Walking Pictures - 3/30/2014 - 4/30/2014

A continuation of my Walking Pictures page just because the original was getting too big. I fairly often take 100 pictures a day or so and only a small fraction of those make it even this far. I got my current camera 10/23/2013 and by 3/31/2014 I'd taken 2800 pictures with it.

Prints of these are available, made on a color laser printer from the full resolution images. alan01346@gmail.com I hope to sell them in local stores, don't have any shopping cart set up for buying online. Paypal accepted by prearrangement.

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Original 11/7/2013 12/21/2013 96 pictures
2014a 12/25/2013 2/6/2014 77 pictures
2014b 3/31/2014 4/30/2014 73 pictures
2014c 5/1/2014 5/31/2014 101 pictures
2014d 6/1/2014 6/30/2014 72 pictures
2014e 7/1/2014 7/31/2014 90 pictures
2014f 8/1/2014 8/31/2014 110 pictures
2014g 9/1/2014 9/30/2014 118 pictures
2014h 10/1/2014 ? ?
dscn2722.jpg Well, I spent most of the winter in a recliner, now I'm paying for it. Only half a mile the first day out. Sugaring the old fashioned way, with real buckets. When I was a kid we had cut-down milk jugs and taps made from sumac hollowed out. 3/29/2014
View from the front yard. It just rained a lot so there are puddles, ice, mud, snow out there. 3/30/2014 dscn2762.jpg
dscn2771.jpg Riddle's is still right where I left it. 3/31/2014
There's a lot of clutter in the yard of this house but by choosing a camera postion up on the hill a little I left out most of it. 3/31/2014 dscn2772.jpg
dscn2787.jpg Water running beside the road. I used to love to play in this when I was little. There's enough here so I heard it from about 100 feet away and came over. 3/31/2014
There's some actual mud here, on the side of this dirt road, but it isn't too bad yet. 3/31/2014 dscn290.jpg
dscn2797.jpg This is a spot where water running under the snow caused the snow to fall in. A sink hole if you will. No tracks near it. 3/31/2014
Mice have girdled this old apple tree and probably killed it, trying to find food in the winter under the snow. 3/31/2014 dscn2800.jpg
dscn2821.jpg I got the camera WiFi setup working a little better by putting the camera outdoors near the feeder. 4/1/2014
I didn't get any pictures of them with their beaks empty, and they really like those sunflower seeds. 4/1/2014 dscn2827.jpg
dscn2828.jpg They're busy eating all the time, duh. 4/1/2014
It's nice having this adapter, but I'm a little disappointed at having the camera revert to point n' shoot mode, with autofocus when I plug it in. I was eating breakfast and watching this for about ½ hour. I saw a bird in the frame 19 times, took 19 pictures. 9 of those actually caught a bird. Only 4 of those are mostly in focus. I think there's a 3rd party remote that might work better. 4/1/2014 dscn2831.jpg
dscn2844.jpg A little better luck today. These are the best 4 out of 50 pictures, running the camera at its highest resolution (18 megapixels), and I turned off the shutter sound so it doesn't scare the birds. 4/2/2014
A balancing act on the edge of the feeder. 4/2/2014 dscn2855.jpg
dscn2871.jpg Thoughful? Watching something? Depressed? I figured out that the camera was focused on the post at the center of the feeder. Birds nearer or farher away are out of focus. The camera doesn't move, some of these are cropped differently. 4/2/2014
This is my favorite so far. I gotta do something else eventually, like go back to walking. 4/2/2014 dscn2874.jpg
dscn2956.jpg Cloudy moon, figures. I shot a few in the winter, tonight I didn't have to freeze to do it. 4/13/2014
I've been working on the program that does this. I store pictures on CDs or lately DVDs to free up hard drive space. This program will scan all the pictures on the CD/DVD, make a thumbs directory, reproduce the CD/DVD directory structure inside it, and make HTML pages. The thumbnails themselves are already in all the pictures so this extracts them along with some GPS information. I've set it up as a CSS tooltip so when you hover the mouse over a picture this little box pops up showing information about when and where it was taken and the file name. All of that takes about as much space as 1 or 2 high resolution images. You run it before burning to disk, and you can copy them back off the disk after it's burned. The mouse is over the image left of the box, the cursor didn't get captured. 4/13/2014 thumbnailer
dscn2972.jpg I'm getting old: it isn't so easy to lay on the ground and get back up again. This was using fill flash but I was too close for it to make much difference. 4/14/2014
It was so windy even the flowers wouldn't hold still. I think I can make an LED macro light ring, I certainly don't want to spend $80 on one. But I've seen the problem before: when you get close enough you're blocking the light so you don't get the vibrant colors. Maybe I'll look with froogle.com for macro ring lights. And some way to hold the flower still like a velcro strap on a goosneck or piece of #12 copper wire. These are 2 out of about 60 pictures trying to get good lighting, not blurred, in focus.

