Friday, August 2, 2013
About 16 hours from boarding a flight to Cusco. Arequipa, despite an unpleasant bacterial episode, has been good to me. This is a beautiful, friendly city.
I'm always a little lost, at first, in this kind of classical Spanish downtown. Everything begins looking the same. My first morning here I got lost on my run. The narrow streets and unbroken wall of buildings (edificios seems perfect here) obscure even nearby landmarks, and despite being laid out in almost a perfect grid, I seem to have a knack for finding the discontinuities.
Still, you get used to it. And every now and then, a street is just wide enough, and oriented just so, to give you a breathtaking view of the mountains hanging over it all.
I've had great company here. My host family, Rafael and Beatrice, were just as kind and gracious as you could ever imagine.
It was tremendous fun studying spanish with some fun folks from around the world.
Here's a picture from on top of the monastery next to where I'm staying:
And here's a bunny from the market, to round things out.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
a cool shot of a termite soldier getting one in for the woodeating
cockroaches, squirting some sticky goo onto the ant. The ant, as best
I can tell, is <i>Acanthostichus</i>, a nifty subterranean army ant in
the subfamily Cerapachynae.
This one didn't end well for Team Termite -- when I came back a few
hours later, the queen was in a giant pile of dead workers at the foot
of the tree.
Monday, June 27, 2011
learning a lot about this summer is the power of post-processing.
For example, check out this shot of a neat little mantis that my
friend Gabe found. The first image is straight from the camera; the
second, after about 5 minutes of tweaking. To get the second image, I
retouched to get rid of sensor dust spots, tweaked the color
saturation and white balance, and bumped contrast and exposure just a
bit. The difference is startling!
As something of a bonus, I'm finding that this has really focused my
attention on the things you _can't_ change in the 'darkroom;' namely,
focus and composition. Aperture (Apple's photo program) makes it easy
to get rid of sensor dust, but can't recover the end of the mantis's
left antenna, or bring the focal plane forward a mm to where it really
should be. Those imperfections will stay in this image, and
recognizing that is making me a (marginally!) better photographer.
Friday, June 24, 2011
ants. When you think about it again, a cursory inspection in the
failing evening light may not reveal the hundreds of tiny red ants
enjoying your dessert, which will sting your unsuspecting tongue
enthusiastically on their way down.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
spinosus worker landed feet up in the dissection dish, holding a globe
of water in her legs. This doesn't happen often -- I've dissected more
than a thousand ants so far this summer, and never seen it!
Capturing with the camera what I saw with my eyes was pretty
challenging -- any flash at all washed out the beautiful reflective
colors on the water's surface. For photo geeks, this was taken
handheld with natural light at about 2X on a Canon 20D with 65mm MP-E
macro, at 1/60 sec, f6.3, and ISO 1600.