Friday, September 26, 2008

Times change!

I have had a lot of amazing moments in my life. This one has to be the most. The first time I ever really "officially" purposed to anyone (with a ring and all). On my knees, she said "YES" and the rest is a love that I feel will last forever. Our wedding is planned in about 2 years because of family factors and of course, cost. Low budget, we want to do it how we want it and that means doing most of the work ourselves for our custom wedding.

I Still need to do a proof-read of the following articles. I thought I'd go ahead and publish anyway, please excuse any errors for now.

BE SURE TO CLICK ON THIS TO SEE A 1080 pic of it. USE the <-- (back) arrow in your internet explorer to return to my site.
The Columbia river was very calm on this day. I happened to be out for an appointment when I got a chance to take this shot. It was taken with a Cannon 10D DSLR at ISO200. I did very little Photoshop work on it, I stuck to the rule I usually use which is "if you can't do it with film in the dark room, you don't do it with Photoshop". For example a couple of power lines were slightly visible and removed, and I increased the contrast and levels to make the image more vivid and clear. I use the minimum or no Photoshop on my pics. I think that many photographers have lost the art of Photography in complex photoshop fixes and very simple ways to get "perfect pictures". Photography for me would be no fun if it were perfect pictures every time.

Another shot, this was very hard because the contrast and lighting was so low. Foggy and rainy the river however was dead calm. More calm and still then I've ever seen it. This is the Columbi just before Hood River Oregon. This place is world-known for excellent wind surfing. Usually this area is covered in "whitecaps". Small breaking waves usually caused by high winds.

And here I captured a shot just by chance of a creek going into the gorge. I forget exactly where this was, I took it from a car so I was lucky to get it at all. Sometimes the fog can be
spectacular and remind me of myths and stories like The Lord of The Rings.

Some may call it the "garden spider" or an "orb weaver". You can't get more generic then that. Since this spider is hard to spot in person, I dubbed it the hide-out spider. For the longest time I've been finding webs built by an obvious Aranidae but I had no idea what kind. Finally I found one in the most unlikely of places. While swimming in the River with my Fiancee I decided to check out a large empty barge that was close by. I swam to it and where it was docked. Climbed up only to find dozens of webs. Finally, the chance to capture one of these illusive spiders.

So I climbed up the rigging as much as my health would let me, and that was just enough to uncover under an old tire, the hideout of one of these spiders. She jumped out but was well aware of the watter benethe her. Dispite being afraid of me, she knew not to drop at the wrong time. I was surprized by this. She dropped when she knew she could, and I managed to get her into a small sample container for further photos. At the time I was useing a compact camera shooting low-res HD video of the event with an underwater camera. (I may post this video later but it's really big so I need to work with it). Anyhow, the video was great underwater. I just bought a watterproof housing for another kind of camera, a box-large 35mm camera. It held my small Cannon Powershot very well. It's pro-quality video is one of it's trademarks. Better then any other camera I have, even my newest DVC camera! IT can shoot video in high res mode for as long as you have space, I got over 45min out of it which was really great. Using
even higher res, I would only have gotten 15min but it would have been totally pro. I set the
fps down to 24 to save space at 800x600 which is much better then regular TV. Low grade HD and really good quality. Truely "pro". Unlike the other video cameras I have from VHS to night
vision HI8 to even a nice mini-DVC.

Try using your new digital compact camera for video, you might be very surprized by the results. Latest models shoot in 1080. One thing though, be sure you get a big memory card and manually setup the video mode or you will probably be shooting in economy mode and that would be really bad. Either low quality image or really choppy like 10fps. 24fps is plenty, going t 30 is more like total pro.

That little Cannon Powershot (slim about the size of a cigarette pack) amazed everyone with that little Cannon that only cost me about $180 I think. It's much smaller then a mini DVD video camera and has much higher quality videos that can be burned to DVD on my computer. I see n need to even buy a camcorder anymore. My compact camera is better at video. Some older models have limits, but most will run until your card is out of memory and sound quality is usualy really good as well. The main thing you need to be able to do is convert the video into something you can work with. That's important for editing of course. If you can, I recommend getting a compact that shoots good video, you'll have pro-quality video for far less then a DVD camcorder! Just be sure your compact cam has eiether LI-ION rechargables or can take MORE THEN 2 AA rechargeables. A recent Kodak model made allot of people mad. Great camera, but the batteries with the screen on only last about 15min. With it off, 20. It's not really worth using and I plan to use it by adding my own battery pack to it since you can't get one that lasts very long. Even the best NIMH batteries are too small. And be sure to keep the screen off when your shooting long videos. This gives me up to an hour more use time at least on my Cannon Powershot. It's got a nice Lith-ion battery that can be recharged and replaced.

