One might, from time to time, wonder if perhaps our perception of that which we believe to be important may in fact be somewhat illusory; as though, perhaps, the focus on our lens had simply been set slightly wrong. And thus, that which we thought to be in clear relief, we might later discover to properly be no more than an impression within an out-of-focus background.
It is interesting (is it not) to contemplate where the mind might go were it released from concerns of survival, status, security, and social obligations. An extended dream state, perhaps, in which the physically real were overlaid with the frantic cacophony of the social machine reverberating in the hills around you. One might find a secluded location on the shore and stare at the breaking waves and the rocks and the stars for a long time, imagining shapes in one’s mind to try and dim the sounds of the machine over the hill.
Click on any of the thumbnails to see a slideshow of the full images.
Well… don’t! Take a look at these soldier crabs, perhaps they will give you a bit of a chuckle, they always do me 🙂 Shot at Careel Bay last September, on (in?) the mudflats. I believe this is mictyris longicarpus. This species of crab is apparently the only one that walks forwards instead of sideways. It is fascinating to watch them marching around in large numbers at low tide (especially through a long lens!). Photographing them is a bit of a challenge, as of course they scatter or disappear into the mud as soon as they notice you coming—my “technique” is to simply walk into the mud near them, then stand or squat still for a lo-ong period and wait for them to wander back… not something you want to do in your Sunday best, as you end up sinking inexorably into the mud… As long as you don’t move, they seem largely oblivious to you, although you can see the one in the fourth shot looking up at me curiously as I stood there with my lens pointed at it.
Another interesting thing about these crabs, which I read when researching them but can’t find now, is that the size distribution is bi-modal—there are two distinct sizes around which they cluster (and it’s not related to sex). After I read this, it was clear to me in the photographs. The larger ones also have more orange legs, it seems.
(By the way, this post is a test of some new image/gallery code, click on any image to display it in a larger size – and let me know what you think of how they display!)
(Shot on my Fuji S5 Pro with a Nikon 300mm f/4 lens, set at around f/8.)
Along the Western side of the ridge that forms the Pittwater Peninsula, there are a few minutes at the close of the day when the leaf litter (eucalyptus, angophora, allocasuarina) turns a rich orange–leading to interesting opportunities as a background for macro/flora photography. As a macro (closeup) photographer I think I am less dependent on the light than (say) a landscape photographer, but this opportunity is too good to pass up… and very hard to take!! You have to be quick – there are only a few minutes available, and the orange light patches move while you are setting up the tripod! Never mind finding an interesting subject at just the right time…
So, this is still a work in progress for me – finding the right foreground subject that takes advantage of the ephemeral red-orange background of those few minutes. Here is my effort from earlier this evening. In this case, the background is the bark of a tree (allocasuarina torulosa, I believe), and the foreground subject is… well, it’s a fern…
According to the camera timestamp, this photo was taken at 6:56 PM, about ten minutes before the official sunset time for Sydney. I used my 200mm macro lens, set at an aperture of f/5.6.
A photograph taken late this afternoon in McKay Reserve. The tracks are caused–as I understand it–by the larvae of certain insects. The specific tree known as “Scribbly Gum” varies according to which region of Australia you are in, but here it refers to Eucalyptus Haemostoma, a vital component of the Pittwater Spotted Gum Forest ecological community. The cool thing (I think) about this photo is how it shows how the bark peels off showing different colours and sets of tracks in the bark.
I’ve been fascinated with the flora of the Pittwater area since moving back here from overseas some 7 years ago. Did you know that Pittwater has it’s own ecological community, called the Pittwater Spotted Gum Forest? My aim with my photography is to try and capture some of the beauty of these native species, and perhaps even encourage others to plant and nurture them in place of the “exotic” invaders! While the native species may not look as attractive at first glance, they have their own special charm. I am constantly amazed at how they change and surprise me throughout the year — you just need to take a closer look 😉
To kick this new blog off, here is a photograph I took on an outing to West Head with Bruce Usher a few months ago.
This guy lives somewhere in the back yard. We recently cleared the garden around the side of the house, and today there he was taking advantage of a little sunshine in our wet summer. Normally I can never get the tail in, so this time I’ve tried stitching (four frames in this example).
(Click for larger image.)
I was struck by the audacity of engraving a website address in the stone of this memorial sculpture in Canberra. For the purpose of creating an enduring monument, little could be a worse choice than a website address – subject to so many variables that it seems inappropriate to quite literally cast it in stone.
Since I was not able to get out with a camera last weekend, here are some of my shots from the Outdoor Photographers group excursion in May. I carried my Nikon 200mm macro lens (I think) mounted on the Fuji S5 Pro.
Coming from darkness into harsh daylight, one’s vision is obscured and the harsh contrast and highlights mistreat even the most beguiling subject. Shield your eyes, and squint, as your vision attempts to see past the light, as much a hindrance now as it should be an aid.