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

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Holywell and the beach chalets

Our retreat when the weather allows is our beach chalet which we rent on a annual basis from Eastbourne borough council, it is quite expensive to rent but as we do not have a annual holiday as such
we consider we get good value as we can use it 365 days a year. It`s not large probably 4 x 3 meters with a porch of about the same size but it has all we need, a gas cooker, sink and mains running water no electricity though. Toilets and showers are in separate block just along from the chalets, there are 69 of them and they were built around 1930 and there is a waiting list to hire them.
We have it well stocked with beachwear including wetsuits, a kayak, water shoes, fins, towels, swimwear , barbecue in other words everything we might need, oh and of course buckets and spades for the grand children. I have taken some picture to give you some idea.  My apologies but there are 14 pictures in the set.
The bottom five pictures I took with my iphone camera and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.
The children`s (and mine occasionally) kayak

Swimming and kayaking safe shallow water and the Holywell reef

Walking poles and wetsuit

some local art

old but where could you replace it

The view out west at low water

The porch sitting area

Charity shop Axminster carpet


The promenade just below the chalets

looking towards Beachy Head
Sandy beach at low water

Friday, 7 December 2012

Winter Jasmine

It has been a while since my last post, it has been a pretty awful year on the plot with nothing doing really well owing to the saturated soil for most of the year. We harvested broad beans potatoes, and runner beans, beetroot did reasonably well, carrots and peas just didn`t happen along with lots of others plotters.
We planted a few Brussels sprouts  which I had a reasonable amount of, apart from the clouds of whitefly which appeared every time I picked some. I was also given some Jerusalem artichokes to try by a fellow plot holder but these along with sprouts give both Judi and I "wind in the willows" so I am not going to grow either next year, they seem to be love `em or hate `em vegetables
Not much colour in the garden or plot at the moment but the winter jasmine has just started flowering in our porch giving it some much needed colour, I have a Nikon D70s camera which had loads of dust on the sensor so after cleaning with lens cleaner and cotton buds I used this photo to see whether it had been successful, it has.

Friday, 23 November 2012

November and a new PC

Well I finally had to resort to a new PC tower unit, not the monitor keyboard or mouse. I discovered that most of my old digital imaging programs were not compatible with Windows 7 which I wanted to keep as Windows 8 is too new for me. It was those programs which were causing the computer to crash. I am not loading any of those onto the new PC and will use instead Windows Live Photo Gallery and PicMonkey.
We visited my granddaughter for her 6th birthday recently for a nice family get together.
The weather has been pretty awful here in Eastbourne mostly rain with some very high winds I managed to get a couple of photos between the winds and rain.
More high winds forecast for the weekend Judi has bought some oxtail for a casserole in the slow cooker which should be rather tasty.

Holywell slopes Eastbourne looking towards Beachy Head

Gaia 6

My garden the last rose left standing

Our trusty old Swan slow cooker

Friday, 16 November 2012

Graduated neutral density filter

I bought an inexpensive set up recently to help with sunsets photos as it really ought to be a standard bit of kit in the average bag, I am trying two systems the first I picture below on my camera, the second a simple screw in type on which I will report later. The idea is to get the exposure of the sun more suited to the overall exposure of the rest of the picture and to provide some interest in the sky.
The filter fitted on the camera
one of three graduated neutral density filters 1x,2x,3x stops
The effect

Sunday, 11 November 2012

New ring flash

Computer glitch repaired by a good friend (too technical to explain) so have been temporarily  using my local library PC, OK but not very convenient.
I bought a low cost (£25) LED ring flash to use on my macro lens as the lens can sometimes be so close to the subject the light is blocked, the chrysanthemum were taken indoors at night using it so am happy with the result.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

No home PC

My computer has experienced total breakdown so there will be no posts for a while until the situation is resolved

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Autumn flowers

With the daylight hours shortening chrysanthemum and cyclamen in the garden give a lovely splash of colour, we have not had a frost yet in Eastbourne, tempting fate maybe?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Garden Birds in the Autumn Garden

Autumn is here, now that the natural food supply of our garden birds is declining we are feeding regularly with seeds, raisins, and fat balls, we dare not put out scraps of any other food except perhaps a few cake crumbs as the seagulls will eat them before the birds get a chance.
We have noticed that the female blackbirds are not as tame as the males and are more reluctant to come to the table, tits are difficult to photo, the robins no problem. Wagtails should be visiting soon.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Results from The Big Art Secret

The "Big Art Secret" was the brainchild of Charles Grimaldi ambassador for St Wilfrid`s Hospice Eastbourne East Sussex they will be moving out of their present 9 bed facility into a brand new 20 bed building currently under construction.

600 various artists including Turner prize winning Tracy Emin, world renowned David Hockney, cult street artist Pure Evil, prime minister David Cameron, comedian Ronnie Corbett, presenter David Dimbleby and former tennis star Greg Rudeski all donated postcards for the charity auction on Ebay.

The postcards were all exhibited at the Towner art gallery Eastbourne. The  artist`s all signed their work on the back of the postcard, some styles of art were apparent so one anonymous American collector recognised all 4 Emin`s and paid nearly £9,000 for them.

