A Little Bit of Everything

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on October 7th, 2010 by MadDog
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I do not intend for Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  to indefinitely remain a place where I forever keep going back to the events of the last few months. I need to move on at some point. However, this is  a (more or less) daily journal.  I think of it as an open diary. I cannot escape the present. If I am to continue to be open and honest, I must put down here my thoughts, fears, challenges and successes. This allows me to take these things out of my head and examine them as I write. It allows me to record them as waypoints on my journey. It helps me to gauge my progress and someday, it will allow me to remember the events with the fresh perspective of one who is healed and able to look back with less pain.

So, having said that, I’ll tell you that the plans for the Memorial Service for Eunie at the Chapel at Divine Word University are progressing smoothly. Yesterday, I burned a CD full of Neil Diamond songs to play before and after the service. Later today, I will organise photographs on a flash drive to be displayed on the big LCD screen in the Chapel. These are small tasks which were assigned to me by the little “committee” of friends who are carrying the main load of organising the event. I was glad to have something to do which I probably could not mess up.

Tomorrow will mark one month since Eunie’s death. I think that that is the first time that I’ve used the word – death. Possibly this marks the end of my daily walk with denial.

This is the first sunrise which I have captured since before leaving for Australia:

The mornings have been mostly cloudy. Starting at about 05:30, when the sky begins to lighten, I can tell, by looking out the bedroom window, whether there will be a decent sunrise or not. Though I’m looking west, I can see the general colour of the sky and judge the brightness. If it looks promising, I’ll get out of bed and look out the front of the house. Yesterday, it was worth getting up.

Here is a particularly good image of a Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus):

Its wholesome goodness comes from its very accurate colours. The conditions were perfect for a good shot. It was taken in about seven metres of fairly clear water with a bright, thin neutral white cloud cover which provided flat and untinted light. I’m quite happy with this one.

While our little troop of was back in Gympie at the home of Val Jerram preparing to scatter back to our own places we found this very amusing lizard under Val’s veranda:

That’s Carol Dover’s hand in the shot to give some scale. It’s not huge by Australian lizard standards, but it does look as if it might inflict some damage if it bit. Dr. Robert Sprackland sent a copy of his new book, Guide to Lizards,  because it has one of my images in it. I could not find this lizard in it. I don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s rare? Seems unlikely.

UPDATE: Reader Madcap Maven left a comment identifying the lizard as a Tiliqua scincoides scincoides,  the Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard. Her ID checks out. I consulted the Ultimate Resource, Wikipedia. You can read her message in the Comments at the end of this post.

Since I’m just rambling here I’ll throw in this interesting image by Lindsay Smith:

It’s a strange, moody piece.

Last, but not least, here is a beautiful shot by Alison Raynor titled Toogoolawah Sunset:

Someday I hope to visit Toogoolawah. It seems a peaceful place.

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A Mystery Image and a Green Lizard

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 11th, 2009 by MadDog
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This morning the sunrise was distinctly unpromising. Being ever the optimist, I waddled out to the stern of Faded Glory and snapped a shot. I had to set my Canon G9 on manual and stop the lens down to f8 and shoot at 1/4000 for a shutter speed at ISO 80 to keep from blasting a hole through the camera:

Alien Sunrise

UPDATE: Okay, okay, that’s just too, too horrible. Let me give it another try:

Alien Sunrise (second try)

Wasn’t that interesting? Well, I went into all that blather for the photo geeks out there who will understand that, under those conditions, there’s precious little colour and luminance information left anywhere in the shot except near the sun. That’s the price we pay for being cheap. A $4,000 camera would do much better, but I don’t have that kind of money and probably wouldn’t spend it on a camera if I did. (I lie! If I were rich I’d have the best cameras on the planet.)

Anyway, all that is in the way of an apology for the excruciating, but somehow numbingly weird colours in the shot. I fiddled and fiddled and finally changed the title. That’s what photographers (and writers) do when a project fails miserably. I’m calling it Alien Sunrise.

There’s no mystery about this image. It’s clearly a lizard – a lizard frozen in terror. It’s desperately attempting to appear to be a part of the bush. I had a devil of a time getting this shot. In the wild, these things are masters of hide-and-seek unlike a squirrel:Green Lizard hiding in my bushesBy holding my camera out at far from my body as possible and sticking it into the bush very slowly I managed to get off one good shot. I’d call this the luck one of the day.

UPDATE: a Facebook friend, Robert Sprackland (Ph.D., Zoology — Herpetology, Systematics — Evolution, Biogeography — Biodiscovery), a guy who knows his slithery critters, passed this information on to me: “It’s a New Guinea endemic, a green-blooded skink, genus Prasinohaema (Greek for – SURPRISE! – “green blooded.”) Can’t be sure of species from a single photo, but best guess is the yellow-footed green-blooded skink (lordy, that sounds colourful!), Prasinohaema flavipes. Thanks for that, Robert. I had no idea that I’d captured such an exotic little beastie.

Now for the Mystery Object. Tropical residents will have a better shot at guessing this:Mystery image - view 1Didn’t get it?

How about this:Mystery image - view 2Okay, I bet a lot of people are guessing some kind of wood. And right you are.

A coconut tree in our front yard was hit by lightning this year and killed. Part of it had already fallen and smashed the bow of Faded Glory. So, a few weeks ago, I had some guys come in to chop the rest of it down. As I was walking past this morning I noticed that some weird combination of tropical rot and last night’s rain, along with the warm rays of the rising sun, had made it glow bright red:

Mystery image - It's a coconuty treeSorry for the cheap shot.

I’ll make amends with this lovely hibiscus:HibiscusAs you can see, the sun is coming in from the back. I like this lighting with flowers. It makes the petals seem to glow with a light of their own.

If you click the hibiscus to enlarge it you will see one lonely little ant down in the left side of the dark centre area.

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