April 16, 2008

More signs of Spring! Sprouts are sprouting!

The Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is unfurling. Hmmm. "foetidus?" Fetid Cabbage...? That's kind of an ominous dark void in the center... What's in there? Let's have a look...

Whoa! Is that thing licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? And what's that, um, smell...?

Motherwort. Always the first one out.

Phoebe??? Phoebe!!! Phoebe??? Phoebe!!! Phoebe??? Phoebe!!!

About Peeps

In response to buthidae's comment, this peephole lens idea has been around for quite a while, at least since the 60's, maybe longer. I first saw it in the 80's when my old genius boss showed me a picture of someones mouth taken with the lens, and described how he made one. The "usual" method is to sacrifice a lens cap for the camera you want to try it on, drill a hole in it the exact size of the peep barrel and thread or hotmelt glue it in. Then you can just snap it on and off at will.

I started my construction by buying two of the peeps, a 180 degree with a 1/2" barrel and a 200 degree with a 5/16" barrel. Then I just held them up to the lenses of my digital cameras (carefully) to see approximately what I could get. I didn't have much luck with my lenses on the Nikon D80, but the Canon G2 (point & shoot) looked decent, so I got a 1 1/2" PVC cap at the hardware store (the P & S doesn't have a thread on end of the lens), found the center, drilled the hole and screwed the peep in:

I had to put a layer of transparent tape on the inside of the PVC for a snug fit, and screwed in the peep lens a bit to make up for the rounding of the cap inside.

I still want to get back and try some ideas on the D80, but for now this is what I had time for. It seems to work best with the P & S lens telephotoed out and set to "close-up", and with a - 2/3 stop compensation. You have to play with it a lot tho, and expect to do some clean up in Photoshop as this lens isn't quite up to Hubble specs. It's super fun experimentation tho, and made for the digital camera, where you can see it right away and make some adjustments. I want to play with cutting down the peep barrel as the back lens is in quite a ways. I also have some other lenses to combine with it. Sometime.

This is the most definitive source for info I have found so far, there you can download a 26 Meg pdf tome of some people's "research" of the idea. I have some other collected links if that's not enough. I will also post some of my experiments with it as they come out of the "lab."

Ahhhh! It's ALIVE!!!!!

Correcshuns, Retrakshuns, & Addishuns

Let's see, time to right some wrongs, tidy up a few facts, and make some identifications:
What some thought on April 12, 2008, to be a Barn Swallow has now been cross-analyzed, discussed and verified thru pattern-recognition to be an Eastern Bluebird. Welcome back to Minnesota!
The creature I called a moth on April 5, 2008, turned out to be a brush-footed butterfly (Order Lepidoptera) of the family Nympalidae. Or more to the point, a Nymphalis Antiopa or "Morning Cloak" butterfly. I just saw another one yesterday. I whole-heartedly apologize to your entire family, and to your order. I'm sorry.
Also, on March 29, 2008, I mistakenly referred to two ring-necked ducks as scaup. That proves it Honey, I NEED A LONGER LENS!
In the future, look for more consistency in my putting the captions UNDER the images. I realize sometimes I put them on top, sometimes under. It's a mixed up, jumbled up, shook up world. If I find myself with scads of extra time (ya!) I'll fix it all up.
Meanwhile, if you see something that needs correction, speak up, by all means. The things I have to fix are the things I have a greater chance of remembering next time.
Quick story: Yesterday I was driving home from errands after the nature center and I saw a cool thing. As I was driving up Minnehaha Avenue in my nappy little car (Minnehaha is a two lane street that used to be a street-car line, many of the houses are at a 45 degree angle to the road, pretty surreal) I was going about 30 and I saw something moving equal to my speed out of the corner of my eye. It was a Cooper's hawk just rocketing thru people's yards, over hedges, around trees, about 8 feet off the ground. Just about the time the last w of Wow! came out of my mouth, he sped up and I noticed there was another one of equal size, color and vigor chasing him. I had to slow down for the traffic lining up at a stoplight and they both buzzed past, around trees, over the parked cars, then down the middle of the street traffic, around somebody turning left, then straight down the empty avenue past the intersection. Gone in 10 seconds. It didn't seem like anyone else even noticed. Thanks, you guys.