A Self-Portrait

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Photography Tricks on October 20th, 2010 by MadDog
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It’s been quite a while since I posted daily. I don’t have any immediate plans to get back to that, despite the continuing tag line of “A Daily Journal of a Permanent Resident of Paradise”. However, I found myself at loose ends for an hour or so this afternoon before I go over to the Country Club (where I am not a member, but I sneak in) for some much needed exercise. Yes, MadDog is going running this afternoon. The sky is falling.

This will be a short one. It’s been a long time since I did a self-portrait. It’s good practice for a photographer to work with a subject which he sees every day. I like to do one every few years, just to remember how to do it right and to record what has happened to my mug. Well, it’s shocking!

How did I get so old? I still entertained wild notions of some lingering attractiveness. Sadly, there is no evidence of that. I had no intention of looking so glum. I was going for pensive. I ended up with “prisoner of war”:

I’m not feeling nearly as bad as I look. The last few days may have marked a minor turn-around for me.

I’m optimistic, but it’s still to early to tell.

Now, if I could only get some sleep.

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Underwater Guest Shooter – KP Perkins

Posted in Under the Sea on February 11th, 2010 by MadDog
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As it’s already after 15:00 today and I’ve not written a word yet, I’ll be mercifully brief. I did break free from the office yesterday afternoon to take KP Perkins for her last dive in Papua New Guinea, at least for the foreseeable future. You may remember this shot of her from another recent post:KP had asked me to give her some basic photography lessons, since her previous experiences had not been very satisfying for her. I took her out to Pig Island  and we dived The Eel Garden. The surface water was horrible. We could barely see our hands in front of our faces. Underneath, is was not so bad.

KP took most of the shots. One of the most difficult things about underwater photography is staying in position for the shot. Most divers are not used to moving their bodies to achieve precision; you just sort of swim through the water like a fish. KP got her introduction to motion blur. Shooting without flash as in this image of a Sea Squirt (Polycarpa aurata),  will quickly show you how shakey your hands are:Macro shots, such as the one above are the most difficult.

Wider field shots such as this river of tiny catfish (Plotosus lineatus) are more forgiving:The common Reef Lizardfish (Synodus variegatus)  is good practice, because, as long as you move in slowly, you can get pretty close before it gets fed up and scurries to another location:Still life shots such as these Palm Tree Coral (Calvularia species)  polyps also make easy shots:I took this one. I wanted to show KP how, with good bracing and a two-hand hold, I could get a crisp shot at 1/6 second:The image stabilization in the camera is not supposed to be much good at such slow shutter speeds. However, if you can get braced firmly enough, it yields perfectly good images. The little critter is a Phyllidiella pustulosa  nudibranch sliding downhill as fast as he can.

We switched to flash for a while to give KP a little practice. Here is a terrific shot of a Phyllidia varicosa  nudibranch:I can’t remember looking as bad as this in any photograph. But it’s not KP’s fault:I wish I could think of something funny to say about it.

Here’s a tidy little reef scene with the Palm Tree coral, a Seriatopora hystrix  (the golden one) coral and a couple of little yellow fish which I can’t seem to identify at the moment:KP is a very quick study, as you can see. A couple of hours of Photoshop work after the dive and she already has the beginnings of a respectable portfolio.

This only feeds my desire to to underwater photography courses in the best diving spots on the planet.

Any takers?

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