Guest Shots – Trevor Hattersley and Ron Barrons

Posted in Guest Shots on October 21st, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I very much enjoy featuring images sent to me by my friends on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.  Unfortunately, few friends send me samples of their work. I’m pestering a few of them to do so, but shyness seems to interfere. If you are a regular reader of this journal and you have images that you think will be appreciated by our audience, then please feel free to email them to me. Work them over until you are happy with them and send 1600 pixel (longest dimension) JPG images that are between 200 and 300 Kilobytes. Include some text describing the images and I will include that also. I’ve featured Trevor Hattersley’s images before here and here. Heidi Majano has also had a guest appearance.

Don’t be shy. Have a try.

We’ll start with a couple of shots from Trevor Hattersley. He’s been a keen amateur as long as I’ve known him, probably about twenty years. He recently purchased from me a spare (ordered two by mistake from Amazon) Olympus SP-590UZ superzoom camera and has been diligently learning to use it feature-by-feature. Up at Blueblood a couple of weeks ago he was playing with macro shots and came up with two very nice fungi:Bracket Fungi by Trevor HattersleyThis one of Bracket Fungi has very accurate colours, perfect focus and nice composition. A shot that anyone should be proud to display.

Here’s another fungi shot by Trevor:Mushroom-form fungi by Trevor HattersleyAgain, we have interesting and accurate colours, good composition, fine focus (click to enlarge) and a generally interesting and aesthetic image. Well done, mate! I was happy to see that Trevor resisted the urge to use flash on these shots. They are very natural looking – just the way that your eyes see them.

Now let’s move to another friend a world away. Ron Barrons hails from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. He’s a very experienced and knowledgeable photographer with a good pair of hiking boots. Since Hamilton is the Waterfall Capital of the World, it’s not surprising that Ron has a plethora of beautiful images of water tumbling over rocks. The Niagara Escarpment is responsible for this cornucopia of waterfalls, something for which local photographers are eternally grateful.

Here is a beautiful shot of Grindstone Falls:Grindstone Falls by Ron Barrons

This one is of the cascade below the falls:Grindstone Falls Cascade by Ron BarronsRon has the “silky water” technique down pat. This requires a tripod, a neutral density filter to cut down the amount of light coming in through the lens, and long exposure times. The result is that the water takes on a very fluid and smooth look which intensifies the appearance of flow. You can see some of my Hamilton Waterfalls and our adventures in waterfall country here, here and here.

Ron is not a one-trick-pony. He sent several gorgeous Canadian Autumn shots taken from the heights around the Niagara Escarpment. This one is a beaut:

Canadian Autumn by Ron BarronsHere is another, looking up at the escarpment itself:A Canadian Autumn at the Niagara Esarpment by Ron Barrons

I could not resist the urge to try making a watercolour of one of Ron’s beautiful shots. This one is of Rattlesnake Ridge:Rattlesnake Point by Ron Barrons - Watercolour Rendition by MadDogYou will need to click to enlarge to see the full watercolour effect. Ron was kind enough to allow me to modify his work and publish it here.

I know that many of my readers must be serious hobby photographers. Please send me images that move you and allow me to showcase your work here.

I’m not fooling around. I mean it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spiders, a Hazardous Crab and a Pesky Butterfly

Posted in Mixed Nuts on September 28th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Little Surfers and the Butterfly Done Right

Posted in At Sea, Guest Shots, Mixed Nuts on August 24th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

Since I turned over my spare Olympus SP-590UZ, which I purchased by mistake (always double-check your quantities) from Amazon.com to my friend, Trevor Hattersley, he’s obviously been practising. I also suspect that he may have actually read the manual, which, to my knowledge, would be an all-time first for him. Anyway, this morning this showed up in my email:

A butterfly feeding on a hibiscus by Trevor Hattersley

You may remember, from a few days ago, my feeble attempts to magically transform some horribly botched butterfly shots into “art”. I don’t think that I fooled anyone but myself. The true irony of all this is it is the exact same butterfly! Trevor had pointed it out to me. He had the Olympus with him and I had mine, which was identical. What I demand to know is HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? It’s downright embarrassing.

Okay, on to something that distresses me less.

It’s still a bit breezy here in our belated dry season. The kids were surfing along Coronation Drive again today. I stopped for a few minutes and got some better shots than I did the other day. Have a look at these little guys zooming in on those little pieces of plywood. They were getting nice long runs too. Also check how shallow the water is:

Kids surfing along Coronation Drive

Where ever there are surfers, there will be surfer girls. Madang is no exception. These young ladies have found themselves a beautiful perch right in the middle of the action:

Surfer girls about to get wet

Observing the wave train coming in, I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more until . . . Yes, the inevitable big one came along and gave them a good soaking. I haven’t heard such giggling since high school:

Surfer girls getting very wet

What fun! The shot isn’t perfect; I don’t know what went wrong. But sometimes when the technology (or the operator) fails, the result is still quite pleasing.

