Friday, 31 January 2014

Friday at the Flicks

There has been little of interest going on this week. Plenty of dull days when photography has been virtually impossible. By my reckoning we have had just three days without some rain this month.  On top of that the PC has gradually been playing up more and more as it reaches the end of its useful working life.

Early yesterday morning I had a lone Jackdaw visit. It spent a good half hour hunting under the bird feeders and perusing the lawn. Tried several times to get a still shot but poor light levels gave a shutter speed of 1/4 second or longer. In desperation I tried video. Surprisingly that looked clear and bright. In fact the 70D made a very decent job of it though, as the camera was hand held, it was not as steady as I would have liked. Apart from compressing the video and adding a title this is as taken under conditions so poor it had difficulty focussing:

No sound as all you would have heard was the kettle boiling for the first cuppa of the day.
I get the impression from its general size and behaviour that it may have been a juvenile.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Waiting for Breakfast

Another nice Sunrise yesterday:


Hard to see on the wide angle shot but in the background is the usual gathering of Wood Pigeons waiting in their favourite vantage point ready to descend on the nearby field:


Friday, 24 January 2014

Jack Frost Strikes Again

This time it was the beautiful fern like patterns of frost on the greenhouse glass which caught my attention. These were taken with the Nikon S9050, processed in Photomatrix Pro and then in Irfanview as the originals have very little contrast:





Each window had a different pattern. I was lucky as they had all melted within 15 minutes of these photographs being taken.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Camera Selfie

Remember this photo of frozen water droplets on a spider's web from the last blog entry? This version has been re-processed a bit as the first attempt didn't upload properly. I just darkened the background. It was very noisy as I had set the camera to ISO 3200 in the hope of getting a reasonable shutter speed while it was hand held:


Last night I looked closer to see what the pattern was in some of the small drops:


Once large enough I could see each drop showed a reflection of the front mounted macro lens and ring flash. Dotted round the edge of each drop are the LEDs in the ring flash. Amazing!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Jewels on the Web

Another cold start to the day. Once again the temperature first thing this morning was -3C but this time with foggy conditions. Most things were covered in frost:


While we were out walk-about I noticed how well some spiders' webs were showing as the dew drops on them had frozen:



A couple of attempts at taking macro shots, hand held so not the clearest of photos:



The light refracting through the frozen water drops made them look as though each spider had scattered jewels along the strands of its web.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Hoar Frost

Another morning where we woke up to freezing conditions. About -3C and much outside covered in hoar frost.

A couple of my attempts to take some macro shots of the frost on the Summerhouse roof:



Otherwise there has been little of interest to photograph recently.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A Splash of Winter Colour

Walking through the churchyard a couple of days ago I spotted that the Winter Aconite are just beginning to flower:

Winter Aconite DSCN2170

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

All Clear

Madam relaxing with her Christmas penguin after our visit to the vet where one of the nurses checked that she was progressing well after her tooth job last week:


She was given the all clear so it was £160 well spent! Unlike Bobby, Penny hasn't been put off visiting the vet even after two sets of extractions in eleven months. She goes bonkers if there is a car trip and a possibility of meeting people in the offing.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Looking Up

Just after Sunset yesterday I could see there was a fairly clear view of the Moon so I lugged the 70D with 100-400mm lens plus tripod outside for a few shots:

Moon IMG_0522

Then I happened to spot what, at first, I thought was a bright star. There was too much light in the garden to see much else so I had a go at photographing it to see how it would turn out. Every time I took a shot I could see what looked like reflections or refractions on the photo which I couldn't see in the sky:

Jupiter IMG_0529

I tried different positions and extra shade in front of the lens until the penny finally dropped. That was no star. It was Jupiter and with the camera taking about a 1/3 second exposure it was also picking up four of Jupiter's moons which I couldn't see with the naked eye. Probably Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa. The above is quite a small crop from the full photo. Definitely an improvement on my last attempt in November 2010 when I failed completely to get any recognisable still shots of Jupiter.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Return of Mr P?

Of course this may not be the same pheasant which visited a few times last year. He was doing a grand job of clearing up the seeds scattered by the smaller birds. It must have stayed well over half an hour which gave plenty of time for some still and video shots:

Pheasant IMG_0490

Pheasant IMG_0478

Pheasant IMG_0475

Pheasant IMG_0517

Pheasant and Blackbird - which gives a good idea of their relative sizes:

Pheasant and Blackbird IMG_0509

Finally some silent video, shot hand held with the Canon 70D fitted with 100-400mm zoom lens:

Sunday, 12 January 2014

First Frost of the Year

This morning we had our first real frosty conditions of 2014. When I got up the outside temperature was -2.7C and most things were white over with frost.

By the time we went walk-about it had risen to -1.7C with a thin cloud cover:


On our return I took a few photos of the frost crystals.
The lawn:


Most plants:


A frozen cobweb on the greenhouse:


 Ice crystals on a water barrel:


Macro view:


Macro view of frost pattern on the summerhouse window:




This was Penny still a bit dopey and sore on her return from the vets last Wednesday. Nice sparky white teeth but two less than she went with. Poor lass, that is now four less than she had a year ago.  Tooth decay can be a major problem with retired greyhounds. She is still a bit sore but that hasn't blunted her appetite though she is on soft food until everything has healed.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Storm Warning, Possible Aurora Conditions

Looking at today I see that NASA has estimated a 90% chance of geomagnetic storms tonight. The speed of the solar wind around Earth could peak at 1.6 million mph compressing the Earth's magnetosphere. Given a clear sky an aurora might be seen from northern parts of the UK. I have seen one photo of a faint aurora which was taken in Scotland within the past week.

Unfortunately it looks as though many areas will be under cloud cover as shown in a tweet from AuroraWatchUK.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

More Than a Bit on the Wet Side

For those who haven't found it yet the Environment Agency have a live flood warning map for England and Wales. This is what it looked like this morning:

Flood Warning Map

The map is updated every fifteen minutes, can be zoomed to show more detail and each of the warnings can be clicked on to give more details.

Information for Scotland can be found on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency site.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Not All Bad

While much of the West and South of the British Isles was suffering with flooding from exceptionally high tides and gale force winds here on the Eastern side of the country it was quite a pleasant day though with cold blustery winds from time to time. It wasn't until nearly Sunset that clouds started to roll across the county.

These photos were taken looking across to the Lincolnshire Wolds as we made our way back home from a visit to the vet:



Once again Penny is suffering with problems with her teeth so she will be back at the vets next week for some more treatment. It can be a regular problem with retired racing greyhounds.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Blue Tit + Goldcrest?

Spotted a Blue Tit right at the top of a tree next door but as I focussed on the little darling it flew off. Fortunately it returned lower down and in the open, staying there for a while while I took a few shots - almost as though it was posing for me:

Blue Tit 0472

Blue Tit 0467

Blue Tit 0474

A short while before that I had spotted a small bird in a Christmas Tree - one which my neighbour had planted out many years ago. I couldn't get a clear, sharp photo so this record shot has to do. I am reasonably certain it was a Goldcrest:


I have seen one visit on rare occasions in the past.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Final Sunset of 2013

For far too short a time on the last day of 2013 we had a spectacular Sunset:

Sunset 2013 DSCN2146

Sunset 2013 DSCN2152

Sunset 2013 DSCN2151

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