Miscellanea

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I’m still wrapping my mind around the idea of getting back to the roots of Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.  We are up to nearly one thousand posts. That seems impossible to me. If the average post runs 1,000 words* then, if that guess is close to reality, that works out to be about 1,000,000 words of pure drivel which I have produced in a little over three years. The average length of a novel is 60,000 – 100,000 words. In sheer volume, I’ve produced roughly 12.5 novels during that period of time. Just think what I could have accomplished if I had put my mind to it.

I would have joined the sweaty masses who have written “The Next Great Novel” which absolutely nobody wants read, much less publish. In fact, I would have produced a dozen of them. How fortunate it is that I did not waste my time pursuing such a ridiculous dream. I would love to write fiction. The problem with writing is that a great many people do it rather well.

It is the same with acting. All of my life I have had dreams of being an actor. I’ve been in many amateur productions. A few scatterbrains even said that I might posses a smidgeon of talent. And therein lies the rub. A gozillion people can act or write reasonably well, well enough that one can stand to watch them play roles or read with some amusement what they write. However, even those with prodigious talents find success elusive. It requires intricate and complicated connections, fortuitous circumstances, and great magnificent piles of good luck to get a break.

Faithful reader ZydecoDoug commented yesterday that my Green Coral Imperfection shot “belongs on a magazine cover”. Well, I wholeheartedly agree. The problem is how to attract the attention of those holding the purse strings.

Hey, I’m beginning to bore myself. Let’s get on with Miscellanea.

A rather strange definition might be in order. I ripped this from some site at Princeton University:

  • S: (adj) assorted, miscellaneous, mixed, motley, sundry (consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds) “an arrangement of assorted spring flowers”; “assorted sizes”; “miscellaneous accessories”; “a mixed program of baroque and contemporary music”; “a motley crew”; “sundry sciences commonly known as social”- I.A.Richards
  • S: (adj) many-sided, multifaceted, miscellaneous, multifarious (having many aspects) “a many-sided subject”; “a multifaceted undertaking”; “multifarious interests”; “the multifarious noise of a great city”; “a miscellaneous crowd”

So, now that we know what it means . . .

I have gotten more and more interested in shooting faces recently. I’m found here and there attempting to get candid shots. It’s very annoying. I caught George up at Blueblood a couple of weeks ago:

I was really going for the lighting here. George has a rather dramatic face. The light here seemed about right to me. When you can’t control anything, you take what you can get and make the best of it. I’d like to do more shooting under controlled conditions, but then you lose the spontaneity and you’re into poses. The little bit of carved post at the far right is a nice touch. I now wish that I’d left more of it in the shot. After a few days you can always pick out the things which you did wrong with an image. It never fails.

Here is a cute little Calcinus minutus,  more commonly known as the  Hermit Crab:

I tried flash in this shot and it ruined it. The light was very dim, but kind to me, nevertheless. The image has a soft, pleasant appeal. Though I wasn’t intentionally composing (that’s difficult when dealing with nature), I ended up with a couple of very important rules being satisfied. One is The Rule of Thirds and the other is Angled Lines. Also, the regularity of the radiating lines in the coral contrasts nicely with the more or less randomness of the patterns in the Hermit Crab.

Here is a shot that I like because it looks as if it is an expensive aquarium in a high-class hotel lobby:

There’s not much to say about it otherwise. It’s just a pretty picture of a swarm of Anthea and a couple of Feather Stars.

Here’s something a little more to the point. It’s a fairly large sponge, about a half-metre across. I am far to lazy to look up the species:

Sponges generally take in water at the bottom, from which they extract food and oxygen, and “exhale” it through the top from an opening called an osculum. Here you can see two of those openings.

They are much more interesting when you get a close look:

Here you can see the intricate, uh, . . . sponginess of the inside of the beastie. Well, it is  a sponge. What else might we expect.

I’ll finish up with another face. This mug belongs to my good friend Trevor Hattersley. It’s a familiar expression for Trev. I call it, Who, me?

Trev looks a lot different these days, compared to a couple of years ago. He let his hair and beard grow. I’ve known him for a long time. I gotta say that this is the first time since I met him that I think that his appearance matches his demeanour.

He’s a natural-born pirate.

* I note now that this post runs 883 words, so my guess may be a little high.

