Kar Kar Island Quickly – Time Lapse Video

Posted in Photography Tricks on April 6th, 2009 by MadDog
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This is just a quickie post to show you something that I’ve been fiddling with. My Canon G-9 will do time lapse videos at either 1 or 2 seconds per frame. This makes for some interesting clips if you have a tripod (or if you’re holding the camera while dead, I suppose).

I shot this clip this morning in front of my house:

You can see Kar Kar Island  in the distance over the top of the trees on Kerosene Island.  Next time I do this I’m going to get up on top of my house. It will make a much more interesting shot.

This reminds me a bit of the Helmet Psychedelia clip in my The Lowman Loop – Boise, Idaho – A Motorcycle Ride to Heaven post.

Just because I have your eyes under my control for a moment, I’ll show it to you:

There . . . Now, don’t you feel like your head is all cleaned out inside?

It’s definitely not time lapse. It’s more like, “Whoa, time slow down a little, please!” I got very dizzy shooting the clip and nearly fell off. I’ll hopefully be back in Boise this summer for a few days visiting my friend and her kids, riding horses and motorcycles, and generally acting goofy, as is my wont.

Speaking of the Canon G-9, mine is a little the worse for wear after some jerk stole it from me. I did get it back, but either the jerk dropped it while running from the cop who was chasing him (really!), or the cop dropped it as he was undoubtedly (I sincerely hope), giving the thief a thorough trashing. It still works fine on land, but when I put it in my underwater housing, it locks up at about five metres. I can still take shots, but I can’t work any of the controls.

I have a new Canon G-10 and a new housing back in the USA waiting for me. If you are in the market for a top-notch point-and-shoot, you can’t do any better than the G-10 for about US$400. I’ve taken over 10,000 exposures on my G-9, it’s taken a severe beating (rained on, dropped, bashed around on the boat, fell off a horse with me, etc.) and it still works!

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Ho Hum – More Boring Sunrises

Posted in Mixed Nuts on April 2nd, 2009 by MadDog
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Eunie left yesterday morning for Canada. I’m playing bachelor for a month until I fly over to join her. It’s not much fun and it’s not going to get any better. I hate being lonely.

So, on the way to work this morning, I cheered myself up by shooting some nice sunrise images. I cheer myself up even more by showing them to you.

It was rainy this morning until about 06:00. I got this image at about 06:15 from in front of my house:

The sunrise at my house this morningWhen I turned the corner to get off of Modilon Road onto Coronation Drive, I was completely blown away by this scene:

The sun coming up as seen from Coronation Drive

Does that scream, “Tropical Sunrise!” or what? I try not to overdo the saturation of the colours. Sometimes it’s tempting, but when you give in, it looks fake. I pushed the saturation as hard as I dared on this one, though. The golden aura is just about what I saw with my eyes. When you put it in a digital image, you usually have to push the saturation a bit to make yourself happy that what you see on the screen is what you think you saw (or possibly what you might wish  that you saw) in reality.

It’s interesting that if you stand in this spot, as I have done many times while observing the sunrise, and you turn yourself 90° to the right (facing South), you will see a completely different scene:

At sunrise on Coronation Drive - looking South

You can barely see a bit of the gold on the clouds at the upper left, but otherwise, there is no hint of the riot that is going on back in the East. The foothills of the Finisterre Mountains are barely visible in the distance.

Here is one of my favourite shooting spots. Just between the Country Club and the Coastwatchers Monument you can catch both the monument and Kar Kar Island  poking its dangerous head (active volcano) up above the trees on Kranket Island:

The Coastwatchers Monument on the left and Kar Kar Island on the right

As I was coming over the little bridge next to the Memorial Lutheran Church, I got another chance at Kar Kar Island.  For this shot I was standing just at the edge of the inlet where Sir Peter Barter keeps his Kalibobo Spirit,  a luxurious motor yacht that travels all around the North Coast and elsewhere, I suppose. I’ve never had the pleasure of being aboard her, but from what I hear, I could live there quite comfortably. The view is great also. What more could you ask from a boat?

