A Dog’s Breakfast of Images

Posted in Humor, Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on October 22nd, 2009 by MadDog
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a dog’s breakfast: British slang for “a complete mess” has been in usage since at least the 1930s. While no one took the time to write down the exact origin of the phrase, the allusion involved seems to be to a failed culinary effort, perhaps a burned or botched omelet, fit only for consumption by the mouth of last resort, Fido.

It’s been one of those days. Today I have (1) consulted with business associates concerning the establishment of J & E Enterprises Limited, (2) consulted with the Investment Promotion? Authority concerning whether or not the company is a “foreign” company, (3) adjusted our organisational chart so that it isn’t, (4) appointed a new director, (5) fixed a radio transceiver [unsuccessfully], (6) filled out many forms on which were printed questions which I did not understand (faked it), (7) tried to get another transceiver working [still out on that one], (8) tested a solar panel and battery, (9) ate lunch [five minutes while visiting BoingBoing], and it’s only 14:56.

That’s why I get the big bucks. (In my dreams.) Now, I’m staring at an empty page.

So, I’ll throw in your general direction some images that don’t seem to belong anywhere else.

This is a Bird of Paradise flower. Okay, okay, the whole thing is not the flower. The flowers themselves are only the little ‘molars’ of the dinosaur’s lower jaw, which is what it really  looks like to me. The big tusky things on the left are it’s . . . er . . . tusks.  I don’t know what the big white thing on the right is, maybe a thighbone of a human, who, according to some, were wandering aimlessly around contemporaneously with the dinos:

Bird of Paradise Flower

That being disposed of, I’ll now show you a Ship of Fools sort of image. An improbably tiny ship in a big, improbably blue sea under a surrealistically improbable sky. Don’t stare at it for too long:

Sunrise and Ship

I have to admit that I’m overly fond of this one. I showed you a similar shot a time ago. I just got around to working on this one. I had to do surprisingly little to it. The Canon G9 did a fine job all by itself. It’s the moon (didn’t notice it, eh?) rising across the harbour from our house:

Moonrise over Madang

Under the surface of Mama Ocean we are forever seeing blobby or spiky or weird things about which we have not a clue. This one caught my attention last Saturday and I decided to investigate it carefully instead of dismissing it as “sea goo”. As I was looking it and photographing it, I still didn’t know what it was. It’s about half the size of my hand:Juvenile Diverticulate Tree Coral (Dendronephthya roxasia)It wasn’t until I got the image up on my computer that it clicked and I realised what I’d been looking at.

Hah! It’s a juvenile Diverticulate Tree Coral (Dendronephthya roxasia),  as any fool can see:Diverticulate Tree Coral (Dendronephthya roxasia)The shot above is similar to one that I showed to you a few days ago. (Except better.)

That mystery now having been solved, I must return to the work for which I receive what is laughingly called “pay”.

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Spiders, a Hazardous Crab and a Pesky Butterfly

Posted in Mixed Nuts on September 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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Before we start with the creepy-crawlies, I’ll show you sunrise at our house this morning. It was hardly worth the effort. I’m accumulating a ridiculously huge collection of sunrise panoramas captured in our front yard. I don’t have a clue what I’m going to do with them. That is, aside from tossing them at you practically every day. It does give me something to do in the morning when I wake up at 05:00 other that think about how our savings have disappeared. More on that another day. There are enough of us in that boat already.

Sunrise this morning

Now that we’ve dispensed today’s sunrise, we can proceed to the juicy bits. This seems to me to be an unreasonably scary spider. It was about half the size of my hand. It was in the middle of a web the size of one of those big, silly exercise balls that you roll around on. I don’t know what it intended to catch in that massive trap, but I was careful that it did not end up being me.

Scary spider

Those black dots are not its eyes, but they do a very spooky imitation. Its legs are improbably long and it appears as if it could club you to death with its hind end. Forget about the fangy bits in the front. I don’t want to think about it.

Now, this one’s not so bad. It’s just one of your regular, run-of-the-mill nasty eight legged horrors. However, check out the size of the beetle that it’s eating:

Spider eating a huge beetle

You’d think that a bug that size would put up some kind of fight, eh? Well, it was too little too late. Sorry, Mr. Beetle. You’re lunch.

