A blog on gardening, life by the sea, photography and wildlife

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Colour or Black and White

When I started in photography some 50 plus years ago black and white was the expected film medium for home use, with colour processing reserved for the wealthy with deep pockets. I rarely use B and W now but it does sometimes look nice in portraiture. In post editing now with Photoshop 7 digital software that I use it is very easy to convert one to the other.
Here are a couple of quick indoor daylight lit candid shots I took recently in both B and W and colour, I leave it to you to express your own preference.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring blossom on trees and shrubs and a visit from a sparrowhawk

                                                          Young Sparrowhawk

Plum blossom
Paradise apple blossom

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Macro photos part 2

The problem with macro lenses that have a short focal length (ie shorter that 100mm) is that to get really close to achieve the maximum 1-1 magnification in some instances you end up blocking the light from the subject you are attempting to photograph . I have this problem since my lens is a 40mm 2.8 Micro Nikkor.
One solution is the use of a ring flash or light that surrounds the lens since the standard camera flash is mounted in the wrong place for such shots, or focus back from the subject and post crop the image.
I used an inexpensive LED version of a ring flash for the following pictures of moss and lichen on my brick wall which faces north and is ideal for them. Magnification is close to 1-1 on the pictures

I couldn`t see this tiny 3mm ant on moss with the naked eye until I looked through the macro lens and saw what it was after, young and adult aphids.

first off couldn`t resist this tiny 1cm flower the Common Storksbill
                                                              3 different moss types

Lichen on a brick wall

Morning dew (and aphid) on strawberry leaf

My setup

Monday, 31 March 2014

A trip round my garden with a macro lens

I love macro photography I get to see detail that I wouldn`t otherwise notice with the naked eye, I have a lens that is dedicated to give a 1-1 or full size image at very close range, a few centimetres in most cases. The following is a small selection taken on a nice evening. The lichen and mosses are a fascinating subject by themselves

Picture are at their best viewed full screen

Selfheal. grows as a weed on my lawn border
Ceanothus flower

Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

Apair of daffodils

Rosemary flower

Lawn Daisy

Pieris forest flame


Daffodil centre

Horizontal moss

Vertical moss


Lichen on the apple tree

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Nikon Coolpix 3200 3.2Mp in exchange for some flower seeds

Camera has gone and I have some seeds on the way

I obtained two of these for a few pounds a few years ago mainly to use on the allotment plot on the basis if they got wet or I dropped them it would hardly be a distaster, well neither event occurred so I am going to give one away, although working perfectly they have hardly any resale monetary value, sadly that is the nature of older digital cameras of today that then get put in a cupboard to retire. I believe Flighty still uses one of these cameras for his blog.
If the recipient would like to send me a few flower seeds they have harvested themselves eg; pot marigolds, limnanthes, sunflower, cornflower etc, for sowing on my new allotment plot I would consider that a fair exchange.
All that will be needed for the camera is a couple of AA batteries a small SD memory card at some stage (the camera does come with a small internal memory) that`s it. I will send it free P and P and it has a fitted case.
Tech. Info. The screen is not easy to read but it has a viewfinder and a good flash range the rest is easy.
In my opinion 3.2MP is ample for simple photos
The Panasonic Lumix camera shown is not part of the swap
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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Canon Digital Zoom Lens or Panasonic FZ72 Bridge Camera?

I have been toying with the idea of buying a Panasonic FZ72 digital bridge camera, Sue Garrett from Our Plot on Green Lane Allotments has one and Mark Willis from Mark`s Veg Plot has just received one also. Sue`s pictures are particularly good and I look forward to seeing Mark`s
The idea of a pretty massive zoom lens appeals to me for wildlife photography my birthday is in May so maybe I should start hinting.
A decent sized zoom lens for a SLR digital camera will cost about the same as a complete Panasonic FZ72 bridge camera which is light enough to use as a walk around camera for general use saving the weight of a camera and seperate lenses.
I will consider the options after a review from Sue and Mark in the meantime I got out my old Canon 300mm zoom lens which has no image stabilisation so has been relegated to the back of the cupboard dusted it off put it on a Canon 20D body and took the following pictures with it. I had forgotten just what a good lens it is very sharp with good contrast and superbly built, like a tank compared to the modern plastic I.S. versions.
The drawback is that a really steady hand (or a tripod which I want to avoid) is needed at 300mm in poor light and that may be something to consider when making a decision.
All pictures taken at the maximum 300mm setting.
Footnote about the seagull picture. My first photo against the grey sky showed how filthy the sensor was on my old 20D showing up as black specks, a quick clean with a cotton bud and all was well.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Motcombe allotment

I have taken on a small corner of a friends 10 rod plot on a allotment owned by the Duke of Devonshire estates it is in a walled garden that used to be an orchard in the large manor house gardens of the 19th century, it is much easier for me to manage physically than the large 6 rod plot at Wellcome I had before. The soil is a nice free draining loam over a chalk base.
Motcombe gardens allotment plots 6 in total

My corner, on the left is the asparagus bed, trenches ready for potatoes

Motcombe gardens, the view over the wall from the plot, the lake is fed by the source of the river Bourne hence Eastbourne

The old 19th century shed home to a family of foxes sadly they had to go but they have taken up residence in another shed further down the site worked by 85 year old Betty who enjoys their company. She is an inspiration to us all, her house backs on to her plot and we wonder how long she can continue to take the short cut home by hopping over the wall like a teenager... back to the shed, we un-earthed some wonderful 1850 ish artifacts among the rubble which I will restore and feature here sometime clearly a lick of paint was not going to be enough so down came the whole lot to be replaced with.....

Back of the second hand new shed have yet to make the lid for the dip tank