Friday, 12 September 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.


  1. Very good. I use 2s-3s for clouds depending on how fast they are moving.

    It is easy to edit other peoples work. It would look good with the track split at around 16s and a crossfade to vivid colour for the last bit.

    I was looking at Aurora Watch this morning. They are not showing anything too exciting but I will set up for it just in case.

    1. Adrian: From this morning:

      "The first of two CMEs expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 12th has arrived, and a minor (G1-class) geomagnetic storm is underway as a result of the impact. The second and potentially more powerful CME is still en route. NOAA forecasters say geomagnetic storming could become strong (G3-class) during the late hours of Sept. 12th and Sept 13th after the second CME arrives.

      The next CME, now only hours away, was launched by an X-class flare, so it is potent. However, not every potent CME produces a potent geomagnetic storm. It all depends on the inner magnetic architecture of the CME, which is unknown until the CME actually arrives. NOAA forecasters are estimating a 45% chance that strong magnetic disturbances will reach mid-latitudes on Sept 13--almost like a coin toss."

      I hadn't thought of combining the two sunset videos. Never was much good at lateral thinking, possibly at thinking full stop!

    2. John, I'd forgotten SpaceWeather. I tend to use the data from the Leicester University machines, I forget what the magnetic sensors are called.

      It's not easy editing ones own work. Almost impossible unless one comes back to it after a week.

    3. Adrian: There is also the British Geological Survey site at

  2. An interesting experiment of time-lapse John. Have to look out for the Aurora.

  3. Nice time lapse sunset. I do like the vivid colors effect. Ants are amazingly fast, especially when a large monster upsets their living quarters! :-)

  4. ants' communications must be something. liked the sky progression,t oo.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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