Mai Po – a bird free zone (almost)

I crawled out of my pit at 4.45am to meet up with John H at Mai Po. We were going to try for one of those spectacular Mai Po sunrises. Dawn over the gei wai. Except it was smothered in cloud. Hardly a scrap of clear sky to be seen, blue, red or magnolia. I grew up to loathe magnolia as a colour. It was the standard answer to “what colour shall we paint the walls, dear?” My poor father must have hated the sight of it. Most people had a tank outside to hold their central heating oil. We had magnolia paint in ours. No, really…..

I discovered today that amongst the many things I suck at, dawn scenery shots is another. I tried using the histogram to cover the full dynamic range in 3 frames. I would then blend them in CS6’s HDR Pro and produce a flawless work of artistic excellence. An epic fail. The clouds, damn them, moved. Not much but enough to give me nasty green and yellow fringes to my clouds. Delete.

We ended up dodging showers and looking for anything remotely photogenic, ourselves aside. But sate the audience we must. The hunters returned. Tired but not in the least bit emotional. Now enjoy the gralloch of the early morning shoot.


Channeldark If you ever wanted to know what badly done HDR looks like, here you are!HDR1 Rain and sun all in one shot.TowerHiderain Black & white bloom – the yellow was boringPlant mono




Mesembrius bengalensis

Mesembrius bengalensis

As John said, an extra time shot…… and arguably the best one of the lot – a fly!

And the yellow version of the much nicer monochrome.

Plant colour

If you knew the word ‘gralloch’, well done. In a just world I would send you a venison steak. But the world is not fair. Oh but we did see a Peregrine Falcon and that meant the morning was not a washout. Plus John and I put the world back in good order. Can’t be bad in 4 hours, can it?

Disco Fever

I’m sorry, that was a typo….. it should have read Disco~phora. Now who’s the Common Duffer? I don’t think a film called Saturday Night Discophora sondaica tulliana would catch on, do you? But just in case, here it is:Discophora-sondaica-tullianaI was thinking of trying some abstract bamboo shots this morning but as soon as I arrived I was rudely interrupted by this Duffer.  And a jolly fine Duffer it is too. My abstract bamboo ultimately looked as if I had just been waving the camera around. And sadly that is exactly what I did:IMGL0279The dragonfly shots were a little more successful. I believe this is the bum end of a Blue Dasher. Blue DasherAnd a slightly more (or possibly less) flattering angle:Blue-Dasher2I think this dragonfly would get a lot more attention if it did not have such a silly scientific name: Brachydiplax chalybea flavovittata. Quite why the Blue Dasher union has forbidden full frontal posing I don’t know but clearly it is off limits.

And finally, a bamboo non-abstract that has just been given the Color Efex Pro treatment:Babmboo stack

Street Life

We braved the elements to go into the local town today. Here are some of the people we passed.

Colour coordinated. Orange is in.

Colour coordinated

Do I use the umbrella as a walking stick or to keep the rain off?

Old lady

I have no idea why I took this one. Maybe it’s a secret. But the red flag is flying so maybe that caught my eye.

Red Flag

And our local veggie seller………..  no red flags here, just greens.