First Drenching of the Canon G11

Posted in Under the Sea on January 30th, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I won’t waste your precious time today with a lot of blabber. My own semi-precious “time for myself” is withering as my workload increases while my pay simultaneously shrinks. However, I did have a bit of fun today. I did my first dive with my new Canon G11 in its cozy factory housing.I still have a lot to learn about squeezing this new lemon, but first results have me feeling dreamy and wishing I had time for a mid-week dive.

The current at Magic Passage was raging and I had two divers with me with whom I had no experience, so I didn’t get much chance to shoot. I did get enough frames to tell me that I like what I’m seeing from the G11.

Here is a pretty ordinary shot of a Silver Sweetlips subadult (Diagramma pictum).  You’ve seen these many times here before, and much better images. However, this was a snap shot which I did not even expect to save. With a few minutes work, the G11 image came out acceptable:Here is a mob of what I think are Lunartail Snappers (Lutjanus lunulatus)  finning vigorously against the current. Again, as a snap shot, I’m very happy. The G11 seems to save more images from doom because of its increased dynamic range (the range of colours and shades that it can record accurately under varying conditions) and its lower noise level:Again, I didn’t expect for this image to be usable.

Here’s a sweet shot of a Circular Spadefish  or Batfish (Platax orbicularis)  that really illustrates how the two extra stops of dynamic range allow me to save a nearly impossible image:Where I would have had muddy dark areas and blown out highlights (such as the top of the frame), now I have decent detail in the very dark areas and smooth gradations with colour detail left in the very bright areas – just what I was hoping for.

I never pass up a chance to photograph the ridiculous Blue Starfish (Linckia laevigata): When God was a little kid, he left some of his toys scattered around the planet. This is one of them.

Here is a close up shot of this very special toy:The detail is amazing. I’ve lost no ability to capture fine details by dropping from 15 to 10 megapixels. I think a lot of the extra megapixels were wasted because they were too small to gather enough light to put together a decent image. The pixel race is over.

Here is a reader favourite and mine also, the lowly Hermit Crab (Dardanus sp.):This little fellow will soon be receiving a notice from the Neighborhood Association for painting his house such an outrageous colour.

Back tomorrow with more wholesome G11 goodness.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Hermit Crab Lovefest

Posted in Under the Sea on January 24th, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar
From Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary (along with the astonishingly stupid “1 Tip of Flat Belly” ad which is one reason why I will try as long as possible to aviod Google Ads on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.

her·mit \ˈhər-mət\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English heremite, eremite,  from Anglo-French, from Late Latin eremita,  from Late Greek erēmitēs,  from Greek, adjective, living in the desert, from erēmia  desert, from erēmos  desolate
Date: 12th century

1 a : one that retires from society and lives in solitude especially for religious reasons : recluse b obsolete  : beadsman
2 : a spiced molasses cookie

her·mit·ism \ˈhər-mə-ˌti-zəm\ noun

There’s nothing there that would lead one to believe that Hermit Crabs might be party animals. Nevertheless, have a look at this:

Now, I don’t know what that looks like to you, but to me is seems that three Hermit Crabs (Calcinus minutus)  are getting down to business. However, we mustn’t overlook the possibility that they are “just friends”.

I’m not even going to mention the molasses cookies. I try to keep this a family-friendly site.

This is another Hermit Crab (Dardanus sp.)  who seems to be minding his own business, though he is clearly attempting to appear as ferocious as possible:This little hermit has a pronounced sense of style. Its taste in architecture is impeccable. Its house looks as if it could have been inspired by Frank Loyd Wright. I would not be surprised to find it as the subject of an Ukiyo-e  woodblock print. This ties in nicely to Wright, since he was, aside from being my favourite architect of all time, a dealer in Japanese art.

That’s right, I’m lost in my own head again. Wait until I get my Zippo fired up so I can find my way out of here.

