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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Egret Tree

A sunset shot of a few Intermediate and Little egrets (Ardea intermedia/Egretta garzetta) getting ready for the night on their favorite tree by the pond.

Alien Stormtrooper

Made you look. No, in spite of the resemblance, this is not a CGI creature hellbent on making Jedi lives miserable. Rather, it's Statilia maculata, a mantis endemic to China, Japan and Taiwan. For this specimen, the warming asphalt road was more important than the possible danger from the sweaty hominoid crawling up to macro distance.

Two more from the kitsch front

Another two sunsets....not that I go out of my way to shoot them, but sometimes they're unavoidable.

Drosera intermedia

Sunset at the Graveyard

I've never fancied myself a sunset photographer, but when I spotted this beautiful sky the other day on my way past a local columbarium, I couldn't help but grab a few shots.

Bamboo Spider

My Dad retired his '72 Hasselblad V series gear, so I'm now the dazzled, befuddled, yet still highly confused owner of a truckload of world-class photo equipment.....none of which I really know how to master. Obviously, the Hassy stuff is all-analog, all-manual, and at the moment I can't even use the camera bodies, as medium format film is very expensive here in Taiwan; so I might as well save the money until I have enough for a digital back, which, of course, could take a few years or so. However, I did at least find a way to put those fantastic Zeiss lenses to good use in the meantime: a Zörkendörfer adapter for my Pentax K10D. Of course, even this way everything's still all-manual, as the lenses and the camera don't "talk" to each other: no auto-focusing, no auto-metering, no auto-anything at all. Adding to that the fact that the original optical properties of the lenses change due to the 1.6 crop factor of the Pentax sensor, I now have a whole world of learning to do. But who cares, with this kind of glass?

Here's a test shot of a non-ID'd spider, done with a 60mm f/3.5 Distagon. The realistic color rendering of the lens is truly spectacular.

Dhaman Rat Snake

This Ptyas mucosa is by far the largest serpent I've ever encountered in Taiwan: about two meters (6 1/2 feet) of shining, angry glory (note the swollen neck). Having been awoken from his semi-hibernation by a unusually hot December day, he was still quite groggy and barely able to cross the road, which is where I came in. Judging by its size, he was at least ten years old, so it was just like helping an old lady across the road. I took the liberty to grab a few close-ups as compensation for my chivalric behavior.

Cyclophiops major

Cyclophiops major - quite a mouthful. The Chinese in their eternal pragmatism just call it qingshe - Green Snake :-)

This one tried to hide from me in a ditch - unfortunately, I climbed in right after him, so he had no choice but to pose for me.