There’s a technique developed using Photoshop which can turn a picture inside out. Sometimes this gives really interesting results, occasionally better than the original image.
66th Cawthron Lecture
On Friday night I attended a public lecture, the 66th in a series which started back in 1917! The venue was the Nelson School of Music where that 1917 lecture was held. It was full (around 350 people), it had been booked out for weeks.
The event commemorates Nelson benefactor Thomas Cawthron, who when he died in 1915 left almost quarter of a million pounds to set up what is now the Cawthron Institute.
The latest in stimulation
I have just got back from Christchurch. Every 10 weeks, I travel to Burwood Hospital for treatment. I sit there for a few hours, swap stories with the other regulars (some of whom feel like old friends), then I’m off home again. It’s a nice, quiet and occasionally very entertaining few hours. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to witness something quite remarkable: a patient comes in to have their implant tuned. These “lucky” people have been fitted with a spinal-cord stimulator, an electronic substitute for painkilling drugs. A small voltage generator is implanted under the skin, with a bunch of electrodes leading to various points along the spinal cord. Very small voltages transmitted through these electrodes interfere with the pain signals travelling up the spinal cord to the brain. Result? no more pain! Except sometimes some fine tuning is required, hence the following conversation overheard between patient and nurse: Patient (pale,…
Airport parking and algae blooms
Recently there was a letter to the editor of the local paper complaining about the harsh attitude of the management of our airport. It was from the mother of a couple of teenagers who had parked in a place reserved for airport staff. The letter sparked a flurry of responses from the general public, enough to fill half page of the weekend edition. Opinions were divided: many agreed that the airport manager was cruel and inhumane, while others felt that people needed to take responsibility for their own actions. But the whole saga reminded me of a time when a more relaxed attitude would surface (and, I suspect, there was less pressure on parking spaces). At the very beginning of 93, I received a call from the airport manager asking if I knew the whereabouts of X. Yes, X was a scientist on our staff. Well, X had left their…
Closeup photography: Ronnie G is the gold standard
For several years now I have been following the work of a Louisana photographer, Ronnie Gaubert. In my opinion he sets a standard in macrophotography for all of us to aspire to. You can find his galleries on the pBase photo sharing site: here is his “Nature of Louisiana”. At latest count, his galleries presenting the wildlife and nature scenes of Louisiana have scored a little over 5 million page views (more than 10 times mine on pBase!). He has been very willing to share his techniques with others, e.g. in the DPReview discussion forums. I am sure this is another reason why he has so many admirers. This is one of his images, uplifted with permission from his gallery “IT’S A SMALL WORLD by Ronnie Gaubert” .
Royal New Zealand Show
Today is the start of four days of celebrations “When Country Comes to Town”. Formerly known as the Canterbury A&P (agricultural and pastoral) Show, it has been held every year since 1862. I’m sorry to be missing it this year, it is a lot of fun for photographers too! I deliberately missed an opportunity for a great photograph of this pair. Father and daughter were crouched down beside a pen containing freshly shorn sheep. I could have put three heads with almost identical hairstyles (or woolstyles) into the same frame. Problem was, there was a good chance of getting thumped if the largest of the three took offence! I whimped out and settled for this rear view. The wood chopping and sawing events are a great crowd pleaser, especially when the field includes a few world champions. Age appears to be no limit to competition: skill and experience can often…
Top of the South Gymnastics Competition
Shortly before I left my job at Lincoln Ventures, one of my staff told me that she and her family would be coming up to Nelson in July for a gymnastics competition. I jumped at the chance to photograph a new sport, even if it would mean getting up very early on a Sunday morning. It turned out to be quite a challenge: only competitors, officials and the accredited photographer were allowed on the floor. All the rest of us were up in the gallery seats. The light was not good at all, so there was no hope of sharp action photographs. I would have to choose my moments carefully to make the most of a slow shutter speed. Luckily, I found two very helpful assistants in a couple of senior grade contestants from Wellington. These 11 year-old girls were able to advise me about the routines: which moves were…
Greenshell mussels take off!
Last week, the Cawthron Institute announced it would be spending $2.2 million on upgrading their research facility, the Glenhaven Aquaculture Centre. Here’s a piece about its very beginnings, a wonderful success story. Back in the early 90s, Cawthron Institute was approached by a young marine biologist with a proposal. Sam Buchanan wanted us to give him a job so he could complete a research project for his Ph.D. He claimed that he was on the track to solving a problem that had stumped New Zealand scientists for the previous 20 years or more: how to grow Greenshell™ mussels in a hatchery. (If you haven’t heard of these before, see here for more on this iconic New Zealand shellfish.) There were several problems with this idea. Cawthron didn’t have a hatchery, or anything remotely like the facilities that he would need. There was no money for such a project. Finally, we…
New Zealand in a blue world
A New Zealand centric picture of the Earth goes a long way to explain why New Zealanders are as we are: No wonder we: are world travellers good sailors too, accustomed to having to do things ourselves confident when we venture out into the world love the internet! (Our nearest neighbour, Australia, is more than 2200 km away)