Travels with camera

Was on the road earlier this week, on nonsecure wifi networks, so I didn't post anything. Wouldn't want any hackers to be able to take over my blog! Monday night I was up in Boston, helping a friend of mine take care of a very large steak. As you can see, we did OK:

Rib-eye, yum.

Of course, I wasn't in Beantown just to help my buddy eat steak. I was there on business, which went well. But the meal was certainly the highlight of the trip. Unfortunately, even when on an expense account, one needs to pay attention to the wine menu. Turns out that our nice little bottle of Dominus 2004 required me to write a reimbursement check to the company. Ouch! I suppose, had I been able to deplane right before takeoff, I could have gotten the cash from the pot of gold that was sure to be at the end of this rainbow I saw over Boston Harbor:

Where's that pot of gold?

Rainbows, of course, are simply sunlight passing through water vapor, which acts like a prism, separating out the white light of the sun into arcs of the various wavelengths that make up the visible spectrum. That is, light hits the raindrop, and is refracted slightly. It then reflects inside the drop, and, upon exiting the drop, is refracted slightly again. This makes a very pretty sight, although the snapshot above completely fails to render the beauty of the scene. Despite how pretty Boston is, I was really looking forward to getting out to Fern Forest when I got back to Florida. Read more

More from Fern Forest

Nicer weather is indeed settling upon south Florida; it took me almost my full lunch hour to work up a sweat as I wandered around pursuing more subjects for the digiscope. I'm beginning to think that this spot is a bit too closed-in for successful digiscoping; while there's no lack of nice subjects, there is a definite lack of good sight lines. I was pleased, though, to discover that the digiscope enables me to snap a shot of a dragonfly and keep the entire thing in focus. Compare the pictures of the Carolina saddlebags below. The one on the left was taken with Marcella's DSLR; the one on the right was taken today with the P5100 through the spotting scope. In one sense, it's not a fair comparison; I was able to get right up close to the dragonfly with the DSLR, so the depth of field was a bit of a challenge. But I much prefer being able to see the whole beast in nice sharp focus!

Fern Forest Wandering

Today was the second day in a row of seasonable temperatures at Fern Forest, and I decided to try some more practice at digiscoping. My ratio of successes to failures is slightly better, but I'm not sure whether that's just because I've figured out how to focus, or whether it's attributable to random chance. I still haven't hit on the perfect setting for the camera: I vary between landscape, which one would assume locks focus to infinity but doesn't really seem to, macro, which is actually useful for handheld photography, less so for digiscoping, and auto. So far, the prize seems to go to auto. Read more

September is still a hot month in South Florida

While I'm not sure that yesterday was the hottest day on record (in fact, the mercury showed it to be in the high 80s, not really "all that bad"), it sure felt like it. Sweat rolled down the small of my back as I went through my daily rounds at Fern Forest. I suspect, as challenged conversationalists throughout the country can attest, that it's not the heat. It's the humidity. But we naturalists are a hardy breed. We laugh at danger, endure discomfort, and generally just don't do what sensible people should. As they said in colonial India, only mad dogs and Englishmen are out in the noonday sun. Read more

Related Images:

Backyard nature

Remember the Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough? Australian novel that got turned into a miniseries here in the States? I don't. I wasn't allowed to stay up late enough to watch it when it came out, and now I don't really care too much to track it down and find out whether I've missed something or not. And why bother? I have all the drama I need right here in my backyard in Boca. Of course, you have to look a bit more closely; this is not the wide-open sweep of the Outback (even though it is, technically, out back). Read more

Mars has water

NASA's Phoenix lander has at long last provided direct evidence of water on Mars. And it's been a long time coming. Back in the nineteenth century, an italian observer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, wrote that he saw "channels" or "grooves" (canali) on the red planet. Percival Lowell, betrayed by what we call un faux ami in French, preferred to read canali as canals; ie, structures built by sentient life Read more
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