urbpan: (dandelion)
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These little black aphids are feeding on our nasturtiums. I was aiming to get a good sharp view of them and ended up with something softer and more impressionistic.

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Mar. 25th, 2016 12:48 pm
urbpan: (dandelion)
1. I bought a suit. I went to Men's Wearhouse, tried on their least expensive separates (199.00) and sent Alexis a pic. She said "looks good" I said "okay I'll take it" and then no thank you to the millions of add-ons available. I still don't have it with me because they need to cut about 18 inches off the legs. The best thing is that now I know my suit size (40 short; 34 inch waist; 27 inch inseam). So of course I bought a cheap one off the internet:
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Alexis helpfully pointed out that the thing about a cheap suit is that it looks like a cheap suit.

2. Maggie got sprayed by a skunk again, 3/24/16

3. I bought a new camera lens with my tax refund and it's really good except it doesn't do the one thing I got it for, which is to take pictures of small things close up. On the bright side, perhaps I will take and post pics of birds now.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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I figured out that I could use my camera in its macro setting with the lens zoomed in. It doesn't make for great photos, but I did capture this brutal vignette from a battle between two pavement ant colonies.

Ant; eater

Jan. 3rd, 2015 02:20 pm
urbpan: (dandelion)
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So this is me trying to get a good shot of an ant with my new camera, through a loupe.

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Here it is without the loupe (just enlarged and cropped in iPhoto)

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Through the loupe, then enlarged and cropped in iPhoto. You can see the two nodes on the petiole between the thorax and abdomen. These were critical (along with other field markings) in identifying this ant as Tetramorium sp., the pavement ant.

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None for you Jockamo! Enjoy your blue ice treat instead.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Here again I'm testing the camera's macro ability--these are lichens and mosses growing on the surface of a storm drain. I'll have to assume here that the mosses started it, and then the lichen fungi found the moss covered metal to be close enough to earth to colonize. My field guide doesn't have a section on lichens growing on steel. These are probably Cladonia sp., but again I'd love input from the real experts.

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This crustose lichen on smooth tree bark is probably something in Lecidela, Lecidea, or Porpidea.
urbpan: (dandelion)
With no insects to get close to, I have to test the macro ability of the new camera on other things. Can you identify this plant from this hirsute leaf, and its water-repelling ability?

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Make your guess, then click here! )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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This young Phiddipus audax is fascinated with its reflection in this coffee mug!

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Suddenly it noticed me standing behind with a camera!
urbpan: (dandelion)
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This snapshot-from-my-phone idea was going so great until I left my phone in my pants pocket and then put the pants through the wash. My Beloved Wife went and got herself a Windows Phone the dimensions of a 1975 Texas instruments calculator and gave me her phone. (I'm fantasizing about the waterproof Sony phone with the really high megapixel camera. That thing costs a lot of bucks but I'll tuck it away on my list of material possessions that will fix all my shortcomings and make my life better if I could only afford them.)

So here's a nice snapshot of Sigmund the yellow-billed stork taken with my regular camera on Thursday. Sigmund is the largest free-flight bird in the tropical forest exhibit, flying wherever he likes but spending much of his time with the saddle-billed storks, similar but much bigger birds who seem to tolerate him.

I forgot my camera on Friday and took a snapshot with my interim phone which was Alexis' last pre-smartphone phone. I couldn't figure out how to send the picture anywhere, and it sucked anyway, so let's just let that one disappear between the cracks of technology.
urbpan: (dandelion)
Sorry, been trying to catch up with pictures so it probably seems excessive by now. One thing I've noticed is that I kind of accidentally changed the aspect ratio of my pictures, so that the last few are in the cinemascope ratio while previous to that they were like television. I have to say, this one little change makes me like the pictures better--don't know if there's an actual qualitative difference, but I'm happy for now.

