photos

Bunnies

I noticed this little bunny (Oryctolagus cuniculus) hopping around my lawn the other day and took a sneaky picture. A few days later I was sitting in the garden looking at things and thinking, and thinking and looking, when two rabbits appeared! Probably a buck and his doe, or the other way round if you are not being sexist, but I am not sure which is which.

They seemed quite happy to coexist with the pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) who also like to roam my lawn in the velvet cool of evening: a cock and his little harem of three hens (much of Nature seems to be regrettably pre-feminist) who like nothing better than to gobble up my freshly-sown grass seed and sometimes steal food off the bird table. The rabbits, while incredibly nervous of any sound or motion, seem entirely oblivious of the pheasants pecking around them, and vice versa.

Interestingly though, when a raptor of some kind flew over, and the cock gave his wild alarm shriek, the rabbits also scattered for cover. Evidently they don’t mind pheasants, but they are smart enough to use them as an alarm system.

It is a fine thing to lounge in the garden and watch so many different species of animals eating all my stuff. Well, there’s plenty to go around.

Breakfast

This was my breakfast the other day, which looked so nice I thought I would share it with you before it got gobbled up into my huge ravenous maw.

It is slow-scrambled Cornish eggs, on buttered ciabatta and topped with fresh-ground black pepper, smoked sea salt, and fresh chives from my newly-installed herb garden. I do not know too much about gardening yet, so I probably should have tested these for poison before eating them, but luckily they were more or less non-toxic. And the scrambled eggs were delicious!

The whole to be washed down with a draught of rich, nutty, fresh-ground Colombian Supremo coffee. This is one of my favourite types of coffee, even if I am only a Cornish supremo and hence technically not entitled to it. Fortunately some inspectors have not come round yet to check my supremo eligibility.

Moonwatch

We are a two-world species, which is probably an extravagance, like a two-car family, but never mind. This is our spare world, which is not in use at the moment, but we keep it in a handy orbit, just in case. And it makes a pleasant companion in the garden on a spring evening.

I took these pictures (in daytime) with the iPhone 5 held to the eyepiece of the 6-inch reflector, and I’m pleasantly surprised with the results. I processed them a little in Lightroom to improve contrast and remove the colour channels. The picture above was taken with the 25mm eyepiece.

Detail view with the 10mm eyepiece. Annotated versions after the jump with some interesting sites and features marked.

Springwatch with keithlard

Daffodils, Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Some local flowers, interviewed yesterday by our intrepid reporter. We ask the tough questions they didn’t want to answer.

Primroses, Primula vulgaris

Forget-me-nots, Myosotis sylvatica

Grape hyacinths, Muscaria armeniacum

Local area

On a cheerful evening walk near my house.

The Pleiades

This was taken with my DSLR mounted on the telescope tube, and using the telescope’s motor drive to track the sky for a five minute exposure (click to embigulate). We have looked at the Pleiades before, but I’m quite pleased with this picture because it brings out some colours, and a tree in my garden managed to sneak into the frame. You can see that the tree blurs slightly as though it’s moving; actually, the tree stayed still, while the camera and the sky moved.

Some birds enjoying lunch

I have set up a bird café in my garden, and I have already got some interesting diners. Here are some intrusively candid pictures of them (no release forms were signed).

Matt

This is a picture of my friend Matt relaxing in his charmingly-appointed living room.

Moon Safari

The Moon! An amazing world right above your head, just three days away: ideal for today’s busy lifestyles.

I have often written about the Moon before, and taken pictures of the crescent Moon, the full Moon, craters on the Moon, a lunar eclipse, and mentioned the Moon’s powers of spiritual refreshment. It is amazing when you think all of that is available absolutely free, with no subscription required, just by looking up. Even wicked David Cameron cannot prevent us from enjoying it.

Tonight’s Moon is just past First Quarter and this is always a good time for seeing the Moon through a telescope or binoculars, because it is early morning on the part of the Moon that faces us, and so there are long shadows which give us maximum contrast. Reconnaissance satellites looking at Earth are aimed to pass over their targets in the early morning or late afternoon for the same reason. More precisely, they are often Sun-synchronous: chasing the Sun continually so that it is always morning below them, like Concorde racing across the Atlantic.

A day on the Moon lasts a fortnight, which is weird. When it is full Moon for us, the Sun is shining directly down on the part of the Moon that faces us, so it is noon there. By the time the Moon has reached Last Quarter, the Sun is just setting for the imaginary Moon folk, and when the Moon is new, it is midnight there. So it would be a very long day and you would almost certainly need a giant beer after work to recover. Luckily the nights are a fortnight long too, which would be a popular thing for the Governmint to introduce here. I would certainly vote for two weeks extra sleep a night.

This is taken with the Canon 350D and 200mm telephoto lens, a 1/10 sec exposure sharpened in the computer and filtered to remove the red channel, which gives slightly better definition because most of the skyglow here in London is red.

In conclusion, then, the Moon.

Light Through The Veins (part 2)



Light Through The Veins (Part 2)
(now available on iPhone due to some tecknical magic done by me and Harry Potter)

I hugely enjoy making these photo movies, which are a bit like Pages from Ceefax if you remember that. Late at night on TV when they had run out of programmes and had to go to the shop to buy more, there would be a selection of digital textual information and bad ASCII art pictures, all accompanied by inappropriately relaxing music.

It takes a long time though as it takes me about three years to take enough photos to make one of these. Also Jon Hopkins albums do not come out all that often to enable me to take his unique and inspiring music and use it to lend an undeserved glamour to my grainy cell phone photographs. So enjoy this one, and peace be upon you in My name.

Also, enjoy a special appearance by Liz’s foot in this movie.

(The music is Cerulean by Jon Hopkins.)