Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What

gold star

Last week's twisted photo didn't give any problems for Ragged Robin, Wilma, Keith, Adrian and TexWisGirl who get my congratulations and their virtual gold stars for identifying the slug:

IMG_0713     Large Black Slug DSCN3310

I wonder whether this one will stump people. Maybe this will be the first time I manage to keep all the virtual gold starts to myself.

Guess What:
2014-06-23 12.53.31

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Tuesday.
No prizes, Just for fun and a virtual gold star.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Dare You to Try Running Away

Last night eagle eyes had spotted something in the gloom:


As soon as I got the back door open Penny went rushing out to investigate:



Although they often visit it is ages since I have actually seen a Hedgehog close up. This one was fairly large, possibly a male. Years ago a dog getting that close to a Hedgehog would have got covered in fleas but these days it doesn't seem to be a problem.


After a quick look and a few photos I took Penny indoors so Spiky could disappear under the fence in peace. Though she doesn't attack them if they stay still she will chase them if they try to run away.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More Lapsed Clouds

As the Apple cameras are such wide angle I decided to order a 2x add on telephoto lens. It arrived yesterday. The lens is magnetic so if the phone body is made from a  suitable metal it will stick in place. If the body is another material then self adhesive metal rings are provided. That is what I had to use with the iPod:

2x telephoto lens DSCN3387

Being magnetic it is fast and easy to attach / detach.

I set things up with the Lapse It app set to take a photo every 3 seconds. Just over an hour and 1475 frames later it was showing a low battery warning. Those were saved at 1080p, transferred to the MacBook. Title added in iMovie along with a soundtrack created with Garage Band and saved at 720p to cut down upload file size:

Not too bad for a £5 add on lens, and that included p&p!

In the evening I set things up on a tabletop tripod in the conservatory for a Sunset time lapse, this time with just 2 seconds between frames.  No other processing this time. 720p as processed by the Lapse It app. The small orange dot which remains isn't a stuck pixel but a street lamp in the distance:

Once again this was processed in app using 'vivid colours'.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday at the Flicks - Minibeasts + Sunset

When I was teaching I think my favourite lessons were those where we could get out of the classroom and explore nature, especially investigating the small creatures (minibeasts) which inhabit the dark places under stones and rotting wood.

A couple of days ago I was tidying up a flower bed where some of the wooden surround had collapsed. Under one plank was the inevitable ants nest along with wood lice and slugs. As I had the Nikon in my shirt pocket I took some short video clips. The ants may look as though I speeded up the video but all was recorded in real time:

For a long time one subject I have wanted to video in time lapse is a Sunset. The iOS app Lapse It has given me that opportunity. My first attempt was useless as the auto exposure did its best to keep an equal brightness all through. By chance I found that there was a menu which allowed me to fix the exposure. This was a bit tricky as the iPod had to be pointed at a suitable area the pick an exposure, then fixed. This is not a spectacular Sunset, just an experiment. The app allows some processing before the final time lapse video is saved. This shows the same even twice, first a normal process followed by choosing 'vivid colours':

The movement does look a bit jerky with the chosen 5 second time lapse. I'll try 2 or 3 second lapses another time.


It is always difficult to forecast aurora as much depends just how the Sun's emissions hit the Earth's magnetic field but some forecasters seem to think there is a good chance of auroras tonight as two events are impacting the Earth very close together. We can only hope for a clear sky to get a chance to see whether they are right. If it turns out as well as they hope then an aurora should be visible down to mid latitudes.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Darting About

I think I have seen more dragonflies this year than ever before but most of the time they have been on the move. Finally yesterday I managed to see a couple resting and soaking up the Sunshine.

I think these are both Common Darters, the first two of a female and the final two of a male.



The male amused me. The closer I got the camera the more it arched its body and spread its wings as though to make itself look larger in the presence of danger:

Comm0n Darter DSCN3368


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Harrowing Time

The harvest has been gathered in. The field ploughed.


Now it's the time of year to hook up the disc harrow which has been waiting at the side of the field to finally break up the ground ready for sowing the next crop.



Waiting at the far end of the field is the usual gathering of gulls ready to feast on worms, grubs and anything else edible turned up by the harrow.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What

gold star

I had a feeling that last week's twisted photo might have been hard for some to identify. As it was there was only one fully correct answer so Adrian gets my congratulations and a virtual gold star all to himself for identifying the Union Flag,  often called the Union Jack.  Definitely patriotic Wilma and definitely a flag TWG.

IMG_0700      IMG_0215

If the Scots vote to have an independent nation then I assume Mr. Salmond will pay me to replace my Union Flags as part will have to be removed.

I don't think this week's twisted photo will cause as many headaches.

Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Tuesday.
No prizes. Just for fun and a virtual gold star.
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