Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Gosh, I feel like this sometimes at the end of the day! In fact, lately I have been feeling like this a lot!

Thanks to Cute Overload!

What is this answer

As promised, I would post the answer to the "What is this?" post. I have to admit, that you are all so good at this! I guess I have to find another macro shot that is more challenging! Maybe I will find something interesting to photograph this weekend for a nice extreme macro shot!

So, yes, the shot was of one of my orchids. Specifically a phalaenopsis intergenic hybird: Doritaenopsis Newberry Parfait 'Picotee'.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More "What is this?"

I thought it would be fun to post an even closer closeup of the previous post. I must say that I am enjoying these little alien faces a little too much perhaps?


Anyhow, enjoy this closeup! Please click on for an even better close-up of the picture.

I will post the correct answer to the previous post soon!

Photographic credits goes to Thomas.

What is this???

Little alien faces can appear out of nowhere, no? And to all those that think aliens don't exist, hah! Here is evidence!

Anyhow, macro photography can at times prove to be challenging for me. I often see something in my mind and I wish to capture it with photography. However, getting the camera to "see" what I see in my mind proves to be difficult at times. Sometimes I am fortunate and I get the settings just right and capture what I see. Other times, I am not so fortunate. When I am not so fortunate, I resort to trial and error and sometimes eventually figure it all out. Other times, well...

With regards to this picture, I struggled for a couple of days with this shot. My photography mentor took pity on me and figured out the proper settings to use and took this picture for me.

So, I pose to you, what is this??? Please post your answers in the comment section!

Picture was taken with my Nikon D-50 and 4+ diopter lens adapter. Photographic credits goes to Thomas.

Please click on picture for an even better close-up!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

My how quickly once again Friday Cat Blogging is here!

The cats are still somewhat uncooperative. Although I think they are getting a little better about this whole taking pictures thing. But I am still working on a good picture of at least one of them! I guess it is a work in progress.

Anyhow, here is Rorschach once again in the rose garden looking dignified. Either dignified or angry at me. Can't quite decide on which on which one it is. Okay, I am going to tell myself he is looking dignified since I hate the idea of him being angry with me.

Although this angle does not show off his "ink blots" to his best advantage, at least he is sitting still for a shot.

The picture was once again taken with my point and shoot digital camera. After a while I will see how they like having macro shots with the DSLR.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The Listeners

'Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

-- Walter De La Mare

Picture above photographed at Muir Woods with my point and shoot camera on 04/04/06.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Check out this video.

A cat in a cap. You just gotta love it!

Thanks to Cute Overload!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What have I become?

Platanthera leucophaea:

Since obtaining my digital SLR, I have been looking for a certain orchid this summer. This orchid is the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea).

Every few weeks I would drive out to a protected preserve in hopes of finding it. Each time, nothing. Since this is a rare, legally endangered, and protected plant, it is not permitted to wander through the preserve. The best I could hope for is a glimpse of it, or hope that it would be growing near the edge of the preserve. To make matters worse, this plant is notorious for not being a reliable bloomer and laying dormant for years. It takes anywhere from 3-7 years to reach maturity from seed. I could have easily spent the summer looking for it and never seeing it--year after year. Of course, it has a limited blooming period, so if it is bloom, I could easily miss it by going out to look for it at the wrong time.

I drove out to the preserve again this past Sunday. I pulled up to the preserve and once again saw nothing when I got out of my car. Then a nagging sense enticed me to walk further around the perimeter of the preserve that I have not done on earlier occasions.

I finally saw it in all its glory. On top of it all, it was located at the border of the preserve, enabling me to photograph it, touch it, smell it, and admire it without violation.

Finally my efforts paid off.

However, it was not without a price.

The price was the following:

I did not go to bed the previous evening because I had to get up very early and it was just simpler to stay awake until I needed to get ready and leave.

I had to leave my house at 3:30 am in order to be at the location to have the best lighting for photography.

I had a long drive.

I endured biting flies. This was nothing in comparison the wrath of the mosquitoes.

I endured the wrath of what seemed like a swarm of mosquitoes. I estimate around 50-75 bites on my body easily. I am not exaggerating here. Some of the mosquitoes were quite large--ones that I have never seen before. When they first landed on me, I thought they were wasps and I panicked because I left my epinephrine in the car and I was not sure if anyone would hear my calls for help in case of anaphylaxis.

The mosquitoes ignored the insect repellent I had applied and did not care about full sunlight.

The mosquitoes were able to fully penetrate through my clothing without difficulty. My photography tactic was set up the camera, swat swat swat, focus, swat swat swat, snap picture, swat swat swat, repeat.

Prior to each swat swat swat, I would see at least 20-30 mosquitoes on me since the last swat swat swat.

Because of the previous rains, the ground was quite swampy in some places. The water got into my waterproof hiking shoes through the openings at my ankles. My feet and socks got completely soaked. Somehow, even the mosquitoes got through the opening of my shoes and completely feasted on my ankles.

A tick was brought into my car somehow. But got tick out.

I got sunburned in a few spots where I somehow managed not to get the sunblock applied properly. So, what is not bitten is burned on me. Dermatological discomfort right now is mildly putting it...

If someone would have asked me a year ago if I would endure all this to see and photograph the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, I would have said no. I would be simply content to look at a picture of it in a book.

Somehow, things are different now. Something in me has changed.