Okay, I’m back now. It’s odd that I don’t remember seeing these beautiful Orange Starfish (Echinaster luzonicus)  before a few days ago:

On Saturday, at the Eel Garden, I saw four of them, including this more rare six-legged individual who seems to have misplaced, or offered up for dinner, two of its legs.

This commoner five legged star person has managed to hold on to all but one leg:Never mind, They will grow back. In fact, if the leg is spat out by the hungry fish which decides it doesn’t like the taste, a whole new starfish will grow from the severed leg.

Well, let us leave the invertebrates to their own devices.

Many anemonefish display the disconcerting habit of staring you right in the eyes. Isn’t this supposed to me the universal sign of challenge or aggression. Here this Orange Finned Anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysopterus) seems to be asking the age-old questions, “Hey! Who you lookin’ at? You lookin’ at me? You want trouble, mate? I got yer trouble!” I like the little nondescript damselfish in the background who is hurrying to flee the scene of impending carnage:As some prefer to be outwardly agressive, other, wiser critters such as this Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula)  spurn the macho tactics and find cover from which to taunt:Above, Nemo, the fish every little kid wants to grow up to be, sasses me from the relative safety of his anemone. “Nyaa na na na na naaaa . . . this is deadly poison . . . you can’t touch me.” Little does Nemo know that this species of anemone will simply feel ilke silk on my fingers and I’ll feel nothing but a slightly creepy chill up my spine.

Never mind. I wouldn’t think of hurting Nemo.

I’d rather take on Chuck Norris with one hand tied behind my back. HUUURRRAAAAA!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cleaning Up the Christmas Mess

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on December 26th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

My birthday has come and gone. Christmas has come and gone. Boxing day has come and gone. I’m now waiting patiently for New Year’s Day. It to, providing nothing drastic occurs, will come and go. So will 2010. And, so it goes. I’m still having fun, so let it roll. I do, however, need to settle on a new New Year’s Resolution. So much left to improve . . . so little time left.

When I came to the office this sunny Sunday morning to catch up on two days posting which I missed (shame, shame), I fully intended to do so. However, a faulty power supply on our main router had knocked the web on its bum. This was a big monkey-wrench in my gears. It took me a couple of hours to find the problem. I kept trying to sort out the router – no luck. Then I got a new router and set it up. It worked fine on the test bench. Plug it into the network – buzz, humm . . . same problem. Fortunately William Butler was looking over my shoulder, patiently waiting for the web to come back. He pointed out to my foggy mind that the problem was the same and the only common factor was the power supply. DOOH!  I should have thought of that. This is why my job becomes more and more annoying year after year. They keep inventing new stuff and I can’t keep up!

Anyway, here is an amusing panorama that I grabbed the other day. If you ever get tired of looking out my front door, I’m going to be out of the journaling game:

Spooky, eh?

Yesterday out on Astrolabe Bay,  the Finisterre Mountains  looked like big piles of coal in the distance:I took KP Perkins, a Yank who has been working for the British Volunteer Services Organisation, out for her first SCUBA dive. She has just finished her Open Water Course. Other than teensy-weensy problems with her buoyancy control, which everybody  experiences at first, she did herself proud and had a good time. We did a second dive to celebrate:

Working with new divers is one of my favourite things.

Back to the scenery one more time. Here is a sunrise scene that taxed my Photoshop skills. As it happens, it was worth the effort:

Now, as I can see that I’m never going to catch up today and I’m hungry, I’ll close with something that seems to be a favorite among my readers – the forever humble and humorous Hermit Crab, some species of Dardanus:

Hopefully, I’ll finish catching up tomorrow.

Tags: , , ,

Hermit Crab Survives Earthquake

Posted in Humor, Under the Sea on October 20th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

An egocentric popularity-hound such as I would never pass up a chance to get a bookmark in your browser. I got so many comments on my Facebook page about the Hermit Crab a few days ago that I’m going to repeat the ploy – this time with another poor, unsuspecting Dardanus.

