Monday, September 24, 2012
So, what am I so excited and happy about? I was just thinking about how good it is to be here. Where else would I rather want to be than to be writing about my favorite thing, nature. I also had a fun, but rather uneventful day out taking pictures. And I actually made a little bit of progress on a few things.
I went out with the full intention of taking pictures of plants. I also wanted to use the focus on my camera in only manual mode, which I did. I thought this would help me learn how to always get good pictures of my more closeup subjects.
You can see that better focus in my picture of the bug-eaten leaf above. The leaf is nothing special, but I wanted to share a really good look at the plants I'm studying. I've learned absolutely nothing about the plants, but I'm learning to study their details a bit more.
I was able to put some of the sharpness back, but most of the detail seems to be lost. I'm not sure there's anything I can do to keep that when I resize something like this. It's a shame I have to do it.
I have to resize the images to 800x600 for two related reasons. The first one is to reduce the image size so you don't have to wait forever for my images to load. The second reason is because if we reduce our images down to 800 pixels or below then Blogger doesn't count the image size against our storage space. We could theoretically upload unlimited images that way.
So that's all the little stuff I'm excited about right at the moment. It's not much, but I'm making progress on my photography and learning plants. I'll make bigger leaps as I begin to put the smaller pieces together. It won't take long at all for someone like me who can become obsessed with things like this. It's gonna be fun!
One more thing I want to let you know about is a guest article we have over at Nature Center Magazine today. The article explains which plants can help attract hummingbirds. Take a look if you want some of those little wonders to come around.
I'll be back soon!
Friday, September 21, 2012
You may have noticed that the three pictures of a dragonfly that I have here today look almost identical. I have to admit that they are the same original picture, and it's hard to tell the difference between them if you just look at them in the post. But they are indeed different. You have to click on the pictures to really see it well.
The difference is in the editing. I edited these pictures in a program called Gimp. It's a free editor in the style of Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. Do a Google search for it. If you want a good editor you don't have to pay for then you won't be sorry.
The second picture was done with an addon called natgeo. It's supposed to give the pictures a similar quality as the pictures you might often find in National Geographic. I think this one actually works pretty well. It really brings out the details well.
The last one was done with adjustments that I did myself. I adjusted the levels of some of the colors just a bit and I sharpened up the picture to make it easier on the eyes. I think it turned out well. I guess they all show some of the things you can do with an image editor. I like all three, but I can't decide which one is best. Which one do you like best?
I'm also still trying to get a little better with my photography. Basically, I want to become a little more organized and thoughtful while taking my pictures. I think that can make a huge difference in the number of quality pictures I end up with. I hope the combination of my learning all of this stuff will make some new interesting posts I can share.
And I'm still on a quiet quest to catch a Sasquatch. I plan on keeping him in my basement. Maybe he can learn to play video games or something. I've got big plans. Big plans. You'll find out one of these days.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This bug turns out to be a very destructive little creep. As you may have guessed, it likes to eat things like cucumbers. It also likes watermelon, soybeans, and many other similar plants. They can destroy crops pretty quickly.
It's really a shame because these beetles sure are colorful little guys. That's how I noticed it in the first place. I saw that yellow color in one of my pictures. I immediately ran back outside hoping the little yellow bug was still there. The rest is here in my pictures.
The other day she got her chain stuck on the cable right at one of the two trees. I had to climb up the ladder to unhook it so it would work right again. It all started off just fine. I never anticipated that I would be afraid. But when I got about two steps from my destination I completely froze.
I had no idea I would be afraid, but I ended up having to go back down the ladder to gather myself. The second time up the ladder was a bit slower and shakier, but I finally made it up all the way and unhooked the chain with quite a bit of fear. Being up so high on that narrow ladder was not a fun experience. I'm happy to say that I got the job done though.
I did get to work on my photography a little bit though. That really consisted of me playing around in the house with taking pictures of Isabella. I didn't get anything very good. I was just getting some practice with the manual focus on the camera. It might help me get clearer pictures. That's a good place to start.
I hope to have a few posts up a little sooner next time and I'm trying to get caught up with reading a few blogs too. Hopefully I won't get busy with other stuff this time. How can all that other outside junk keep getting in the way of my blogging fun? I hate when that happens!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I want to go from shooting anything that moves as quickly as I can to actually knowing and understanding better how to set up my photos. I want my pictures to look beautiful when I want them to. I already get lucky sometimes, but I mostly end up with stuff that looks like what I have for you today. It can look nice, but I have some room for improvement.
I have no idea what the plant is in the photo above. I only know that it's covered in those sharp spines. It also has these purple flowers that look similar to clover. These are things I know now that I should be observing. I used a flash on the camera to bring out the spines. Very small progress in both areas.
I didn't get a better picture of this hemp weed than this one. I was in too much of a hurry. That's something else I need to teach myself; I need to slow down a bit. I need to take the time to examine my subjects a bit and to decide the best way to get a good picture.
I used the camera's flash on this one, and it seemed to work the best on a few things. These plants seemed to evade the camera's automatic focus. I need to slow down and remember to use the manual focus on some things. I don't need to hurry so much on non-moving targets.
You may have noticed the little yellow critter in the picture above. He'll be the subject of my next post. After remembering a few good photography lessons, I got some better pictures of him. I have no idea what he is yet, but I'll be looking to find out.
Wait! After a quick check, I found the identity of the bug! I'll share that information with you, as well as some better photos, in my next post. See you soon.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
I only used to milder chilis for the tacos. I'll save the hotter ones for some good salsa or something similar. I've never made tacos like this before, and I was lucky enough to get it right the very first time. Maybe I'll try enchiladas next.
So by now I guess you're wondering just what that has to do with the grasshoppers in my pictures today. Well, I ground them up to make the taco meat... Just kidding! These pictures have nothing to do with my taco story, but I'm getting to the subject of them now.
I'm going to try to focus a little bit on plants in the future, but I'm never sure what to write about them. I don't really know much about plants, and the internet isn't much help with trying to learn. I've bought books in the past, but the ones I've tried never give enough information to help either.
Maybe I'll give the internet another try. It's possible I've just never found the right places to look. Flowers can sometimes lead to information, but there aren't many flowering plants around here. Maybe searching for plant information will be my next big internet project. What do you think?
Monday, September 3, 2012
Actually, I really am going to eat them, but I do know what they are. They are habaneros, and they're a particularly hot type of chili pepper. I'm also not going to just eat a whole one. I'm going to use them for cooking. I'm not really brave enough to try to eat these by themselves.
These are some of the things I took pictures of since my last post. I haven't been seeing many animals out right now, so I'll focus on some other interesting things. I've learned that not many animals seem to come out this time of month for some reason. But there are plenty of plants around. Maybe one of these times I'll let you know what I made with these chilis.