30 July 2008
A very young Night Heron (judging by the fluff on top of its' head) on the river this afternoon. I haven't done anything of note since my last post, indeed I've barely left the neighbourhood. Not much in the way of birds around of course, July being July. Grey Wagtails are the most interesting (after the Night Herons of course).
I'm struggling for pictures. As you can see from the following selection.
A baby Spot Billed Duck, a turtle of some description and a Bullheaded Shrike rescued in photoshop.
There was a huge storm and rather a big earthquake last week. Both at night, both woke me up. I also watched the movie 'doomsday' which was laughably bad. I mean it was just stupid. After all those decent/semi-decent post-apocalyptic thrillers like 'Children of men' and '28 days later' the director/writer obviously thought he was onto a winner. Throw in some pop culture references, some 80's stuff (Mad Max and the soundtrack), cannibals, a cute lead actress, Bob Hoskins and wotisname Mcdowell and that posh guy from Star Trek Deep Space 9........it had to be a goer right? Nope. What a load of crap. I have 'The Ruins' up next.
A couple of posts ago I sneered at the stupidity of putting up anti-drug posters in a land where hardly anyone uses drugs. Now we have this anti-gun poster. I don't have the figures handy but I'd bet Japan has the lowest gun crime rates in the developed world. Perhaps the poster is suggesting we shouldn't shoot robots.
My wife got the Canon 450D today. It's nicer than mine (the 400D, the previous model) and no, she won't let me use it. I did however persuade her to add a nifty fifty (a cheap 50m F1.8 lens) to the shopping cart (it was only about $80) which I'll use to take some shots of the big festival in Hakodate this weekend. It's at night so I'll need a fast lens........
Roll on August and the arrival of the waders.........
21 July 2008
It's been a while since my last post. Not that I've been doing much exciting or anything. This big Moth was on the wall just next to my front door this evening. The sticky summer heat continues and I haven't been out much. The Black Browed Reed Warblers were still singing at Yunokawa earlier this week.
Out at Ono the summer birds were all still around, Night Heron, Chestnut Eared Bunting, Lathams Snipe and lots and lots of Stonechats. These pics were on a very grey afternoon a few days ago, the 'highlights/shadows' on photoshop almost rescued them.
My new imac is great. I've been watching a lot of live cricket, my first live cricket for six years believe it or not. Looks like England are in big trouble at Headingley. It's the first time I've ever seen Monty bowl.......
I've decided to go with Aperture over Lightroom to process my photos before I do my final edits in photoshop. Actually all the above were still processed with DPP/Photoshop as I'm still not 100% sure of all the commands in Aperture........but by the time I do my next post I should be up and running.
The wife is very busy so no car (plus it makes a horrible squealing noise, we need to get that checked). Not many birds either, no footy to watch. Thank the lord for the new imac then.
9 July 2008
Today we ended up in Yunokawa, on the eastern edge of Hakodate. The river there used to be a regular birding haunt but a lot of the habitat has been destroyed over the last few years (recently due to a huge construction project, a kind of shopping mall I think). I was expecting the worst but actually there were still lots of birds around. The riverside was heavily overgrown and held lots of birds. I'm unsure of the plans for the riverside, maybe the birds are making a final stand before the vegetation goes. Or let's be optimistic, perhaps they'll be left alone......
There were 3 or 4 Black Browed Reed Warblers singing in the long grass and reeds. Tricky to get a nice clear shot.......
Also around were Cuckoo, a lone singing Grays Grasshopper Warbler, Stonechat, Black Faced Bunting, Bull Headed Shrike and Kingfisher.
I like Black Browed Reed Warblers, they're kind of cute and cheeky. Their larger, noisier and commoner cousins aren't so endearing. Oriental Reed Warblers are abundant summer visitors (there are even 7 or 8 singing males on the small river near my flat) and they are especially common at Yunokawa. I still haven't managed a decent shot of one yet, here's the best effort from today.....
Still getting to grips with some of the new software on my new imac. Aperture or Adobe Lightroom? I'm still using DPP as a RAW converter and Photoshop as an editor but I need something to manage my library...............
Sorry that was a bit boring.
My wife has decided she wants a DSLR later on this summer. She has picked the 450D........so she's going to have a newer (and slightly better) one than me. Not to worry, when I've finished paying off this imac the 50D should be out. I'd better not mention that fact yet......
A bit sad Crouch has been sold. He's not that bad a player (and better than Kuyt and Voronin) to have on the bench. Benitez stuck by him when he had that awful lean patch after he arrived and then when he started playing OK and getting goals he started ignoring him. Benitez has signed 2 more players this summer but I've never heard of them and can't even remember where they're from. I'm losing interest to be honest. Still, at least Kewell has finally left.
6 July 2008
The Night Heron was around again today. It's been a hot sticky week or so and I've actually even been busyish work-wise. Summers are usually pretty humid in this part of the world (although Hokkaido isn't as bad as Honshu and further south). We haven't had a really hot one for a few years though (by hot I mean it's difficult to sleep at night and I even think about buying an aircon system). August is always hot but the heat seems to have come a bit earlier this year. Hmmmm.............
An adult was flapping around but not close enough for a photo. Nothing else of interest, July tends to be a dull month for birds. My main wildlife experience today was ants. Crawling over my toes and up my shins, biting merrily away. It was too hot today for long pants and I broke out my sandals too.
Like I said, not many birds around. Here's a young Heron from last week, just outside Hakodate. And a Red Cheeked Starling fledgling being fed by its' mother.
Here a couple of funny things I noticed last week.
Speaking as someone who dabbled a lot in his 20's Japan is the least druggy country in the developed world. Dunno why they feel the need for this crappy poster with the pointless mangled Engrish. Or maybe the person is saying 'nooooooooo, I've lost my stash, nooooo!'
Not an encouraging name for a concrete company, especially when it's emblazoned on its' mixers.
I got a new i-mac a couple of days ago. My trusty old G4 lamp was feeling the strain a lot recently so I'm letting it take early retirement. the new model has a big screen and webpages look different (sometimes everything is squeezed into the middle with huge wide margins either side) and my thumbnail photos on this blog look awfully blurry (although they are ok when I click onto the full size). I also have Aperture and Adobe Lightroom primed and ready to compare, Photoshop actions that won't freeze my computer, RAW files that open 5 or 6 times faster and can be converted much quicker than my on my old computer, BLURB software to make some photobooks........oh the excitement is killing me.
The built in webcam can even take snapshots like this.
The G8 summit starts tomorrow. Huge waste of taxpayers money for 3 days of hot air. Luckily it's just far enough away for me to avoid the overzealous security and racist Japanese cops assuming all foreigners are 'terrorists' or something.
Anyway..........back to my new toy...........