Word and Image

Archive for June, 2015

Got A Smile


There were hula hoops for anyone to try. It seems they live on though they are not popular. These kids were at it. And I got a smile as I shot my photos. No, they smiled after I took the camera from my eye. Missed.

Border Collie


The fair had a border collie demonstration. These are working dogs. They are trained to herd. And they are very good at their job. They are taught to work together to herd sheep according to command. And the dogs are a whole lot better than my spaniel who would be easily distracted. These dogs were totally focused and followed commands accurately and instantly. The sheep went where they were herded.

Little Red Wagon


Who can resist? Cute kid. His parents are into fiber. They have him mingling with the fiber they are hauling. I just love it when parents dress their kids cute. Thanks.



From hoof to finished product – I’ve been exposed to a new hobby. I only have a passing interest. But the photo ops led me to see different sheep and appreciate the natural fiber as it was processed from animal to point of sale. The Common Ground Country Fair is a must stop for crafts including fiber. This encompasses much but mostly it involves wool. But there are many different types of sheep which leads to different textures and softness.


The wool requires processing and spinning before it can be woven. I bet you knew that. I just took it for granted. It does not naturally occur in Technicolor.


And the final finished product – well , the yarn – is a long way from the initial raw locks that are shorn.


Good Sense of Humor – Likes Beer


Colleen was a girl I met in the third grade. She lived across the street from my grade school. And when she didn’t feel like attending she walked across the street through the school building and out the other door to return home without being seen by her mother. Yes, that is my kind of humor. This many years later she remains a good sport. Imagine during our early conversation she said to me, “I like beer.” Well, “I like pretzels.” It’s all relative I guess. Beer and pretzels go – right? A year ago I met her again._DSC5299

Yes. I did this in Photoshop. I’m lazy. I just kept the focal length the same and we each shot a frame standing in the same spot. Paste and clone. It’s not as close as a selfie but it works.

Black Eyed Susan


This, too, was an evening shot. The blue cast and the soft focus is a contrast to my usual preference for bright sunshine and rich color. Yes a little fog goes a long way. It’s the same time frame as the foggy lighthouses.

Portland Head Light


More fog – sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up. Fog is special. Most folks aren’t out and about in this weather condition. But this is pretty much the reason for lighthouses, eh?

Different perspective changes the mood. I caught the beam of light. Somehow the angle of the beam is not what I wanted. And I wonder that modern GPS navigation must make it a lot easier than to try to see a lighthouse in dense fog.


Bug Light


It’s known as the Portland bug light or the breakwater light. Fog – and it was evening. I got my money’s worth from the spiffy f2.8 lens. My shots were decent. Clarity was not the goal and the overall softness of the image works. The breakwater is a fair hike. And in near darkness over uneven rocks this was a bit of a challenge. The trip back was the more interesting walk.


Bailey’s Island


This is a stop for tourists. The shack is filled with lobster buoys just waiting for the camera. I have photographed it many times. It looks to me like there are fewer buoys than on previous visits. But I am happy to stop each time. The road has no place to park. Fortunately I have not been there in the summer season. So I just pull off to the road’s shoulder and hike over. Yes, it’s way cool. Thanks for the photo op.


Spiky Pufferfish


Yellow spotted burr fish are of the porcupine fish group. Got it? It’s a spiky fish to me. And yes, I played with the wildlife again. Do not mention this to my kids. Trapped against the coral this guy was easy to grab. It puffed up.


What? It’s water. There is no air. Duh! I impressed the heck out of my dive buddies. Remember the rookies I told you about? I let him go. My daughter swears there are only so many puffs a fish has and then they die. Unlikely, but then again who knows?




I have a book of fish on the reef in the Red Sea. It’s pretty thorough. So I am very surprised but happy to see that my images are not in the book. I just got lucky. I did not discover a new fish. The point about this fish is that it is plated. It is unlike the puffer that expands. The sides of this fish are bony plates. This guy was stuck in the coral. He could not quite go right or left. So I was stuck playing hide and seek. The problem was that I could never get a clear shot. I have on other occasions. But this time around I was trying for better color and lighting. I got two tries.


We saw him on the way back along the reef. For all of that I just managed a couple of shots. Well, at least there are a couple images to illustrate my point.

Devil Rays


A week ago six went by when we were diving. Now seven, count ‘em, seven went by. They were rather majestic. Once again I was caught with the wrong camera settings. I fired off a series of images. I did not get close. The best I could do in post processing leaves much to be desired.


I’ll take this opportunity to speak about the dive. Safety is what you learn in dive school. Safety! Everyone has to come back alive. Basic! I was with two rookies. Thirty seconds later they disappeared. They were supposed to be on my tail. I do not have eyes in the back of my head and only took my eyes from them for not more than thirty. You just can’t swim away. But one guy took off his mask and then his regulator and then shot to the surface. The two then swam back to shore. Oh brother! I swam back along our path and then surfaced. They signaled their position. Happy ending. But why does this stuff happen to me? Next time down, both guys swam in front of me. We did not get far. But then again they did not get away. Yeah, I learned a lesson too.

