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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Finnisterre Mountain Beauty

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 20th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve written many times about the beautiful Finisterre Mountains  on the Huon Peninsula  which establishes the south side of  Astrolabe Bay.  I never before lived in a place where I could see a range of huge mountains. They seemed almost as mysterious and vast as the sea. Now, if conditions are good, I can come out any morning and see the Finisterres  looming over the top of our security fence:Faded Glory  sits calmly in the purple morning glow.

Over at Coconut Point  along Coronation Drive,  a nine frame panoramic shot gives an exceptionally nice view of the mountains. The image covers about 150°.

On the right of the image is the area called Rai Coast.  on the far left, as the mountains seem to be getting lower, but are really simply further away, is the Saidor region.

The entire area is as shaky as a bowl of jelly (Jello for Yanks). I filched this chart from the web:I added Madang and Lae so that you can get your bearings, as the chart is not designed for easy reading.

Here is a map that will make it clearer:By comparing the chart to the map, you can plainly see that, in Madang at the left of the map, we get plenty of earthquakes.

Here the Finisterres  are putting on a splendid show with Machinegun Point  in the foreground:

It’s one of my favourite hunting spots. You can always get an interesting image there.

I caught these boys wandering up Coronation Drive with the mighty Finisterres  in the background:

Leaving the Finisterres  for today, here is a grey morning shot of the Coastwatcher Monument with Kar Kar Island  Peeking up above the trees in the distance:

And, since we’ve been a little short of colour today, here are some wet, wet orchids in my garden:

I like the smaller orchids more than the large ones. These are only about three or four centimetres wide.

I need to get out and collect a bunch of orchid shots. I’d like to do a few days just on orchids. We got a million of ’em.

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Monday Is Nearly Tuesday

Posted in Mixed Nuts on September 14th, 2009 by MadDog
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Well, it’s not difficult to see that I’m having trouble thinking this morning. I won’t get into the business about it not being Monday here – it’s Tuesday. I’m still catching up. However, on the way to work this morning (actually tomorrow morning, but . . .) I caught the sun sneaking up over the machinegun at Machinegun Point:

Machinegun Point at SunriseHere’s another interpretation of the same scene:

Machinegun Point at Sunrise - It's not really a machinegun

You know, I don’t really think that it’s a machinegun. I’ve had a fair amount of experience with military toys, so I’m not fooled by the colloquialism. It looks to me more like a small bore artillery piece such as are used for light shore defence. Anyway, it doesn’t make a bit of difference. It is a well-known landmark in Madang. You can see other images of Machinegun Point here, here and here.

NEWS FLASH! I just felt the whole building trembling and, having been here a long time, thought to myself, “Hmmm . . . earthquake.” That’s about as excited as we get when the ground turns to jelly. However, I was mistaken. Hearing the sounds of heavy machinery undoubtedly being operated by burly men chewing buai  (betelnut), I decided to go outside to make sure that nobody crashes into our building.

To my amazement, I saw that they are working on Lake Madang:

Road work proceeding on Lake MadangYou can review the history of Lake Madang here, here and here. Of course, this work is not going to matter a bit if they don’t seal the surface and fix the drain to the sea. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure that it will be amusing.

While I’m in the random mode, I’ll throw in a shot of the morning market at Ukarumpa. We bought bags and bags of veggies and got about five kilos of highlands strawberries for K32. The strawberries from the highlands are incredibly sweet and flavourful. I’ve never tasted better anywhere in the world. If you are used to eating strawberries from a supermarket, it is shocking to bite into one of these little red devils:

The morning market at Ukarumpa

The only things from the highlands that are less than perfect are the pineapples and the bananas. They both seem weak and tasteless compared to our coastal varieties. I had the camera tilted in the image above. That’s why it looks the way it does. Hey, it was early and cold.

I got a hundred or so images of flowers and bugs while walking around in the cold, so I’ll start to feed them to you a few at a time. (I can sense the anticipation.)

Here is a little white flower about the size of a small button. It’s easy to overlook the small things, but I walk slowly in the high altitude, so my eyes have plenty of time to find the tiny treasures:

Small white flower

It’s not quite as pretty when it turns to seed:

Small white flower seedsIt just struck me that people are the same. When they go to seed, they may not be as pretty, but they are usually more interesting.

I only say that because I’m getting old. (Still searching for a heart of gold . . .)

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Along the Way

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Opinions on January 14th, 2009 by MadDog
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Serenity is a much-sought commodity these days.  It certainly is for me.  I think that’s true for many people in these “interesting” times.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the situation on this planet is getting worse instead of better.  Most of the time, I don’t want to watch the news.  We can’t seem to find a way to stop killing each other.  We’re obviously poisoning the planet in myriad ways.  The primary occupation of most of the rich seems to be to rob from the poor.  The litany of human perversity goes on and on.

It’s no surprise, then, if I seek moments when I can steal away from the troublesome day to come and find peace in the beauty of my adopted land.

Driving to work in the morning often provides such opportunities.

As I turned onto Coronation drive this morning, the Finnesterre Mountains  were brooding across Astrolabe Bay  looking bluer than the sea:

The Finnesterre Mountains, Madang, Papua New Guinea
I crossed the road to have a look at the shoreline. The muted light made the mossy rocks glow fluorescent green:

Mossy rocks along the shorline of Astrolabe Bay - Madang, Papua New Guinea

To the northeast, the glassy sea reflects the morning sun crashing through the clouds:

Astrolabe Bay reflects a brooding sky in Madang, Papua New Guinea

I got back into the car and drove up the road to Machinegun Point. It’s one the spots that I love to photograph:

Machinegun Point on Astrolabe Bay - Madang, Papua New Guinea

The image above reminds me that change is a blessed thing.  Just as a photographer notices the change of light, atmosphere, and context when he composes, I notice changes in life’s circumstances that drag me along, kicking and screaming, to new experiences – new vistas, if you will.  One day I’m dismally wondering, “Is this all there is?”  The next day, circumstances change – new forces come into play.  I may be facing a new life that promises new opportunities.

Certainly, not all changes are beneficial.  Often circumstances beyond our control bring about undesirable change.

But we can control the changes that we craft of our own volition.  When we opt to change ourselves for noble reasons, we are truly human in the best sense.  When we choose options that better our family or community relationships, we benefit the whole.

It’s trite, but true; when we cease to change, we die.

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Driving to Work

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 12th, 2008 by MadDog
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How many people enjoy driving to work each day?

Come with me. It’s only about fifteen minutes. I’ll show you the scenes that I see every day on my way to the office.

A few minutes from my house, as soon as I get off the dirt road, I hit the Airport Road on my way to town. On a good day, I can see the mountains between the trees lining the road. The shadows of the morning sun paint interesting patterns on the tarmac:

Airport Road, Madang

Turning onto Coronation Drive for the scenic route, I can see the Finisterre Mountains across Astrolabe Bay through the coconut trees:

Looking across Astrolabe Bay

A minute further and I’ve reached Machinegun Point:

Machinegun Point, Madang

Around the curve at the end of the golf course, I can get out of the car and shoot back towards the Madang Country Club:

Looking toward the Madang Country Club

If I turn the other way, I catch the top of the Coastwatcher’s Monument over the tops of the trees. This is Madang’s most iconic landmark:

The Coastwatcher's Monument, Madang

Finally, in front of the Memorial Lutheran Church, I can shoot out across the inlet to Karkar Island about seventy kliks away:

Karkar Island from Madang

It’s a comfort each morning to know that no matter what kind of mess I find waiting for me at the office, at least I know that I will have a peaceful, untroubled, and beautiful experience getting there.

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