Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hearing Test for the Deaf

I had to have a hearing test today.  So now it's official.  I'm totally Deaf.   Both ears heard zilch.  I was tested at 100 db and heard nothing.

So what is 100db?  Onto google and I found a comparison chart...

I didn't know that the loudest sound possible was 194db but wonder what might make that kind of noise. Years ago I was tested with equipment that tested up to 140db and nothing registered then either - so I presume you could safely say I'm totally deaf in both ears.

The reason I had to have my hearing tested is that I've applied for a fire alarm (vibrating).  At present, if there was a fire at night, the only thing that might wake me is my cat.  The local fire service don't believe puss is reliable, so have suggested a vibrating alarm. Because I live alone and have a great need for it, I can apply for funding.  They are usually very expensive so they're not in my 5 year plan, and I've always said you have to die of something anyway!!  And hence the reason for the test - to satisfy the funders that I am in fact... Deaf.

So this afternoon I spent a few minutes in an audiologists office with a pair of headphones on my head while I tried to hear one iota of sound.  My reliability of response was consistent.  That's good.  I like to be consistent.

I was rather pleased to put my implant back on and hear again afterwards.  The implant puts me back in the speech zone.  I can't wear the implant at night though as it falls off so no point and this is why i need the alarm.

Next time I'm in Auckland, I'll get a test done to show you my aided hearing.  I don't have anything current to compare with this test today :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tailwag # 2

Tailwagging supreme - One happy dog!

This is the last animation I'll be doing for a while.  I particularly like this one - and it only uses 2 images :)

Animation #3 - The Tail Wag

Another animated gif of Sky the Dog on the shore of Lake Hawea back in December.

These are so much fun to do :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dog Animation #2

Having more fun doing animations, this time with 13 images on the shore of Lake Hawea and a dog that loved a rather big stick. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

A Stick and a Half

I had loads of fun putting this together - first finding out how to make animated images, and then putting it together.  Not bad for a first attempt?

This dog we found on the shore of Lake Hawea and he really LOVED his sticks - big sticks. I found it hilarious! Enjjoy!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St John's Creek - Wanaka

After photographing frogs and landscapes all day, we headed to St John's Creek for some evening, sunset shots.  I knew this was our second time to St John's Creek and it seems that I missed out blogging about the previous time we were there the night before this one.  So I'll have to go back another time and show you St John's Creek in another totally fun light!

Unfortunately the evening was fairly windy, which meant choppy water and no reflections.  Still - the light was beautiful giving lots of shadows and colours on the mountains.

Unfortunately, to get the right shutterspeed, meant the Lupins in the foreground were a bit out of focus due to the wind blowing..

 The shadows were long - this is Liz and I with our tripods...

And just as we were leaving the sunset finally hit the top of the mountains.  I had wanted so much more but that is all nature was going to give us tonight.  But I'll take what I can get!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 6 - Wanaka and Frogs

Day six of our Trip to Lake Wanaka dawned bright and sunny.  It had snowed overnight, so the morning was crisp and cool, but everything sparkly fresh and green.  This was at the beginning of September and I can guarantee with drought conditions, that the area will not be green like this at the moment!  We headed down to the man-made lake which is just by the lakeshore of Lake Wanaka, to take photos of reflections, blue sky, mountains, and more Lupins.  In this image, you can see wild Briar Roses, Purple and yellow Lupins, native trees and the snowcapped mountains beyond the lake..

Here's Liz photographing on the other side of the lake from me.  The Blues were amazing, but they were brought out further with the CPL filter on my lens.

And when the breeze calmed down a bit, we got the reflections I had wanted...

Huge dragonflies buzzed around, but they were very hard to photograph, hardly ever stopping...

More snowcapped mountain prettiness...

And even more reflections - I was in my element....

This was a pristine site for photography but something was really bugging me. The continual sound of a chainsaw in an otherwise beautiful calm morning. It was really getting my back up and I was just about to moan to Emily and Liz about it when something caught my eye....

And this is when I realised that there were no chainsaws in the area at all, but what I was hearing through my cochlear implant was a sound I hadn't really heard before in great detail.  Hundreds of frogs croaking....

I loved how they just floated on the top of the water, with the reflections making them look like they had four eyes, not two...

To get these photographs, one had to stand in the same place and be extremely still. The slightest movement then they stopped croaking and disappeared from the top of the water. As soon as you were stock still again, you would eventually hear their call, and then see them floating on top of the water again..

I loved seeing the Bullfrogs in action - how they puffed up their throats, which in turn sent out circular ripples...

I was actually surprised how large their throats expanded without exploding!!

At first when I processed these images I thought the black spots were dust on my camera lens - but later I realised they were insects floating on the water.  The frogs would suddenly leap and get these insects. I was never fast enough to get the image though!

And just a reminder to what it was like around this man-made frog lake, lupins and mountains all around. Jealous?

Here's another Bullfrog.

I love the way they floated on the water too - they seemed to use their webbed feet as a floatation device... 

