ABOUT ME

I live in a camper van with a couple of West Highland Terriers for company.
My passion is photography but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN
ALL IMAGES WILL ENLARGE WITH A LEFT CLICK

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

BIRDS AND BONFIRE. (31/03/15)

It’s really not fit to take a dog out. Squally sleet and snow showers; disgusting weather.

I noticed the other day that one of the Pied Wagtails is a much lighter colour than the other two that visit.

_V0G7729      A normal one.

_V0G7734     This one is much lighter it almost looks like a juvenile but I can’t imagine it is at this time of year.

On my way back from the bins I collected a bit of moss.

_MG_3134    What a tangled moss. This is Bonfire Moss. Funaria hygrometrica.

_MG_3144    This is the same stuff magnified. I think the bit of cobweb stuff is exactly that but I did notice that when viewed large the spore thingies have a membrane round them.

It’s a wonderful world we live in and what is more I didn’t get cold and wet taking the pictures today.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

STUNNED BY A STICK. (28/03/15)

It was vile this morning, pouring with rain and there was appreciable wind chill. On the way back for breakfast I grabbed a bit of stick with a view to focus stacking the lichens growing on it. I have also spent considerable time reading about them. To be honest ninety percent of it I couldn’t understand until I happened across this PDF document. It’s a Scottish Natural Heritage booklet titled Lichens by a chap called Oliver Gilbert. Here is his description:

What is a lichen?
A lichen (pronounced li'ken) is a dual organism consisting
of a fungus and a photosynthetic alga or blue-green alga
(cyanobaterium) which live in close association. The
photosynthetic partner manufactures food for the whole
lichen and the fungus provides a stable, protective
environment for its alga. The fungus forms the main
body of the lichen, and in most cases, the alga lies
sandwiched between upper and lower fungal layers.
Where a lichen has a green algal partner, the green
algal layer can often be seen by scratching the upper
surface of the lichen. Lichens are often quoted as a
classic example of symbiosis - a mutually beneficial
partnership between two organisms.
Other interesting facts:
• some crust-like lichens on rocks have a 'legendary
slow' growth rate, sometimes as little as 0.1 mm
per year,
• in undisturbed conditions, some rock-dwelling
lichens can survive to a great age (many hundreds
of years) and are among the oldest living organisms
in Scotland,
• many lichens have a remarkable tolerance to
drying out, during which state they can survive
extremes of heat and cold; this means that they can
tolerate being scorched by the sun in summer
months, yet also survive ice and snow, and are
therefore able to grow higher up in the mountains
than other plants.
Scottish lichens are many colours: white, grey, black,
yellow, orange, sulphur, apple-green, pink or scarlet.
Most grow as crusts, some are leafy (foliose), while
others are shrubby. They are completely different from
the mosses and liverworts with which they often grow.
The majority of mosses and liverworts are green, leafy
and photosynthesise their own food.

Thank you Mr Gilbert. Even I could understand this and it did help and hopefully will help in the future.

_MG_3127     Here is the stick, it’s 4.5” long or 115mm. You will notice that I’ve included both Imperial and Metric measurements today. I hope you read this Frances as two scales is not even half as good as one.

After breakfast the stick was drying out and the colours were not as vibrant so I wet it again but the reflections were horrendous. I played with the ring flash and ended up just using one side and a polariser but it didn’t make that much difference and I had to take it and the flash off so that I could see to focus. I let it dry off a bit and then tried focus stacking but to be honest f16 worked as well so that was the route I took. I focussed on a macro rail, had 56mm of extension on the lens, speed 160s and the strobe set to full without bias but mode set to ETTL so it used what it needed. The lens is the Canon 100mm macro, it’s a grand bit of kit with aperture from f2.8 down to f33. It’s not brilliant over F18 but as good as stacking.

_MG_3125

_MG_3124

_MG_3123

_MG_3122   I find them beautiful but almost impossible to identify. It’s amazing how many individuals can inhabit a bit of twig.

I’ll try and think of something else for the next post as I realise that they aren’t everyone's idea of scintillating entertainment.

Friday, 27 March 2015

THE SPICE OF LIFE. (27/03/15)

It’s been all go here, I’m exhausted watching folk work. Yesterday the new pontoon arrived and I intended to make a time lapse video of it being installed. The rain put paid to that.pontoon   It looks grand even on a murky cold morning. I collected the dogs up and came back for breakfast. It wasn’t very nice first thing but by the time I was ready to wander the sun was shining.

I decided to have a look at the pond to see if there was any sign of frogs, toads or newts and on the way back to have another look at the Earth Tongue. I searched low and lower for it but either it had gone or it was somewhere else. Not to worry it was a good walk despite the lack of anything approaching what I went out for.

