Saturday, 30 November 2013


Another iPad app which went free for one day is CloudArt which produces a word cloud. It can be used to scour a web site as it did on my blog to produce this:

2013-11-29 22.59.33

It didn't work on my YouTube pages as it picked up a whole raft of words which had nothing to do with my videos. The app has the facility to type in words so I typed in most of the titles for my videos. Haven't tried it yet but am pretty sure copy and paste could be used to move word lists or chunks of text between apps which support the copy facility.

2013-11-29 23.54.42

The ap has a few choices for the layout, lots of choices for fonts and several fixed colour schemes along with one which can be personalised. Words can be deleted from the produced cloud or their size adjusted. I left the sizes as produced by the program.

How do I know when various apps are free? I use RSS feeds from App Saga and iPad Insight. Also I use the site. There searches can be made, interesting apps marked so that an email is sent to me when their price changes.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Autumn Berries, Winter Food

Over the past couple of weeks I spotted many hedge and garden plants laden down with ripe berries which will be very welcome as food for birds during the cold Winter months:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Invisible Perch

Chaffinch coming in to land on the seed feeder looks as though it is sat on an invisible perch:

The Invisible Perch

Monday, 25 November 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Only one contributor solved the mystery photo perfectly correctly so Wilma received the virtual gold star for identifying it as a fossil fish. Well done to Adrian, TexWisGirl and Sue Garrett who recognised it as a fish.



On to what will probably be the last Guess What photo until the new Year as it is getting harder to find suitable things to photograph at the moment. This one was taken today.

Guess What:

Clue: Nuts

No prizes. Just for fun.
The correct answer, along with any guesses left in the comments, will be revealed next Monday.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Dragon Hunter in the Hedge

Never know what you will find in a hedge:


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Of Sparrows and Coconuts

Well, only one coconut and then only the shell. This one started life as a suet filled feeder but once it was empty the position of the cut-out made it ideal as a seed feeder. It is very popular with many of the smaller birds. Yesterday it was the turn of the House Sparrows to make full use of it:

What's on the menu today?

I'll have a sunflower heart please:

and I'll have the suet treat:

Room for two:

Video, slowed down to half speed:

Friday, 22 November 2013

Friday at the Flicks - November Admiral

Last Tuesday when the sky was clear and the Sun shining brightly I was almost caught unawares when a Red Admiral flew in and settled on an old planter near the bottom of the garden. Considering that night temperature had been below 2C and even in the Sun it was only 6C with a very cold breeze the last thing I expected to see was a butterfly.

Even with a 400mm zoom lens this is all I could see with the 70D:

A small crop from the above photo:
November Red Admiral

It stayed long enough to get a bit of video, same 400mm zoom with 3x digital zoom in the camera:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.
You never know what will turn up.

Thursday, 21 November 2013


From Tuesday of this week when overhead was beautiful clear blue sky.

Three stitched photos showing the rain / snow clouds gathering just off the coast:


Cropped from a single photo showing more detail:


One from last January which I didn't get round to using then:


All taken with the Nikon S9050

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Which Seed Shall I Eat Next?

Plenty of small bird activity around the Birdy Bistro yesterday when temperature reached a maximum of 6C with an over night wind chill of -3C. Cold breeze but beautiful clear Sunny sky.

House Sparrow
House Sparrow

Coal Tit
Coal Tit

Blue Tit
Blue Tit

Great Tit
Great Tit



All photos taken with the Canon 40D with 100-400mm zoom lens and cropped.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Canon 70D + Canon EFS18-35mm lens + flash

The built in flash was too strong as I was very close to the flower. 
Solution - cover over about two thirds of the flash with a finger.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold starIt was a bit difficult to guess exactly what last week's mystery photo was though the clue 'bottoms up' was meant to indicate it was a drink. Anyway the virtual star goes to Adrian (who was exactly correct in saying it was a glass of white wine), Sue Garrett, Glo and Ragged Robin who mention it was a glass of liquid. Good try from Texwisgirl as a rain gauge could look like that:

DSCN1936xx DSCN1937c

It took me ages to find the photos I intended to choose from for this week's mystery photo. Found them in the end so here is a crop from one.
Guess What:

Clue: Can't catch this with a bent pin and worm.

