Monday, 29 July 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star
Congratulations and a virtual gold star to Adrian, Sue Garrett and Ragged Robin who worked out that last week's Guess What was a close view of a pine cone.


DSCN1431x     DSCN1436x

On to this week's mystery macro, not the fly but the plant....
Guess What:


Clue: Attracts insects now and birds later in the year.

No prizes. Just for fun.
Guesses left in the comments, along with the answer, will be revealed next Monday.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Large White Butterfly - Mating Attempt

Not a favourite flutter with everyone, the Large White. Often called Cabbage White as they like to lay their eggs in large numbers under brassica leaves. The caterpillars can strip the leaves in no time at all.

My large Buddleia bush has produced a magnificent show of flowers this year and they have been attracting dozens of bumble bees and a few butterflies. At first I thought I was just filming a couple of white flutters but on watching the video I could see that the male, fluttering about, was trying to mate with a couple of females. The females are the ones with two black spots on each wing.

When the female opens its wings and raises the abdomen it is a sign of refusal as she has probably already mated. Source: Journal of Comparative Physiology - you may have to click on the Look Inside link to read the relevant section.

Filmed hand held with a Nikon Coolpix S9050

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Time Lapse Clouds

As it was pleasant after tea yesterday I set up the 350D to take a series of time lapse photos of the passing clouds. It was so long since I last did this I had forgotten the best interval to use. I started with one every 45sec and changed it a couple of times so it ended with one photo every 20sec. I must remember next time that something like 1 every 15sec is about ideal.

This is a couple of hours compressed to about 30secs of video made from 330 individual photos:

As usual I used "Images to Video" A simple, freeware program. I downloaded the latest version on the laptop and did the conversion there and then added the title and soundtrack in trakAxPC on the PC.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Friday at the Flicks - Stock Doves

How the Stock Dove got its name:
From Wikipedia:
"The word "stock" in the common name of this species refers not to the stock of trade, but comes from the Old English "stocc" meaning "stump, post, stake, tree trunk, log,". Therefore, "Stock Dove" means roughly "a dove which lives in hollow trees". Such hollow trees near human settlements would often be taken and used as wood stock for firewood, hence the name."

As well as using hollows in trees they have been known to use rabbit burrows.

A short video of the pair which visited the garden a few days ago:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Stock Dove

Every now and then I am graced by the visit of a Stock Dove. A few days ago two soent most of the day in and around the garden. They were very nervous and flew off at the slightest disturbance. Fortunately they only went as far as a high branch in a nearby tree and soon returned to see what scattered seed they could find.

IMG_6348 Stock Dove

I trust those in the UK Midlands, amongst others,  survived yesterday's slow moving storm. I kept an eye on one of the sites which shows where there are lightning strikes. Things looked very intense for many hours. One weather reporting site had video of a funnel cloud forming. Fortunately it didn't reach ground level before it disappeared.

Here the thunder storm didn't arrive until 9 p.m. ish and lasted a few hours. The cloud to cloud lightning was so bright the surveillance cameras were able to show full colour and much of the time the light was blue rather than white. The strikes must have been high up as the thunder was a lot quieter than would be expected with so many continuous bright strikes though floors and windows could be felt vibrating.

A good place to see a map showing recent lightning strikes in the UK is NetWeather  Not much around this morning I'm pleased to say.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star
Congratulations and a virtual gold star to TexWisGirl, Ragged Robin and Adrian for correctly identifying the scrambled Peacock in last week's puzzle picture, taken many years ago with a Ricoh XRX 35mm SLR.



On to a proper macro for this week's puzzle photo
Guess What:

Clue: No ice cream in this one.

Answers left in the comments will be revealed next Monday along with the answer.
Just for fun - no prizes.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Portrait of Mischief

IMG_6320 Squirrel

IMG_6325 Squirrel

IMG_6323 Squirrel

IMG_6321 Squirrel

The final two photos were cleaned up using MV's free Wire Worm plug in to get rid of the electrical cables. The originals, reduced quality:

IMG_6323    IMG_6321

Friday, 19 July 2013

Friday at the Flicks - Lambs

The videos were taken about three years ago. I wanted to see how the video collage features would work out in trakAxPC:

For this video I ended up with six layers, though not all show at the same time in the finished video.

Three video layers
Text layer
Background colour layer (a simple coloured jpg)
A sound layer

I wish it was as easy to do similar things with photos in Elements! Maybe it's just easier to see what is going on with video files as all layers are in view and it is easy to see what 'extras' have been added to them. Once the basic working of the program had been grasped I found it easy to construct fairly complex videos. As you will probably gather I find it well worth the present discounted price of £31.88 (including VAT).