This stupid butterfly is still foiling my attempts to get a good shot of him:

Pesky butterfly that eludes my photographyMy previous efforts were knocked back severely by a shot that Trevor Hattersly got. I’ve not forgotten. I’m determined to best him. What really irks me is that we’re both using Olympus SP-590UZ cameras and I am the one who sold him his. It’s really too much. As you can see from the shot above, I’m still well behind. I’m convinced that this is the same butterfly. It’s taunting me.

Okay, if the spiders are getting to be a bit much, let’s move to something a little less (ah, that’s what you think)  scary. Here’s your basic model coconut crab. Yeah, he’s got pincers, but he doesn’t look as if he could do much damage. Maybe get a blister on your little finger – maybe get a blister on your thumb (whoops, I seem to have slipped off into Dire Straits lyrics again – that’s happening far  too often these days):

A very hazardous crab

Let me lay down a firm warning to you. You do not  want to mess with these characters. If it get hold of any bit of you . . . well, if you want to read an amusing personal anecdote on the subject, have a look here.

We can finish up today with this shot of a cargo ship tied up at the main wharf across from our house:

Ship at night in front of our house

I had to work it over severely because of the noise in the shot in the low light. It’s more art than photography now. A few years ago, such an image would have been worthless – just spotty and unclear. Now we can turn throw-aways into something pretty, even if we don’t know what to call it.

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Suspicious Skies

Posted in Photography Tricks on August 17th, 2009 by MadDog
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It’s just impossible to witness and photograph thousands of beautiful sunrises and sunsets without beginning to believe that nature could do better. Spcifically, Mom Nature could do better if she had some Photoshop lessons. This is pretty presumptuous thinking for a mere mortal. Nevertheless, I’m a moral weakling and easily succumb to shiny new things that prove my lack of respect for authority. The “I could have done it better” theme runs rampant through my more fanciful exercises in portraying reality in images.

Witness this atrocity:

A "Too perfect reflection" sunrise

It was quite spendid that morning. I was up before 06:00 with my tripod, chair, Canon G10 and an orange Fanta. The only thing that was missing was a cheap cigar. Either Mercury or Venus (I could look up the position on that morning, but I’m too lazy) was high in the sky and shining fiercely. I used a frightfully long exposure through a polariser and a #1 neutral density filter to make the water look glassy. Nevertheless, I wasn’t satisfied. The sky didn’t look dark enough. Fooling around, I discovered that I could apply a graduated filter with just about any attribute attached to it to the image while it was still in the Camera Raw filter. Vliola!  I got an evenly graduated ever darkening sky. Applying the same procedure upside-down gave me the effect that I needed to balance the image for the water. Very nice. Except that the star all but disappeared. I had to fake it. I painted it in. If I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t know, eh? I will state, however that the reflection is real.

This one is a perfectly good picture that looks very much like an interesting sunrise, umm?  Hah, it’s a sunset. It seems that they are mostly interchangeable unless you can spot something in the image that gives it away. Madang residents might just possibly recognise this as a view from Tab Anchorage  looking west. Therefore, it must be a sunset, unless Superman has once again reversed the Earth’s rotation:

The "It's not really a sunrise" sunrise

This one has no obvious fakery.You probably wouldn’t catch it unless you had seen it. It was weak, weak, weak. The colours were pastels at best. I had to saturate and vibrate unmercifully to get anything remotely pretty:

The "Water too smooth" sunrise

This one, I like, even though it’s an obvious fake. The colours were quite nice, if a little bizarre. However, the water had nothing going for it. It was a little windy and it took on a greenish-grey cast that made me slightly ill. I used the old trick of taking the top part, above the water line, flipping it upside down and laying it down over the water while reducing its opacity so that the texture of the water shines through. It’s an obvious fake, but it’s still pretty in a “Bible Illustration” sort of way:

The "Too fake reflection" sunrise

This is my favourite fake of the week. I got lucky to have a ship pass by as I was sitting there behind my tripod. When I got the image up on the screen it needed a lot of help. I have bashed the colours so severely that they look as if they need a long stay in hospital. The ship reflection is also an upside down overlay as in the image above. It’s gaudy, cheap looking, and cheeky.

The "Fake Ship Reflection" sunrise

But, you can’t say that it’s not interesting. (okay, okay, you can, but I won’t believe it)

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Oh My. The Sky!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on April 7th, 2009 by MadDog
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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.

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