Ok, Holga, I remember the Holga 120 camera in the 1990s as cheap and basic, well, they have a macro light ring too. $20 at B&H Photo: here Hmmm, uses 2 AAA batteries, nope I hate AAA. AA nicads I've got a bunch of, that's my standard. Has 12 LEDs. I can make something that simple, I just hadn't thought of it. 4/14/2014
print diff This is a photograph of my screen at left and a picture I printed at the right. Last fall it worked pretty well, now I hardly recognize it. The printer's connected to a Windows machine which has a new version of Windows since then, a new printer driver, and the printer's got a new set of (genuine HP) toner cartridges. One of those messed it up. 4/14/2014
Looks good enough to eat, actually supposedly most flowers are edible. 4/14/2014 yummy.jpg
flower on black I usually don't get into "pixel tweaking" but I thought a black background would be nice. Done in The Gimp with quick mask, same idea as Photoshop but free and under unix. 4/15/2014

This is a little mini-tutorial on how to select an object in a picture and remove it from its natural background. I'm using The Gimp here but the same principles apply to Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, several other tools. Photoshop costs more than my first car so I don't own a copy. The Gimp is pretty close, and it's free and open source.

Gimp downloads are at http://www.gimp.org/downloads/. The Gimp is mostly released here in source code form that you have to compile yourself. If you're using Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD it's in the ports/packages collection, download it through normal channels. I've even got it on my Raspberry Pi which fits in the palm of my hand and runs on 2 watts. The Gimp doesn't officially support Microsoft Windows but there are unofficial nightly builds at http://nightly.darkrefraction.com/gimp/. I haven't tried one since maybe 2005 and it was slower than the unix versions but it worked. Macs I don't know much about but at worst you can probably compile it yourself from the downloads at gimp.org.

A tulip which isn't quite open. Photo du jour. raw tulip
select by color I started here with the "select by color" tool, used the "add to selection" option, and kept clicking different parts of the flower until I got most of it selected. I was mostly trying to get the outline. It's not a good idea here to start clicking in the shadows inside the flower because those darker colors also exist in places outside and they'll all get selected.

One thing to bear in mind here is that your selection can be saved along with the image. If you use the native file format: xcf in The Gimp or psd in Photoshop it will open back up with what you have selected still selected. And you can flip back and forth between quick mask and normal selections as often as you want.
Quick Mask turned on. The choice of flower color is unfortunate because quick mask is a pinkish orange color (you can change it) anyway. It works very much like any other color: you can use a pencil, brush, floodfill, make gradients. But it's not a real color, it's what isn't selected. Some of the most interesting uses are gradients and feathered edges: as this fades to nothing the area becomes more selected. Copy your selection and you've got edges that fade into nothingness or maybe transparency.