Perhaps this sentiment may convey the change in me:

Excerpt from Wild Orchids Across North America by Philip E. Keenan:

"Orchid lovers are all brushed with the romantic idealism of Don Quixote. We travel great distances to search and photograph, save and conserve these special species. We recognize and appreciate the natural beauty missed by the maddening crowds more interested in the artificial. We experience the equivalent excitement of big game hunters, mountain climbers, and hybridizers nurturing new varieties, and then we finally pull into our driveway back home and are nudged back into reality. Another successful journey is over--until the next time."

Maybe what has happened is that I have become a romantic?

Picture taken with my Nikon D-50 SLR

A Rant

I am somewhat of a private person and hence I don't post much of my private life on my blog. Sorry, but this is just my own comfort level.

This time, I think I make an exception though in the form of a rant.

I was dating someone a while back and we broke up. It happens.

While we were together, he bought me a bicycle. Nice gesture, nice gift.

After we broke up, I told him that I would like to have the bicycle. Reminded him through various emails that I would be taking the bicycle.

Finally picked up the bicycle.

Now ex-boyfriend is raving mad. Angry that I would want it and take it.

All because ex-boyfriend wanted to give my bicylcle to current girlfriend.

I do not understand. Isn't a gift just that; a gift?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Ah, how quickly Friday Cat Blogging sneaks up on me! And the cats are still uncooperative for my photography. Is a nice macro shot of one of my cats too much to ask?

So, here we have a picture of Rorschach sleeping in the rose garden. Should I let a sleeping cat be? Not when it comes to needing a picture of him for Friday Cat Blogging!

Rorschach is my oldest cat. He was a rescue and he was named after the famous Rorschach Ink Blot Test. In the future, I hope that I will have a picture that will better show off his "ink blots".

This picture was a challenge given the strong lighting late in the morning. It was taken with my digital point and shoot. I hope to get some nice macro shots with my DSLR of the cats, but right now they look at me like something out of the "Exorcist" when I approach with my camera. If I am lucky, the best I can do is one or two shots of them before they vaporize into the air.

Oh well, they can only protest for so long...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

When NOT to take pictures...

Note to self: Do not even attempt macro photography while under the influence of alcohol.

I went to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens yesterday.

I sampled drinks that I did not realize contained alcohol (they were fruity and tasted good).

I went there on an empty stomach straight from the lab.

I have a low tolerance for alcohol.

I attempted to take macro shots with my digital SLR. Macro shots require a very steady hand (if not using a tripod) and good judgment. Note emphasis on judgment...

Need I say more????

Summer Meme

Okay, I finally decided to come out of hiding and do a meme. I guess eventually you have to do one, no?

Here is one for summer:

Favorite summer flower: Roses.
Flavor of ice cream or tofutti: Chocolate, Butter Pecan, and Vanilla.
Mode of transportation: Sandals or my hiking shoes.
Music: Anything classical or some nice jazz is good for summer.
Food: Almost anything fresh from the garden! Mulberries, raspberries, blackberries, and peaches are my favorites.
Favorite game to play: Badminton and shooting with water pistols.
Earliest childhood summer memory: Collecting shells and stones at the beach.
Favorite Drink: Lemonade--fresh!
Favorite Snack: Chilled cherries
Place to read: On the porch or on the beach.
Most annoying: mosquito bites. I am slightly allergic to them and they swell up more than for the average person--so I walk around looking like I have some disease in which the CDC needs to be called in.
How I handle the heat: I usually handle heat fairly well. But if it gets to be too much, going to a park or taking a cool bath helps.
Pet Peeve: I love to sleep with my windows open (prefer over air-conditioning). My pet peeve is neighbors that are loud past a "proper" time.
Mistake for which no one in my family will ever forgive you: Not getting the best directions for a trip.
All-time favorite bathing suit: A Bikini. There is something sensual about exposing one's navel to the warmth of the sun.
Best Time of Day: Early dusk when the fireflies are coming out.
Most romantic: Walking on a beach.
Summer movie: Usually don't watch much movies in the summer because there are so many other things to do!
Best for sex: A summer thunderstorm...

There are no rules for this meme, of course. Summer time is no time for rules!

Thanks to On Being a Scientist and Woman

Monday, July 03, 2006

Documentation of Weirdness

The previous post (see below) is a picture of Mohsin's nose and part of his upper lip (in focus and deliberate). Mohsin is a postdoc in our lab and was very kind to be my photography subject and indulge my curiosity with regards to trying out my new 4+ diopter lens adapter. The main subject material for my photography passion is flora and my camera equipment was purchased with that in mind. However, curiosity got the better of this Kat and I wanted to see what the capabilities were in terms of a human subject matter. The idea of super macro shots was more than my curiosity could bear.

During this process of using Mohsin as my photography subject, I evoked the curiosity and amusement of my other labmates. Thomas, my photography mentor and one of the researchers in the lab, was amused to no end and decided to grab my digital point and shoot from my camera bag nearby and take impromptu photographs of this photography session. I think he was laughing his behind off through the whole process.

So, here I am making the adjustments on my tripod (will get a better one later) and trying to move the camera in properly:

Poor Mohsin seems to be wondering what he got himself into, no?

I photographed various parts of Moshin's face. His eyes, the corner of his eyes, follicles, and various wrinkles. Here I am manually focusing on the blood vessels in his eyes. In order to obtain these type of close shots, I had to manually focus the camera. No luxury of auto focus here:

At this point, it seems that poor Mohsin is wondering what he got himself into, especially since he is not allowed the slightest movement. Any slight movements ruin the shot with this type of closeup. Diana, in the background, looks on rather amused I would say.

Did I miss a calling as a medical photographer? Maybe!

Really now, is curiosity such a bad thing????
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