Sunshine and Orchids

Posted in Mixed Nuts on May 11th, 2010 by MadDog
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Today I shall begin with the beginning and end with the end and skip all of the boring stuff in the middle. I’m talking about my work day, of course. I usually awake between 05:00 and 05:30 and try to get the computer turned on and start working before Eunie rises at 06:00 for her breakfast and an hour of reading. I have to keep running to the front door if there is anything interesting developing in the sky to catch the ten minute window for a decent sunrise.

This morning the sky looked chaotic. I was hoping it was not a portent of the day to come:I had a little hurry-up in the house to catch up with Eunie, who was eager to get into town for her aquarobics on a sunny morning.

I did have to pause in the front yard for this image of Kar Kar Island  sticking its dangerous head up over the horizon. I hope this baby never blows:Nothing untoward happened on the way to town, no drunks staggering out in front of the car, nobody throwing rocks at our new Nissan Navara (more to come on that later).

I had to turn off on Coronation Drive for a quick shot over Astrolabe Bay  including Coconut Point:It seems that the sky was out to impress me. It was doing a fairly good job.

Just before the Coastwatchers Monument, I got another blast of beauty:Okay, now I was set for the day. Time to focus on work for a while.

Now I skip over the boring part.

Since Eunie is helping out at the Madang Lodge and Restaurant for a while, we needed to stop there for a while on the way home. I always take advantage of this time to browse on the orchids. They are delicious:

The ones above remind me of the mating displays of some of the birds of paradise. They spread their wings and vibrate their tails. Hey, that just gave me an idea for a new dance craze. “Yeah, baby! Do da Bird o’ Paradise! Spread yo’ wings an’ vibrate yo’ tail!” Never mind. It’s nearly noon. My blood sugar is getting low. I feel dizzy.

This one is called, “Come on, Baby. Let’s do the Twist”:No, that won’t work. Somebody already took that one, Chubby Checker, to be exact.

This is the kind that we would buy for the girls when I was in high-school if we wanted to encourage them to feel generous after the dance:Which was always!  Dweebs and nerds bought wrist corsages for their dates, because they were too shy to pin one on the bosom.

I preferred the full-pinning ceremony.

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Rainy Good Friday – Approaching Nothingness

Posted in Photography Tricks on April 2nd, 2010 by MadDog
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I get stubborn sometimes. Today is one of those times. My general attitude is that, if I can’t work reasonably efficiently or too many things are going wrong for mysterious reasons or my stupid mistakes, then I’m not going to work at all. I’ll play instead.

I’m at the office writing this. I hadn’t planned that. I nearly killed myself yesterday up on the roof of the supermarket (see below) trying to get the wireless hop to my house fixed. Here’s a shot of our brave workman Andrew up the pole at the coconut oil refinery removing the wireless units so that we could put them at the supermarket:

Yes, it’s a horrible photograph. The back lighting was so bad that I gave up. It’s the story that counts. Anyway, despite our best efforts, the stinking link still doesn’t work and I don’t know why. We’ll have to find out next Tuesday when Madang comes back to life.

I like spiders because spiders like to pose. This one was posing on our front door:I think that I need to start thinking about giving that front door a little paint. I’ll think about it some more.

As the title implies, it’s raining today, probably all day, from the looks of it. That squashes my hope for going out on Faded Glory  this afternoon, so I took a couple of hours off to play with some images that I got on the way into the office a couple of days ago.

I’m doing fantasies today. This is my fantasy at Coconut Point:I like playing with colours, as you can plainly see. I don’t care if it looks possible. In fact, I like it better if it looks impossible.

Here are some more impossible colours at Machinegun Point:I wonder if the guy sitting there on the rock was seeing the same thing that I see. If he did, he was probably drunk.

If we’re driving around Coronation Drive with a camera, we can’t leave out the Coastwatchers Monument. It too is having a strange day:

I’m working on the “cartoon look”. This one doesn’t quite make it.

