The Spooky Eastern Sunset

Posted in At Sea, Under the Sea on June 1st, 2010 by MadDog
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Whoah, got a day behind again. What a bummer! I don’t know what happened to the clock yesterday. It kept moving in big, sporadic jumps. I had intended to tell you about Saturday evening at Kranket Island  where we had a party for Jo Noble’s birthday, but now I’ve already forgotten most of it.

The part that I do remember is the stunning sunset effects which we saw in the Eastern  sky. Yes, that’s right, you are looking East in this shot, just as the sun is nearing the horizon in the West:

I know that there is a proper name for this effect, but I can’t remember it right now. It’s 05:00 and I’m not going to trudge through Google to find it. I’ll count on a knowledgeable reader to leave a comment. The effect lasted less than five minutes.

The curve that you see in the ray on the right is an effect of the way which I took the panorama shots. The image is made up of about seven frames. Of course, the boat was sloshing around a lot, so it was difficult to hold the camera perfectly straight. The image covers about 150°

Here is a single frame image of the centre of the scene:

The main ray on the right side shoots up (or down, rather) past the huge cumulonimbus incus cloud on the horizon, which is still catching the last rays of the sun, reddened by their passage through the dusty lower atmosphere. I think that these rays are shadows of clouds near the horizon in the West. They appear to converge on the Eastern horizon at a point opposite the sun because they are passing through the atmosphere at a low angle and are visible for a long distance. Think of a pair of straight railroad tracks stretching off to the horizon. They seem to meet at a point in the far distance.

Okay, if that isn’t geeky enough for you how about the pileus cloud cap on the top of this towering cumulus cloud:

The pileus is the fuzzy little hat sitting on top of the cloud. It is formed when the cloud is rising very rapidly, pushing warmer, wetter air up into cooler areas. The moisture condenses out into a little lens-shaped cap which folds over the top of the main cloud.

Okay, enough meteorology. Since we’re doing reddish stuff, have a look at this Spotfin Lionfish (Pterois antennata):

The image is actually upside-down. I found him under a ledge and could barely see him. I had to stand on my head and shoot to get the image. This fills your sinuses full of salt water pretty quickly. It usually produces a few good sneezes when you get right-side-up again. Sneezing into a regulator underwater is an amusing experience.

I’ll throw in one more reddish thing before moving on. This lumbering, spiky critter is a kind of Sea Cucumber, specifically (Thelenota rubralineata):

The rubralineata  is one of the more colourful Sea Slugs. I have another picture of one here.

Well, that’s it for yesterday’s post. I have to hurry on to today’s post or I’ll miss the sunrise.

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Reef Panorama? I’ll Have to Try Harder!

Posted in Under the Sea on November 29th, 2009 by MadDog
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On our dive on Saturday at Leper Island  near Madang, I tried to shoot some reef panoramas. I’ve been thinking about this for some time, just not while I was underwater. Funny how thoughts come to you when there’s absolutely nothing you can do about them. I’m driving down the road and I think, “Hey, I should try some underwater panoramas!” Do I remember this the next time I go diving? Of course not.  Does this happen to anybody else?

Here’s one that I finished:

Reef Panorama 1The colours do not make me happy at all. The Canon G10 shoots panoramas only in the JPG mode, which means that you lose all of the wonderful wholesome goodness of the Camera RAW filter. You simply cannot get the colours right:

Next time, I’m going to try shooting individual frames in the RAW mode, lock in the exposure on the first frame, and use manual focus. The only problem then is using the exact same settings for the colour adjustments on each frame before stitching them together. That may take some fiddling. Here’s a partially finished panorama:

Reef Panorama 2As you can see, I’m also going to have to frame the shots better. It’s surprisingly difficult to hold the camera at exactly the same angle when the surge on the top of the reef is pushing you around.

Here’s another partially finished panorama. I do really like the concept. I always strive to show you the scene as I saw it. This will be a very nice technique, if I can work out the colour problem. Note in this one that you can just make out the hull of Faded Glory in the upper left hand corner:Reef Panorama 3Well, enough of that until I can make them look better.

Here’s something that you don’t see every day, a Sea Cucumber wearing a clown suit. It’s a Thelenota rubralineata:
Sea Cucumber - Thelenota rubralineataThey are sometimes called Sea Slugs. Their top speed is about a metre an hour, so the concept of sluggishness fits their nature. In shallower water the lines appear bright red.

I’ll finish up today with one of the best shots that I’ve gotten of the Reticulated Dascyllus (Dascyllus reticulatus):Reticulated Dascyllus - Dascyllus reticulatus

Compare this on with one that I showed a few days ago. I have some other images of the Reticulated Dascyllus here and here (a video clip from my YouTube site).

I think that I’m getting the hang of it. No more ‘too shiny’ fish! Look at the red fish under the coral. When I took the shot I didn’t even see it.

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