I never can remember whether foreground or background is going to select or unselect so I just take a stab at it. You can always undo or paint over it in the opposite color. You want to remove that pinkish orange from the parts you want to keep, that's why it's called a mask. Mask in the sense of covering up, like putting newspaper and tape where you don't want to spray paint.
quick mask on
free select inside quick mask Here I've done a free select inside the quick mask by drawing a line around almost the outside of the flower. I want to select the parts that were missing before (mostly shadows). The hard part is getting the edge but that's mostly been done with "select by color", it just missed some stuff in the middle. This is essentially a selection inside a selection.
Here I've filled the selected region with the foregound color (under Edit), which selects it in the outer sense. The background color is the pinkish orange that's not selected, the foreground color is selection, which appears transparent. In the purple flower I used an oval selection tool because I found I could fit the curves almost like using a French curve. There are advantages here in working your way carefully around the edge at high magnification, then when it's at final size the flaws become smaller. Expect to spend an hour if it's an important picture. Undo or paint over your mistakes. filled area
quick mask off Quick mask off, normal selection mode. You can see that all the unselected spots in the middle of the flower are gone from my filling the free selection with the foreground color. Now there are some parts on the outside that shouldn't be selected. Go back to quick mask, draw loops around them, fill with background. Or paint: a brush tool might work well here. Then back out of quick mask.
Here's my final image. There's some sloppy work on the right side of it. I made a new blank image with a black background, copied my selection and pasted into the new image. Even here my selection is still selected in the original and I could go back and clean it up, then copy and paste again. Save often. By having your selection be something you can keep refining you can put as much time into making it perfect as you want. It's not like you only get one shot at it. If you don't like it, go back and fix bad spots. If I were actually getting paid for this I would have spent more time on it, I spent more time grabbing screenshhots and editing those.

You could also paste into an image with a transparent background, some file formats like gif and png allow that. Then if you use it on a web page it will seem to not be in a frame. Sort of like here, but if you change the page background color (at the top) you can see this is in black.

Notice that I didn't make any changes in the original image, only in my selections and the copy I pasted into. It's just one copy of the file anyway, but both The Gimp and Photoshop have multiple undo levels, you can almost always do "Edit -> Undo" and undo the last few things you did, one at a time. Each level of undo takes a fair bit of memory or disk space, so somewhere in Preferences there's usually a place to specify how much you want to devote to holding undo steps.

dscn3073.jpg (1) There's a story being told in these 4 pictures, you just have to imagine you can understand the words. Watch the beaks. 4/19/2014
(2) The day before this there were bluebirds here so I set up the camera and tripod and watched until the camera turned itself off but they never came back. So I took the camera in but left the tripod overnight for the birds to get used to. When I mow lawn I could reach up and touch this and it doesn't scare them away but with young in the nest then they're not about to leave.

Notice she doesn't go in, she's just looking. 4/19/2014
dscn3075.jpg (3) Something's being discussed here. I think her conclusion was that the house is in use. These are (probably) swallows, not bluebirds. These usually build in the house to the west that they put twigs in. 4/19/2014
(4) This reminds me of some comic strip, I can't think which. I think he lost the argument because I haven't seen them since. 4/19/2014 dscn3074.jpg
dscn3094.jpg I like to zoom right down inside of flowers, see what they're made of. Probably doesn't suit everyone's taste. Every look really close at a dandelion before you pull it? 4/20/2014
OK, a wider shot. Tulips at Easter. Natural sunlight. 4/20/2014 dscn3096.jpg
dscn3107.jpg xclock - classic xwindows. I've had it running somewhere about 19 years now. Practicing manual focusing, had the camera PDF open and everything. This is from my laptop screen. This camera's supposed to focus down to 1 cm, of course by then the width of the lens has blocked all the light out. 4/20/2014
And you thought I'd changed? Gotcha. 4/20/2014 dscn3094-2.jpg
dscn3117.jpg I'm not familiar with Ford models but this looks like a newer version of my Ferguson only with red paint. I'm not sure if this is some restoration job or if it's original. Smells like it leaks gas. 4/21/2014
I don't know what kind of tree this is, but it's the first tree bud I've seen this year. It's just hitting 60 degrees a few days, near freezing at night. 4/22/2014 dscn3143.jpg
dscn3178.jpg A big dead and rotting tree, still standing. 4/22/2014
This is a rack for stacking and tying used newspapers. You run some twine up through that channel near the center of the bottom before you start putting newspapers in and stick the end under the rack to hold it. When it's full you dig out the end of the string and tie it across one direction. Then take the bundle out and put another string at right angles to it. 4/22/2014 side view
top_diag.jpg We used to have a rack like this made of metal about 40 years ago, I'm not sure where it went. 4/22/2014
Top view. This isn't real of course, it was done in Povray, a free ray-tracer. I got all the wood grains headed the right directions this time.

