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Stilleben

stilleben

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Water Wheel

water-wheel

One of the two water wheels in the nearby mill. I spend all day there yesterday to free it from the bushes that were in the process of overgrowing it.

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Progress

progress

About two thirds done with planting 4000 saplings on 2.5ha of forest area. The colored lines are GPS-tracks of how I walked (a bit incomplete), which is mostly determined by terrain.

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And So It Begins

and-so-it-begins

The planting of the forest has begun. 200 down, 3800 to go.

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Saplings

saplings

So this is what 4000 saplings look like; I was quite unsure how many boxes this would turn out to be. They were delivered yesterday, in frozen state, and now they have to thaw in the shadow for a few days before the boxes get opened and the seedlings planted as quickly as possible. It looks like there is a rainy week coming up, which should be perfect.

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Oasis

oasis

A patch of fertile land in the vast surrounding forest.

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Macro

macro

Another picture of pennywort flowers, I know. But they are very photogenic and make good subjects for macro photography. So let me tell you how this picture was taken.

This is my gear, the same that I had for the last 15 years, from the time when digital photography was all the hype and everyone wanted to be a photographer.

camerad300

The Nikon D300, 105mm macro lens and the external flash would cost you around 350€ used today (disregard the 18-200m zoom lens). They work great together and can give very sharp and beautiful results.

There are however a few things to do before pressing the shutter release.

  • I use the internal flash in master mode to control the external flash. This makes lighting very flexible. I often hand-hold the flash 90-180 degrees from the sun because the goal is making the light less harsh by filling in the shadows.
  • The camera is set to shutter mode with the shortest flash-sync time dialed in, 1/250s in this case. This is because the flash needs to compete with the bright sunlight and the short shutter time lets less of that in.
  • Exposure compensation at -1/2 stops, flash -1 or -3/2 stops. The violet and highlights easily get saturated at default exposure. And we want the flash to be less bright than the sun, again just evening out the light somewhat but not completely flattening the scene.
  • The two previous points have a welcome side-effect: The camera needs to choose the largest aperture it can in the current light condition, thereby rendering the background very much out of focus.
  • Then I compose the image and focus, first auto-focus to get close, then I hold focus and put it at the right spot by moving the camera ever so slightly.
  • I take several pictures before moving on. Not all will be a success with this quick method, not using a tripod, and I rigorously throw away all but the best one in a series.

This way I usually get the picture that I had in mind with quite little effort.

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Pygmy Owlets

pygmy-owlets

A 2017 picture of two young owls, click to enlarge. Also, make sure to check out r/Superbowl!

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Pennywort

pennywort

Swedish blåsippa, German Leberblümchen, Wikipedia tells us the Common Hepatia is also called kidneywort or liverwort because people used to believe it treats disease in these organs.

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Lego Science Tower

lego-science-tower

Last night I finally finished building my Lego Science Tower. The set is not official but originates from a crowd-funding effort by Bricklink. The sealed box had been sitting in my office for two years until I recently brought it home to have some fun with it.

You can see Newton's apple in the tree and Mendel's garden in front of the tower. The telescope on the top rotates and tilts by turning the knobs. Inside there is Pawlov's dog, Schrödinger's cat, a library and a chemistry lab, among other things. Overall a lovely design with ingenious attention to detail!

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