that they light up seemingly from the inside out is quite amazing. This one has a wonderful blue and pink colour scheme which I have not seen before. As soon as I began to work with this image my mind drifted to the recent movie Avatar. That film is packed with creatures which any diver would immediately recognise.

Here is another colonial animal which is best seen with flash. It is some species of Semperina, I think:

In ambient light it is a dull brown. When the full spectrum of sunlight hits them, as a camera flash is designed to replicate, it light up bright red.

We may as well finish up with a couple of Disneyesque Nemo impersonators. The Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula) has certainly become the most universally recognised reef inhabitant on the planet:

That’s it for today. Tomorrow is Dive Day. I’ll be back to waste more of your valuable time.

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Items For the Easily Amused

Posted in Photography Tricks, Under the Sea on May 27th, 2010 by MadDog
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I’m greatly relieved that Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  now seems to be alive and kicking again. A recent double-whammy of weird interactions between plugins and some possible security problems conspired to knock me off of my own site and caused many readers to receive weird offers to download a mysterious “wordpress.gz” file, dump them to a 404 “Not Found” page, or behave normally, as the fortunes of fate dictated at the moment. I’m sad that this happened, because the last thing which I want to generate in my readers is frustration. My game is amusement, not apoplexy. If you do encounter any problems with the site, please inform me by email or leave a comment, if possible. I can’t fix anything which I do not know about. I’ll praise once again my WordPress guru, Michael VanDeMar, who, for a modest sum, plucked my precious baby from the tar pit and washed her clean. If you are a WordPress user, you will probably need Michael someday. Put him in your contacts now before you forget.

If you’re a long-time “local” in or around Madang, you will remember Doctors Michael “Mick” and Margaret Horwood who were the local sawbones in town for years. We lived in a small flat above their office. They are wonderful, caring doctors and excellent friends. Mick still comes up to Madang on occasion and dives with us. His son, Will, recently visited us along with some of his fellow medical students. Will was visiting Sam Young, a friend in New York City, and got this phenomenal shot of the skyline with an iPhone!

Not too shabby for something with an Apple logo on it. I confess to not being an Apple fan. Please don’t hate me. However, one of our co-workers has just arrived with a new iPad. In a couple of days I will deliver to you the definitive review of this absolutely fascinating, but seemingly useless product. I admit that I was mesmerised the first time that I squeezed my fingers together and watched the images shrink and then grow again when I moved my fingers apart. Mind blowing!

Here is something that I’d bet that you have never seen. It is the underside of a New Guinea Cushion Star (Culcita novaeguineae):

It clearly shows that it is really a starfish with the stubbiest possible legs. Yeah, yeah, I know that most people call them arms. But, we don’t walk on arms, do we? If somebody asks you how many arms a starfish has, answer, “Zero, dummkopf.” If you click to enlarge this image and look carefully, you will see some small shrimp crawling around on the underside of the critter. Look for the two dark eyes and then you will see the rest of their nearly transparent bodies.

And, here is yet another thingie which only the most bizarre of you may have ever seen:

It is an extremely juvenile Bulb Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor).  When I first saw this from a couple of metres away, I bubbled into my regulator, “What the . . .” It is very small, only about 20mm across. I honestly couldn’t say what it was until I got the shot on my computer and enlarged it. Seeing it big made it clear from the shape of the little bulbs with the . . . er . . . nipples on them (hey, what would you  call them?) that is is definitely an itsy-bitsy Bulb Anemone.

At the Madang Lodge Hotel and Restaurant there are several carving similar to this one of two old men and a dog in a canoe:

There is a guy in Madang who carves these. I think he may have a patent on the design. I have coveted these for years. Maybe if my new jobs work out, I may commission one. I don’t know where I’ll put it. Our house is so full of artifacts that we’re running out of wall space.

