Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bigger, Faster, Stronger Crawling Creatures

I had a small bit of luck and was able to shoot a few of the faster creatures that inhabit the area around the school where I work.

This little brown lizard is very well camouflaged and I only managed to spot it after hearing it run through the dried leaves. Usually that means I am too late to even see them but not this time!
This gecko was hanging out on the wall, looking for a place to lay her eggs I suspect.

Pregnant gecko!

Amazingly this large green dragonfly allowed me to get quite close without flying off. I know getting sand in my eyes hurts a lot though it doesn't seem to bother him.

A leaf!

No, just a rather stocky moth.

Something is hiding in the shrub...

A white-sided longhorn beetle (Batocera Lineolata). While related to the pine beetle it is about twice the length and I would guess about 8 times the weight.

Those massive jaws are why I kept it on a stick, rather than my hand.
Looking down from the top we can see that the compound eye actually wraps around and behind the antennae! It also has a nice goth style spiked collar.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Evening in Osaka

The JR Osaka station is undergoing and extensive remodeling and the cranes have moved a bit from the last time I shot them, last year.

As it was evening, I decided to use some slower shutter speeds to photograph people crossing the street. I think it is quite interesting that even if the person has been rendered into a blur by their movement, there is almost always on foot firmly anchored to the ground.

When crossing the street, pay attention to the walk/don't walk sign!
A long exposure helps to show the cars are moving, not merely parked on the road.

Ironically enough, a higher shutter speed helps to get the moon sharp. Despite it being dark the moon is actually quite bright and very easy to overexpose. This was taken at 1/160 seconds, a setting more common to taking shots in daylight.
The fast shutter also helped to get rid of the abundant light pollution in downtown Osaka.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Circumzenithal Arc and Solar Halo

Some of the students at the school where I work came into the staff room asking their teacher for a digital camera, they were quite excited about seeing a rainbow.
As well they should have been! It was not your everyday rainbow but an 'up-side down' rainbow, or more correctly a Circumzenithal Arc!
This was my first time seeing such a rainbow and I was and still am surprised at how vivid the colours were, much brighter than any rainbow I had seen before.

Incredibly, this rare rainbow was accompanied by another rare solar halo. You can see a portion of it in the top of this photo.

The Arc, lower, extended horizontally across a good portion of the sky, and the halo with fainter colours encircled the sun.

Almost had the full arc here, but it is just as bright to look at the sun directly as it is through the lens of the camera. I needed to aim with my hand blocking the sun and shoot blindly lest I risk eye damage.