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

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

Monday, 8 October 2012

Webs and raindrops

Miserable day here in Eastbourne overcast with permanent drizzle was hoping to work on the plot today no chance now.
Lots of spiders webs this time of year took this picture with a digital SLR interesting that the raindrops hanging on the web are acting as little lenses turning the image of the bush upside down, we are lucky with single lens reflex cameras these days in that we have a prism built in the viewfinder to correct this, in the old days of plate cameras the image would have appeared to the photographer as upside down making  composition awkward at times

Raindrops on a spiders web like a pearl necklace

Raindrops on ornamental grass
Had to use fill flash hence the refractions from the raindrops

Friday, 5 October 2012

1st week in October

Visited the plot after a two week lay-off due to awful weather and a week away in Dorset, we picked some really long beans along with the usual shorter ones. We don`t usually let them get too long but we cooked a few thinking they might be past their best but they were delicious, perhaps a tiny bit less tender. The beans and peas are now finished and the plot is bare ready for tidying. 
The Bramleys didn`t crop as well as last year this is about a quarter of the crop this year. Down by about a half I would have guessed.
I am going to plant some mixed tulip bulbs along with other flowers on the plot as soon as the soil is less claggy.

    Stewed Bramley apple with no apologies for using ready made custard
Have got two packets of Queen of Night