I saved this one for last because it makes me giggle. Click to enlarge this image of a Slender Grouper (Anyperodon leucogrammicus):

I’ve uploaded it to my server lager than usual so that you can see the raw hatred and anger on the face of this fish. If this fish had been a tiger, I’m certain that I wouldn’t be sitting here boring you into a catatonic state. Fish don’t usually react to me this way. Maybe it got out of bed on the wrong side.

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The Big Hole in My Calendar

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on May 26th, 2010 by MadDog
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Regular readers will note that I have been off the air since Sunday. I was working on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  when suddenly I found myself locked out. I could not even get the login page to load. I got this strange message:

Not Found

The requested URL /wordpress/wp-login.php was not found on this server.

You are receiving this error because there was reason to believe you may have violated the system’s security protocols. If you think this was an error, please submit details about your activity through the form below and you may be unblocked. Providing your email address will speed up this process.

Thoroughly disgusted and believing that I had been hacked, I gave up for the day and laid around feeling sorry for myself. On Monday I got in contact with a WordPress Specialist, Michael VanDeMar, who began to examine my server for any evidence of foul play. By mid-Tuesday he had me back up and running. If you ever get in a jam with your blog, he’s your man. I give him ten out of ten.

As it turned out (GEEKSPEAK ALERT! – Geeky stuff in this paragraph.), it was not a hack, or at least it wasn’t the direct result of a hack. I was using a product called SecurePress to shield me against hackers. It seemed to do a pretty good job and notified me each time a hack occurred (several times a day, usually). I am also using a WordPress plugin called WP Super Cache which makes my pages load much faster on your computer. As a result of a previous attack which was interpreted as coming from my own IP address WP Super Cache began directing users to the message above which is doled out to suspected hackers. I should have picked up on this, but I did not make the connection. That’s what experts are for. So, if you are using SecurePress, pay attention to the part in the instructions which cautions you that you could get locked out of your own site.

But, now I have this big hole in my calendar. It irks me, but it would be obsessive to go back and fill it up. I’ll just have to live with it.

Okay, with all that mess now disposed, let’s have a nice, cheery sunrise:

That is the brightest red one that I’ve seen since the last dry season.

Here is another sky shot which shows an interesting effect which you will probably not want:
I saw the beautiful towering cumulus over the mainland and wanted to get a shot of it. However, my camera was still in its underwater case. I wiped the face-plate as well as I could with my towel, but it left some streaks. The diffraction that you see in the top of the image is caused by the bright sunlight being scattered by the nearly invisible streaks on the faceplate of the housing only an inch or so in front of the lens of the camera. It’s an interesting effect and could be useful. Back in the old days we used to smear a very thin layer of Vaseline on a clear filter and screw it on in front of a lens. Different patterns of smear created different diffusion effects. It was especially nice for that soft-focus look when photographing the ladies.

Since I’ve been off the air for a few days, I have a craving for fish.

Here is a nice Barrel Sponge at Barracuda Point near Pig Island  with some Antheas and a few Dascyllus swimming around it:

The water was not very nice that day. The visibility was only about eight or ten metres.

I did manage this reasonably nice shot of some Midnight Snappers (Macolor macularis):You can see some sub-adults in the shot. They are the ones which still have traces of the juvenile black with white spots pattern. The golden coloured one in the middle is an adult, as are the darker ones to the left. The one on the right with the faint white spots is a sub-adult.

Finally, here is an absolute storm of baby fish:

I’ve put this one up on the server at extra high resolution – 4,000 pixels. It’s worth a click and a wait to see it close up.

The Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back to regular daily posting from now until the next hiccup.

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Tiny Bubbles

Posted in Humor, Photography Tricks on May 21st, 2010 by MadDog
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I’m three days behind posting to Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.  I don’t know how it happened. It’s certainly not because I’ve been lazy during the last week. I was so knackered yesterday (actually not yesterday, but never mind) after coming home from two dives that I slept fourteen hours last night, possibly a personal record. Maybe my body is whispering something to me.

