In sickness and in health

I hate being unwell. I feel it is such a waste of time. As I grow older I become ever more aware of the clock ticking. Somewhere out there is the Grim Reaper and I have a lot of photos to take before I go anywhere. Be that as it may, I am confined to barracks, high temperature, sore throat, hacking cough, the works. And outside the weather is just what I have been waiting for. As always Mrs. Ha is looking after me like the angel she is and a congee lunch awaits. Yesterday I received through the post the Order of Service for my brother’s funeral. Talk about stark reminders. I really want to be out in the field but I shall have to be patient, not my most well-developed attribute.

The garden is looking good and the late summer early autumn warmth continues to bring plenty of butterflies in. The birds are active and our family of Long-tailed skinks is regularly to be seen on the warm paving stones outside the dining room windows, soaking up the sun. We have been battling something called Frangipani rust. The Frangipani tree leaves have this dusty coating of (strangely enough) rust coloured fungus on them. They keep falling off and there seems to be no easy way to get rid of this problem. Most of the neighborhood Frangipani trees seem to have the same problem so I guess there is a circle of reinfection even when you do cure your own tree. Our once a month gardener wanted to spray all sorts of nasty chemicals on the tree. After a little research on the said chemicals I vetoed this. More research suggested an alternative treatment – 2 tablespoons of Carnation Milk in 0.75l of water, sprayed daily for two weeks. At least I think that was the recipe. We have tried it and the rate of leaf loss has slowed so maybe there is something in this. The tree still looks splendid as we have wonderful yellow orchids growing on some of the branches and a pitcher plant hanging from the closest branch. The pitcher plant is supposed to help reduce the number of mosquitoes. I can certainly see drowned insects in the bottom of some of the ‘jugs’ but Mrs. Ha is not convinced as she continues to be a magnet for mozzies.

We have also had a lot of dragonflies in the house. Mostly Pantala flavescens, that most intrepid migrator, the Wandering Glider, although a Green skimmer did pitch up last week. I simply pick them up by the wings and help them find the exit. They are quite robust and it does them no harm.

The enforced captivity (as that is how it feels) has also allowed me to read a couple more books. I came across Tim Downs a couple of months ago. He writes murder mysteries. His principal character is “The Bug Man”, Dr. Nicholas Polchak, a forensic entomologist. The books are well written, fast paced in the main, quirky – I like quirky – and ideal leisure reading.Not too taxing on the mind but good enough to hold the interest. I liked the idea of an entomologist as a modern-day Hercule Poirot. I suspect however that their dress sense differs more than a little. These stories may not be for the weak of stomach however but if you like bugs and you like a good murder mystery, give them a go.

I often struggle to categorize my blog posts. Well, I do ramble a bit. Sometimes a lot. I put this is photography and as you may have noticed there hasn’t been a lot about photography…… yet.

I have been mulling over whether to buy some new software. VSCO Film to be exact. Its claim is to be The Gold Standard of Digital Film Emulation. In translation that means it makes your digital films look like that quirky (did I mention I like quirky?) old-fashioned stuff called film. It is, I have to say, pretty good but it is US$119 a go and there are two versions available. It is of course perfectly feasible to take the shots on real film, where available, and then get them scanned. I do this with my M3 occasionally but it is far simpler to shoot a RAW or DNG file and process in Lightroom using a preset and then tweaking it. So here are two images and the question is, is it Ella or is it Memorex?



Which is film scanned and which is pure digital? A or B? I think it is obvious but then I know the answer 🙂

And on that note, I am going off to test the congee.


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