Just for fun. No prizes. The correct answer and any guesses left in the comments will be revealed next Monday.

New Toy:

Ever since I tried Magic Lantern on the Canon 50D to get video capability I've hankered after a Canon which has it built in, along with sound which the 50D doesn't have. Then I read reviews of the new 70D and they were very enthusiastic so I have been waiting to see some reasonable prices for a body only version.

I ordered one yesterday from Amazon and it duly arrived this morning. Spent a while browsing the 100+ pages of the user manual while I waited for the battery to charge. Of course by then it had turned dull and started to rain but I did manage a quick trial of the video. The first part of the video is with the 100-400mm zoom lens at 400mm. The rest is the same but with an extra 3x digital zoom added in the camera. It did a lot better than I expected with the digital zoom and the poor lighting conditions:

The original .mov files totalled 760MB in the camera so I processed the video as an mp4 level 5 which brought things down to a manageable 77MB for uploading. No other tweaking was done.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Forsythia Stem Gall

Growing in the corner of next doors front garden is an old forsythia bush. It had got to the stage where some of it was almost blocking the grass verge which is the nearest we have to a public footpath so I asked permission to chop it back somewhat.

While I was disposing of the branches I noticed many of the smaller twigs were covered with nodules. A search found that these are Forsythia Stem Galls, probably caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas savastanoi.

2013-11-16 10.12.01x

It seems a long while since I tried a serious macro using stacked photos so I got out the Heath Robinson effort I built a few years ago. This consists of a stripped down PC DVD player and an Arduino Nano. The Arduino drives the small stepper motor in the DVD player which moves the item being photographed a tiny distance further away from the camera at each pulse. At the same time it tells the camera to take a photo once any vibration has settled down.

 2013-11-16 12.51.46

The Canon 350D was fitted with a 70-200mm zoom lens with a Raynox DCR-250 macro lens added. As well as natural light an LED ring flash was used on continuous light. Each photo has a very small depth of field:


72 photos were taken, each with the gall a tiny fraction further away from the lens so each had a different part in focus. Finally I used CombineZP which stacks together the in focus bits from each photo. The idea is to end up with one photo with all the subject in focus:


This is the best result I have ever had using CombineZP so am well chuffed, worth waiting over 20 minutes of processing time to get the finished photo.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Fungi Friday

Nothing new on the video front this Friday so here are some fungi seen on our perambulations this month:

2013-11-09 11.23.06

2013-11-10 07.54.39

2013-11-05 11.14.50

2013-11-07 14.34.37

All the above taken with an iPhone4
The last one taken with the Nikon Coolpix S9050


Have a great weekend observing the beauties of nature around you.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Red Sky at Night ....

... Midmarsh's delight.





Beautiful Autumn colours at tea time today. Taken with the Nikon Coolpix S9050. Cropped a bit otherwise exactly as taken by the camera.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

On the Cut

On the Cut is a free app for videoing on the iPhone.
A quick test video:

It is so simple to use. Keep in contact with the screen to video, let go to pause, retouch to continue with the same video. Any time you are not touching the screen the video can be saved to the camera roll or deleted.

The video is a square format (480x480 pixels) mp4. Keep the camera upright, portrait orientation, or the video comes out sideways as I found out and had to get Youtube to rotate the above video.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Another full house for last week's mystery photo. Congratulations and the virtual gold star to TexWisGirl, Adrian, Glo, Keith, Wilma and Sue Garrett for identifying the golf ball. The reference to eagle and albatross referred to terminology used for scoring in golf.

Bobby was very good at finding lost golf balls where people had been practicing on the cricket field.

IMG_7198xx    2013-11-11 17.19.05

Here we go then. A crop of an object for this week's mystery photo.
Guess What:

Clue: Bottoms up.

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

Sunday, 10 November 2013

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