A Little Nature Walk in My Garden

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 13th, 2009 by MadDog
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I like to start off every day with a sunrise. Considering my proclivity for this, I must be the luckiest guy in the world. During most of the year, at least one day out of two will provide fodder for my famished camera. Some days are better than others, but every day is different.  This is part of my thinking time for the day. I usually get fifteen to thirty minutes to contemplate the newness of the day and what it might bring:

Weird orange glow sunrise

Then I have a little walk around my garden to see who’s awake and what they’re doing.

In the same bush in which I found a beautiful green lizard the other day, I spotted this tiny bug hiding under a leaf. The sun was shining through the leaf and making the little fellow glow. I tried to get the shot without flash, but there simply wasn’t enough light:

Some kind of little bug in my bush

The little guy is only about a centimetre long.

Over at the Bird of Paradise plants I found a similar sized spider. It kept trying to move around on the other side of the curled-up leaf to hide, but finally tired of that and submitted to my photographic zeal:

Itsy-bitsy Spider

The shot really appeals to me compositionally. Its simplicity is powerful. Getting one or two shots a day such as this one, which really pleases me, lifts me right off the ground. Photography is a powerful emotional stimulant for me. I must be neurotic. No, wait. Of course  I’m neurotic!

This spider is vainly attempting to hide from me. He nearly pulled it off, except that I saw it moving down from the flower on which it was waiting for a meal. You’ll see more of this little spider tomorrow:

Camoflaged spider trying to hide from me

I’ve featured this lovely green spider before here.

I never know which orchids in the garden are going to bloom next. The blooms last for an incredibly long time compared to most flowers, sometimes for a couple of weeks. I know absolutely nothing about orchids and I’m happy to allow them to be a mystery to me. I overanalyze the underwater world and pretend to be an expert. I think that it’s nice to appreciate some things without knowing everything about them. It leaves room for awe and wonder:

Orchids in my garden

The sun was coming in from the back of these blossoms. I turned my flash on to give a little fill light in the dark areas to punch up the colour. I’m quite happy with the shot.

The best thing about walking around in my garden with my camera is that, if I wake up the next morning, I know that something like this will be waiting for me.

"Blows My Mind" sunrise

Lucky? Blessed?

You choose.

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Back to Nob Nob Mountain

Posted in Mixed Nuts on October 29th, 2009 by MadDog
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A couple of days ago I had to drive a mob of visitors up Nob Nob Mountain.  It’s not really a bother, except the road is a bit scary. It’s just dirt and tight switchbacks and two-hundred metre drop-offs, so it is really no big deal as far as PNG roads go. Nevertheless, when I’m driving it in a van, it’s not my cup of tea.

The view from Nob Nob is fairly spectacular. You can see the entire coast from way over at Saidor on the other side of Astrolabe Bay  to the southeast up to Sek Island  and further to the north. Here’s a shot from the Pacific Orientation Course camp:

View from Pacific Orientation Course grounds on Nob Nob Mountain

I enjoy having a walkabout with my camera whenever I’m at Nob Nob. I never know what I’m going to discover. I was stopped dead in my tracks by these very trippy pink fungi growing on the side of a rotten log:

Trippy pink fungi on Nob Nob Mountain

One can’t help wondering what a little nibble might do. The possibilities are endless, beginning with a psychedelic journey deep into your navel and probably ending with a quick trip to the morgue. On the other hand, it might be an Alice-like experience. I didn’t look underneath to see if they had little labels attached commanding “Eat me!”

This, as any fool can see, is the underside of a fern leaf. What is interesting here is the size and colour of the sori. In case botany was not your favourite subject, I’ll mention that sori are the clumps of sporangia. Does that help? Okay, okay, they are the naughty bits of the fern by which big ferns make little ferns:

Underside of fern leaf on Nob Nob Mountain showing sori (clumps of sporangia)

The spores from the red spots are released into the air to find a suitable place at which to start all over again.

Here is another kind of fern called a Staghorn. You are looking at about half of it. The rest is hidden higher in the tree. The part that you are looking at is about two metres long:

Staghorn Fern on Nob Nob Mountain

If you look at the flappy looking bits at the top you can see that they are completely covered underneath by a solid mass of sporangia.

Enough of ferns. Have some orchids.

Here are some frosty-white ones:

Frosty White Orchids from Nob Nob Mountain

I don’t know the names of any of these. It’s enough strain on my brain to keep up with fish.

The design of this one seems a little overblown to me. I’m not sure what the point is, but I’m suspicious that it has to do with reproduction:

Funky Yellow Orchid from Nob Nob Mountain

It probably goes something like this:

“Hey you! Bug! Look over here. Yeah, baby, I’m hot! Don’t you want to pollinate me? Come on, big fella; you know you want it.”

Sorry for that.

Anyway, I admit that I’m fascinated by orchids. Look at this clown:

Orange Orchid from Nob Nob Mountain

If I were an orchid I’d want to look like that.

Only moreso.

And yes, I would be sticking my purple and white striped tongue out at you.

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Crashing Servers – Passing Clouds

Posted in Mixed Nuts on February 19th, 2009 by MadDog
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Our main server crashed horribly last Friday. Tsk, tsk, what a shame. Don’t pity me. It’s been sitting in the corner feeling neglected for a long time. It’s been subjected to countless installs and uninstalls of programs. It started out life as Windows 2000, got upgraded to W2000 Server, then Windows 2003 Server all without so much as a whimper. Now its boot disk is showing symptoms of severe senility. A CHKDSK took an entire night. I didn’t expect to see it on line this morning, but there it is – bravely carrying on carrying on.

I’m demoting it to herding the telephones and serving the printers for a few more days while I put the finishing touches on a pair of back-to-back Windows 2008 servers. Then I’m going to retire it and give it an honourable burial without even dismembering it. Long faithful service deserves honour. I wish our financial backers had the same attitude. But, that’s another story.

All that technical junk bores me these days. It’s just a drudge. I’m going to forget about it for a few minutes and enjoy showing you some images.

This morning we had some new Bird of Paradise blooms next to our orchid draped Flame Tree. Aren’t they pretty:

Bird of Paradise Flower
As I looked up to see if there were any orchid flowers, I noticed some interesting lichens growing on the tree:
Lichens growing on a Flame Tree
You can also see the snaky tendrils of the orchids attempting to strangle the tree. I don’t know if they could be properly called roots. They don’t go clear to the ground. Most orchids are epiphytes – they grow attached to another plant, but do not gain nourishment from it directly.

On the way to the office the Finisterre Mountains were calling to my camera. I stopped for a minute to get this seven-frame panorama shot:

Moody looking Finisterre Mountains
It looks about as moody as I feel today. I have more Finisterre Mountain panoramas here and here.

These clouds will also pass.

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