The Old Catamaran

Posted in Under the Sea on July 5th, 2010 by MadDog
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You have read of many dives here on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  near Pig Island  at a spot we call The Eel Garden.  It is probably our most popular dive for several reasons. It is close, only a few minutes from Madang. It is also usually sheltered from waves, so that it is comfortable for those staying on the boat. It is an easy dive and has a variety of habitats from sandy bottom to outer reef. Last, but not least, it has a wreck . . . of sorts.

We’ll get to the underwater shots after I show you our orange lilies, from a slightly different angle, glowing in the morning sun:

After you cross over a huge wall of coral from the sandy bottom of The Eel Garden, you come upon a curious wreck which appears to be an old barge made of two slender hulls, making it, boatwise, a catamaran:

This is how they appear as you approach them from the bow end.

In between the hulls is a tangle of strange structures which may once have held the hulls together:

In this area is a wild menagerie of life. It would be easy to spend an hour between the hulls cataloguing the crazy tangle of coexisting critters.

During this dive there was a Bluefin Trevally (Carnanx melampygus)  bustling around us. They are extremely difficult to photograph, because they never stop darting around:

As you can see, the shot above was “spoiled”. As the fish darted past me, I spun around and grabbed a snap shot. I expected it to be motion-blurred. What I did not expect is that, after minimal massaging with Photoshop, it turned out to be an interesting bit of art. It certainly conveys the sense of motion.

Here is another shot of the tangled mess between the hulls:

You can see a diver’s bubbles behind the lattice.

This shot is from farther toward the stern. You can see that I was moving toward the back end of the hulls. As the sunlight angle changes and the distance decreases, the coral at the left of the shot above changes to a deeper, warmer tone, since there is less sea water between it and the camera:

If you click to enlarge and look at the extreme left of the image, you can barely make out the image of a diver’s fins as he moves off to the left. You can also make out his bubbles trailing above and behind him.

Most of these shots were taken with the iris stopped down to ƒ/8 to increase the depth of field. Yes, some more “Deep Focus” shots. I’ve found a whole new way to bore you.

My next project is a gigantic model train layout with tiny towns and miniscule pine trees. I will explain every detail of this to you when it’s finished.

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Additional Miscellanea

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on May 16th, 2010 by MadDog
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Well, it’s a rainy Sunday morning and I’m doubly stymied. We had planned to put up a new VSAT receiver on the satellite dish on the roof of our office, but the rain looks as it it may prevent that. And, since it’s raining, there’s not much point in going up the beach at Blueblood. Our present vendor for the Internet signal has simply become too slow and expensive for us. We are switching to another vendor partly because of their much lower price and partly because they have appointed me their sales representative for the Madang area. I’m hoping to sell a bunch of them. It is the first time that we have had, in Papua New Guinea, a VSAT system that is really affordable by a small business or even a well-heeled household. More to report later after the introduction at the Madang Club on Tuesday evening.

The sun this morning was putting on a rather nice show:

If you click to enlarge, you’ll see that I caught two eagles in this shot. One is just to the left and above the towering cumulus at the left edge of the yellow shaft of sunlight. The other is in the centre of the frame at the very top.

This is very similar to the one I got a couple of days ago:

And, I’m still very upset with Digicel. This is not over yet. When I get upset, stinky stuff begins to hit the fan.

This is the most colossal collection of Christmas Tree Worms (Spirobranchus giganteus)  which I have ever seen:

The area at which you are looking is maybe a half-metre wide. I guess that it contains at least a hundred Christmas Tree Worms. I found it directly under Faded Glory  when we were tied up at the buoy near The Green Dragon  B-25 bomber. I put this shot up on my server at much higher resolution than usual. If you click on it you’ll see a very detailed image, but it will take a little time to load, as it’s almost 700KB.

At the very end of the port wing of The Green Dragon  is a giant barrel sponge. It is so huge that I’m worried that will eventually break the wing. I caught this shot of bubbles from our tanks trapped underneath the sponge:

The bomber is in considerably worse shape than it was when I first dived it about about twenty-some years ago.

Here some fish which are exceedingly unlikely to end up on your table for a light lunch. They are the improbably named Shrimp Fish (Aeoliscus strigatus):

They are much too small to make a meal of. These were attempting to hide from me on the port wing of The Green Dragon.  They normally swim with their heads down as you see them here. If their ruse to appear as if they are part of the coral fails, then they adopt a horizontal position and swim away rapidly.

Yesterday afternoon in my garden the sun was shining through a yellow Trumpet Flower blossom:

I fooled around for about five minutes to get the flower lined up with the orange lilies which you see in the background. Photography is a very fussy hobby. I can take in a scene with my eyes and know exactly what I want to capture in the bits of digital data. Getting it there is sometimes more difficult than imagining it.

Yesterday I got lucky. Everything was copacetic.

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Local Newspaper Moves Washington DC to Colombia

Posted in Humor, Mixed Nuts on October 30th, 2009 by MadDog
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This gigantic purple sunrise greeted me this morning. I’ve uploaded a 2400 pixel wide image of it. Click to enlarge and do a “save image as”. Then print it out big enough to stretch completely around your head with a little overlap. Then laminate it. (the lamination can be skipped if you are not worried about durability) Now have someone help you to wrap it around your head and tape the ends together in the back. You will have an amusing hat:Giant Purple SunriseIf there is anybody out there crazy enough to actually do this, please, oh please send us a picture. I promise to post it on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi. Here’s your big chance to become famous. All of your friends will envy you.