Moray Eel


Moray eels do not see well. How do they know this stuff? My dive buddy was new. He was worried how close I got with my camera. He told me after the dive. The moray are pretty tolerant as long as you do not move fast. So far! I have not been bitten. The open mouth shot lends some danger to the image. The blue wrasse hanging about is doing cleaning service. Morays can be quite large. But usually you don’t get to see them because they are mostly hidden in the coral.


Freckled Hawkfish


This fish is a good one to model for my new strobe. It likes to sit motionless on the coral. Of course I was trying to get in close. And anything big, blowing bubbles, and swimming toward you is pretty scary. So the fish good as it is, does not hang around long to pose. The learning curve continues.


Blue Spotted Ray


Yes there are blue spots. Duh? This is the ray I see most often on the Red Sea reef. It hides under the coral and is not usually on the move unless provoked. It cooperatively stayed put conveniently for me to get an image. I am happy to do so. I am cautioned to stay away from the tail and I do so with enthusiasm. Touching things under the sea has not been a great experience with me. “Don’t touch nothing.” It’s the best advice I ever heeded.




Action – the human eye is evolved to detected motion and contrast. Things moving attract our attention as a potential threat to our own survival. And we look at contrast to pick out things that do not belong. IMG_6064Once detected the octopus has several choices. It can run. It usually tries to hide. And it can mimic its surroundings. This is done rapidly and colorfully to match itself to the surrounding coral. IMG_6066But once you see it the color change is pretty obvious. I do admire the camouflage. Finally there is ink which can be squirted strategically to startle the pursuer. This actually worked upon me the first time I encountered this trick. This was the first octopus of the day and I got to see color changes. IMG_6074No he did not surprise me. And in return I took his picture and did not eat him.



Last year I had a banner year for octopus encounters. I saw them in the open, changing camouflage, moving, and even on a night dive. So I have become blasé. IMG_5923We saw this guy and he was not in the open or doing any tricks. He was tiny. IMG_5928And then I wondered. The first time I saw a glimpse of an octopus I was so excited. Have I become so inured as to be bored with such a rare subject? Certainly I have seen many a lionfish. And even stonefish are pretty common in my files. IMG_5934Nope. Octopus is still big in my encounter category.



I see this rarely. It is tiny enough to overlook easily. But once you see it the animal is fascinating. It is paperthin and of no particular consequence. It’s just hanging out trying to survive like a lot of other things in the sea.



Many examples abound. This partnership is hard to document. Usually there is a single fish – here there are two fish – paired with a very shy shrimp. The fish stand guard and the shrimp digs a small burrow. It is impossible to know how large but the space can accommodate all parties. They disappear in a flash if threatened. Most times all you see is a hole and the excavated sand and debris pushed to the side. I rarely rarely see the shrimp. He is smaller than the knuckle of your little finger and must be mighty tasty.

Spotfin Squirrelfish


I have not highlighted this fish before. It is common on the reef. Today at the end of our dive and at the decompression stop, this guy was just floating pretty. The light was right and I got the shot. The color and graphic is striking. I like it.



For once the smaller image gives a sense of what the larger close up does not. There is a circular swirl pattern. We were surrounded by a school of fish. For once I was too close. IMG_6496I could not get wide-angle enough to get a pattern. I was too far to get details of any fish. IMG_6497It was a crazy experience to be surrounded. My kids had a book called “Swimmy” when they were small and I recalled this book as I was in the midst of the crowd.IMG_6516 I feel like I was part of the group. My hope was that there were no large fish waiting to eat any of us.



Today it is not about the light as it is composition. Lighting is a component. In this case it’s nice to have a well exposed shot in focus. But the fish has got to be in the right place for this all to work. The clownfish and anemone are symbiotic and here they are with the fishie wrapped up in a warm blanket and protected. Yeah, Nemo! Everyone loved the movie.

Moray Eel


The lighting in this shot is more like a night dive. The moray was under a coral. the wrasse were cleaning it. Shooting with a strobe made it easier to get the shot. Yes, I’m all good. There is still a lot to learn but I think I’m getting there. Anyway it’s great to be able to learn as you dive. And I get to dive regularly now.

Moon Jellyfish


Three years and I have never seen a jellyfish in the open. Today there were dozens in the water. IMG_6427I was with a dive buddy not inclined to wait. So I shot on the move. Try to get focus and lighting correct upon a subject that is largely transparent. IMG_6426It’s theoretical and near impossible. But you have to love these point and shoot automatic cameras. And then Photoshop has an automatic setting to enhance the poorly saturated image. IMG_6425But you still have to have an image to work with. I got a few. Unlike National Geographic I don’t have to pick a single frame. Unfortunately I did not have to many frames to choose from. IMG_6431Nat Geo would have wanted another diver in the image too. That is for another advanced lesson.