from the desk of Colin Nicholls

Category: Photography (Page 1 of 2)

Today’s Harvest

The beans are doing incredibly well. I think we have enough to offer our neighbour, except he has plenty of his own.

Our little nectarine tree has produced 6 fruit this year, and two of them were ripe enough to be picked.

One cucumber from the scraggly plant, and a squash from the plant-that-was-supposed-to-be-an-Eggplant.

The Sweet 100’s tomato bush produced its usual daily handful, but the big news is from the other tomato plants. These are plants I grew from seed, from hierloom tomatoes we purchased last year from the market. The tomatoes were so delicious that I saved the seeds, grew seedlings this Spring and now the plants are producing. 

The one on the left is from a variety I called “Tri-Tip” because the flesh is dark red and the internal structure is kind of undefined and you carve it into slices. 

The one on the right is from a variety I called “Stripe”, for obvious reasons.

E Pluribus Unum

There were eight tomato seeds placed in this container three weeks ago.
And yet, I am delighted with the results so far:

The South-facing garage window gets quite a bit of sun during the day. Hopefully it will be enough to see this little guy through to potting stage.

Thugs in Balaclavas

Every morning our back yard is besieged with a gang of American Robins. The male birds (I assume) have a black head and white eye-rings and they look like they are wearing balaclavas. The females have less-contrasting plumage but are still very colorful.

Another colourful visitor

I don’t intend this blog to become a bird-watching log, but we do get some colourful visitors in our backyard. A couple of days ago, this interesting character showed up:

(There weren’t three of them – it’s just some creative photo-manipulation). Originally he was underneath the birches, posing perfectly for the camera, but by the time I decided to go and get the camera to take his portrait, he’d moved further back towards the fence, and was working his way along the edge of the lawn poking his beak into the ground to look for insects, I guess.

A quick perusal of the Pacific Coastal Wildlife Regional handbook indicates that our visitor is most likely a Red Shafted or Intergrade Flicker. He’s “the only woodpecker regularly seen on the ground where he feeds on Ants, etc”. 

Be very very quiet

I went out into the back yard this afternoon and stood on the grass and just contemplated the sun and the breeze and the smell of the back garden. Then I noticed that, after a while, different birds would fly into the little copse of birch trees in the middle of the lawn, and pay me no heed. I sensed an opportunity… so I went and got my camera, and then returned and stood on the lawn, waiting. Pretty soon I could hear the tap tap tap of a woodpecker:

I think this guy is a male Hairy Woodpecker.

A little while later, a hummingbird buzzed around me and paid attention to the trunk of the nearest birch. I took three decent pictures of her, and I’ve tried to combine them in interesting ways below:

What was she so interested in? There were no flowers there. I took a look:

Aha. The woodpecker has been drilling through the outer bark, and the hummingbirds seem to enjoy the sap as it oozes out. This would be charming and all, except that I’m a little worried about our birch trees:

It’s beginning to look like some serious damage. I guess this is a seasonal activity, and has probably occurred often in the past, but I can’t help feeling nervous about it. We love our birch trees!

A Morning Visitor


This little guy showed up on one of our birch trees this morning. I snapped some pictures of him through the living room window: 



I would have thought he is a Ladder-backed Woodpecker or a Nutall’s Woodpecker but he seems to have more red on his head/breast area than the pictures of those two species I’ve seen. He does match the description of a Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) however.


Cameras and Ubuntu Linux

I plugged my camera into a spare USB port, and waited. It just works… Ubuntu recognised the attached storage and prompted me for an application. I chose F-Spot Photo Manager because it seemed like the right thing to do, and successfully copied the images to the filesystem. That is a complete success, in my book, except for the following issues:

  • I'd created a folder ~/pictures/camera but for some reason I could not copy the images from the camera to that location. I ended up putting them in ~/pictures instead, and then moving them manually later.
  • By default Ubuntu apparently created a directory called ~/Photos for me but I swear I don't remember seeing it before. Did F-Spot do this, or am I just blind? [Update: The directory was created last night, so I expect F-Spot did it, or perhaps Ubuntu did after it recognised the camera.]
  • I couldn't figure out how to move the images from the camera (thus relieving me of the need to delete them from the camera in a separate operation).

(The camera is a FujiFilm FinePix 602z. The laptop is a Sony Vaio FE790G.)

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