But this one, oh yeah, I’m getting there. It looks like a cartoon to me:

I used the Photoshop Poster Edges filter on that one.

I took some shots from the top of the supermarket roof yesterday and stitched them together. I was about ready to faint from the heat, so I didn’t get in everything that I wanted. Then I Zoomified it for your viewing pleasure:
The big black ship on the right is loading up with wood chips to go somewhere in Korea or Japan to make the box that your next fridge will come in. If you zoom in completely to the stern of the ship, you can read its name. At the fare left, you can just barely make out the name Maneba  on the back of a LUSHIP boat at their engineering yard.

Oh, well, maybe your kids can make a clubhouse out of the cardboard box.

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Photoshop for the Ultimate in Day-Tripping

Posted in Humor, Photography Tricks on March 5th, 2010 by MadDog
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I spent a major part of my “Communication Time” today working with Eunie on a post for our Messersmith News site, which she has a very difficult time updating, mainly because her job is a lot more important than mine and she has a corner office with windows. I hide back in the IT dungeon, so my time is a little more, uh . . . flexible. As long as I keep things perking along, nobody seems to care much what I’m doing. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Anyway, pop on over to Madang – My New Home Town for a little sweetness and love. The whole purpose of this post is to lure you over there, so don’t disappoint. The rest of this is a product of a mis-spent youth.

Since I was pressed for quality time to produce something that would blow your mind, I had time only to blow my own. I shot four image on the way to work this morning and that’s all that I had to work with. So, I decided to let what passes for my mind to wander to those forbidden places my ancestors used to visit while experimenting with pre-industrial chemistry. Five solid hours of Steely Dan have aided the process.

In case you’re puzzled, this one is titled Tripping Out at Coconut Point:I can easily imagine flying at supersonic speed to this very spot and landing on my bare feet on the mossy rocks like a droplet of water flicked from the tail of a passing mermaid. Am I getting through to you?

A violent wave of vertigo from my superglue-filled inner ears caused me to stumble and I was blessed with this vision of a tiny, glowing rock garden at my feet:I took its picture. It said, “Dacă-mi dai de apă, eu va iubesc.”, which is, of course, what any sweet little rock garden would say. Unfortunately, I had none available, so I had to sorrowfully decline.

Even before I left the house this morning I had the G11 out and was letting it exercise its muscles. This one is called Freaky Kar Kar:Some day that baby is going to blow. I just hope I’m looking straight at it with my camera in my hand when it does. I’ll be one of the most posthumously famous photographers in all of history if my camera survives. You can just see the top of it lurking over on the right side of the image.

I finally pulled out all of the stops and produced Funky Foreshore:It has been sublimely massaged with various filters, shadings and secret MadDog incantations to within an inch of its life. It’s panting from exhaustion.

It’s a victim of tough love.

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Sunday at the Office

Posted in Under the Sea on February 21st, 2010 by MadDog
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Wooo Hooo, I just LOVE driving all the way to work on Sunday morning to do a post because swampsucking TELIKOM can’t figure out how to twist two wires together so that somebody can get an actual dial tone for more than two hours. However, it does produce the occasional side-benefit. Witness this lovely, if somewhat sombre, morning scene at Coconut Point:The water was all sparkly and the sky looked like it had just dropped some acid. Very trippy, indeed.

Speaking of trippy, I showed you some Blue Coral (Heliopora coerulea)  in a mixed bag of things that I picked up on the beach. It took me a long time to figure out where it came from. There’s nothing that looks like it underwater. Then I discovered that it is actually brown on the outside. I began looking around for the right stuff and finally found a little bit that had been broken off. On Saturday’s dive, I found a big spot where something, probably a clumsy diver, had broken off a couple of knobs:As you can see, it’s improbably bright blue inside. I’d be interested to know what causes this blue colouration, but I’m far, far too lazy to research it. The beach at Wongat Island  is covered with the stuff that has been broken up by natural means and washed up and tumbled. That’s what you see in the image to which I’ve linked to in the paragraph above. The image here is the live stuff that has been broken off.

