Drip, Drip

Posted in Photography Tricks on June 23rd, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

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.

Tags: , ,

Home Again

Posted in Mixed Nuts on June 15th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I came in at about eight this morning to the office with the firm intention to leave before ten. It’s now 13:30. It’s amazing how going to the office cuts into one’s valuable leisure time. There ought to be a law. No, wait. We have too many rules already. Let’s just wing it.

This morning I was greeted home by a familiar sight:

A ship on Astrolabe Bay - departing MadangA ship out in Astrolabe Bay. She appears to be departing Madang. I hope not to have to do that for a while.

Another welcoming sight was a giant floral cluster just blooming on one of my Fishtail Palms:

Flowering cluster on one of my Fishtail Palms
I have written several times about Fishtail Palms. They fascinate me. You can review here, here, here, and here. You may be thinking, “Big deal.” Remember, however, that what you are looking at is a cluster of flowers nearly three metres long! That’s a lot of flowers!

At this stage of the development of the fruit, thousands of bees gather around to collect nectar and pollen. You can see many in this close up shot:

Bees feeding on the flowers of the Fishtail PalmNear the top of the image (click to enlarge) you can see one be flying past.

Did you ever notice that when you have been away too long, that it’s the simplest images, smells, textures and sounds that deliver that magical comfort of being home again.

Tags: , ,

Mountains on Mountains

Posted in Mixed Nuts on April 29th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

If you’re seeing this it may be because I’m On The Road. I’ve prepared a few posts to be automatically published unless I intercept them and substitute a travel post.

When I leave my house each morning, I pass through a gate at the edge of our compound and this is what I see:

Rock mountains over wood chip mountainsThere is a large wood-chipping factory just outside the gate. The reddish stuff is tens of thousands of plantation-grown eucalyptus trees all chopped up into little chips about the size of a playing card. Once every few months a giant ship comes in and hauls them away. The blue mountains in the distance are the Finisterre Mountains. Here is another shot that I grabbed just outside of our gate:
The Finisterre Mountains in the distance behind wood chips at JANTOn the way into town, I happened past just as this pretty scene was unfolding:

A ship in the morning sun on Astrolabe Bay
It is a ship way out on Astrolabe Bay. The big Casuarina tree in the foreground makes a nice contrast. I have some other amusing shots of the mountains and the bay here.

Tags: , ,

Nearly Deleted

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Photography Tricks on April 19th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

Some of greatest enjoyment that I get from working with images comes from the minutes that I work on an image that I was just about to delete. As my finger hovers over the DELETE key, I make a final judgement. I’m a merciful kind of guy, possibly too much so. Today I’ll show you some recent images that I nearly deleted. Each had a tragic flaw that I had to somehow overcome. Some attempts were more successful than others.

I’ll start with the worst failure. I simply could not delete this image taken from the top of Nob Nob Mountain. It faintly shows the Finisterre Mountains at the right and an Air Niugini jet taking off from Madang on the left. But the colours were impossible. So, I pretend that it’s grey and rainy in the distance. It doesn’t work for me:

Madang Town, Astrolabe Bay, and the Finisterre Range

Points = zero.

This one, taken from a different position is a bit better. You can see Madang, the rugged mountains in the foreground, and the Finisterre Range again on the right:

Astrolabe Bay and the Finisterre Range as seen from Nob Nob Mountain

A few points, maybe. At least it doesn’t look too fake.

This one is looking North-east from the top of Nob Nob Mountain. This image pleases me more. It looks natural and the sun is playing beautifully with the water way out on Astrolabe Bay:

Looking up the North Coast from Nob Nob Mountain

The next one nearly got the chop because I didn’t think that the house would be visible enough to tell the story. It was taken at max zoom on my Canon G-9, which it nothing to talk about. It’s a little wimpy. The house was about three kilometres away. Still (if you click to enlarge) the image does tell the story of rural life in Papua New Guinea. A surprising percentage of the population lives in just such relatively isolated places:

A typical rural house in Papua New Guinea

I didn’t like the strong shadows in the next one, though the image was too endearing to delete. A few minutes of adjusting brightness and saturation in selected areas of the image pulls the eye away from the dark blob of the woman’s shirt and allows the mind’s focus to shift to the child, the bright clothing and the chuckling stream:

Wash Day at a village at Nob NobThe image above makes good use of the Rule of Thirds. As it turns out, it’s my favourite of the bunch.

The last image seemed hopeless. The area around the house was nearly blacked out. I pulled it up with the Photoshop Shadows/Highlight filter, but that usually gives the image a strange flat look if you overdo it. So, I decided to turn it into art instead of a photo:

A village house at Nob Nob

Judicious application of the Stroked Edges filter allowed for the salvation of this image. It will never hang in a museum, but it’s art, nevertheless.

At least, according to the MadDog definition.

Tags: , , ,

Oh My. The Sky!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on April 7th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

There being no fish yesterday evening at the weigh-in of the GFAPNG 2009 Titles worth taking a photo of, I’m free as a bird to write about whatever I please.