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Water Feature + Flowers

Another short piece of tinkering with trakAxPC to see what it can do in the way of overlaying video and photos:

It has been surprisingly easy to come to terms with a different layout when adding clips, etc.. All modifications can be viewed, tested and altered in real time. I have been very surprised with the speed it operates on my old XP PC. Far better than the clunky, bloated, crashing software I have from Corel. It may not have all the facilities of the more expensive software but more than enough to keep me happy. In fact it works so well I have now bought a licence which allows it to be used on two computers. It can run on the PC and the laptop for the price of one key. Also when buying a new PC the program on the old machine can be deactivated so it can be installed on the new one. Coming soon will be the added facility to use the green screen technique and cropping of videos.

One thing - when checking the price of the software be aware that in the EU VAT will be be added!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Grey Squirrel

Really this is just an excuse to get a bit of practice with trakAxPC video maker. There is a 15 day fully working free trial period. It works very differently to other similar programs I have used but once it has been sussed out it is a very versatile program. The main thing lacking for me is in the text facilities. No drop shadow or outlining but otherwise not too bad.

A first completed result:

Saving the final result can take a while but working on clips and effects is very fast.
There are instructional videos on YouTube which are helpful with getting started using its many facilities.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Congratulations and the virtual gold star to Adrian, Jan and TexWisGirl for identifying the butterfly bush (Buddleia) In fact this one is a dwarf variety. One of two I managed to buy this year. The full size ones can get very leggy and ungainly but these should only grow to about 30 inches (about 75 cm).


Dwarf Buddleia       Dwarf Buddleia

This week here is another scrambled photo.
Guess What:

Clue: This proud bobby dazzler was not displaying.
You can click on the picture to see a larger version on Flickr.

Answers in the comments along with the answer will be revealed next Monday.
No prizes - just for fun.

Today is St. Swithin's Day - see my previous post.

St. Swithin's Day

File:Stavanger Domkirke - StSvithun.jpg

Photo from Wikipedia.

A rhyme dates back at least to the time of Queen Elizabeth I 
(from Project Britain)

St Swithin's Day is 15 July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.
St Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain.
St Swithin's Day. if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair'

Yesterday was overcast until late in the afternoon but today started sunny and promises to be a scorcher.  Will the hot dry weather remain for forty days?

More about St Swithin and British Summer weather can be found on the British Life and Customs site.

Macro on Monday to follow later.

Friday, 12 July 2013

First Pickings

Bit of a scorcher here today. What a difference it makes when the thick cloud doesn't drift in from the North Sea. This graph shows the outside temperature from last Sunday, in deg C


You can see the effect of cloud on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tomorrow could well be even hotter so we may pass 30C. Hope the air con keeps working!

Today I noticed a decent number of ripe raspberries in the fruit cage so had a short picking session. Went well with a quarter of an Asda apple pie and some single cream.


I usually add chopped banana or tinned fruit to the apple pie but how much nicer to have some fruit which is guaranteed freshly picked. There are at least two different varieties of raspberry cane in the fruit cage and normally they ripen about the same time but this year most still have growing fruit not yet ready to ripen - anyway that means more for another day. Also beginning to ripen are the blackcurrants.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

You Never Know ....

..... what you will find hiding in the garden. There really is a lot more wildlife than we might imagine. Yesterday a new water feature arrived and it prompted me to start tidying up part of the garden which had been neglected for a couple of years. That meant removing grass and buttercups which had gone rampant.

As I moved some disused containers, pots and such like there was plenty of life under them, usually slugs, worms and spiders. I know there are quite a few frogs of various ages and sizes which rest in damp shady spots so wasn't surprised to see this one:

Common Frog

I often see one jump out when mowing near the borders of the lawn. What was a suprise was to find a young Smooth Newt under one of the containers.

Young Smooth Newt 1

Young Smooth Newt

There have been newts in the garden pond for years and I assumed they would be breeding there but look as I might had never once seen any spawn, tadpoles or young newts, only adults,  so this was the first hard evidence that they are breeding. I would think this youngster is about half to two thirds full size.

Even after a tidy up there are still lots of dark, damp places left where it can find a safe home. And the water feature:


Most of the clutter and grass seen behind it has been removed. I am hoping it will attract birds to drink and give me some more photo opportunities.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Fresh Country Smell

On our way down a lane yesterday we had to make way while some farm machinery passed us. A tractor pulling a tanker full of farmyard slurry. This was heading to the field next to the lane. Fortunately the driver started this run well across the field as it is not the best farming activity to get caught up in with a cross wind:

DSCN1350 copy

Apparently, in spite of the goodness knows how many gallons of slurry it contained, there was only enough for one run across the field and we once again had to make way for it to pass us.


The first time we couldn't tell what it contained but we definitely got a good whiff of its contents the second time. What my mother used to call a fresh country smell. At least it is making good use of a waste product to fertilise the field ready for the next crop.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Summer Seems to Have Arrived at Last

On the whole temperatures have been very decent so far this month with at least one forecast saying the hot spell should last all month. That is not to say every day is glorious. Over the weekend it was hot but here yesterday thick cloud obscured the Sun until about 6 p.m. so the temperature took a dive, only just reaching 16C


Looks as though things are recovering today.