I'd be curious to know if you guys noticed or think there's anything better about each aspect ratio set. Any opinions?
urbpan: (dandelion)
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The point-and-shoot camera I bought earlier this year does not provide the sharpest images I've ever captured, but I consider that an exchange for the fact that the camera is waterproof and shock resistant. I'm a world-class klutz, and tend to drop and spill things. But the camera isn't too bad. Now that I've figured out how to adjest the ASA and manual focus, I can get some halfway decent macros. Here's a bumblebee pollinating a raspberry flower, late in the season.

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)

Happy Saturday! Howsabout a bunch of dog pics from the back yard? How about if I was messing with the settings on my camera seeing what weird effects were possible? Are you in?

here you go! )
urbpan: (dandelion)
As luck would have it, when it was time to take yesterday's snapshot I was hanging out of my second story window (trying to fix a loose piece of siding that yellow jackets nested under last year) and I had my new camera with me.

What might I take pictures of with a new camera? Dogs? Lichen? Drainage conduit? Urban Nature? Click to see! )
urbpan: (with camera bw)

Here's a very random set of photos that are in my folder preventing me from doing anything else until I post them. This first one is an ant doing something weird, I think tending a scale insect to get honeydew, but I've never really seen a scale insect and don't know if that's what this is.

Read more... )
urbpan: (Default)

I love the longlegged flies in my yard--they especially seem to like hanging out on the grape leaves in the morning.

I think this one is the same species as the first one.

I keep posting stuff on bugguide and the same guy keeps dismissing me summarily. My current camera and lens combination doesn't allow for very clear macro shots, I know this. His profile makes him sound a bit arrogant, so I'm trying not to take it personally. Part of me wants to get a good macro lens and blow him away with my amazing skill, but part of me thinks he wouldn't be impressed regardless, and why would I want to impress him anyway?
urbpan: (Default)

First snapshot with the new lens. Eh, not bad for a bunch of filing cabinets. I like that it goes wider than my old lens. Hows the macro?

Funny you should ask. It doesn't actually have a macro setting, but it focuses fairly close, as you can see from this shot of the tiny break on my old lens.

And not a bad grab of the sunset--don't know if I can credit the optics or whatever with the fact that you can see the houses in the foreground and yet the sky isn't washed out, but I like it. We've had really nice sunsets lately--too bad they're coming at 4:25.
urbpan: (Default)
So, remember that I said one of my goals for the year was to get one of my photographs from work published? It happened today, completely by accident, with two blurry pictures of the baby gorilla procedure. See them here. It was dark in there, and I didn't want to use the flash, so these pics are taken at about an eighth of a second. Dan, the with the curly hair and headband holding the baby, was trying to make be crack up by looking all sexy like at the camera. I took a bunch of much more interesting photos, but they can't be used because they look like we are torturing the baby--seven zookeepers holding her down while the vet tries to get blood out of her. (The baby gorilla is amazingly strong, and needed to be completely immobilized to safely draw blood.)
urbpan: (Default)

This is my friend Bruce's portrait of me, as The Urban Pantheist.
urbpan: (Default)

One of the responsibilities of my job is to treat all of the storm drains and catch basins with mosquito larvicide (a synthetic hormone that prevents mosquito larvae from growing up into bloodsucking disease spreading adults). Every year I have to find them all, every year I surely miss some, and every year I find some new ones. Last year I got a copy of a blueprint for the zoo, so that I could create a map of the storm drains. But the blueprint is huge and unwieldy--how can I make it portable. I remembered back when I published a comic book, and I haunted reprographic places; they made blueprint-sized copies on giant machines at some of them, but they were very expensive. They basically used a big camera to take a picture...oh, right.

I realized that technology has changed in the past 18 years, and that I actually had the means to do the same thing, right there in my office. I took a series of photos with my digital camera, uploaded them and printed them. The quality isn't great, and I'll need to take some detail shots of areas of the zoo where the drains are densely packed, but I can't believe it took me so long to figure it out.


urbpan: (Default)

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