We’re Not Finished With Nob Nob Mountain

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 3rd, 2009 by MadDog
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I didn’t have enough space a few days ago to show the remaining images from my last trip up Nob Nob Mountain. I’m usually the one assigned to haul visitors up there so that they can have a village experience and look down at the beautiful Madang coastline. Let me tell you, aside from the somewhat scary ride, it certainly beats slaving away in the office. It also never fails to feed my camera some tasty treats.

Here is a view to the west from Guntabag, where my old friend Tagtap lives with his family:

View from Nob Nob Mountain showing gardensThe brownish patches are gardens. Slash and burn agriculture is practiced heavily here because it’s the only way the people can feed themselves. Unfortunately, the population pressure will soon make this method unsustainable. Increased incidences of land slides and severe flooding are a direct result of the disturbance of the thin tropical topsoil by agricultural methods and timber cutting.

Here is a very nasty image of the Madang wharf taken with my Olympus SP-590UZ in the hazy afternoon at least five kilometres away at full (26x) optical zoom:View of Madang Wharf from Nob Nob Mountain with Olympus SP-590UZ (original)

Unless you’re a spook looking for secrets, it’s useless as a photograph. Still, why waste pixels:View of Madang Wharf from Nob Nob Mountain with Olympus SP-590UZ (post-Photoshop)

A few minutes with Photoshop gave me a pretty image.

Here is a scary spider:

Spider at Nob Nob Mountain

The wavy background is a corrugated iron water tank, in case you’re wondering. I enjoy photographing spiders. There are so many different species here that I’ll never run out of new ones. Most of them are fairly large, so I can get very detailed images of them with my cheap cameras. I don’t have to spend a fortune on a DSLR and an expensive macro lens.

You would not think that this image would be difficult to get. That is, until you realise that these are African Tulip tree blossoms and they are growing about twenty to thirty metres up on top of the tree. So, how did I get the shot:

Blossoms on African Tulip tree at Nob Nob Mountain

Well, it wasn’t by climbing up in the tree. I’m not averse to risk to get a shot, but I’m not suicidal. I was standing on top of the mountain shooting down at the top of the tree.

There are all sorts of crazy looking plants here. I don’t know what it is about the tropics that gives plants the idea that they don’t have to be green. Whatever it is, I like it:

Colourful leaf at Nob Nog Mountain

What’s with those colours, eh? Personally, I take it that Someone  has quite a sense of humour.

Speaking of colours, have a look at this outrageous rooster:

A colourful rooster at Nob Nob Mountain

If I were a rooster, I’d want to look like that!  This dude shows his lineage back to the Wild Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus)  which is believed to be the direct ancestor of all domestic chickens.

I feel a long bush-walk coming on. I lost both of my big toenails as a result of bad-fitting shoes on the last one. This time I’m going barefoot!

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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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