At the start of this hot spell there were some lovely cloud formations over the Lincolnshire Wolds as can be seen in these two panoramas each made with two stitched photos:



While were walking down that lane a helicopter came overhead much lower than they usually do over a built up area. It was the first time, after many attempts over the months, that I managed to get the Nikon to focus on something in the sky. I don't find it easy to use the LCD screen to frame things looking upwards - give me a traditional viewfinder any time.


It then moved on to fly low along the edge of the old airfiled before moving on across open countryside:


I wondered what it was looking for and on reading the local rag all was made clear. The company responsible for overhead power lines was conducting a survey to check on their condition. As many cross fields that is the quickest way to cover the many thousands of miles of power lines in the county. That was one mystery solved.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star I did wonder whether anyone would manage to work out last weeks' puzzle photo. As it happens three managed OK. Congratulations and a virtual gold star to Adrian, Frank and ImaBurdie for working out it was part of a hammock - my dream hammock.


On to yet another way I have found to make life difficult for you to work out what I have photographed. This time I found a simple free program (Photoscramble) which makes sliding puzzles from any photo. This is a screen clip of one such scrambled photo.

Guess What:

Clue: Waiting for all the flutters to visit.

Answers in the comments will be revealed along with the answer next Monday.

No prizes - just for fun.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

First Dragon of the Season

While walking down the lane yesterday I finally got to see the first dragonfly of the season, a Common Hawker which did at least land a couple of times. The first time Penny managed to scare it away but on the second I managed a few shots though lighting conditions didn't help in showing the wing structure.

Common Hawker

I am always fascinated by the geometrical regularity and beauty of natures' structures as on this Bull Thistle found at the edge of the cricket field.

Bull Thistle

Minnie the Minx Windmill is based on the Beano comic character though to be true she should have red and not yellow on her jumper.

Minnie the Minx

I can't work out whether she is commercially made or home made but given a bit of breeze she does work hard and while she's doing that she can't get up to any mischief.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Friday at the Flicks - A Couple of Twirly Things

And now, as they say, for something completely different.

There really has been a dearth of butterflies hereabouts this year. Even with the recent spell of good weather I have seen a total of four in as many days. The only one I managed to video was this solar powered one in the local churchyard:

Some years ago a friend gave me a Minnie the Minx Windmill in case I should find a use for it as a garden ornament. Well, I finally plucked it from the Round Tuit pile and here it is in all its glory:

Reminds me of one of those pointless prison punishments favoured at one time to keep prisoners occupied.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Village Sign - RAF Manby

About a quarter of a mile from me is the corner of what used to be RAF Manby. The airfield was built in the 1930s and was the first airfield in Lincolnshire to have paved runways. Lincolnshire became know as Bomber County as there were so many airfields constructed and used during WWII. The county being next to the North Sea and having plenty of flat agricultural land it was the ideal location to station many bomber squadrons. As far as I can tell there were over 40 airfields in the county.

RAF Manby was somewhat different as, amongst other things, it housed the Air Armament School for training Armament Officers, Air Gunners and Air Bombers. Later it housed the Joint Services Bomb Disposal School.

The airfield continued to be used for many years after the war but by the time I moved here in the early 1970s only the local RAF housing and the Sergeants' Mess were still in use though they were soon sold off. I miss the Sergeants' Mess - good company, cheap ale and two excellent billiard tables. Staff, though living in the officers and married quarters here, worked on the Lightning squadron based at RAF Binbrook.

Where there were bunkers there are now small housing estates. Many of the old buildings were taken over by small business enterprises. East Lindsey District Council established their headquarters in one of the old RAF buildings. The air field was partly returned to agricultural use.

Some years ago, to remember the existence of RAF Manby, a village sign was made to stand at the crossroads:

Grimoldby and Manby Village Sign

Unfortunately this was vandalised and one of the wings was broken off but after many months of work a magnificent new painted replacement was erected recently:

DSCN1250 copy
As the sky was so grey yesterday when I took this photo I made my first attempt at adding a different sky in Photoshop Elements.

My information was gleaned from Bomber County Aviation Resource where a full history can be found.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star
Results for last week's What's Wrong?. Congratulations and virtual gold stars to Keith, Jan, TexWisGirl and ImaBurdie for spotting that the lopsided spider had a leg missing.

  Daddy-longlegs Spider

Maybe harder this week will be this photo of a small part of an object I  re-erected yesterday now some decent weather has finally arrived:

Guess What:

Clue: dreaming in the breeze.

Answers in the comments will be revealed along with the answer next Monday.

No prizes - just for fun.
Related Posts with Thumbnails