Note the insect getting closer to this frog. Once again I missed the action of the tongue snatch and grab - they were so fast!

It was such a gorgeous morning, even the damselflies were enjoying the day making out in public areas not caring that we were watching.  I almost felt like I was intruding...

A hop step and a jump away from the man-made lake, was Lake Wanaka - (which isn't man-made!)).  The beach was full of bright yellow lupins and I'm sure this tree will not be in the lake now, as I believe the water levels are now very low after our summer...

Kayakers were enjoying the morning and scenery..

The little beach I was on...

Emily with her big lens taking photos of the Kayakers as they were passing.  I was sitting on a rock with my feet in the water as my foot was so sore - at this stage I hadn't realised I had broken it.  The cold of the lake was bliss on the ankle.

This is such a stunning place for photography. Can't wait to get back there again. Seeing the frogs was magic as you rarely see them anywhere.. They are starting to become endangered.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lindis Pass Landscapes

The dramatic Lindis Pass links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. The actual pass crosses a saddle between the valleys of the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers at an altitude of 971 metres above sea level. For many months of the year, you can expect to see snow in this mountainous area - often down to the roadside.  On our way down to Lake Hawea there was no snow, but the night before we were photographing the Lupins, it got cold and it snows...

Which made for some lovely photographs.  We stopped along various parts of the road to take photos. No one else did though - they just rushed past the amazing scenery in a hurry to get wherever they were going...

There weren't too many cars though, so I managed to get an image taken right in the middle of the highway!  No way I could do this anywhere else!

Another bus load of tourists rushing past and missing out on some of the best scenery that the South Island has to offer!

The potographers in action - we parked the car and walked over the tussock to get the best views...

And we stopped on the way back too because just photographing the area just once, wasn't enough!

There's something special about mountains, tussock grass, and snow that one cannot ignore if you have a camera in hand!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Auckland Zoo and New lens

I've been in Blenheim for three years now.  It's gone really quickly.  Every time I get back to Auckland, I try to go to the Auckland Zoo, as its the one place I do miss.  There are no zoo's down here, and it's such a great way to practise photography, and it's so pleasant walking around seeing the animal and birdlife.

However, in the 3 years I've been in Auckland with my camera, it's rained.  And the Zoo was out of the question each time because of it.

So last week, it's summer, we're in drought, it's really unlikely to rain - so a trip to the zoo was planned with my friend Bron.  As we left to go, it started.... raining!  By the time we got to the zoo it was raining hard.  Bron had an umbrella fortunately so I was able to use my new Sigma 120-400mm lens with the umbrella shielding it.

So I got a few images of wet straggly animals before it fined up...  Wet bird...

Wet Tortoise...

Wet Spider Monkeys.  This one is saying 'OMG - Look at the state of you to his mate underneath..

Who is having a bad hair day after all the rain.

And this one is the Thinker...

As we walked to the next exhibit, the sun came out, and I saw this leaf on the ground, with the sun shining through, giving a lovely reflection on the concrete.  Bron was quick to point out that I'm nuts - I pay $25 to go to the Zoo and I take photos of dead leaves...

The Golden Lion Tamrin was out enjoying the sun..

And all the lemurs were in this pose - I'm sure they were trying to dry themselves out.

The Orangutans in the Auckland Zoo, love covering themselves up in sheets and blankets.  I thought this particularly looked like the Orangautan had perhaps evolved, embraced religion, and now wears a burkha!  There IS an orangutan underneath that blue sheet!

The main reason I wanted to visit the Auckland Zoo was their new Rainforest Aviary.  It had been upgraded about 3 years prior, but hadn't quite opened before I moved down here.  I was well rewarded by this Kea...  The Kea is New Zealand's' Mountain Parrot and are in decline.  They are stunningly beautiful, but very cheeky birds. Cars have had all the rubber stripped away from their windshields while the owners were skiing by these birds!

The Kereru - or NZ Wood Pigeon.  I was taking the photo of the nursery web spider when this bird came flying up at us.  I thought it was going to land on my lens or head.  It landed right next to my arm and proceeded to take much interest in the chocolate bar I was eating!

This spider was as big as my hand - massive, had never seen one so big in NZ before!

Here's another shot of the Wood Pigeon.  I had to take a few photos on my cellphone as he was too close to me to use the big lens.

He was also intrigued with Bron.  But I think he could see himself reflected in her glasses!

Onto the little blue Penguin.  You can see these little penguins swimming around our coastline quite often.  This one has got an injury and only one fin.  

So it can only swim around in circles!

Love watching the sealions swim past...

Then the Baboon family.  These animals are really shy and don't look up at the humans watching them. In fact they often turn their back on us.  I don't blame them really.  I'd hate to be gawked at all day..

One last shot of the giraffe before heading back home.  All these images were handheld and taken with the 120-400mm Sigma APO lens.  I'm really pleased with the quality this ne lens is giving.

Next Zoo I'll be visiting with be the Singapore one at the end of May. And yes - I'll be taking my big lens (big boy) with me :)