_V0G7699   This is the pond, it looks to be amphibian territory but there is still no sign of anything.

_MG_3108 With the exception of a wet and filthy Molly…….She thinks the frogs should be about by now.

_V0G7702   I am hoping that the leaves will appear soon as pretty as the place is at the moment it will look better with sunlight streaming through new leaves.

_V0G7703          The Jane Frazer Monument and Molly. Alf is around somewhere.

_MG_3111       The remains of a Toadstool.

_MG_3109

_MG_3110       Another wreck, the latter two are both the same things and look as if they were puff balls on a stalk way back in the autumn. Definitely a small puffball head.

_MG_3106       New life. Fruit bodies of the moss Bryum capillare.

It was time to head home. I washed the dogs in the loch, got back to the van and just as the kettle boiled this little beauty hopped into range. I have been trying to get a picture of it for three weeks.

_V0G7712      Pied Wagtail. I managed to get it almost in focus before it flew away, a much better result than a bit of grass and no bird.

Variety is the spice of life. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

I HOPE IT WEARS OFF. (26/03/15)

Yesterday turned out sunny and warm. Today is cold and damp. I spent the morning making more macro scales and then went out with the MP-E 65mm lens. I have trouble hand holding it but got middling results on a monopod.

_V0G7689    Loch Ness yesterday afternoon.

_V0G7691     The river Foyers a few minutes later.

Now it’s back to macro and today.

_MG_3083

_MG_3084

_MG_3093  Though these were taken at between 1.56X and 3X and on different Alder trees I think it is all the same stuff. Most of these lichens grow on stones so bearing this in mind I decided to go for Lecanora chlarotera. The little volcano things produce spores, whether they also produce the fungus bit I don’t know.

This morning I noticed that the Lungwort was also starting to fruit.

_MG_3085

_MG_3098

_MG_3100    Spore cups on Lobaria pulmonaria. What has been nibbling at the one in the middle image I don’t know, a pity it wasn’t still there it would have added interest and no doubt kept me busy for another hour whilst I misidentified it.

_MG_3086    Old Man’s Beard. I’ll guess at Usenea filipendula.

Many thanks to Trevor for helping with identifying Cladonia digitata and the one with red bits Cladonia macilenta. The jury is still out on the Earth Tongue as I can’t find a reference image that looks like that one. I’ll have to find someone to send it to. There used to be a lady near Braemar but that was ten years ago.

Have fun, I am but I’m looking forward to this macro lark wearing off, I’m having too much of a good thing.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

MONUMENT AND MACRO. (25/03/15)

I went out landscaping this morning but the light was far too flat. I also took both cameras and three lenses. Nothing I wasn’t equipped to capture and as is the way of the world I saw nothing close enough for the long lens. I did have a look at the monument. A big tree fell on it and it is only in the last week or so the tree has been sawn up and removed._V0G7679_80_81_tonemapped

_V0G7682_3_4_fused It is in memory of Jane Frazer who died in 1872 of a broken heart. Her fiancĂ© Patrick was killed when he fell out of a tree. I know this leaves a few questions to answer but that’s all I know about the matter. Having carted the macro gear I settled down for a rest on a tree stump and found this………..

_MG_3072   When I saw it I knew it was an Earth Tongue; a small one. Now I don’t think it is and nor do I know what it is.

_MG_3077

_MG_3079 This is one of the Cladonia lichens but which one I can’t tell.

I’ll try to get out for a landscape or two this afternoon. I know macro isn’t very popular but I’m afraid I love it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

DOUBTING ADRIAN. (24/03/15)

Yesterday I braved the showers and the freezing breeze and went looking for insects. I looked under rocks, I searched under dead logs and found nothing. I then noticed a fallen oak tree and had a peer under some loose bark.

_MG_3064     All I found was a solitary Woodlouse, Oniscus asellus; I hope. I couldn’t find the polariser so it’s a bit glary. It was good to see it but it isn’t an insect it’s a crustacean. I was intending to bring something home and take some pictures on a front surfaced mirror. As this was the only one I covered it up and returned empty potted.

TREVOR and others have been telling me for a month or more that the tiny polypores I’ve been posting are Turkey Tail Fungus. I had my doubts but now I am convinced as I found some more and they were a bit older.

_MG_3057      Trametes versicolor.

_MG_3056       This is all the same stuff and will at least double in size.

_MG_3059

_MG_3062      To finish up today with another doubtful ID I think this is Beech Woodwart. The younger version of it is the second image. It is definitely Hypoxylon something. I’m going for Hypoxylon fragiforme. I think the mycologists may have changed it to Annulohypoxylon. They are devils for re-categorising stuff, it gives them something to write about but just confuses me. They need a good shake, a slap, a kick up the bum and be told to make their minds up.