Today, the sky pleases me. We’ll start with a pleasing error. A few mornings ago I was in my front yard taking a long exposure of the sunrise at about 05:30. If memory serves, it was about a ten second exposure. This is all well and good, except that I did not notice until after I clicked the shutter release that one of the game fishing boats was traversing my personal viewing area. The audacity! Anyway, you can see three or four streaks of light left on the exposure as the boat whizzed across the frame. You might have to click to enlarge:A fishing boat leaves a streak on a long exposure sunrise shot

I call the next one Orange Soda Sky.  The reason seems  obvious. Assumptions can deceive. Yes, it is  orange. However, what you don’t know is that I hate breakfast. Nevertheless, I need sugar to fuel my decrepit old body enough to carry it along until mid-morning. So, by filthy habit, I have a Fanta Orange Soda every morning for breakfast along with the handful of vitamins, minerals, an asprin, and Lord knows what else that Eunie gives me.

Orange Soda Sunrise

Green is my favourite colour, but orange gives me a buzz also. I’ve shown you orange soda sky, rainy orange sky, orange horizon sky, an orange lily. orange fish, orange vegetables, and a strange orange lichen on my coconut trees. I suppose you’ve had your fill of orange for a while.

Oh, sorry . . . one more:

Orange rays at sunrise in Madang

I’ll give you a break from orange now. This is more the Yellow-Orange that you’d find in a box of Crayola crayons.

A ship making way toward Madang Harbour at sunrise

Lucky shot – that’s what I call it. I snapped it on the way to work one morning. The ship is on its way to the main wharf in Madang Harbour.

I got this one at the Madang Club a couple of evenings ago while I was waiting for the game fishing boats to return:

Sunset Rays as seen from The Madang Club

Hmmm . . . I seem to have run out of words. It’s your lucky day.

Tags: , , , , ,

Blue Mountain Majesty

Posted in Photography Tricks on March 25th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

When I leave my house in the morning I can see the Finisterre Mountains as I come in on the Airport Road. That is usually where I decide if I am later going to turn on Coronation Drive to grab some images. If the mountains look crisp and blue, then I’m going to have a fifteen minute detour on the way to work.

If you look carefully at these images (and you know what you’re looking for), you’ll see evidence of heavy-duty, industrial strength Photoshopping. These are not so much photographs as interpretations of photographs. In each shot, I was listening for a voice. When I heard it, I amplified it with Photoshop filters and adjustments until I could hear the voice clearly.

Machinegun Point is one of my favourite shooting spots. I’ve never gotten an uninteresting image here. Every day it’s different:

Machinegun Point with the Finisterre Mountains in the distance

Further along I caught this group of early morning gawkers enjoying the view across Astrolabe Bay:

Early morning outing to see the Finisterre Mountains across Astrolabe Bay

Shooting more toward East, I caught this pedestrian looking back over his shoulder at the insipid sunrise:

Pedestrian admiring the sunrise across Astrolabe Bay

Up by the Coastwatchers Monument, two canoes drift on the calm waters of Astrolabe Bay:

Early morning canoes on Astrolabe as seen near the Coastwatchers Monument

Looking back over my shoulder at the mountains again, I decided to pull into the Coastwatchers Hotel and walk up to the restaurant for a better angle:

The Finisterre Mountains as seen from Coastwatchers Hotel

I particularly like the way the vegetation turned out in this image. I decided, after a few experiments, to abandon realism altogether and go for a lush look. If you click to enlarge and look at the vegetation, you’ll see what I mean.

My little excursion this morning and the few minutes that I spent massaging the images set me up for the day and put me in a good mood.  When I’m bored or depressed (Eunie is in Port Moresby for a Chamber of Commerce meeting), a little Photoshop break cheers me up.

Tags: , ,

Australia On My Mind

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 20th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I got this nice shot of the Finisterre Mountains  across Astrolabe Bay  this morning on the way to work. Dirving to the office takes only about twenty minutes and is always a pleasure with this kind of scenery to distract me. It has absolutely nothing to do with Australia, but it is pretty:
A Finisterre Mountain panorama

I received my new Science magazine yesterday. It’s the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of which I am a member. Long story there. I have no idea how I became a member. I never applied for membership. I somehow became a Professional Member and started receiving the bimonthly magazine about two years ago. I’ve received several notices that my membership has expired, but I can’t afford the US$200+ a year to maintain it. Nevertheless, they still keep sending me the magazine. Go figure.

Australia is on the far side of the Moon
This is a pretty cool error on their part. I pass the magazine on to several other science-oriented friends. Is it honest for me not to tell them? I’ll have to think about that sometime. Maybe after I’m dead.

Anyway, I glanced at the cover and instantly saw Australia. Okay, okay, it’s not perfect, but it’s sort of Oz shaped. The Japanese are doing a bang-up job of getting snaps of the far side of the Moon with Project SELENE. You can find some cool images here.

Did I mention that I once saw Australia up in the sky? Readers who come back time after time for fresh applications of my unique torture methods will have seen this image before:

Australia is up in the sky

Okay, that’s enough of Australia for today.

On the way past the neighbours’ house the other day I noticed that one of the girls had dressed up their very nice red dog in a red dress:

A red dog in a red dress
I’ve always been partial to red dogs. Here’s an interesting read on Dog Coat Colour Genetics. I read on another site that a red coat recessive dog (whatever that is) does not have a single black hair on its body!  Imagine that. It makes me wonder exactly how that they proved it. Did someone examine every hair on a red dog?

How can I get a job like that?

Tags: , , , , , , ,