Kar Kar Island with Sir Peter Barter's Kalibobo Spirit on the right

There . . .  I feel much better now.

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Google Earth Learns About Madang

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 21st, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve always been disappointed with the satellite images on Google Earth for the area around Madang. Until today. I don’t remember how I drifted to Google Earth again. Something on another web site caught my eye, I suppose. Anyway, I downloaded the latest version and cranked it up to see if Madang looked any better.

WOW! You can see streets and everything. If you try to zoom in to the level of seeing who is parked where, it gets a little fuzzy, but you can see the colours of the cars just fine. No registration reading yet. Can’t see people very well. But Madang is finally coming in crisp and clear:Madang, Papua New Ghinea - most of the town on Google EarthOf course, the first thing anybody does with Google Earth is look for his house. Ours was easy to find. Just south of the end of the airport runway, north of the big pile of wood chips and directly across the harbour from the main wharf:
Our house in Madang is directly across the harbour from the main wharfHere is a shot of Nagada Harbour and the Jais Aben Resort:
Nagada Harbour and Jais Aben ResortThe top island is Leper Island and lower is the north tip of Kranket Island. In between is Magic Passage, one of our favourite diving locations. The reefs are very nicely visible:
Magic Passage - one of our favourite diving locationsThose familiar with Madang will recognise this location immediately. It is the north end of the golf course (at the bottom) and the Coastwatcher Monument at the upper left sticking up like a big white rocket ship. It looks to me as if this shot was taken at about 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning:
The Coastwatcher Monument and the North end of the Golf Course in Madang, Papua New GuineaHere is a nice shot of Kar Kar Island. It’s too bad that the fringing reefs are not visible. Also the cloud cover hides the giant crater where the active volcano sleeps (for the moment):
Kar Kar Island from Google EarthThe shots of Madang were taken before last July. I can tell because the huge mango tree that was behind our office is still visible. We chopped it to make room for an office extension.

It’s cool to join the rest of the world. Now, we too can send someone a link to say, “Here is where I live!”

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Madang Potpourri

Posted in At Sea, Mixed Nuts on November 10th, 2008 by MadDog
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Lacking any coherent plan for writing today, I’ll bombard you with a wet, wet collection of miscellanea from Madang.

When the sun slithers down western sky in the afternoon, the opposite side of the harbour takes on a winelight glow that is very pleasing:

Canoe panorama

The lady in the canoe was a bit of an accident. I started this three-frame panorama at the left, not noticing that she was coming past the front of our dock. Surprised, I snapped the middle shot anyway and then the final one to the right. I lost a bit of the wake from her canoe because it had dissipated by the time that I snapped.

This is a long telephoto shot of Madang with the Finisterre mountains in the background. I was going to delete it because it’s a little blurry:

Madang from Tab Anchorage

Not every image has to be perfect. It’s just a goal.

I have shown you Little Pig Island before. Here’s another long telephoto shot with the Finisterre range in the background:

Little Pig Island against the Finnesterre Mountains

Again, not as sharp as I’d like, but interesting in an arty way.

This is a shot from some years ago of multiple fuzzy flying saucers hovering over Kar Kar Island. Insofar as I’m aware there were no encounters of the third kind or abductions:

Lenticular clouds over Kar Kar Island

If you would like to see some other (better) photos of lenticular clouds, try here, here, here, and here.

I was looking back over my off-shore shots of the Coastwatcher’s Monument. I think that I have found a better one than I showed to you before:

Another shot of the Coastwatcher’s Monument in Madang

This one is going on one of the postcards that I’m designing. I had hoped to have them out by Christmas time, but that’s not looking likely. I’ll be writing a post on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi when they are on sale in the shops and hotels.

