Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Micro Moth

Spotted this small moth (about 10mm long, wingspan about 18mm) hiding in the gap by my shed door. For once I was able to identify it - Dipleurina lacustrata

 2015-07-29-11.47.09 ZS 2 PMax

 2015-07-29-11.40.32 ZS PMax 2

These fly in June and July. The larvae feed on various mosses and lychens growing on tree trunks, rocks and walls.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Raptors at the Village Show

Tucked away in one corner of the village school playing field was an exhibition of birds of prey from a local country park.

Apart from this Barn Owl I didn't manage to catch which raptors the others were:

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I seem to remember this one is a Canadian Red Tailed Hawk:
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Once again I used Photo Scissors to eliminate the background and added the colour in Serif Affinity Photo.

The onlookers were given a closer look at each of the birds in turn:
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Stealing the limelight, though, was this baby:
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I will have to make a visit to Rushmore Country Park, near Louth in Lincolnshire, to identify them. A visit has been on my Round Tuit list for years as it is less than four miles from home so I really must get round to visiting in the near future.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Mystery - Guess What

Mystery

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Congratulations and the virtual Midmarsh Gold Star go to Adrian and Wilma who worked out last week's mystery photo was a close view of a hammer:

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Maybe more people will have better luck identifying this....
Guess What:
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Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.
No prizes. Just for fun and maybe a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cutting out a Rose

This rose bloom looked beautiful but it needed the clutter removing to show it at its best:

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Load in Photo Scissors on the Mac. Mark in green the part wanted. Mark in red what has to be removed. Check and make any adjustments where the program makes a mistake. Crop and save the rose as a PNG with a transparent background:

Photo Scissors

Pop that in Serif Affinity Designer. Flood fill the background with a dark colour. Tidy up any remaining small errors around the edges of the rose. Save the end result:

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Total time taken about fifteen minutes.

The new title piccy was produced in Serif Affinity Designer while I was learning how to use layers and how to cut bits from photos and paste them in a new picture.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Helping Others With Microfinance Loans

On a chance visit to The Weaver of Grass blog I read a post about charities and their methods of raising money. That brought to mind one of the ways I use any small amounts of money I may have spare to help others. A few years ago I found out about two sites which make loans to people in poorer countries which help them to improve their lives. The money may be for extra livestock, seed, stock for market stalls or small shops, repairs, etc.. The money is repaid to my account over a number of months and I can then re-use it to help more people. No interest is paid to me.

I think this is a novel way to help people help themselves, not just a handout but a way of helping them to improve their lot in life. How it works is you open an account with each / either organisation and transfer some money. After that you choose when to loan the money and which person / people to lend to. Once your received repayments pass the minimum amount needed for a microloan you can relend the money to someone else.

Which are these organisations?

The first is Kiva. This one works in dollars and microloans are made in multiples of $25. Each of my contributions is a part of the amount of money a person requests.

Kiva1
Kiva2


The other is LendWithCare which works in UK pounds and microloans are made in multiples of £15.

LWC1
LWC2
LWC3


With both organisations their sites list the people who are requesting loans, a bit about their background, what they want the loan for and what they will do with what they purchase. I look through and pick which I will contribute to. Both suggest a small extra amount with each microloan to help with their expenses. This is voluntary and I can add as much or little as I wish. Both keep me informed and let me know when repayments are received. I get the occasional email from them but these are kept to a minimum.

There is always a risk that a borrower will not be able to fully repay a loan but my experience so far has shown this to be a very, very rare event. The organisations have agents in each country where they work and vet the prospective borrowers to minimise any risk.

What I like about this method of helping others -
I choose where my money is going.
I know what my money is being used for.
The money gets to be reused.
No unknown siphoning off any of my money to enhance the lifestyle of fatcat administrators.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday at the Flicks - Bees

FATTHEF


A large flowering bush overhanging from next door has been attracting scores of honeybees and bumble bees.  This is the first time I have been able to see clearly how a bee uses the hooks at the end of its legs to hold on to a flower as it moves around.  Also the influx of tiny Pollen Beetles can be seen.



I have a feeling that the bee I found earlier in the week which I couldn't identify may have been a genetic aberration as I couldn't find any photos with anywhere near the same markings.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you and if you live in the South East of the UK don't get too wet!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Playing With Serif Affinity Photo

I wanted to be able to abstract a subject from a cluttered background.

Started with:

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and after an hour or more experimenting ended with:

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I need to practice working with selections and layers as I seemed to spend ages going round in ever decreasing circles and back tracking through most of the things I had done.
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