Tags: , ,

A Variety Pack

Posted in Mixed Nuts on August 19th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I’m covered up at work today and also dealing with family matters having to do with my father’s recent passing, so I’m simply going to throw a random bunch of images from the last week at you and let this post sink or swim on its own.

I’ve shown you before these weird upside down flowers that grow beside my veranda. Here is the earlier stage just after the blossom opens:

Strange upside-down flower - Jan Messersmith

As you can see the naughty female bits are all spread out as if they are desperately seeking someone.  The sneaky male gizmo seems to be pointed in the wrong direction entirely. I wonder how this thing manages to reproduce?

In this image, you can see that the male bit has turned deep red (possibly because it’s very tired from its wanderings), the petals have also gone deep red, and the egg case at the bottom is growing. I guess something must have worked:

Strange upside-down flower at a more mature phase

I think that this is some kind of hibiscus that hangs upside down. I’m too lazy to look these up and quite a few readers pipe in with the names of the flowers anyway to save me the bother:

Some kind of red hibiscus that hangs upside down

Trevor Hattersley just got a couple of new beaut Suzuki 140s on the back of Lying Dog,  his 24 Ft Bertram. Here they are shoving us briskly up through Tab Anchorage:

Trevor's new Suzukies doing their stuff

Here’s another peek at one of the Suzukies with Kar Kar Island in the distance:

Trevor's new Suzukies push us away from Kar Kar Island

Up at Blueblood last Sunday, I got this nice shot of our old mate, Bill Hughes out in the water looking extremely happy:

Our old buddy Bill Hughes
And, here is a five frame panorama of the little lagoon at Blueblood:

A Blueblood Panorama

Em tasol.  (That’s all, in Tok Pisin)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Phoney Fauna

Posted in Photography Tricks on August 18th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

It was a magnificent day up at Blueblood on Sunday. The sea was flat, the sky as blue as a cornflower and the sun was shining with all its might. The beer was cold and friends were all in their Blueblood Spirit. I took three cameras with me and a tripod. This created a rich resource for humorous remarks from some who are photographically impaired, but others were interested to see what I was doing. It made no never mind to me, as I was happy with the joking, a cold brew, a cheap cigar and my cameras. The scenery was cooperating beautifully also:

The beach at Blueblood

I had to combine every darkening device that I had (neutral density, crossed polarisers, etc.) to make the exposure long enough to get the “smooth water” shot above. Even with all that, I managed only a two second exposure on the Olympus SP-590 on the tripod. That’s not long enough to get the glassy water effect. Sorry for the technical gobbledygook, but some out there might be interested.

Switching to the Canon G10 braced on the railing, I got this nice three-frame panorama that went together very slickly in Photoshop’s photomerge feature:

Mike Cassell and Pascal Michon fishing at Blueblood

Mike Cassell and Pascal Michon did a little fishing off of the beach. Mike caught a small cod of some kind, but it wasn’t big enough to grease a skillet, so it went back into the sea.

Trevor Hattersley pointed out a butterfly feeding hungrily on the red hibiscus that surround the beach house. I grabbed the Olympus because of its excellent zoom and good image stabilisation. As I was taking the shots I kept thinking that it was a waste of time. I could see that the shutter speed that I was getting was way too slow. I could have used flash, but I hate it. It always spoils the natural colours of outdoor images.

However, when I got the shots up on the screen in Photoshop, I began to see some prospect of turning them into art:

Red hibiscus and butterfly

Taking a technically spoiled shot which otherwise has an interesting subject and good composition and making it into a beautiful image is one of the things that I love best about image programs such as Photoshop. In the shot above, the colours are exciting and surreal. Part of the butterfly is reasonably well focused and suffers not too much motion blur. The primary wings are completely blurred, but you get the impression of them and it lends to the feeling of motion, which was fast and furious. I was very happy with this shot when I was finished.

This one is even better. At first I despaired. Then I noticed that I could actually see a faint image of the butterfly’s primary wings as a sort of blurred shadow. I worked on the rest of the image, over saturating the colours until I got the right fantasy feel and then I darkened the faint outline of the primary wings. Again, I was pleased:

A butterfly on a red hibiscus

I also got a couple of nice shots of the red hibiscus flowers. This is a shot of the back side of a blossom with interesting dark under saturated leaves in the background and a little greenery for contrast:

Red hibiscus from the back

I think that this one is my favourite flower shot of the day. I really like images of sunlight filtering through the petals of flowers. It’s something that I try to capture whenever I can get into position to do it. This blossom was hanging in just the right spot at the right angle and had the right background for sweetening up my day even more:

Red hibiscus with sunlight shining through

What a beautiful place in which I live. Blessings rain down on me every day like a warm summer shower.

Tags: , , , ,

The Strange Mr. Hattersley’s Excellent Volcano Adventure

Posted in Dangerous, Guest Shots, Humor on October 6th, 2008 by MadDog
No Gravatar

In 2005, Trevor Hattersley travelled to Rabaul on business. He captured some excellent shots of the volcano erupting. The photography is his. I only mildly Photoshopped them to prepare them for the web.