Have fun.

 

Monday, 23 March 2015

MORE MACRO II. (23/03/15)

This is a quick follow on from yesterdays post using scales on the macro images. The little child's ruler really didn’t give the impression I was looking for, it made me look childish and I want to be growed up.

_MG_3055      This is a baby, a baby Many Zoned Polypore. Turkey Tail, Trametes versiclor, Coriolus versicolor, it’s all the same stuff. Having gone through that lot I’m not convinced it is but the scale looks very adult.     

The scales are easy enough to make but you have to make one for every magnification you use; this is 1.36X. I then save it as a TIFF file and drop it on the image prior to compressing. This one is on a black background but if you change the Blend mode to Screen or Lighten, can’t recall which, the black will disappear. I may do some more with black scales to use on very pale images.

If anyone would like the workflow, that’s grown up for instructions, then drop me an e-mail.

I’m going out looking for insects  today.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

MORE MACRO. (22/03/15)

It has been a bit quiet on the image front but I have got the information computer set up after a fashion. The icons work fine in that they select the folder when clicked, what I can’t make them do is go straight to the full screen slide show in Windows Photo viewer. I’ll leave that for a proper computer person. I have little choice as it’s beyond me.blog  This is roughly what the desktop looks like.

As always I have looked at these for so long that I am a bit dissatisfied. I could do with someone at a desk next door to bounce ideas off.  The central logo had to be black, it isn’t, it’s about 90% black as I remember a proper graphic artist saying that she was taught never to use zero, zero, zero or pure black. Don’t know why. I hope it works as folk can drag and drop their own photographs into the icons. I can see it getting in a right mess but never mind.

This morning I’ve been out with the macro lens again and have added a scale which despite being a bit garish does do the job. All the following are at 1.36x magnification as I popped a 36mm extension tube on the 100mm macro lens.

_MG_3050      I don’t know what this moss is but if I had to guess I’d go for Bryum capillare.

_MG_3051     Tortula muralis. Whatever they are at least they have started fruiting.

_MG_3052

_MG_3053

_MG_3054      Although I have my doubts I’ll go with the consensus on this one and say it is young Turkey Tail, Coriolus versicolour. The last image is it just starting to grow and the others are a few weeks old. I never realised how hairy it is.

That’s all for today, have a good week.

 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (19/03/2015)

A couple of days ago whilst out with the macro lens I noticed a small skein of what I hoped were Pink-footed geese, they were flying near the surface of the loch and I noticed they were smaller than Grey Lags and didn’t have an orange beak. I broke into a fast canter and tried to persuade the dogs to catch up as I went to get the long lens. I was only quarter of a mile from the van and could have made it back in time as they kept doing flypasts. No such luck, the dogs had found a dead Brown Trout so I had to go back and tell the wee buggers to leave it. By the time I got sorted they had gone but one remained.

_MG_2910  The one that stayed is a Grey Lag and very tame. It’s  been here for a couple of days and is unfazed by either the dogs or humans. Yesterday it was helping the builders construct a new patio thingy and as they got warm and hung their jackets up it started going through their pockets. It must have been hand reared as it follows cars and the pickup truck, taps on caravan doors to be fed and generally gets under folks feet. It is beautiful.

Last night as the sun was setting I got a clear shot of another bird I’ve been after for ages. I know that they are common and you birders will have hundreds of sharp images of them but this is the first one I’ve managed to capture twig free and sharp.

_MG_2930    A Greenfinch…..I hope. Please don’t laugh or if you have to then chuckle quietly so I can't hear. The little bird made my day.

Tomorrow is eclipse day here and the forecast isn’t looking very promising.

18-03-2015 07-16-15    I need a bit of thin cloud as I’ve only got a ten stop filter and it may not be enough if the skies are clear. I have all the batteries charged and will try for a time lapse video. This website is very useful as it gives a timeline and an animation of the eclipse for several locations in the UK.

18-03-2015 07-06-25      To save you copying the address here is the link.

ASTRO UK

If I don’t post tomorrow then have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

SPINYWORT. (17/03/15)

This morning I went out with the macro lens. The mosses and lichens  have all suffered during the floods and the very cold nights. The lack of rain for the past week hasn’t helped either.

_MG_2920      Lungwort. Lobaria pulmonaria. I found another large colony of this.

_MG_2919    This is the same lichen but the underside of it.

There are lots of mosses and lichens about but non are fruiting. It’s a good job I found this but I haven’t a clue what it is.

_MG_2911

_MG_2912

_MG_2913

_MG_2914     Whatever it is I am happy with it and would be happier if I could find out what it is. The spines aren’t prickly, they are soft.