Anyway, got off on a tangent there. Here is a shot of the spider from up top. This species is common in California and all through the northwest where there is a good food supply. Probably widespread all across the USA. Myistory solved, the webs have a signature look. These spiders pretty much re-build a new web every night. Finding them however during the day is very hard since they hide out in very elaborate ways. They will have one line from the center (hub) of the web, and then one line to another leaf, and then another barried deep in shrubs. They could be so far removed from there web you would not think that they have one if you found the spider wrapped up in a careful spot. What surprised me is how aware she was of land and watter. She knew when she was over watter and the danger of that, she also knew when she was on land an used the typical drop and dash technique as soon as she was over land. I let her go in a good are for insects and she lived out the remainder of her life on my pourch. I very rarely relocate spiders because it usually results in there deaths. It's a complex matter. In this case I finally wanted to get some decent pics however and could not catch an release in the same day as I had no way to get my gear for good macro shots all the way out to her. A mistory has been solved here, but good luck in finding this spider, if you find a web and no spider, chances are it may well be a number of species. For some reason however if you cant find it in a typical one lined hide out.. it's probubly the "hide out spider". As they often make more then one hide out connected by silk to detect pray possibly captured during the day. Why they are so "paraniode" comparied to related species with similar tactics, I have no idea, but finally I've figured out who's there. Most spider webs can identify the species of spider or at least you can get close. Espeically if it's very new and a complex kind of web.


This has been a long time comming. I've done so much work on the daddy long legs. This is a bizzar find. This spider is the "sun loving" daddy long legs. Your typical daddy long legs loves cellars and dark places. This one is nearly exactly the same, web type, size, everything.. except coloration and the fact that it seems to not mind and even prefur being in brightly lit shrubs and places. A daddy long legs that loves the sun.

Here is one taken in full sunlight. She's got her eggs in her mouth as the normal moma long legs does. However, there are other species besides these two related species that are called "daddy long legs". They are not even spiders.

This is the first one, sometimes called the "gran-daddy long legs" because of some species large size. It also enjoys the sun, but it spins no silk, has no web, has only 2 eyes, one body segment, and anatomny that puts it closer to crabs then spiders. It's called a Harvestmen. There are man of them, some get huge, however they are completely HARMLESS. To my knowledge they don't even poses venom glands of any kind. They eat vegetable matter to already dead creatures. Omnivorous, they also have somewhat different mouth setups them spiders.

They have two simple eyes, often on complex and elabrate stocks that go up from the main body. They are related to sqarpions, crabs, and pillbugs.

And here is a telltale sign of sex in all cases. The males have mating organs called palps that are elongated and enlarged both in Harvestmen and spiders. The classic look can be seen surprisingly in both entirely different families and species. Somewhat of a coincidence. Anyway, this is your typical Daddy long legs here, a very closeup shot I actually took from a live spider in my basement. Useing high-powered macro gear, I captured this shot from nearly a foot away.
Another shot showing the male daddy long legs look. The only other species commonly called "daddy longlegs" is the Cranefly. It is clearly not a spider as it has wings and looks a lot diffent then these two. Pictures of several are in this website, includeing a recent extreme closeup o it's mouthparts and eyes. But I am talking about Arachnids here, so I left out pictures. They al share some qualities. But I admit finding a species that loves the sun was a real surprize that I was surprized I'd never read about. I still have not identified this species which I found in California in the San Jose area. It's very common there. Above is your typical daddy longlegs.Big moma pest control. Seen here ready to burst with eggs, the male and female were shareing a web. I noticed them mate several times, and she ate this entire asasin bug herself.
Here's moma and daddy long legs. Together and without fighting, they remained like this for over a week until they both got scared of my camera and fled. I'm not sure if they "hooked up" again. Another shot showing clearly how to tell males from females. F30+ needed for shots like this and a big flash.

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