Here’s a nice one along the road to the volcano:

The volcano as seen from the approach road

Since I’m playing journalist these days, I thought it might be fun to interview Trevor about his experiences. I had my notebook out on the boat and I managed to get his attention away from Karen long enough to extract the following nonsense:

Q – Okay, Trevor. What were you doing in Rabaul?

A – I was there to sell delicious, non-gritty Globe products to the hungry masses.

Q – Nothing different there, eh?

A – Right.

Q – Did you see any evidence of volcanism while you were there?

A – I looked around for Mr. Spock, but he wasn’t there.

Q – Ah . . . okay. Actually, I meant volcanoes. Did you see any of that stuff?

A – Oh, yeah. I took some snapshots of the volcano from the balcony of my room at the Queen Emma Lodge. Nice place. Great bar.

Q – Did you get close to the action?

A – I ran into Susie Alexander at the Hamamas Hotel.

Q – Uh . . . yeah. I mean did you see the volcano up close?

A – Yeah, yeah, we drove to the base of the volcano. There was a hot spring there.

Q – What was that like?

A – It was hot.

Q – And . . . ?

A – There were boulders the size of Volkswagens falling on the side of the volcano. You could hear them thumping all around. And lightning too . . . thumping. And flashing.

Q – Wasn’t that a little dangerous?

A – I reckon.

Q – Did you take a dip in the hot spring?

A – I thought about it, but then I cooked some eggs instead.

Interview Terminated.

If the above sounds a little bizarre, don’t be concerned. It’s only because you’ve never tried to get a straight answer out of Trevor Hattersley.

Ask anybody.

So, here are some of Trevor’s shots. The volcano huffing:

The volcano huffing

And puffing:

The volcano puffing

A distant shot from Trevor’s lair (quite nice, actually . . . good show, Trev):

Distant shot from the lair

And closer up:

The volcano closer up

Beautiful shot, that one.

And closer still, the sun lighting up the plume of noxious stuff belching out:

And REALLY close

And there you have it.

Nice job, Trev.

Tags: , ,

Deja Vu All Over Again – 60s Night at the Madang Club

Posted in Madang Happenings, Parties on October 4th, 2008 by MadDog
No Gravatar

Having missed this milestone event myself due to abundant sloth (didn’t get my tickets before they were sold out), I depend on our own local Society Reporter and dive buddy Lorraine Collins to recount the festivities.

This from Lorraine Collins:

A groovy night was had by all who attended the 60 Year Celebration of the Madang Club. The theme was come dressed in 60’s attire and man did we see some outfits…! There was everything from early 1960’s dress elegance flowing on to the Mary Quant look closely followed by several hippie love dudes.

Wonderful food provided by The Madang Lodge was accompanied by some groovy tunes. Several speeches were made reminiscing the old days of the Madang Club. These brought many memories flooding back to the “Long-Termers” and was great info for the post-60’s groupies! BJ Kramer wandered down Memory Lane as did Peter Hill. Dr. John, Gim, Nancy, also put their two bobs worth in.

Prizes were given out for best dressed, with Lorraine Collins winning Best Dressed Female. The outfit comprised of a fuchsia pink and black pretend snake-skin knee length coat and black shiny trousers and no shoes (they’d actually broken apart on the way to the event!). Our British correspondent in Madang actually said that The Coat is all the vogue in London right now. Aaaaah! The high fashion of the Madang Boutiques does it again…!!! Best Dressed Male was won by Trevor Hattersley although it was hard to tell if he was actually in fancy dress…!!

Other super-cool dressed dudes were Shane McCarthy in a very flattering lime green shirt and bandana, Karl McGeorge in skin-tight orange patterned shirt (lashed out a whole 50t for it, well worth spending that extra little bit as it didn’t even burst as expected…), Julie-Anne McGeorge in matching ensemble with Californian flowers in her hair, Karen Simmons sporting a dark Mary Quant look proving brunettes REALLY do have more fun… Richard Coleman looked well cool in his black shades, black shirt, black leather jacket and imaginary Harley parked outside… As John Mackerel quipped, “Black is ALWAYS in fashion”…!

The Madang Club put on a great effort and a big thank you to the Entertainment Committee and all the groovy dudes and dudesses that helped decorate the place so tastefully. And of course, a big thank you to Madang’s Tom Cruise and his cocktail shakin’ hands, Gary McGowan. Never knew a Slippery Nipple could taste so good…

So, on to the photos.

Here are Trevor Hattersley and Karen Simmons looking as groovy as one can get in Madang:

Trevor and Karen looking groovy

Shane, Karl, and Julie-Anne look as if they’re headed for San Francisco:

Shane and friends

And, here are Tony and Lorraine keeping the faith, baby:

Tony and Lorraine keeping the faith, baby

I may only presume that the good times rolled.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,