After the rain

Yesterday it rained, it rained a lot.  Mainly in the hills, from where the water mixed with a fair amount of soil ran down towards the plains via all the rivers and streams and creeks.   Today this park in Palmerston North was not a peaceful place for a riverside picnic . . .
rain swollen river

Technical nb: f7.1, 1/160 sec ISO 200 lens 50mm

Chimp-and-sack

I find the troupe of chimps at the small zoo near my house fascinating – their beautiful faces, their mostly affectionate but sometimes stroppy interactions, their energy and interest in whatever is happening around them.  Playing in the sunshine on a rare perfect mid-winter day, this youngling found much entertainment in a piece of sacking. All that could be done with it in terms of wrapping up and waving around (scattering clouds of straw bedding) was explored, with occasionally stops to stare intently at an edge or some detail of texture.

Sitting on the next tier of rock down from the little one playing with the sack, this older chimp seemed remarkably tolerant of the slow rain of floating straw from above.

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Ol’ Man Fly

Portrait of a flyThe task for my photography course this week was a studio-style portrait of a fly.  So, substituting a piece of paper and the patio table for an actual studio, here’s my version of “a fly with character”.

Currently I have a Sony A6000, a mirroless camera, which means any old film camera lenses (as well as most manual digital lenses) just need an adapter to work.    It is always a slight gamble buying via auction sites, and something never recommended by people who work for camera stores, but most of the time you get a pretty good deal – at least I haven’t yet encountered any of the dreaded fungus-raddled lenses that camera neophytes are warned about yet.  Annnyway,  I am rather enjoying this new second-hand Nikon macro lens, a Micro-Nikkor 105mm.  It should work nicely for human scale portraits too.

Technical details f8, 1/250 sec, ISO 150, focal length 105mm (157.5mm in 35mm film terms), with 26mm of extension tubes.

Analogue poster : challenged by the force

Empire Strikes Back posterIt was a strange experience and I felt like a time traveller, actually drawing on paper to make a poster.

The Empire Strikes Fast is an energetic fan-pastiche stage show of the scifi classic, happening May the 4th (uh, details on the poster, if you happen to be in Wellington, New Zealand, that Monday).  I was asked for a speedy image featuring the dark lord, hand drawn and hand lettered “by tomorrow if possible”.  Challenge accepted!  I even used a dip pen, just to take it all a little further up the absurdity curve, as my slightly higher-tech technical pens proved in need of some serious maintenance after not being used for a couple of years.  Once I started scribbling it was hard to stop, although the lack of an undo key was a little hard to adjust to.

I cheated of course, working out the layout in Photoshop first, and beefing up the colouring in Photoshop afterwards, but it was rather fun going old-school for the key parts of executing an image.

Next task is creating some props for the shows, beginning with a wampa-ish creature to menace our hero.

Spider vs Fly – the denouement

Spider and fly are about the same size, and the fly managed to shred the web and nearly pulled free – but fangs are out, and the fly is about to lose all.    The challenge here was the light, as the web was in front of a window and reflections caused all sorts of problems.  Also, the web was vibrating wildly (of course), which at macro distance meant that focus was difficult.

fangs out

Technical details: 1/500sec, f/8, iso 400, focal length 55mm + 16mm extension tube and a ring light.