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Due to various members being sick over the weekend, Sian, James and myself were roped into a last minute day’s work on Saturday.  I am currently suffering from a cold, and therefore believe that the world is ending (who can blame me – I’m a man after all) and in my grumpy state I walked to  the lab to fire up the Fuji and start getting on with printing.

On my way in, I couldn’t help but enjoy the beautiful blue sky that Barbados was treating us to…it was fantastic…so much so that I rang Sian and told her to leave whatever she was doing to get outside and admire the cobalt blue we were being blessed with.  As I wandered down through the resort, grumpy and with my neck cocked back to admire the stratosphere, I couldn’t help but notice that our Frangipani tree on the golf course was looking a little under the weather.  It normally has bright green leaves and lovely white, four petaled flowers…but in this beautiful, post hurricane system sky, it looked dowdy and almost dead.

On closer inspection, it was not actually the tree’s fault, nor the weather’s.  It was being set upon by the only animal I have encountered that makes my old man look like a calorie counter.   It was teaming with Frangipani Caterpillars.

There were about twenty we could spot in total.  They are awesome.  the biggest ones were about 12cm long, and 2 cm wide, and they just chow down mercilessly on the leaves.  I was mesmerised by them.

Having seen the tree teaming with life, I ran to the lab and got things going, pinched the work camera (D7000 for those that care) and came to grab some snaps.

In the short time I was there, the bigger guys at the bottom of the tree quickly polished off a leaf each in the morning sun.  They were very wary of me though, and whenever I got too close, they would wag their heads angrily.  From what I have read, they will nip you if in a pinch, but they are completely harmless otherwise.  Their bright colouring is a warning to birds and other predators that they are poisonous….this is somewhat of a ruse – they themselves have no poison or venom, but the sap of the Frangipani tree is poisonous to predators without the digestive system of the caterpillars, and so their food provides them with all the protection they need from our feathered friends here on the island.

We use the D7000 at work solely for its incredible video performance, and I am training the guys how to get the most from it…needless to say, I felt obliged to film a little of what was going on, and thought I would bring the D700 and the tripod along later on in the day for some more time-lapse action.

Needless to say, all just a bit of fun, and many apologies about the camera shake, I didn’t have time to grab the tripod and longer lenses – I was covering people calling in sick after all.

At the end of the time lapse shoot (trust me to pick the one caterpillar that couldn’t polish off an entire leaf) the sun had come around beautifully, and just hit the caterpillars with that golden light.  These were taken with no flash, if you’ll believe it 😉

Overall I was pretty pleased with the shots…but I got increasingly frustrated with not being able to focus closer (Cue the wide eyed: “Baaaaa – bbbbyyyy, we need to get  a Nikon 105mm macro lens”)….but that’s for another day…

And yet again, my camera has led me to learn a bit more about the wildlife of this alien island…not too sure how often the Frangipani Caterpillars will come up in the local pub quiz, but every tid-bit we gleam, every fact we learn, makes being here feel a little less alien, and a little more like home.

Thanks for reading, and keep on snapping.

Ferg x

Hello all,

So firstly, I do apologise for the long wait since my last blog. For those dedicated fans, of which I believe there are…one, (that’s you Jenny!) I have been kept very busy at work with various shenanigans, and Barbados has been treating us to some pretty pants weather the last few weeks.

This has meant a lot of long quiet nights in the new flat, pawing over the D700 manual and driving Sian up the wall with my incessant nerdery.  But it has paid off.

On page 203 of the D700’s manual, there is reference to interval timer shooting.

I wept.

For hours.

This is something that the beautiful old D80 never offered, and instantly a light bulb clicked in my head.  What better to do with a rainy day than setup a tripod, have the camera take a million pictures, and then stitch them together to make a film?

This is not ground breaking.  This is not original. But this was my first stab and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We were also really lucky, because as I dragged Sian out into the soggy night, we found this guy:

And every time I see him, I can’t help but chuckle.  There are MILLIONS of frogs (toads?!) on the resort, all in various forms and sizes:  from the TINIEST guys just from tadpole state, to the huge ones like this, they are awesome.  We are also treated to numerous ‘squashed’ frogs along the roads of the resort…I know I shouldn’t laugh…it is very sad…but they are so comedically sprawled out on the floor and I cant help but think of the days I used to play ‘Frogger’ in the church rooms as a choir boy…but that’s another story all together.

Anyway, here is the vid.  I made it at home as I have a strong “blog is for play” attitude, and don’t use the work resources for it.  I wish I had.  Windows Movie Maker sucks ass in comparison to the Mighty Mac’s Final Cut Pro.  Seriously, I hate Mac…but Windows let me down real bad on this one…

But, as always, it is all just a bit of fun and I hope that you guys enjoy it…

Ferg

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