Good Golly, Guttata!

Posted in Under the Sea on December 6th, 2009 by MadDog
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I sometimes enjoy musing that I have some smidgen of artistic talent. Not so. I can’t draw water. There are so many things that I would love to be able to do, but I’m simply too bone lazy to expend the effort. Man, I would love  to be able to play the piano. I’ve taken countless lessons, some recently, but I have no discipline to practice, therefore my keyboard skills suck swamp water. I’d also love to paint; it looks so easy! Alas, it’s beyond my reach. But, I can  Photoshop!

This nice sunrise shot seemed born to be a watercolour. So, I turned it into one in a couple of minutes:Watercolour SunriseIt’s so easy that it’s embarrassing. I suppose that Turner laboured for days to get something that looks roughly (very  roughly) like this.

Ah yes, were not here today to talk about art. A few days ago, I gave you Bite Me Red Fish featuring the Scarlet Soldierfish (Myripristis pralinia).  As I was mining the folder if images from that day, I came across a couple of more that are worth a peek. Here’s one of three of them crowded into the little passageway between the rocks where they were vainly attempting to hide from me:Scarlet Soldierfish - Myripristis pralinia

It seems to be getting a little crowded in there.

Here is the interesting shot. There are some species of  creatures called isopods that parasitise fish. The one that you see here, Anilocra laticaudata,  specialises in Soldierfish:Scarlet Soldierfish - Myripristis pralinia with isopod parasite Anilocra laticaudata

I’ve shown you this before in this post. As I mention there, the males that wear an isopod have more luck breeding; the females seem to prefer them over unadorned mates. Well, that’s the strange world of fish for you.

Now I shall inflict upon you yet another image of  Christmas Tree Worms (Spirobranchus giganteus):Christmas Tree Worms - Spirobranchus giganteusIf you think that there will be relief from Christmas Tree Worms in the near future, think again. Xmas is coming soon; you’ll be seeing more of thes curious little decorations.

Okay, okay, but what about the guttata? That’s another critter that you have seen here recently. That’s because it is a fish high on my list for exploitation. I have a few species which I am determined to photograph to the best of my ability with the gear that I own (New Canon G11 coming soon! Whoopee!). This is the very pretty fish the Spotted Shrimpgoby (Amblyeleotris guttata):Spotted Shrimpgoby - Amblyeleotris guttata
And, I think that the shot above is probably about as good as I can do with the Canon G10. It’s fun to take inexpensive gear such as the Canon G series underwater and run it ragged. It’s like squeezing a lemon hard to get the last drops of juice for that one last glass of lemonade.

I like squeezing lemons.

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More Stupid Photography Tricks

Posted in Photography Tricks on October 27th, 2009 by MadDog
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I have a big mash-up for you today. Photographers get bored just like normal people, believe it or not. The hobby which has produced, historically, even more geeks than computers is not immune to ennui.

For instance, who gets up at 05:00 almost every morning and sits in the front yard waiting to see if anything interesting will happen:

Today's Sunrise

Me, apparently.

And who, on the way back from the beach when it’s too noisy on the boat to talk and there’s no more beer sticks his $400 camera over the side to snap the frothy goodness of the wake:

Wake spray at night

Me, apparently.

And who, when his adorable wife exclaims in her best teeny-bopper squeak, “Oh, look! A Simpsons Sky!” has to stop the car immediately and take a picture:

A Simpson Sky

Me, apparently.

And who, having taken a picture that is abominably bad, will not stop slaving away with Photoshop until he has taken this:

Canoe watercolour - original

And turned it into this:Canoe watercolour

Me, apparently.

It’s still abominably bad, but at least it’s colourful. If you shop at Woolworths, you can pick up prints like this for $2.99.

As you can probably tell, I’m a little pressed for time today. I have to haul a mob of visitors up Nob Nob Mountain. Not my favourite trip.

At least I’ll have my camera with me.

Pictures tomorrow!

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Boat Tricks

Posted in Photography Tricks on December 6th, 2008 by MadDog
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This has nothing to do with boats as such. But, it does have to do with lifesaving. It’s about saving the life of a photo that you shot because you wanted to capture the moment. We used to call them “Kodak Moments.”

Sadly, when you see the photo on your computer screen, you sigh and your finger hovers over the delete key.

Hold that finger!

Instead of watching the tube, Google “photoshop lessons” to find a technique that interests you. There’s all kinds of stuff out there – things you wouldn’t imagine. Take a half hour to master the technique. It will now be in your “Bag of Tricks” for you to pull out whenever lifesaving is required.

Actually, you don’t even need lessons. I’ve sat down with many people for an hour just going through the “Filter” menu. After seeing the effects of the different filters, anybody can use them by just fiddling with the slide controls.

Yesterday evening there were a lot of people out on the water in front of my house. Though the light was awful, I killed a few minutes shooting innocent bystanders – a favourite hobby of mine. The cops don’t mind, since my gun isn’t loaded with bullets.

Here’s a perfectly horrible shot of my next-door neighbour arriving home in his canoe. It’s dull and lifeless because of the poor light. It could be spruced up into something for the album, but why not go for the full glamour treatment. Take it to the beauty shop:

Bad shot of my neighbor in his canoe

Fifteen minutes with Photoshop and we have an artsy-fartsy watercolour rendition that, while it’s not exactly wall material, would be quite at home in your portfolio of your “special shots” that you pull out when company comes. They’re so much more interesting than baby pictures:

My neighbor in living colour

Just keep the Rule of Thirds in mind.

Here’s another wretched exposure:

A bad shot at a boatload of people

And here’s the same exposure after the same beauty treatment:

Beautified boatload

Really, this stuff is so simple you could teach your dog to do it.

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