A rest is as good as a change

Hmmm. Eleven days without posting. At least not to the blog. I have posted a bit on G+, dropped in a few times on Flickr to see if anybody is still there, checked FB now and again and posted to the Wildlife Group plus one iPhone shot of Lulu. I was wiped out for 5 days with a stomach bug. Did a little work-related stuff and finally picked up a camera again. I think this image may have appealed to my predatory instincts. Half an hour maybe playing with apertures, speeds, flash settings, trying to get the image sharp as the breeze blew the web.

Nephila pilipes

Nephila pilipes

This buggly thing was a similar challenge, trying to beat the breeze. Flash doesn’t do well on these shots because of the shiny surface. Shooting at an angle helps a little but not too much. I have one similar shot where I can clearly see a photographer reflected on the shieldbug’s back. I should have taken my diffuser with me.

Zicrona caerulea

Zicrona caerulea

I guess what I am grappling with right now is what I want to do photographically. I’ve been told several times that its impossible to do multiple genres. Specialisation is the way to go. Whether I can stretch ‘natural history’ to include both macro and birds is a different question but for now that is where I want to concentrate.

Occasionally I find I have photographed something for which there are precious few images on the web and in this particular instance, none that were taken in Hong Kong.

Oraesia emarginata

Oraesia emarginata

After a quick search I knew this was not a butterfly larva as it was not in any of the excellent reference books I have. I checked the HK Wildlife.Net site and drew a blank. Same on Flickr’s HK Moths, where I am a moderator. Next stop was the fount of all lepidopteran knowledge in HK, Dr. Roger Kendrick. He told me he recognised it as someone had once bred it through from caterpillar to imago (adult moth). He had to go back to 1989 I think and gave me an ID. More trawling suggested the ID was wrong!!! Impossible. Yet more hunting and I discovered that the original reporter had the genus right but the species wrong. I found several corroborating images on Japanese moth sites. And there is the buzz. A gentle stroll with the macro gear and I end up with a larva that led me a merry dance and turned into something useful. Hence the trip to Flickr to post to the image database, which others use for identifying their finds.

My other fascination of the last week or so has been the not-so-slow motion crash that is the global casino stock market. It seems that in the ย past bad news was good news as it meant Helicopter Ben would scatter QE largesse upon us. Now good news is bad news as HB might take the punch bowl away because things are getting better. Like the proverbial deer trapped in the headlights I did nothing except watch the pension fund diminish in value each day. Its amazing how fast you can lose money without trying. I should put it all on black next time. Anyway, tapering is the buzz word and the Fed doesn’t like it because QE tapering suggests it only goes in one direction. The Fed wants us to know that it could go either way and therefore we should not over react. Some hope. The unknowns seem to be Japan and China. Japan is occasionally and cruelly referred to as a bug in search of a windshield (TM. John Mauldin) and China is simply a black box, out of which data are spewed, which may or may not bear some semblance of reality. Probably not. Europe is now officially resolved. We know that because M. Hollande told us so on a trip to Japan. I wonder what he smokes behind the bike sheds. ย Britain is now also officially one rank higher than basket-case. The USA is showing signs of life even though the housing recovery seems to have been driven mainly by investors purchasing inventory on the cheap. As long as nobody realises that it is fine. So we slowly climb the wall of worry.

Another rugby game to watch tomorrow and then next week I am off to Bangkok for a few days – work related. The rainy season is upon us in HK so I have to grab the odd hour now and again when the clouds look like holding off, trying to cram in a few shots whilst I can. I am all for staying close to home and working my local patch so that is no great hardship. ย  To close here are two bird photos from the back garden. We don’t see Tree Sparrows all that often here, which is odd as they are very common in HK. At least one family is using our back garden as a restaurant though. Here they are – adult and juvenile – and very welcome they are too.

Passer montanus, juvenile.

Passer montanus, juvenile.

Tree Sparrow

23 thoughts on “A rest is as good as a change

  1. I think you could specialize in anything you wanted, but why limit yourself? I couldn’t watch the eye surgery. I had surgery several years ago. It was great, but I think I need a touch up. Good luck with yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. + 1 for photographing what you want. I wouldn’t worry too much about categorizing yourself, or worrying about how others categorize you. Your macro work is top notch, but so is your bird work, and your street photography. So long as it moves you, then I say go for it…

    My blog has not been updated nearly as often as I’d like, and it’s not for a lack of shooting, mostly a lack of knowing what to write about. *sigh* it happens, I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Gah!! That spider is frightening!! I’m OK with a 7 foot alligator walking toward me but if I ever got a spider like that on me I would start running around in circles flapping my arms and screeching like a schoolgirl.
    Pics are super cool though!

    As far as the potential for another round of QE in the coming week I’m wondering how it might affect the PM (precious metals) market especially since the recent major dumps that gold and silver are having.

    • Phil, I think we just have to listen to the Fed. They will want to calm the markets a little without closing down their options. I don’t think short term interest rates will move up with unemployment well above target. Perhaps the curve will steepen a little. I have zero PM in my pension fund because I can’t value them. I do have one position in a gold miner as its so beaten down. Otherwise I have a small position in a commodity ETF and this is under water! My best position recently has been Aflac, which I bought at 48 but it is volatile and reacts badly to a weakening ยฅ. I have given up trying to time the market.