Finally, I’d like to show you a view from our front yard when the chip ship is leaving:

The chip ship

It’s big! There is a wood-chipping factory right next door to us. When the mountain gets too high, they send in a huge ship to haul the chips off to make boxes.

So much for the trees.

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Log-a-Rhythms

Posted in At Sea, Dangerous on November 2nd, 2008 by MadDog
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Please excuse the hideous pun in the title.

However, it does hint that one of the skills for standing on a log in the ocean may require more fancy footwork than most of us can muster.

In this YouTube clip, Richard Jones tries, tries again, and again . . . until, amazingly, he succeeds. The first belly-flop is probably the funniest bit:

My camera was in its underwater housing, so there’s little sound. Everything looks a bit rosy too, because I forgot to turn off the underwater white balance thingie.

I have played this comical but dangerous game on several occasions. As surely as we encounter a large log at sea, somebody wants to mount it. I assure you that it is profoundly more difficult than is implied by either of these clips. I’m getting a little long in the tooth for such shenanigans, but the next time I find a big one and the sea is glassy, I may have a go. I must remember, however, that old bones heal slowly.

Overall, it’s probably more dangerous and not nearly as much fun as jumping out of an airplane.

In the next clip, the local guy is Skeeter. He runs the dive shop at Madang Resort Hotel. The expat fellow at the end of the log is Gavin Grant. He was a dive instructor in Madang at the time.

We were on our way on Aquaventure to do some diving at Kar Kar Island. Gavin stopped the boat when he saw the log and decided to impress the ladies. He plunged bravely into the briney deep and put forth many game attempts to mount the wobbly knob. It went on for so long that were starting to yawn. I stopped shooting with my ancient video camera because I was afraid I’d run the battery down.

Just as Gavin was beginning to looked sincerely distressed, Skeeter sliced into the water like a porpoise and squirted out magically on top of the log:

Gavin was severely chagrined. We razzed him unmercifully. He blamed the waves.

Gavin is long gone from Madang – I know not where. Skeeter still runs the dive shop. He doesn’t look as young as he did, but I’d be willing to bet he can still stand on a log in a cyclone.

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Book Report #2 – Krakatoa and A Crack in the Edge of the World

Posted in Book Reports, Dangerous on March 14th, 2008 by MadDog
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When the earth quivers and bounces we take notice. You know that strange half-panic, half-amused state in which you’re waiting…waiting to see how bad it’s going to get? Body tensed for flight, senses finely tuned. I know that when I’m sitting in my lounge watching my furniture being randomly rearranged, I don’t expend a lot of effort wondering about the science of it. I’m only looking to see how far the coffee table in front of me moves so that I can decide if I’m going to flee from the house.

But later – after it’s over. Have you ever wondered exactly what causes all that commotion? When the earth rocks and rolls, it’s of no small interest to me what causes it – not that I can do much about it. Oh, by the way, like many Madang residents, I can look out my front door and clearly see one of the most potentially dangerous volcanoes on the planet: Kar Kar Island. And it’s close enough to erase my existence if it’s of a mind to do so.

Krakatoa and A Crack in the Edge of the World

These two books, Krakatoa (primarily about the 1883 eruption which was the most powerful in recorded history) and A Crack in the Edge of the World (mainly about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake) will answer all your questions and show you a good time while doing so. Never more will you yawn knowingly and say something like, “Ah yes, those subduction zones. They should do something about them.” Terms like tectonic plates and strike-slip faults will no longer be irritating when some know-it-all throws them out for the enlightenment of ordinary dullards like us.

Simon Winchester has given us a couple of books that will both entertain greatly and solve the puzzle of why earthquakes and volcanoes happen at all. More interesting is why they happen so very much more often in certain places. They are, in short, a sound read in seismology and geology for the layperson. The science is delivered in clear and simple terms and is always tied to the events and the stories of people somehow connected to them.

Thanks to my friend and fellow diver, Michael Wolfe, for lending them to me.

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