Blue Dusk – Red Dawn – White Thistle Down and More

Posted in Mixed Nuts on September 24th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

It was a gloomy evening when we arrived home late from the office last night. When I got out of the car, my right hand reached instinctively toward the Canon G9 that I keep in a holster on my belt in the back. I used to carry a Walther P38 9mm in the same location. The camera has proved much more useful:

Main wharf in Madang at duskThe stars around the bright lights are caused by the camera settings that I was using. Since I wanted the stars around the lights, I used the smallest lens opening I could get. You have to set the camera on manual to do these kinds of things, but sometimes it’s worth it. The small opening of the iris of the lens causes diffraction because it is not completely round. It’s made up of little leaves that move in and out to change the diameter of the opening. Each point where two leaves meet causes a ray of the star. You can tell how many leaves the iris on your camera has by counting the rays around a bright light. In this case, I know that my camera has a six leaf iris.

The big news in this part of the world is the spectacular dust storms in the general area of Sydney, Australia. The following image was happily filched from ABC News (That’s the AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting System, folks, not ABC in America):

Huge dust storm in Sydney (via ABC News)Imagine waking up in the morning and looking out your kitchen window to see that! I’d take a couple of valiums and pull the covers up over my head.

I promised white thistle down and I deliver what I promise, though sometimes a little tardily:

Thistle down

The little seeds have just come loose and are awaiting a breeze to carry them to their new homes. For the time being, they are hanging like Santa’s beard around the base of the fading blossom.

This bee was very busy and difficult to snap. It sorely underestimated my determination, however. This was the best of about fifty frames:

Highlands beeThe bees in the highlands seem skinier than our nice fat little buzzers on the coast. I suppose they are a different species.

This is very nearly what we used to call a Lady Bug when I was a kid:

Lady bug looking at meThe one above is having a good look at me. After a few seconds it decided it didn’t like what it saw and began to try to escape.

Why it never flew, I don’t know. It just kept running around on the same leaf while I kept snapping away:

Lady bug hurring home to save her burning childrenEvery time I see a Lady Bug I’m reminded of the horrible sayings and songs that adults deliver like sour medecine to children. Is it supposed to be good for us? I remember this little ditty from my youth:

Lady bug, lady bug
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire
And your children are burning.

Is this supposed to make kids feel good? Even the Itsy-bitsy Spider  seemed depressing to me. Up the spout, nearly drown going down, back up again . . . whew! Gives me the heebeejeebees.

I’ll finish up today with another shot of the Yonki Dam spillway:

Youki dam spillwayI liked the shot from a few days ago. This one has the same colours, but the effect of the camera angle makes it tell a completely different story.

Sometimes images are like new friends. They take a little time to grow on you.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When is a Photograph not a Photograph?

Posted in Photography Tricks on July 19th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

When I was out on Faded Glory  on Saturday, I brought along my Olympus SP590UZ superzoom camera. I love the long telephoto shots, even though the lens is, of course, not very sharp. What can you expect from a US$450 camera that claims a 26x optical zoom. Since nothing I shoot ends up being printed any larger that what will fit on a magazine page, it doesn’t worry me too much and I don’t need to worry about messing up a US$3,000 camera or having it stolen. I treat them as throw aways.

Sometimes, though, one wishes that the lens were a little sharper or the sensor a little less noisy. And then, sometimes, one simply botches the job. On Saturday, for instance, I had a setting wrong on the camera which caused the images to be much less than I’d hoped. For those who care I’ll mention that I had the camera set to aperture priority mode and the f stop was a 8.0. This caused two problems. First, as the lens closes down its sharpness decreases. Second, as there is less light at f 8.0, the sensitivity of the sensor is increased automatically causing it to get noisier. The result was grainy images that weren’t very sharp at all. That’s about as bad as it gets.

Still, there were some interesting images under all that blurriness and grain. I decided to finagle the snaps with Photoshop to see if I could get some visually appealing images out of the mess.

Is it photography?  Or, is it art? I’d say neither. They are derivations  of photographic images. I had a huge palette of colours and image manipulation tools available to me. I chose to use only the least obtrusive ones to save the images. Let’s see what came out of the experiment.

Here’s a shot of Kar Kar Island  looking positively ominous. It should, since it’s one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes:

Kar Kar Island as art

This is a shot from Tab Anchorage  of part of Madang town with a ship anchored next to Kranket Island:

A ship with Madang in the background and the Finisterre Mountains in the distance

If you click to enlarge any of these images you will see that they have been severely mauled by Photoshop filters and image controls. They are no longer strictly speaking, photographs. This is the Finisterre Mountains  as seen from Tab Anchorage:

A panorama of the Finisterre Mountains as art

This shot is spoiled because I needed just a tiny bit more space between the canoe paddle and the left edge. It’s taking the Rule of Thirds too far:

Canoe art

On the way back home, I stopped for this shot of the blazing sun reflecting off of the water of Madang Harbour  near the airport:

The afternoon sun near the Airport in Madang

I combined the shots above with others that I massaged in this little gallery:

I’ve reduced the sizes on the gallery shots so that they will fit more comfortably on most screens.

I guess my photography lesson for today is, if you’ve got an onion, make onion soup. Or, never delete an image unless it has nothing to say.

Tags: , ,

Oh My. The Sky!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on April 7th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

There being no fish yesterday evening at the weigh-in of the GFAPNG 2009 Titles worth taking a photo of, I’m free as a bird to write about whatever I please.

Today, the sky pleases me. We’ll start with a pleasing error. A few mornings ago I was in my front yard taking a long exposure of the sunrise at about 05:30. If memory serves, it was about a ten second exposure. This is all well and good, except that I did not notice until after I clicked the shutter release that one of the game fishing boats was traversing my personal viewing area. The audacity! Anyway, you can see three or four streaks of light left on the exposure as the boat whizzed across the frame. You might have to click to enlarge:A fishing boat leaves a streak on a long exposure sunrise shot

I call the next one Orange Soda Sky.  The reason seems  obvious. Assumptions can deceive. Yes, it is  orange. However, what you don’t know is that I hate breakfast. Nevertheless, I need sugar to fuel my decrepit old body enough to carry it along until mid-morning. So, by filthy habit, I have a Fanta Orange Soda every morning for breakfast along with the handful of vitamins, minerals, an asprin, and Lord knows what else that Eunie gives me.

Orange Soda Sunrise

Green is my favourite colour, but orange gives me a buzz also. I’ve shown you orange soda sky, rainy orange sky, orange horizon sky, an orange lily. orange fish, orange vegetables, and a strange orange lichen on my coconut trees. I suppose you’ve had your fill of orange for a while.

Oh, sorry . . . one more:

Orange rays at sunrise in Madang

I’ll give you a break from orange now. This is more the Yellow-Orange that you’d find in a box of Crayola crayons.

A ship making way toward Madang Harbour at sunrise

Lucky shot – that’s what I call it. I snapped it on the way to work one morning. The ship is on its way to the main wharf in Madang Harbour.

I got this one at the Madang Club a couple of evenings ago while I was waiting for the game fishing boats to return:

Sunset Rays as seen from The Madang Club

Hmmm . . . I seem to have run out of words. It’s your lucky day.

Tags: , , , , ,