Sunday, 26 March 2017

What a Lot I've Got

Once I had finished trimming the lawn yesterday I had a quick look to see how the frog spawn in the garden pond was progressing. No frog spawn, now hundreds of tadpoles:




If they all grow up I will have to get a bigger pond, or bigger garden!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Don't Forget the Ground Feeders

With mornings like today - foggy, air frost, just about 2C - our feathered friends appreciate some high energy food to start the day. What better than a fat ball or two? Most times we tend to hang these in nets or specially designed containers. That is fine for the smaller birds who can hang on but often near impossible for ground feeders such as Blackbirds. I have seen them keep flying up, trying to peck off the odd piece before they fall down again.

Recently I have been placing a fat ball or two on the bird table so they can all eat their share:

This female Blackbird was certainly appreciating it.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Seeing Red

One of my favourite views at this time of year can be seen from my back door. A glance across next door's garden to the one beyond and the beginnings of what will become a blaze of red is just starting to show:


If I remember correctly this is a Peony bush,  tall enough for me to admire over the six foot fencing.
My thanks to Rob for identifying the flower as a Camellia.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Mixing Channels - The Making of a B/W Picture

A brilliant Sunlight day with lots of bright blue sky and plenty of clouds, just right for a bit of infra red photography. Pity the wind was so bally cold.  A good job I'm not related to any brass monkeys. I was trying out a new IR filter on the 'full spectrum' 1200D. This one is infinitely adjustable from 530nm  to 720nm.

This photo was taken with it set to 530nm and the camera white balance set to the green grass.

Result as seen and taken by the camera:


The RAW file was adjusted for contrast and black level in Affinity Photo. Then the channel mixer was used to adjust each Red, Green & Blue level independantly on each R G & B channel:


Finally that was changed to B/W (greyscale) with a tad more tweaking:


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Closer by Tube

No, not underground photography but using extension tubes to take macro shots.

A short while ago I spotted a set of extension tubes for sale on eBay. Lightweight alloy by the feel of them. Full electrical contacts are fitted so auto focus works as normal. This set is designed for Canon DSLR cameras and consists of three tubes of different lengths so you can choose which to use depending how close you want to get.


These hand held photos (uncropped) were taken with the 'full spectrum' 1200D set for B/W, 21mm tube with 24-105mm zoom lens. Live view was used on the camera:

A small cactus: (1/100  f8  67mm) middle branch is bout 6mm across

A miniature daffodil: (1/160  f8  92mm)

I was pleased the outdoor daffodil worked as there was a breeze wafting the flowers about.

The advantage of using tubes is no extra optics so no added distortion. The disadvantage is the longer the tube used the more light is lost = slower shutter speeds and / or wider apertures for the same exposure. The 21mm is about 2 f stops slower compared with no tube.

This set seems to be a snip at just under £15 with free p&p.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Video Title Experiment

It's nice to have something new to exercise the remaining grey cell. This time it's animation. A couple of days ago I spotted the Mac app called Crazy Talk Animator 2 Standard Edition had gone free for a while so I just had to download it and have a play. This is about the most basic version they make and you have to work with the backgrounds, figures, animation they supply. I've always wanted to make a short animated intro for my videos so thought I would have a play.

Some rather poorly lit, grainy video of Blue Tits taken earlier in the year:

Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies filmed earlier in the week:

The animated sequence was saved as a .MOV video file then imported in iMovie and added to the
video clips with associated music where needed.

Of course the idea of giving away the basic version is to entice people to buy the Pro version for £75.
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