The Wonderful Distraction – Fake Art

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Photography Tricks on October 9th, 2010 by MadDog
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There are so many things which I’d like to say. However, now I am falling just short of  finding the words to articulate these things. I never really believed that some thoughts were inexpressible. I’m learning much about life lately. It seems a bit late for a grammar school education about Getting Along in Life. Today’s lesson is about being tongue-tied, mute, unable to find the expressions, analogies and idioms to translate the thoughts spinning in my head into English. I’m writing this on Friday, the eighth of October. If you’ve been following, you will recognise that day as being singularly significant. Not to put too fine a point on it, one month ago my wife went to claim her reward.

Yes, today is a bit of a hard day. I arose early and called in to the office after 08:00 to beg a day off. I have music and pictures to prepare for the memorial service tomorrow. Our office staff have been infinitely understanding and supportive. Lorraine Collins, a dear friend who lived in Madang for some time has flown in from Cairns to come to the service and stay a few days in the company of old friends. She came over to have lunch with me. Afterward, we watched a movie. I was glad for the company and the distraction.

It’s a good thing that I did have company today. I would otherwise buried myself in work and not have had the chance to sit with a friend and quietly talk about what is happening to all of us. It is  a shared experience. I can’t imagine that it would be more intimate if I were were with my blood family. So, speaking of things left to do today, I’ll get on with tomorrow’s post. Yes, I’m writing this on Friday. I’ll schedule the post to go out tomorrow. I do not know what tomorrow will bring to me.

I took a couple of hours of otherwise wasted time last night to do something other than attempting to sleep. It seemed mindless, but more emotionally useful to look through images from past posts and turn them into fake art. Sometimes it is better to do something completely useless. It gives one the feeling of wasting time usefully. And so, since I can’t transfer my feelings to the computer screen, I’ll give you fake art instead.

Here is Honey the aged mare from Honey, Beast and Other New Friends:

Honey and I got along well. This may have been because, in horse years, she is my age. We understood each other. Most of these images will require you to click to enlarge to see the effect of the Photoshop filters which I used to create the fake art images. This one had a light treatment with Poster Edges, just enough to punch up the edges a little and give it some texture.

I finished all of my chatter at the beginning, so I’ll simply show you the rest of the images with my brief comments about how I made them.

This is a shot of a diver’s bubbles with a glass block effect applied:

It is more interesting if you enlarge it.

When we were in Fiji earlier this year I got this image of Bougainvillia overhanging the hotel pool. It’s a delicious mix of colours made all the more yummy but the Watercolour filter:

Reducing the number of colour values in the image by increasing the posterisation effect in the filter creates some interesting patterns in the water.

Still in Fiji, here is an image from The Nadi Temple – A Feast for the Eyes:

This is a more severe flogging of the image with the Poster Edges filter. It is very posterised, using only a few colours from the millions available. The edges are extremely accentuated. This gives a nice poster effect.

Here are some orchids from my garden. I wanted a mild distortion effect, in this case the Watercolour filter, and I also wanted to bring the flowers dramatically forward in the image:

The Watercolour filter worked a treat. Bringing the flowers forward proved to be far simpler than I had thought it would be. All I had to do was reduce the saturation of the green tones in the background, reducing them to near monochrome. This piece turned out better than I though it would.

This Phyllidia ocellata  nudibranch makes a perfect subject for a cut out. The black background makes the absurd colours of this outlandish critter pop:

Nice design for a black t-shirt, eh? A touch of the Poster Edges filter gave the nudi an interesting texture.

Finally, I’ll toss in another nice piece by Lindsay Smith. Take note that I do not include Lindsay’s work in the fake art category. Lindsay actually sketches. Oh, that I had such talent:

Lindsay sketched this lovely lady over a background of my image of an oil slick on the water in front of my house. I enjoy seeing such imaginative uses of my photographs.

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Ni Sa Moce, Fiji – Vinaka

Posted in Humor, On Tthe Road on June 30th, 2010 by MadDog
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After twelve days at the hotel where Eunie has been staying, eating every meal consisting of pretty much the same stir-frys and curries every day, she was ready for a gastronomic break. I told her yesterday, when I came back from the Nadi Temple, that there was a MacDonald’s somewhere back in the direction of town. So, at about noon, we started the long walk in the quest of the undisputed king of junk food.

It turned out to be a bit farther than I remembered, possibly a couple of miles. Eunie never slowed down or looked back. The call of the Big Mac was shrieking raucously in her ears:

When in North America we never eat so foolishly. Our idea of junk food in Indianapolis is to go to Arnie’s Bar and Restaurant and get a single order, which we share, of gigantic mushroom caps filled with a nice Italian tomato sauce and topped with Romano cheese. In Canada we call big, steaming bowls of onion soup junk food. Hmmm . . . stringy cheese . . .

If you’re wondering how MacDonald’s manifests its image of looming obesity in Fiji, wonder no more:
Right, it looks just like the one three blocks from your house.

And, as for the offensive object itself:

Yes, it is just as disgusting and offensively tasteless as anywhere on the face of Mother Earth.

I have to admit that Eunie and I have a sort of death pact between us. Everywhere we go in the world, and that list is ramping up quite nicely, we seek out a MacDonalds and force ourselves to eat a Big Mac. Eunie actually claims to like one once in a while. I can hardly choke it down.

It’s a little taste of home.

Ni Sa Moce, Fiji – Vinaka.  (Goodbye, Fiji – Thanks.)

It’s been nice.

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The Nadi Temple – A Feast for the Eyes

Posted in On Tthe Road on June 29th, 2010 by MadDog
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I have little text today, because I have a tonne of images to show to you. This morning I took a short bus ride to the Nadi Temple, as it is commonly called. My friend, Heather, suggested it to me, though her directions left something to be desired. Jump on a bus and you will probably be there in ten minutes:

Don’t dally at the Baby Face Nite Club, or they won’t let you in at the temple.