I simply love these chubby, cuddly looking Starfish (Choriaster granulatus).  They are the puppies of the Starfishes:I noticed that this one was particularly pink, especially in the centre. The do vary somewhat in tint. The posture here is suggestive that it’s leaping over the boulder with its arms outstretched, probably hollering “Whoopee!” Don’t believe it. Their top speed is about a half-metre an hour.

Here’s some very gaudy female Purple Antheas (Pseudanthias tuka)  flitting around at the local mall:The male is around somewhere, probably near the edge of his harem, keeping an eye out for poachers.

I showed you one of these nightmarish Sea Cucumbers (Bohadschia graeffei)  a few days ago:This is a much better shot. It clearly shows the sucker-like food-gathering thingies that reach out continuously and grab onto anything remotely edible.  As soon as one of these appendages has sucked something up, it bends around in a particularly creepy fashion and shoves itself down into the gob of the squishy, prickly, disgusting critter.

You’ve gathered by now, I’m sure, that this is not among my favourite creatures of the sea.

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Random Images for Your Amusement

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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Once again, I’m left dead for a theme. Succumbing to writer’s block is not something to be enjoyed. It’s not part of my game to simply throw out a bunch of images with no comment. However, today the words are getting stuck somewhere. Maybe I can shake a few loose. It’s a sure formula for gibberish.

We’ll start with the standard ‘my house’ sunrise:

Hmmmm . . . That wasn’t so bad. Let’s move along.

This is a bit more interesting. On the way to the office a couple of days ago there was a fellow paddling up the coast in his canoe just off of Coronation Drive:At the far right, on the horizon, you can see the tail end of the Huon Peninsula  and the last of the Finisterre Mountains.  The towering cumulus clouds that you can see below the overcast are probably much more than 100 kilometres in the distance.

Now, here is a shot that I really enjoy. On our way back from Blueblood on Christmas Day, Kar Kar Island  was looking very splendid and mysterious:I caught Mike Cassell’s boat Felmara flying up the coast toward Madang with the island looming in the background about fifty clicks away. It makes a rather dramatic image.

Here is the standard Coconut Point sunrise, which you have seen here many times before:

I’m puzzled by the dark streak in the sky. It was persistent, pronounced and quite straight. We do not see aircraft condensation trails here in the tropics, or at least we rarely see them. I cannot remember seeing one in all the years that I’ve lived in Madang. My guess is that it’s a combination of factors. First, we are not under any heavily travelled routes. Another thing is that the air above us is generally too warm to form lasting condensation trails except at extreme altitudes. My best guess is that the dark line is a shadow of an invisible trail of condensation between the sun and the high layer of clouds.

Hey, it’s just a guess.

Here is something that I don’t think that you’ve seen before on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  – an image of Bag Bag Island:It is further away from Madang than Kar Kar Island  and considerably less mountainous. I had a lot of trouble with the colour of the island itself. It was far too blue. While trying to get it right, I ran out of time. It looks a little odd – like a pile of dust, not like an island.

Finally, here is an image that gives me a chuckle:It’s not a particularly good image; the Orangefinned Anemonefish is out of focus, as is my hand. However it does bring to mind the friendly, feisty anemonefish of The Eel Garden  near Pig Island.  I have done hundreds of dives in this small area and I know every knob of coral and every fish. I do not understand the behaviour of these anemonefish, but it amuses me greatly. They seem to know me!  Yes, I know that is absurd, but there is something  odd going on. At several specific and consistent anemones, the fish will come up and rub against my fingers and nip at them. The nipping I get. Many anemonefishes do this. They are absolutely fearless, as if nipping at a giant predator would drive it away!

These, however, seem to ‘enjoy’ rubbing gently against my fingertips. It’s positively disconcerting. If they weren’t so cute, it would be a little creepy. In the shot above, I was attempting to get a record of the behaviour. As it turns out, it’s easier contemplated than accomplished. You may be amused to see another of the Damselfish family (as are the Anemonefishes) nipping away at my hand.

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