A Sequential Sunrise and Guest Shots by Heidi Majano

Posted in Guest Shots, Mixed Nuts on October 31st, 2009 by MadDog
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We haven’t had any guest shots for a few days, so I’m going back to some images left with me by Heidi Majano when she left PNG. But first, since we haven’t had any sequential sunrises for a while, let’s do that.

Out on the boat this morning, I managed to catch the first light:

Sequential Sunrise 1

Keep in mind that the amount of light in this sequence was changing radically. In order to show the same scene that a human would see I had to adjust the exposure a great deal. Our eyes automatically, within limits, adjust scenes so that the appear to be the same brightness. With a camera that has to be done by the circuitry and then in the processing, by the software and user. The three of these should appear equally bright, but the colours will change dramatically:Sequential Sunrise 2

As you can see, the brightness travels up the sky as more of the lower atmosphere is lit by the rising sun. The colours also change. Note that the lights of the town are very bright in comparison with the sky in the first frame and grow successively dimmer as we move toward sunrise.

The interesting thing about these images (each a five exposure series stitched together in Photoshop) is that they were captured during a period of only ten minutes. Sunrises and sunsets (same with the moon) are extremely rapid near the Equator.

Sequential Sunrise 3

The final shot shows the rays of the sun at a low enough angle to light clouds that were not visible before, because they were very thin. They are, however, very reflective.

Now, let me show you Mila is Smiling by Heidi Majano:

Mila is Smiling by Heidi Majano

What can anybody say about that? Photographically, it’s a beautiful job. But the little girl is adorable. She steals the show!

Heidi has a good eye for an image. Check out The Eyes of Heidi Majano. Here’s another one that cracks me up. Keyen is a typical little boy. He hasn’t been exposed to enough to understand danger. What normal adult would pick this thing up and let it crawl up the arm? Not me:

Keyen Brought Home a New Friend by Heidi MajanoAside from being a good shot there is something interesting about this critter. Its head is not where it appears to be at first glance. Are birds fooled by the fake antenna and jaws? I was at first. Maybe I’m a bird-brain. (Many are certain of this.) No, the head is on the left end.

Thanks, Heidi for leaving these with me. I may find a few more from your collection that will end up here.

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Some Surprises in the Bush

Posted in Mixed Nuts on April 17th, 2009 by MadDog
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You would not expect to find one of these while strolling around in the bush in Papua New Guinea. The truth is, if you know where to look, you can find one. It’s a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, surely, along with the P-51 Mustang, among the most beautiful, not to mention deadly, aircraft ever built.
P-38 Lightning

However, it won’t look anything like the one above. It will look like this:

Upside-down engine of Lockheed Lighting P-38
I have visited this crash site several times. One of the propellers stands in the front yard of my house as a memorial to the folly of war. I’m as certain as I can be about the identity of the aircraft. The engines and propellers are a match. There are, of course, few eyewitnesses left alive. Papua New Guineans, however, are extremely adept at oral accounts of history. Certain people are entrusted with “telling the story correctly.” The aircraft was described to me in perfect detail, though none of the storytellers would have been likely to have seen a P-38 at any other time. “Two aeroplanes joined together by their wings holding a house for the captain in between.” It could only be a P-38.

Tagtap took me to the mountainside where the pilot’s parachute dropped him. He showed me the direction that the pilot travelled and described to me how the Japanese found and killed him.

I have reported this crash site several times to several agencies. All deny that it exists. I asked about all the planes that went down about which no position is known. The answer is in bureaucratese, “We have no information on that.”  DUH! Isn’t that what I’m trying to give you?

Never mind.

Another thing you might not expect to find is a scarecrow. I’ve never seen one in PNG before. I asked Tagtap. It seems an elderly lady was buried on top of this particular hill. At Easter time, some descendants came to pay homage. He thinks that they put up this effigy for spiritual reasons. “Or, they were just fooling around”, he added:

A scarecrow?  Or is it?
I’ll be showing you some terrifying bugs over the next few posts. We’ll start with this one. Tagtap says that touching this one is a no-no. “Em bai sagrapim skin belong you nogut tru!”  Meaning, roughly, It will make you itch horribly. Just as well. It doesn’t look like something I’d want to play with anyway:
A caterpillar that you do not want to touch
At the end of the day, we put the boys to work building a bush shelter just because we wanted one, not because we particularly needed it. Call it the perks of being lapun  (old). The boys slaved away for an hour or so and built us a fire while we chatted. The fire got a little bigger than I’d planned. You can see Tagtap cringing awaay a little. I told him he had to sit closer to the fire because his skin is dark and I needed more light on him. He seemed to buy that line:

A cozy fire (more like a conflagration) to take off the chill

Two old buddies sitting by the fire telling fanciful stories. This is Papua New Guinea, mate.

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Today’s Invertebrates

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Photography Tricks on January 20th, 2009 by MadDog
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The garden was busy this morning. Everybody was hungry. This spindly looking spider was laying in wait for a tasty bug:

A spindly spider

Here’s a Microsoft Photozoom rendition of him:



Here’s a different kind of spider on the same kind of flower:
Green spider laying in wait for breakfast One thing that I’ve noticed is that, no matter how many of these flowers are blooming in my garden (sometimes hundreds), about half of them will have a resident spider.

I went a little crazy shooting this caterpillar. I don’t often show four images of the same thing on a post, but I’ll make an exception this time:

Caterpillar on Curry Tree branch In the shot above, I like the way the sun slings the spiky shadows of the caterpillar’s horns on the leaf. The lower leaf is on a Bird of Paradise plant and the one that the caterpillar is crawling on is from a Curry Tree. (Yes, the leaves of a Curry Tree do taste like curry – sort of.)

Charlie, our security guard, is always on the lookout for interesting items for me to photograph. He enjoys the hunt and likes to observe as I shoot what he has found. Many of the creepy-crawlies that I’ve shown from my garden were discovered by Charlie.

Here’s a shot from the side with the sun behind me. The feet are very interesting. They are quite pudgy and remind me of spats – if anybody out there remembers what they  are:

Hungry caterpillar

The poor little critter (about 3cm long) became very confused because the twig on which he was crawling was only about four times his own body length. He went to one end and turned around, then crawled vigorously to the other end. There he found once again that he was at the end of his world and turned around again. Finally, he stopped for a minute in the middle of the twig and made another turn:

Confused caterpillar

The image above nicely shows his cute little feet.

Here’s one final image of the caterpillar going back the other way on the underside of the twig:

Caterpillar on a mission

In the image above you can see the tiny thread of silk that he trailed behind him during the entire horrifying experience.

When we were finished shooting him, we transported him safely back to his Curry Tree. Charlie said he would see if he could discover where it will build its cocoon. He wants to know what kind of butterfly or moth will be produced.

Charlie is a very curious fellow.

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