Posts Tagged ‘photography’


The view from my window – with Photoshop stained glass filter…

This post is just a bit of playing around with Photoshop, really. I’ve had Photoshop CS3 for years but still love messing about with the “filters” options. They are such an easy way of creating a special effect with no artistic talent whatsoever!

As the basis for these experiments I used this image of (more…)


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Blue skies over Penarth Pier – although this was a winter sky, in December 2009…

Blue skies, nothing but blue skies…
Since the jetstream moved north again a couple of weeks ago and summer arrived at last, I can’t get that song out of my head. Here’s the version by Frank Sinatra

We had maybe a fortnight of dazzling blue skies and scorching sun here in Wales but now it’s turned changeable again. Which is the way I like it, as it (more…)

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Romance – or at least interest – between a fox and magpie…

I was pleased with this capture of a garden fox (almost) kissing a magpie, so thought I would post it here.

I took the photo in the early morning sun the other day and I had to lean sideways at full stretch, pointing my camera through a small landing window to get the shot, which shows the fox in a neighbour’s garden.


Another shot of the magpie sneaking up on the fox from behind, taken before the other picture…

The magpie was running around the fox, almost taunting it.

Here are my other fox blog posts:
Living with urban foxes
Foxy shows his (her) face again…
Foxy would a-wooing go…
Fowl play? Call in the feather forensics team…

And here’s a recent one about magpies:
Egging on the magpies…

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Red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) on ivy in the garden, June 11, 2011

I was so pleased to catch a picture of this red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) that I thought I would post it, as well as adding it to my spider identification project page.

It was running around very fast on a variegated ivy plant outside in the garden, over and under a leaf, and kept on evading me. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t been moving, as it was less than half a millimetre long. It must have paused for just a moment on the stem when I shot this.

Spider mites are a pest on house plants and in the greenhouse, weaving their webs and sucking the life out of the plants. I don’t mind them in the garden, though (I say this even though this is the first time I have seen them outdoors…). More information about red spider mites on Wikipedia here.

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Young robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the garden today...

The first young garden birds of the season are now visiting the bird table. We have so much leafy cover around that the young ones don’t need to show their faces until they are almost able to fend for themselves.

This is a shame – and the long-tailed tits nesting within sight of my window all disappeared together as soon as the chicks were able to fly – so I was disappointed not to see a host of baby “bum-barrels” at the bird table. They seem to prefer their own freshly-caught insects.

Anyway, so far we have two young great tits and one young robin…


Young (and noisy) great tit (Parus major) in the garden today...


Not so young, but a blue tit (Parus caeruleus)...


And another blue tit (Parus caeruleus)...


Although it's not the shot I was after, these blue tits feeding make a reasonable composition...

You can find more of my bird pictures here

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An aggressive young female blackcap in a dead bush in the garden in February 2011

It doesn’t seem fair or right to me that we have to call such an obviously browncapped bird a “blackcap”, just because the male of the species has a black top.

Similarly with “blackbirds” – which brown female blackbirds are definitely not.

We have a couple of blackcaps (Sylvia atrocapilla) in our wooded back garden most of the year – these warblers like that sort of habitat, with tall old trees and plenty of cover. Last summer I noticed their young for the first time and watched one young female grow to adulthood.


A juvenile blackcap in August 2010

Traditionally British blackcaps go to Iberia or Africa in winter, but having read everything I can find about blackcaps, I have now concluded that here in mild South Wales the blackcaps are probably resident all year round, not bothering to migrate.

And why would they? Both insects and fruit are available year round at my bird table and the latest little lady blackcap will happily sit on the block of bird suet filled with insects and eat from it.

In fact, she is getting quite proprietorial about it and even drives off the robin, which usually rules the roost.

During the breeding season blackcaps usually eat caterpillars, flies and spiders, but they may also feed on berries, especially in winter. In some Mediterranean countries they are called “fig-eaters” and sadly they are sometimes illegally trapped and eaten, as are other little songbirds.


In a good season - this is April 2008 - the blackcaps love the Mahonia berries, but this year the harsh midwinter destroyed the flowers and there is no fruit

I was going to write about (more…)

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Tree (beech?) in a field beside the red muddy Wye at Monmouth

In the dark, damp days between Christmas and New Year, once the snow had cleared enough for us to get out of the house, we went for a drive in rural Monmouthshire (my home county).

I took my camera, despite the lack of good daylight, and snapped a few odds and ends in Usk, on the grey muddy river of the same name, and at Monmouth, where the Monnow meets the red muddy Wye.


Henry V statue on Monmouth Shire Hall - he was born in Monmouth Castle on August 9, 1387 (probably) and the statue was placed on the Shire Hall in 1792


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