A total of 8,000 bids were made and the total amount raised at the end of the auction from a worldwide audience (the power of the internet) was £45,000,  an admirable amount for a worthwhile cause and a great idea in the first place.

As a Eastbourne resident myself may I add my own thanks to all those who bid and were successful.

Just one small part of the exhibition

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Blogger posts shortage of photo storage space

As a newish member of blogger I ran into storage space problems recently without realising it, I do not use Picassa 3 to edit or store my photos preferring Windows Live Photo Gallery, which is probably why I was not aware of any issues with Picassa web albums.
 I gather that others have had the same problem too, some more seasoned bloggers will have been aware of this already so I apologise in advance for this post. This is my take on the problem there are obviously other methods too you may want look into.

Photographs that you post on your blog are stored in Picassa Web Albums part of your Google account.
It seems you are allowed about 1 GB (Giga Byte) in total, unless you purchase additional memory. This seems adequate unless you do as I did and uploaded photos that had large file sizes. I actually ran out of my allocation and could not upload any pictures without deleting some old posts to free up memory.

If you open a New Post page, you will see on the left Compose and HTML select HTML click on photo image next to Link and a page will open for uploading photos you can select from small, medium and large file sizes. More importantly it will tell you how much memory allocation you have left, in my case it is now 586 MB  of 1026 MB after deletions in Picassa Web Albums. you can switch back to Compose after uploading your photo.

So what is the ideal size of a photo file? I now like to use about 500Kb per photo, but it does depend on how large you want to see it on your post.

This may mean the average photo file size will want reducing in one of three ways.

1. Your camera if it will allow on it`s menu, you can select a lower resolution setting, 3 or 5 MB is ideal

2. Digital photo editing programs that allows you when you save the photo to select  JPEG files from large, medium and low compression sizes from the original. Windows Live Photo Gallery is one.
There is also a free one you might like to look at  Here also, you don`t have to download the program to use it.

3. As previously explained select HTML rather than Compose as this has a default setting of medium file size.

Experiment to see which  is best for you but remember with digital photo editing programmes that most post editing,  like `sharpening` can increase the final file size. You can usually check the file size by right clicking on the image  and looking under Properties, Detail.

PS. I have been advised by a fellow established blogger that this can all be done with Picassa 3 as follows,
David, you can get extra storage in Picasa Web Albums which you can easily download from the internet, and you get a small amount of space for free. If you need more, the cost of renting the extra space is very small - I pay just $5 US a year for 20GB. When you load photos to your blog you can nominate where they come from - e.g. from your Picasa Web Albums. in Blogger the default settings put uploaded photos into you Blog's album, which as you say is quite small, but once you start using Picasa Web albums, you can have as much space as you like. You just have one extra step to do: upload the photo to a Picasa Web Album, and after that upload from there to your blog. I can provide further info if you want...
I had a look and you can select a appropriate file size when uploading to a web album on Picassa the following is how to upgrade the price at present appears to be around $9.99 per month
Go to your Blogger dashboard. Top right there is a thing that allows you to access your Profile. Click this.Choose Account settings. Choose "Products" and then "Picasa Web Albums" You will probalby just see the basic setup, with the 1GB storage you already know about, but down at the bottom of the screen is a place where it says "Manage or Upgrade" your storage, Choose that and it will explain what to do. Looking at it today I see that the deal which I have is no longer available to new customrs, but the range of offerings is still excellent value. Hope this is some help...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Autumn colours

This time of the year I don`t have to go much further than my garden to get some lovely colour shots

Virginia creeper on a fence
Virginia creeper berries not yet purple
Leaf origami two textures wonder what ate it
Pyracantha berries

Nicely lit by fill flash for this photo

Backlit exposure by spot metering more detail in my opinion
One little flower grimly hanging on

Cormorant drying his wings after fishing

They are usually perched on the Holywell reef at low water I have seen as many as 10 together, this lone individual perched on the Groyne  looks as if he has had a successful evening at high water. I am constantly amazed watching them from the beach chalet the amount of time they can remain under water.

Monday, 15 October 2012

October tidy up

Just when is it going to stop raining? a plot visit today with lots of showers between removing the last of the runner beans and peas plants would like to have done more except for another heavy downpour.
I did manage to plant a selection of tulip bulbs for cutting for home use and erect a comprehensive fox screen to keep them from digging them up. We have a relaxed attitude at EAGS to the veg only rule and Judi would like some more flowers planted for home use plus the usual variety for the butterflies and bees.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rose in autumn sunshine

A lovely sunny day down on the plot but soil much too wet and clingy after all the heavy rain to do much except a little tidy.
Roses and other flowers are still blooming until the first frosts, there are also lots of lovely rose hips for making rose hip syrup which Judi has on her porridge for breakfast.
I have been asked to recommend a good digital camera for a friend which is an absolute nightmare for me given the thousands available both new and used. I shall need time to consider the options for her,and what it will be used for. The biggest mistake is to fall into the trap of thinking that the more mega pixels  there are, the better the camera, this is a myth which I will not go into now but as a case in point the two yellow rose photos below, one was taken with a  £10 3MP camera and one with a £200 10MP, view full screen and see if you can spot which is which. The rose hip was taken with the cheap camera.
Answer at the bottom

Second picture down is the £200 10MP camera