October 16, 2012

15 Pictures of Sea-Monkeys

So this morning after work, I got really really bored. So bored that I went through all my clothes and put lots of them in the donate bag sitting in our living room, then I cleaned my desk (which I only do like, once a year and I’ve already done it this year), then I even cleaned off the end table in the living room from all the junk that was there from when I was basically bed-ridden that we just never got around to cleaning up. Then I sat in my chair at my desk and cried a little bit because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. Then I washed my hair out of sheer boredom (while crying out of sheer boredom) and then when I was done, I came back in my office, turned the music up, put on my big girl panties and took the 50mm lens off my camera ALL BY MYSELF and put on the 100mm macro lens that Charlie also sent me that I’d been too scared to use until today. I couldn’t figure out how to put the “hood” on that it came with and decided I didn’t need it anyway since I don’t even know what it’s for and then I pulled up a kitchen chair in front of the living room window and stalked Sea-Monkeys with the camera  for about 45 minutes.

Oh and before I go any further, my photography class last night was cancelled because the instructor was apparently sick and they said they’d be adding another class onto the end of the session to make up for it. So all day yesterday I watched Downton Abbey and then last night we watched The Avengers and then I went to bed.

ANYWAY…

So I can’t really tell you what I learned about this macro lens until I look at the pictures, so let’s do that, shall we?

I started off taking the pictures in shutter priority because Sea-Monkeys are tricksy little things that don’t stay still and I figured a faster shutter speed would be a good idea. This was one of the first pictures I took (all I did with these pics was crop them, I didn’t want to mess with the exposure so I could show you how they turned out naturally):

That is a Sea-Monkey, in case you’ve never seen one before. Sea-Monkeys are asexual so I’m not sure if that’s a male or a female but the dark lump on its back end is an egg sac. Just by the way he behaves and stuff, I’m pretty sure this one’s a male, but like I said, it’s really impossible to be certain.

That pic was taken at ISO 100 with an f.stop of 2.8, which is the lowest that lens goes. The shutter speed was 1/199 of a second. Charlie said this should be the MINIMUM shutter speed I should use with this lens, so that’s what I used. Overall, I don’t think this is a bad pic considering how fast these fuckers swim. (And I swear that they like to show off. They know when people are there and they start doing under water acrobatics. I’m not even kidding. Sea-Monkeys are smarter than I think people give them credit for.)

 

So the one in the magnified bubble that *doesn’t* have an egg sac, I think is a female. She’s slower and spends more time near the top of the tank, whereas the male does circles all over the tank and buries himself in the algae at the bottom. This picture was taken in the same conditions as the first one. I should also add that I was using auto-focus, which I discovered that on this particular lens is kinda bullshit. I took 339 pictures and these 15 are the only good ones. (Well, there were a few more but I figured 15 was enough for this post.)

The female in better detail.

Something most people don’t know about Sea-Monkeys is that they are NOT simply “fairy shrimp” or brine shrimp  (artemia salina) as people tend to dismiss them as. The Transcience Corporation/New York Ocean Science actually developed an entirely new species of shrimp (artemia NYOS) and called them Sea-Monkeys. Technically *A* species of brine shrimp, Sea-Monkeys were developed by cross-breeding many types of brine shrimp to create the hybrid species that grows larger and lives longer than any “natural” variety of brine shrimp. So now you know. Don’t ever mistake them for your run of the mill brine shrimp ever again! THEY’RE SPECIAL! (I’m a bit of an enthusiast, in case you can’t tell. Although I’ve never had the results of the Sea-Monkey tank in the Wikipedia article. That would be awesome and would take a lot of work.)

So anyway, my pictures, as you can see, were turning out a little blurry so I increased the shutter speed to 1/800 thinking that was the problem and this is what I got (still at f/2.8):

Not so good. :o/

So then I shifted it to manual instead of shutter priority and increased the shutter speed even more. I also raised the ISO to 400.

This one was 1/2500 of a second.

So was this one.

Still not so good.

So then I shifted the shutter down to 1/500, still at f/2.8 and this is what I got:

Which I think is a cool picture, personally.

But I figured I could do better.

So I turned off auto-focus.

And this is what I got with manual:

I think this picture of the female kicks ass.
Normally I’d lighten it a bit in Lightroom, but I didn’t want to mess with the exposure for the sake of this post.