So, here I sit on Sunday morning, hoping dearly to go to the beach and needing to write three posts – this one is for Friday. It’s getting grim. Therefore, I check marked the little box under Categories titled Humor  to give myself a challenge. Right! Excuse me for a moment while I retrieve a beer from the bar fridge to fortify myself. We’ll see if I can stand up to my own challenge. The clown’s gauntlet has been thrown down. Do I have The Right Stuff to pick it up? We shall see.

I had some cockamamie idea of comparing water drops to bubbles. My half-baked theory was that water drops are bubbles turned inside out. While this appeals strongly to my sense of whimsy, alas, upon careful examination, this reduces to ignorance of the nature of both. Let’s examine this example:

Now, clearly there are many similarities between bubbles and water drops. They are both formed by the surface tension of a . . . er . . . surface at the interface between two substances which may or may not be identical. Confused yet? If you are not, then please hurry to catch up with me. Surface tension most efficiently reduces the energy required to containerise whatever is being contained. We learn this simple fact in Physics 101. I aspired to be a physicist, but refused to do the maths homework. So much for physics. Anyway, surface tension tugs everything together and packs it neatly in a near-sphere. That’s why the little kid can blow perfectly round bubbles every time from the bubble toy. Skill doesn’t enter into it. Physics does all the hard work.

The crucial difference is, of course, that a bubble is a film (Hah, you thought film was dead, eh? – AAAAAAANNNHHHH!  WRONG!) which separates two gasses (Or two liquids, I suppose, as in the case of a Lava Lamp, and, yes, I do  have one.), while a drop is liquid contained by surface tension into a more or less round shape and surrounded by a gas.

A couple of other differences are illustrated by the stunning image above. Drops are saggy, according to their size. Little drops sag little and big drops sag more. Ladies, this explains a lot. It’s a battle between the astoundingly strong power of surface tension and the puny little tug of gravity. Think about it. We can walk around, jump up and down an whoop and holler and even fly, more or less, while being pulled down relentlessly by an entire planet!  Gravity is pathetic. Gravity is the 97 pound weakling of the physical forces.

The other difference is that, while bubbles can make pretty reflections, they can’t act as lenses, at least as long as the gas inside has the same index of refraction at the gas outside. I told you this is humour. Now, wasn’t that funny? Come on, work with me. No, usually bubbles don’t work well as lenses, but drops can. Click to enlarge the image above and examine the beautiful lensing in the drop. You can clearly see the upside-down flowers and stems behind it. *

Both drops and bubbles can be very pretty. I see them nearly every morning in my garden. I love to stroll in my garden in the morning. It makes me feel very manly. Yes, it is a manly garden. Never mind that the gardener is our haus meri  Juli, who will not tolerate me so much as pulling a weed: This is just as well, since I wouldn’t know which are weeds until I’m told. Early on, I once pulled out a huge patch of aibika  which seemed to me to be a useless, bug eaten, scraggly nuisance. She was enraged and scolded me most severely. “Hey, stupid! We EAT aibika.  It’s good  stuff!” Thereafter, I allowed myself to be satisfied by supervising in a Country Gentleman manner. Actually, I’ve come to like aibika.  The bug holes make it dissolve into a slimy green mess much more efficiently.

As I said, drops can be quite pleasant to view as long as they are not falling on your forehead one-by-one for hours during a Chinese Water Torture. Here’s a close-up of the ones above:See, they look bigger now. This is what close-ups do. Notice how each drop focuses the sun’s rays into a tiny dot. It might be possible to use these as miniature magnifying glasses to fry tiny ants. I’ll have to try that sometime. I’m not sure that I have any tweezers small enough.

Of course, my favourites in my Manly Garden are my Manly Orange Lilies. This one has just stepped from the shower:

Excuse the lily-porn. If you look at the top petal you can see, through the thin material, the outline of drops on the back side. This is the first time that I’ve noticed this. Obviously, I need to pay more attention to wet, naked flowers.