  4. Love the first photo of the spider, I tried a similar feat last weekend with my el cheapo digital, there is no comparison in quality, yours is a little better… ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. I think we should photograph what we like to do, genre or not. This is a nice series, even if it is a bit “disturbing” to see such predatory behaviour as the spider (as if humans were not predatory).

  6. There’s usually something interesting to be found, if one just gets out and looks.

    I don’t see why you can’t do multiple genres, photography is a hobby, not a lifestyle..

  7. Fabulous macro shots, and well done on your rare find, isn’t nature amazing? The patterns on that larva are amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Close to a heart attack when I opened the post and then these cute sparrows (the youngster!!) in the end – waaaw ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, they are my favourites!

  9. I feel whichever way your talent as a photographer takes you, Andrew, you will have plenty following and waiting for the next viewing,. moi’ included, for I sit here open mouthed, (not to catch a fly ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but in total wonder of the subject you’ve captured brilliantly. I mean, look at Mr/Mrs spider, ‘life and death’ in one shot, and the definition and colours… Wow!! ( I keep zooming up and down, to look at the photo’s again, but I keep catching a glance at the ‘eye surgery’ video and it’s making me squirm, Yikes. I am such a woos!! . ๐Ÿ™‚ ) The rainy season seems to be covering the UK, we used to call it Summer, but mayhap a change in name would be more appropriate, Mind you, the green/lush vegetation more than makes up for the occasional hair wetting.
    As Steve says… “Relax and take pleasure grasshopper.” for thy talent shines forth. xPenx

  10. All very nice shots, Andrew. Frankly I was getting a bit worried and wondered if I should email Steve to find out if he knew you were ok. Then you posted to Flickr and I knew then that you were ok. I made the caterpillar a favorite. .

    Hlope you are fully recovered from the “bug.” Gee those bugs really sap one’s strength.

    But back to photography. You are good at all aspects in my little humble opinion. But if you like nature and birds, then do that. But the every now and then departure from one category is a good thing and that broadens one’s horizones.

    What is Doggie Plus or where is Doggy Plus? Never heard of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Yvonne. Yes I am still alive and kicking. Thanks for dropping in. Doggie Plus is the canine equivalent of Google Plus. It doesn’t exist yet but Lulu thinks it could be bigger than Facebook. And she should know. She is a very smart dog ๐Ÿ˜Š

  11. Great to see you back and in wonderful form. The only problem is your photos are so good I become more dissatisfied with my own efforts. The spider is outstanding, definitely no breeze taking that one…

  12. I’d rather change than be arrested.
    Be what you want to be. Personally, I prefer nature photography but if street appealed then I would do that too. All depends on your goals.
    The layoff doesn’t seem to have dimmed your vision any. Nice stuff. The breeze is no breeze to shoot in. I was told early on that it will let up periodically…rarely true. Isn’t your beetle a bug or am I seeing the wrong reference to Mr. Blue? Maybe viewing things on the phone confuses me.

      • Ah, I thought that…I love the “steppin’ out” pose they take with their best foot forward. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Nothing says you have to know what you want….enjoyment is the goal then. Relax and take pleasure grasshopper. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. If a rest is a good as a change, isn’t spice the variety of life?

    Which really means, choose whatever you want to specialise in, but don’t stop taking the rest. Nothing more boring than the same photos all the time, unless of course, it is a dog blog. Dog photos being totally wonderful.

    Which reminds me. Where is Lulu?

    That blue thing is amazing. The sparrows remind me of the ones I used to catch in our conservatory when they had flown in and I needed to let them out again. So quite once they were in gentle hands.

    • Lulu is about 3 feet away from me, fast asleep. She will wake up for her 8pm snack. She is looking good. Her fur is in a better state. She seems calmer. Her life is trouble-free. But she is keen to have the vote in HK. Dogocracy is her goal. More Kibble for dogs. Free Kibble for retired dogs. Inflation-linked snacks. Longer snoozes. She wants her own FB page but I have said no. I may put her on Doggle Plus.

      • You knew what I meant. The odd dog pic never goes amiss. Well, with some people anyway. Perhaps not to all tastes ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I am pleased her physical state of health is better. Of course she wants the vote. Why not? She probably has more sense than the average person. (Most dogs probably do).

        Kibble? I see you are embracing Americanisation. The Americanisation of Andrew? Perhaps not starring Julie Andrews though. Anyway, back to Lulu. Or Pippa. He had his own FB page and was annoyed when I stopped it. He put it down to jealousy as he had more friends than I did. He also put moving from Blogger down to jealousy, as he got more comments than I did. Do you see a pattern here? There was some link to a dogthing on facebook where you could add your dog. Seemed pretty rubbish to me, although I did add him, but he preferred his own account. I would vote for all separate accounts, especially financial ones, for Lulu. She may be able to assess the markets better than you.

  14. Fantastic photos. Especially the fly getting devoured by that spider. Amazing. I haven’t been writing much either. I have to get an operation on my crook eye. It’s to be done on 30th of July. Hope the doctor has a steady hand. In the meantime I’ll study this video on the operation. It has a nice piece of music and the photography amazing.

    I prefer your shots though Andrew.
    My vision should improve by 50% after it. The better to look at your work.

    • I hope the operation goes well, Gerard. I know quite a few people who have had eye surgery and only one person had problems. They flew to Australia to get it sorted out so I think you are in the right place. I hope it won’t prevent you writing for us. I look forward to your essays. Is it day surgery?

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