In fact, there are some things you should know before visiting. Prepare to leave your shoes at the gate. Do not eat any meat for breakfast. The man at the gate will ask you. Wear modest clothing, long trousers for men and a shirt that has at least short sleeves. I was dressed in my usual short-shorts and a tank top. This evoked a frown and a warning not to enter the temple itself, but, having paid the F$3.50 to enter the grounds and take pictures, I was otherwise treated politely. I’ll save my breath by showing you a little summary casually ripped from a travel web site:

In 1994 this Hindu temple moved from beside the flood-prone Nadi River to the southern end of town where an evocative three-tower complex was finely created over a ten-year period by eight specialist craftsmen brought from India.

The Dravidian temple is dedicated to the deity Murugan whose statue, specially carved in India, is housed within the twelve-metre-high main pyramidal vimanam with a rectangular roof. The two towers at the rear of the temple with colourful domed shaped roofs are dedicated to Ganesh and Shiva.

Since I was not allowed to enter the temple, I decided to do my best from outside. Fortunately, the opportunities are superb:

My goal, from the first moment, was to try to grab shots that others might miss.  If I have a “secret formula” this is it. These images have all been sent up to my server at 2,000 pixels, so if you click on any of them, you will get some good detail.

As I walk around I am constantly looking for amusing compositions:

The one above is crazy, but it works for me.

Another thing which I decided to do is to Photoshop without mercy. I wanted to get that “postcard” look which is just short of fake:

Fortunately, the light and sky were playing my game.

Even shadowed areas came through brilliantly:

The Canon G11 was strutting its stuff today. I have no complaints about any frame it gave me.

Walking around the temple, you can find plenty of treasure in the odd angles of the structure:

I could have stayed there all morning, but there were worshippers moving about and I was disgustingly under-dressed.

The details of the temple can keep you snapping until your battery runs down. Here’s an example:

And another:

And one more:

I have a dozen more in the folder, but you get the idea.

What I can’t show you properly, since I could not go in, are the astonishing paintings on the ceiling of the entire temple. Here is one that I could, with a little standing yoga, get a shot of:

It’s a bit distorted, but so was I while I was taking it. It took some fancy Photoshop tweaking to get it reasonably rectangular.

That’s about it for me. My shoulders are getting sore from using the laptop on the bar here. It’s the only place where I can get both a wireless connection and power. No beer for me until I figure out what’s come unwired in my head.

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Confused in Fiji

Posted in On Tthe Road on June 28th, 2010 by MadDog
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I had planned to go for a dive here in Nadi today, but I don’t think that it’s a good idea. When I woke up this morning, I felt very confused. I wasn’t sure what day it was. I had no clear memory of what happened yesterday or the day before. I now remember that we went for a cultural evening at another hotel on Saturday night and we saw fire-walking and other demonstrations. Last night we stayed in for a quiet evening to celebrate our 46th anniversary. I went around taking pictures this morning while trying to put my memories of the last few days in order.

I’m not sure what has happened to me. I guess that it’s not unusual to have memory lapses and confusion beginning in one’s 60’s and I have experienced both before. For me, it usually happens when I am in an unfamiliar environment. I have to admit that it is very scary. There are some very pleasant and comforting aspects of growing old, but this is definitely not one of them. It is frightening to be suddenly unable to remember clearly the events of the last few days. (See my Update at the end of the post.)

I haven’t been eating properly and I know that my mental state is very dependent on my blood sugar level. I’m relaxing in the hotel room now as I write this and try to get my mind back in order. This morning I went out to take some pictures in the garden. This is an activity which always calms me:

The colours in the one above are about as confused as I felt this morning.

This one is better – nice, curvy green shapes – very calming:

I’m certainly not going to bother to look up taxonomical names for any of these flowers. Since I am recovering from one of those “my brain has crashed and I can’t get it rebooted” moments, I’ll let interested readers fill in the Latin gaps:

I do know that these are bougainvillea:

As are these:

And these, which were growing out over the swimming pool:

There, I feel calmer already.

Here is the UPDATE: Eunie had the look of fear in her eyes this morning. It’s not surprising, because I can now remember how scary it must have been for her. I was definitely not myself. There is a nice doctor in the little shopping mall next to the hotel. I went over there, partly to calm my own fears and partly to be able to show Eunie that I had enough presence of mind to go and see him. He did the usual medical stuff and asked me a lot of questions. Three hours earlier, most of them would have given me trouble. However, as I sat at his desk, I could answer them satisfactorily. There are a number of contributing factors which I won’t explain because they are, uh . . . personal, but the doctor said that he thought it was very unlikely that I had had a stroke, but did say that I should have a compete work-up of (very expensive) scans and such as soon as possible.

“Soon as possible” will probably be in October, when we plan a trip to Australia for several weeks.

Four hours after the episode I am feeling calmer and ready to go down to the pool area to get on the Web and post this. Probably, most people would consider me a foolishly bold individual, if you know what I mean. “Live hard and leave a mangled corpse behind.” is my mantra. However, I am terrified of mental disease. That’s probably because I have lived most of my life suspecting that I am crazy. Possibly that is because I am often unable to explain my own actions. That seems crazy to me.

Or, maybe I’m just like everybody else.

I love the Seal song, Crazy.

A man decides after seventy years,
That what he goes there for, is to unlock the door.
While those around him criticize and sleep…
And through a fractal on a breaking wall,
I see you my friend, and touch your face again.
Miracles will happen as we trip.

But we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We are a little…


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