The meat and potatoes of today’s post is, of course, the brash move by one of our much-beloved local newspapers* to relocate Washington DC to Colombia**. If you don’t believe me, read this:

Local Newspaper Moves Washington DC to Columbia

In case you are too lazy to read all of it, I’ll quote the salient passage:

Mr. Taylor, who is a native of the district of Colombia in South America, said during a press conference yesterday at the US Embassy in Port Moresby that he was delighted to be in PNG.

Well, no doubt Mr. Taylor is delighted to be in PNG (who wouldn’t be?) However the rest of it raises a couple of amusing queries in my mind. Has the capital of the U. S. of A. actually been removed to Colombia in South America? Or, though more likely, but still highly doubtful, is Mr. Taylor a native of some place in South America called the District of Colombia?

Or, my mischievous mind suggests, is our newspaper simply getting it wrong. I’d hate to think that, since our local newspapers, bless their hearts, have always followed the journalistic profession’s local motto, “All the news that fit to smoke.” (if you’re not a local, you probably won’t get that – never mind)

Here’s  another morning’s sunrise:

Orange Sherbert Sunrise

And yet another shot of the now famous orange lilies:

Orange lilies

Last Sunday, when we came back from Blueblood, I got this shot of a ship tied up at the wharf across from our house:Night Ship

It’s not terribly exciting. So, I exercised my favourite Photoshop artistic filter – Watercolour – and produced this mess:Night Ship Watercolour

Hmmmm . . . still not very exciting.

Tomorrow’s another day.

* I could name the newspaper, but that would be a cheap shot.

** Thanks to reader “werdna” for pointing out that I misspelled the name of the country Colombia as Columbia in my original post. Ironic, eh?

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The Pink Ice Cream and the Orange Lilies

Posted in Mixed Nuts on September 4th, 2009 by MadDog
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Dawn promised little as I sat at the edge of the water at about 05:45. The sky was just lightening and the last planet was fading. The colours were muted. I got a 15 second exposure with the Canon G10 which made the water appear glassy. You can see Faded Glory  tied up at the dock on the right:

Friday morning sunrise

As the sun rose higher, I switched to faster shutter speeds to catch some of the ripples on the water. The colour was coming up, but the only items of interest were the nearby clouds which were just catching the light of the sun as its angle changed:

Bright clouds at dawn on Friday morning

As the sun came up over the horizon, I switched to the Olympus SP590UZ for this long telephoto shot of the orb pushing its way up through the coconut trees on the other side of the Binnen Harbour in Madang Town:

Greeted by the sun over Madang Town on Friday morning

The simplicity of the image above appeals greatly to me. I am most affected by images that have little detail, but speak volumes.

Turning my attention to my garden, as there was enough light finally to get some shots, the orange lilies, my favourites, were glowing as if powered by the fusion of the sun:

My favourite lilies - the orange ones

I’ve show you these lilies before here, here, here and here. They seem indestructible. As soon as Juli, our haus meri,  tears up one section of the garden (a frighteningly regular event), they pop up a few metres away. Here’s another angle:

Orange lilies in the morning sun

I can’t leave you this morning without showing you one of the cutest little girls that I’ve seen in a long while. As I was coming out of the Madang Butchery Supermarket yesterday afternoon with a big bag full of bones for Sheba, I saw her with her mother. I usually don’t bother people to take their photos, because a lot of people here simply don’t understand why you want the picture and that makes them nervous. Anyway, mom smiled and agreed:

The cutest little girl that I've seen for a while

The little one could not be coaxed to smile and I made it quick because her ice cream was melting in the heat. I walked away feeling strangely happy.

Maybe she’ll gladden your day as she did mine.

UPDATE: If you are a regular reader, you’ll notice that the header for Madang – Ples Bilong Mi has changed. In fact, it changes every time you visit the site or refresh the page. There are about ten there now, but I’ll be adding many more as I find images that I like. I got tired of looking at the same old header, though I must admit that the first time I saw a new one pop up, it just didn’t look right. I guess I’ll get used to it. It took me a while to figure out how to do it, but I now am beginning to like the effect of not knowing which one will pop up next. I hope that you enjoy the new headers as much as I enjoy making them.

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Drip, Drip

Posted in Photography Tricks on June 23rd, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m not sure why water droplets fascinate me so much as photographic subjects. They’re not very animated and they have little character of their own. What they do very nicely is reflect, transmit and modify light. Now light, you see, is something that interests me greatly. I’ve shown you my orange lilies before. Here are some water drops resting on a shady morning:

Shady day water drops on my orange liliesWith no direct sun to cast shadows, they look a bit lifeless and moody. I’ve got more orange lilies now than I’ve ever had before. You can see another water drop shot here. You can get orange lilies and more water drops here – one of my favourite water drop shots. So as not to make the other flowers jealous, I’ll add this.

This drop, hanging off of a hibiscus bud, seems entirely too big to stay put. It seems very precarious to me:

A drop that looks too big to hold onI also like that way that everything appears upside down.

I like this one best. If click to enlarge, you’ll see that the middle of the three drops is reflecting the smaller drop located just above it on the branch:

The middle drop shows a reflection of another dropWhile drops are amusing I usually prefer my water in larger units. Get wetter with more water drops and other miscellanea here, here, here and here.

How’s the Pacific Ocean for a larger unit:

Astrolabe SkyI took Eunie to lunch for her birthday today. We ate at the Madang Lodge. I had fish and chips, but no, I’m not going to make you look at it. The view over Astrolabe Bay was very pleasant today. When I was a kid we called those wispy clouds mares’ tails because they look like tails of horses.

Happy birthday, Eunie.

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