No, we’re not finished with lilies yet. You won’t get off that easy. Here is another one soaked to the skin:

Now, I could, at this point, allow this to degrade into a low-brow essay containing poetic allusions about the opening of petals and the moistness of . . . No, wait, I’m not going there. This is a family-friendly site . . . so far.

Since I never take only one picture of a single flower, I turned around the other way and shot it from the other side. Sounds brutal, eh?

Well, I told you. It’s a Manly Garden.

* This is the sad lot of the photographer. We brave perilous gardens full of mosquitoes and great hairy spiders to take photographs of itsy-bitsy things and then slave for hours over a hot computer to create images that will be viewed once for two seconds.and evoke a mild “Hmmm . . .” at best. It’s a pathetic and narcissistic pursuit. The most it has ever paid me keeps beer in the fridge. However, it does allow me to fancy myself an artíst.


Smoke – Phantosmia

Posted in Mixed Nuts on May 20th, 2010 by MadDog
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I have some nice sunrise shots for you today, some a little out of the ordinary, and I am going to whine a little. There’s nothing like whining to a large audience to make one feel better. First, a sunrise. When I first started processing this one, I wondered what happened to the trees on the other side of the harbour. Then I remembered that there was a line of towering cumulus way off on the horizon. It took a little bit of fiddling to separate them from the black shadows of the town:

Two months ago today I wrote about losing my sense of smell, a condition called anosmia. I’d love to report that it has come back, because I miss smelling Eunie’s perfume in the morning. It has  come back, sort of. But the way it has come back is not useful at all. My anosmia has now transmogrified into its grimmer cousin, phantosmia, smelling things which don’t exist.

Let me pep this up with another sunrise. This one is the widest panorama which I have ever done, I think. It was seventeen exposures. The original file is 27,000 pixels wide. I’ve put this one up on the server at 4,000 pixels, so it might be amusing to click on it:

Phantosmia is characterised by olfactory hallucinations, involving smelling odors that are not derived from any physical stimulus. In my case, from my first moment of consciousness in the morning until I fall asleep at night, I smell smoke.

It would not be so bad if it were the aroma of a comfy forest campfire or a yummy barbecue. I only wish. No, it is a nasty trash-fire, a refuse dump set aflame. It’s not nice at all. And, it is strong. If you were caught in a breeze wafting this odor to you, you would move away smartly.

Here is my neighour’s haus win  (a little thatched roof with a platform under it) in the morning sun:

You can see Sheba, our mutt, over at the right.

As you can imagine, this is not only unpleasant and inconvenient, but it could be hazardous as well. If I smell smoke all of the time, how can I detect a fire which might endanger me? Moreover, I can smell nothing but  smoke. Got a gas leak, don’t count on me to warn you. We’ll all blow up if you wait for me to offer, “Hey, I smell gas.”

Here’s one of my “lucky” shots. It would be a pretty ordinary shot of Kar Kar Island  volcano in the sunrise if it were not for the two canoes:

I was using a fairly low shutter speed here, so there is a bit of motion blur in the arms of the canoeists.

The prognosis for any kind of anosmia isn’t particularly encouraging. There are many treatments suggested on the web, but none promise consistent or significant improvement. Most information indicates that, if there is no improvement within a year, the condition is probably permanent. I’m not looking forward to smelling smoke the rest of my life.

Here is another version of the super-wide sunrise above:

I’m going to try to see an ear, nose and throat doctor while I’m in Australia later this year to see what he has to say. From what I’ve read, the fact that I’m smelling something  now may indicate that my normal sense of smell may return. There may be some re-wiring going on and it’s simply not worked out yet.

Of all of the health problems that I might  have at my age, I suppose that I should be grateful that smelling smoke is the worst of them.

Hey, do you smell smoke?

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