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12 Responses to “Miscellanea”

  1. kristy Says:

    Congratulations on soon reaching your 1,000,000 word milestone!!

  2. ZydecoDoug Says:

    That’s it, MadDog! Shoot some great portraits of the people around you. George’s side shot has way too much light from outside (behind) and Trevor’s needs to be much more close-up and personal, perhaps even monotone or B/W. It’s amazing what you can tell about people from their faces and expressions. Pictures can say more than words. You have the abilities and creativeness to do that.

    I’ve done this before with friends and somewhat random acquaintances. I’ll bet there are many with whom you can connect to make some remarkable images, without a whole lot of set up. Casual and impromtu are usually the best, no doubt.

  3. Nigel + Fiona Says:

    Jan, have been following your postings with great interest to see how you are getting on with life. It is also a great way to keep in contact with life in Madang. Great photo of Trevor, who is looking really well. Give our love to everybody.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, you know it’s funny that we never run out of words. My theory is that language is like love. We all have an infinite supply. We learn to love a little while after learning to talk. Until we draw our last breath, we still have words and love to give to others. That’s something which comforts me. I know that I’ll never run out of love. I hope that I can use words to express that love until the lights go out. Please don’t take language away from me. I’d rather be dead.

    If I’ve written nearly 1,000,000 words in the last three years, it makes me wonder how many words I have used to express my love to others. Maybe that’s something we all should consider.

    Ha! These are the thoughts of old men. That’s what happens when the testosterone level mercifully begins to drop. Our better side begins to shine – our feminine side.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Hey, Doug! Finally, somebody is paying attention enough to cast a critical eye my direction. I get so, so tired of mindless praise. (Hee, hee.) I am certainly going to begin doing some semi-serious portraiture. My friends really do appreciate it. Some of them seldom get the opportunity to get good shots of themselves.

    Regarding your analysis of George and Trevor:

    I’d agree with you, without doubt, about the lighting in the shot of George, except for one thing. I’m not too much interested in conventional lighting, so when I saw George way over on the opposite side of the veranda with that way-cool back lighting I whipped out my G-11 and surreptitiously made my way in that direction just to capture it. So, it is error by design.

    I have less to argue concerning the Trevor image. It is way more snapshot-ish than I would like. I was moving around trying to shoot him without being obvious, so I had to take what I could get. Out of maybe fifteen shots, I found just the expression of his demeanour which I was looking for.

    However, your suggestion is very well taken. I’d like to get much more into serious portraiture such as my self-portrait. I think that my friends would like that also. I’m the only game in town.

  6. MadDog Says:

    Nigel and Fiona, I do seem to still be alive, which surprises me not a little. I think I might make it. I’ll keep plugging Madang and you keep reading. Trevor is looking happier than I’ve ever seen him. I’ll pass on your good vibes to the mob.

  7. Steve Bennett Says:

    I’ll join the party… I like the carved post in the George shot, but just like the Trev shot, both seem to be just too candid. Shots-at-a-BBQ.

    I think George’s head is too small in the overall scale of the image and to really grab the lines in his profile, then I would like to see the photo cropped so that only his head is in frame.

    The Trev shot has too much information and my eye does not focus on where it needs to and this is Trevor’s eyes. Not enough focal sharpness at his eyes for us to be convinced that it is a portrait.

    However, the Hermit Crab is gorgeous.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Steve, If I had been going for really good portraits that day, I would have done things very differently. However, I was just fooling around to see what I could get while sneaking about. Out of maybe fifty shots I presented the only two which were worth looking at. Neither of them has much to commend it except that I found them pleasing (for different reasons).

    It would be interesting to revisit the George shot. I may play with it and see if I can improve it. I’m thinking monochrome as ZydecoDoug suggested for Trevor. I don’t think that there is much I can do to improve the Trevor shot. It is just a snapshot which I liked.

  9. Steve Bennett Says:

    This is certainly apparent. Like I say a BBQ shot is a BBQ shot. They capture the moment well, but perhaps not the character?

  10. MadDog Says:

    Well, Steve, I guess it depends on how you define character. I was capturing “Trevor, the character” not “the character of Trevor”.

  11. Steve Bennett Says:

    There is certainly some character in Trev’s CWA shot! That’s for sure!

  12. MadDog Says:

    Steve, it’s not difficult to catch the “character’ in Trev. He’s a natural.