Not the greatest picture I’ve ever taken, but you can see one of my babies in the top left corner.
By the way, all we have right now is the male, female and two babies.
I have a new packet of eggs I could add, but I like to let them do it their own way.
Wes stopped feeding them for a while so we lost a lot of the ones we originally had but once I realized he’d started forgetting to feed them, I’ve been feeding them about once every 3 days.

 The sun came out, which ruined most of the pics I took during that time, but I thought this one was kinda neat:

This is the second baby.
It’s a little bigger than the other one.

The male.

The bigger of the two babies.
I liked this pic because you can see how they like to swim with their tummies poking out.

The male again.
Like I said, he’s a bit of a show off.

So there ya have it. Sea-Monkeys. Again, with the exception of the one, they’re not the greatest pictures I’ve ever taken but I’m not sure how I could have made them any better.  I could have put each Sea-Monkey in a smaller container so they wouldn’t swim around so fast but I couldn’t find anything to put them in and I re-purposed my Aqua-Leash for painting so it wouldn’t be so simple to move them. (You’d have to catch them first, which, y’know, good luck…)

The macro lens is definitely easier to use than the 50mm, although it’s heavy as fuck. The poor Rebel kept falling over onto the lens if I set it down. And I’m not sure if it was just Sea-Monkeys or their tank or what but auto-focus was all over the place, which is why I switched to manual and that worked infinitely better because I could get closer. Maybe if they weren’t swimming all over the place auto-focus would have worked better but I dunno, it was having trouble just focusing on the tank half the time. I thought maybe I was too close and kept backing up but it didn’t help. With manual focus I got to about 10-12 inches from the tank. With auto-focus it wanted me at least 20 inches away and even then it was having trouble. Not sure what was up with that.

When I got back to my computer and started importing the pics into Lightroom, Blake e-mailed me with the subject “well PISS” and the e-mail was about how he gets a discount at Black’s (photography store where we bought my camera and where he and Alex used to work) and his price on my exact Rebel until the 21st was literally half what I paid for mine, hence the subject line. However, he also gets a crazy good discount on a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens which would be the last lens I’d really need for my set unless I get into some type of specialty photography and just this morning I was looking out the kitchen window at the crows across the road at the park playing in the fall leaves and I was wishing that I had a better zoom lens so I could stand in the front yard and take pictures of them without them flying off. And then I get that e-mail. So Blake said he’d buy me that lens for Xmas. w00t w00t! Today is just getting better and better!

I have incense burning and I’m going to make myself a mushroom pizza when I’m finished this post because that’s basically all I eat anymore and they were on sale this week so I have 3 of them and Blake’s not going to be home until late tonight so we have to fend for ourselves for dinner. If I eat a mushroom pizza now, I’ll be fine with a pack of Combos around dinner time while I watch the debate.

Oh! And yesterday my order from Lotus Wei came! I got the mists and serums of Inspired Action (get it done; stay motivated; clear & decisive) which I used this morning during work and it worked beautifully and Quiet Mind (dissolve tension, quiet the mind, sleep soundly) which I forgot to use last night because I didn’t need it and I doubt I’ll need it tonight since I’ll be staying up past my bedtime for the debate, but Wes already told me he wants it before bed tonight so he shall have some. He’s so cute, every morning before school, he asks me for Inner Peace and Pure Energy and this morning he wanted Inspired Action too. Then when he comes home, he always asks for Inner Peace and Joy Juice. he wants me to order Infinite Love (enhance and attract love; be kind to yourself, among other things) but I don’t have the money for it right now. I was hoping to get the rest of the serums, Infinite Love mist and serum and the mini serums and sprays for Xmas but now that I’m getting this lens, that’s not going to happen (and I’d rather have the lens, but really, I want it all). They also raised their prices since I ordered last week, which sucks, and I no longer have a coupon code, but I still want them and as soon as I get my visa paid off, I’ll probably order them.

I also ordered this week Twilight shower gel and 3 Twilight bath bombs from Lush because the shower gel is limited edition and online only for Halloween and that and their Karma stuff are my favourite scents. Right now I’m using Happy Hippy, which I like, but not as much as Twilight.

Aaaaaaand that’s really all I have to say.

Edit: Blake’s a total bastard and says that I got the male & female mixed up. Males & females can mate together sexually or the FEMALE can reproduce asexually. In a process called “parthenogenesis”. I thought both sexes could reproduce asexually. I am not the expert I thought I was!

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