Monday, July 27, 2009

What a big horn you have?!

All the better to knock you off the branch and claim the females for myself!
I was fortunate enough to spot this rhinoceros beetle clinging to the underside of a leaf as shelter from the earlier rain.

I put him back where I found him, no worse for wear.

A yellow dragonfly resting on a dried up plant.

My noise maker goes to 11!
Cicadas are also out in ear splitting force. They are harmless, most with a ridged radiator like plate where their mouth would be and surprisingly well camouflaged for their considerable size. 8cm from head to the end of the body, about 12cm to the end of the wings.
Even though they are incredibly loud, it is very difficult to discern exactly where the noise is coming from as they all 'sing' at the same time in the same pitch.
There are brown ones too! Different species, different pitch, same volume.

And ending with a not so creepy butterfly.
Until you consider its tongue is longer than its legs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Solar Eclipse July, 22 2009

The first solar eclipse visible in Japan in 46 years, it was visible throughout Japan and many parts of India and China. Shanghai actually got to experience totality but here in Osaka we were only in the umbra and had the moon cover about 86% of the sun at the maximum. The day didn't turn to night as the entire sun was not blocked but it did get considerably darker.

Unfortunately, it was overcast during the event. However, I did manage to get a few shots when the clouds allowed glimpses of the sun and moon just before the maximum occlusion and about 45 minutes afterward. The images have had the exposure levels corrected, and some dust spots removed in photoshop, they were a bit overexposed, but are otherwise untouched.

About 14 minutes before the maximum occlusion.
Also, my favourite shot.
About 13 minutes before the maximum occlusion.

And the last at about 45 minutes after maximum.
The clouds were still rather thick.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I shot a Panda!

I recently bought some lighting equipment to let me use off camera flash and expand my photography techniques and knowledge. I have been learning how to use all of this and working through the very useful lessons at the Strobist blog. A really great place to learn about off camera strobes and how to use them.

First up was an exercise on directional light. The light coming from the side really brings out the texture of the panda. 'Tare Panda' for those who were wondering.
An unsuspecting Panda

The depth of field of the light can also be controlled to a high degree. The following two shots were shot in a day lit room with the window open. The aperture on the camera is set to underexpose the white wall in the background and the flash, set close to the subject to provide the light to light it to the correct amount.
Something seems amiss

The darkness is closing in.

In this shot I used an umbrella (camera right) to light the panda, and the specular reflection of the same umbrella's light off the computer monitor to define the side of the panda that was lit by the ambient light (camera left) from the window.
What will happen?

I used the reflection of the umbrella on the silver to bring out the smooth metal texture of the silver necklace. Having the umbrella close to the subject helped to get rid of the shadows, as did the water which killed the reflection off the black plate it was sitting on.