Friday, 3 April 2020

Shining Brightly

Thought I would have a go and see what the 70D with 500mm lens could pick out last night while the sky was relatively clear of clouds. Venus was shining really brightly soon after Sunset but I had a job to make out even a couple of stars with the naked eye. Fortunately the camera was more sensitive.

Slightly cropped view of Venus with the Pleiades constellation (Seven Sisters) nearby


A slightly longer shot showed many more stars which I had no chance viewing with the naked eye


It may be better to click on the photos to see larger versions on my Flickr account.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Hamming It Up

Ham (amateur) radio that is. After working on HF frequencies for the past couple of years I decided to return to using the VHF amateur bands. Specifically 2m (144MHz). Last week I tried using digital modes on my white stick (vertical) aerial which was reasonable for contacting other stations in England but was useless for contacting any stations on the continent. On Monday I decided to rescue one of 2m yagi aerials from the garage, wound the mast over, changed the stub mast and wired the yagi beam in place.

It can be seen at the top of the mast. I left the 6m halo (square) aerial in place.
The white vertical aerial can be seen in the background at the bottom of the photograph.


I also had to re-connect all the wiring for the rotator as the beam aerial needs to point in the direction I want to make contacts.

My simple set up


The rotator controller on the left. Above the radio is a power meter so I can see how much RF power the transmitter is sending to the aerial.

When I am using digital modes of transmission I use an internet program to see which amateur radio stations are receiving my transmissions. The transmitter is connected to the laptop via a control box.

Screenshot 2020-04-01_08-28-14-028

Sunspot minimum is not the best of times for long distance contacts but I have made contacts in Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and the Isle of Mann.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Following On

Following on from the mystery photo yesterday I liked the form, lighting and shadows so decided to see what FX Photo Studio PRO for the Mac could do with it. As the object was some what translucent I had positioned the lighting above and slightly behind it.


2020-03-28 09-08-04 (C,Smoothing4)bw

Enhanced colour:

2020-03-28 09-08-04 (C,Smoothing4)

Rainbow colouring:

2020-03-28 09-08-04 (C,Smoothing4)fr

The app has scores of pre-set choices as well as being able to perform some individual manipulation.
There is also a wide choice of frames which can be added.

Finally, the rainbow coloured one was processed in Tiny Planets


as a 'rabbit hole'.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Monday Mystery

Another good set of responses to identify last week's object


which was correctly identified by Adrian, The Veg Artist, Kris, Dave, Ellen D, Ragged Rpbin, A Brit in Tennessee and Kev Scott as


a pen / ball point / biro. Well done.

I wonder what you will make of this

2020-03-28 09-08-04 (C,Smoothing4)

If you think you know, or would like to make a guess, please leave your guess in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

That Virus and Other Bugs

Yesterday I had to nip to my local medical practice to collect my monthly medication. They were taking precautions against spreading the dreaded lurgy. We had to queue outside. They had even put out cones every 2m to keep people an appropriate distance apart. I had arrived early so was first in the queue. A young man, complete with gloves and face mask, asked me my name and address, went inside, collected the tablets and brought them out to me.

More interesting bugs were these woodlice (pill bugs) I found (no sound)

Do you see what I spotted on our daily walkabout?


A shield bug


Most probably a Hawthorn Shield Bug.

Friday, 27 March 2020

A Quick Burst

This time I went in the garden with the 100 - 500mm zoom lens hand held with manual focus. This is the first time I have set the camera to burst mode where it can take up to seven photos a second. I hoped that might give me a better chance of catching an insect in flight. Holding this set up anything near steady is quite a tussle as it weighs about 2.7Kg

First spotted though was this Small Tortoise butterfly resting


Then a hover fly led me a merry dance but out of dozens of flight shots a couple were reasonable.



Resting giving its wings a Spring clean


Finally a Peacock butterfly landed nearby


Feeding on a Dandelion


Another good afternoon in the Sun. Clear sky can mean warm daylight hours. Two days ago it reached 15C. Yesterday about 12C. Clear sky at night is a different matter this time of year. Lowest air temperature in the wee small hours was -2C with a good layer of frost.

All the photos here are small crops.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Pottering Round the Garden ...

... with the Canon 70D plus 17-85mm macro lens in hand to see what was about on a (relatively) warm, sunny afternoon.

Peeling bark on the old leylandii stump


A pair of amorous ladybirds who throught they were hidden from prying eyes


Lots of tiny pollen beetles, especially on the tĂȘte-a-tete.


A pretty pink Dianthus


A button daisy


Finally a rather tatty Peacock Butterfly on the Heather


It was lovely to get out in the fresh air without having to wrap up like an Inuit.
As so often happens the thing I went out to photograph eluded me.
I had spotted a Bee-fly hovering several times but it was camera shy.
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