Last Saturday at Barracuda Point  near Pig Island  I was fooling around under the boat using up the rest of my air and looking for something, anything to shoot. I noticed a Trochus shell sitting on top of a plate coral. This is a dead giveaway for the presence of a Hermit Crab. There’s no other way that the shell is going to get there.

I went over to have a look and saw that there was, indeed, a hairy little occupant. I tipped its house over as gently as I could, though I don’t imagine that it felt very gentle to the householder. Here is the shell, appearing empty:

An empty Trochus shell?No, wait! Somebody’ home:No, somebody is in there. A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.Having observed this many times, I’m intrigued that Hermit Crabs don’t seem to be able to get their eyes out for a look-about before exposing their thorny, but undoubtedly tasty legs first. It’s like sticking your hands around the corner and waving them to see if your burglar has a gun.

Anyway, out comes Mr. Crab looking a mite grumpy:

Hey, who turned my house over? A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.

While its feet still dangle above the coral it seems to rest a moment to evaluate the situation. Is it possible that it’s waiting to see if there will be an aftershock?

Sooner or later, the job of re-erecting the house must be done. This requires reaching way out of the front door, grabbing the coral and giving a mighty heave:

You JERK! Now I have to fix this mess. A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.One wants to get this over as quickly as possible as the soft, ticklish and predator attracting end of the critter is highly exposed.

Now, go away and leave me alone. A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.

Finally, with an audible ‘plop’ the house returns to its vertical position. A little grooming is in order now. Clean up the bits knocked off of the top of the house onto the coral. Be sure to check if anything tasty fell off of the roof.

I’ve never met a hermit crab that I didn’t like. I wish that I could say as much about people.

Tags: , , , , ,

He Got Hair Down To His Knee

Posted in Humor, Under the Sea on October 16th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

The Beatles song, Come Together  has been wafting around in my head this morning. I’ll tell you why in a little while. First I’ll show you an amusing sunrise at our house this morning:Sunrise at our house in Madang, Papua New GuineaI massaged this image rather brutally, because I was trying for something a little surreal. As you can see, the lighting effect on the fore shore is improbable. I’m calling it Ghost Harbour.  I’m pretending it’s sunset, because that makes it creepier.

And now I’ll explain the teaser. Have a look at this critter:

Hermit Crab (Dardanus sp.) at Planet RockIt’s a Hermit Crab, some species of Dardanus;  I can’t tell which. It was as I was working on this image that the spooky Beatles lyrics and tune began to insinuate themselves on my stream of consciousness.

Here come old flattop, he come groov’n up slowly
He got joo-joo eyeball, he one holy roller
He got hair – down – to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please

Is it any wonder that I’m barely in control? I can still sing this song from memory, beginning to end. I haven’t a clue what it means. To us, at the time, it was just another fab from the Fab Four. Whenever I hear it, even today, I cannot help closing my eyes, tilting my head back, and getting into that pleasantly numb groove. And, of course, singing along in a gravelly nasal baritone.

Okay, enough of that frivolity.

Here is something that you don’t see every day. It’s a nudibranch with the fetchingly obnoxious name of Notodoris Minor.  I don’t know why it’s called minor,  because, by nudibranch standards, it’s huge  – about 7cm for this one:

Nudibranch (Notodoris minor) at Planet Rock

You can see these things from an incredible distance, because they are so bright.

While we’re on yellow, here is a Feather Star (Comantheria schlegeli):

Feather Star (Comantheria schlegeli) at Planet RockThese shots all came from the dive last Saturday at Planet Rock.  I had shots from that dive yesterday and I’ll have more tomorrow.

This is a close up shot of the same Anthea  species that you saw yesterday with Pascal Michon in the background. It’s devilishly difficult to tell which species of Anthea  that you are looking at unless you can get a close-up shot of an individual, a very difficult task. So many of them look very similar that I usually just lump them all together:

Anthea (species ?) at Planet RockSome things I never tire of seeing.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,