Doing this helped me spot an error before I built it: I was going to put the layer where the string goes on the bottom but realized that when you tie up the bundle you'd be tying it to the rack. 4/22/2014
top view
dscn3183_960.jpg This looks like something I'd be told to eat because it was good for me but I wouldn't want to. Somehow it seems related to artichokes, brussel sprouts or broccoli. 4/23/2014
I saw this yesterday but got a blurry picture since I wobble. I had to walk a fair distance to get back to it today. No idea what it is of course, and I don't really care, but I only saw one of them.

It takes both hands to run the camera if I'm doing manual focus so if I wobble too much whatever I'm shooting goes in and out of focus. This had a twig sticking out that I got under the little finger of my right hand which was also holding the camera and running the shutter button then I focused with my left hand. And it was cold out there. 4/23/2014
dscn3197_960.jpg Lilac buds. I'm really enjoying shooting at high resolution (4896x3672), not that I'm making posters or anything like that. I can crop a picture down to about 1/9 of its original size and I still have to rescale that smaller to get down to Facebook's 960x720 size requirement. 4/23/2014
Some of the forsythia forest. 4/23/2014 dscn3202.jpg
dscn3218.jpg These little purple things are up every spring then they're gone by the time everything else is in blossom. So, the nearest flower is overexposed because the fill flash was on and I thought something would compensate, and I fudged the gamma a little for a more dramatic effect. I don't have anyone to critique my work so I have to do it myself. Focus is weird too. 4/25/2014
Flower power. Shooting flowers against the sky is something Jeannette taught me years ago only she did it with asparagus and the little blue berries it has. And yes, I was laying in the flower bed looking up. My clothes will get dry someday. 4/25/2014 dscn3224.jpg
dscn3255.jpg Missed his ears but he moved before I could try again. First time I've been over this way in months. They watched me from a distance but when I got closer they ignored me. I talk to them constantly when I'm over there but that doesn't seem to help. 4/25/2014
My halfway mark, the turning around point, this is ½ mile from where I live so I made it a mile for the first time in about 4 months (by the time I got back). Experimenting with setting the focus to infinity instead of using autofocus for anything over about 15 feet, I like the effect. 1 hour and 80 pictures later I still like it, the backgrounds are in focus too at least on a bright day (bright day = higher f/stop = more depth of field) . 4/25/2014 dscn3266.jpg
dscn3279.jpg Farmall M, its winter plowing done, parked over here near a new disk harrow. 4/25/2014
A hay wagon waiting to have its woodwork replaced near the end of the equipment shed. My favorite of the day. 4/25/2014 dscn3283.jpg
dscn3297.jpg Same horse, different place, on my way home. I should start carrying treats for them but I don't often get close enough to give them to them. Sometimes they're off in the woods and I don't see them at all. 4/25/2014
The farm over here and the farm over there. I'm seeing a WiFi access point lately and I think it may be over there across the valley. It's line of sight anyway with no trees in the way. Everyone has internet except us. :( 4/25/2014 dscn3312.jpg
dscn3315.jpg Cloudlets - clouds being born. Charlemont windmill toward the right. 4/26/2014
Power lines above Heath center. My father and I went fishing over here once, toward the left side and up over the hill, then out into the woods. I don't remember whether we caught anything but the walking wasn't fun, too many briars. 4/26/2014 dscn3330.jpg
dscn3338.jpg A couple of the towers. I was just surprised at how sharp they came out: I can read that number 70 up there even after this has been scaled way down for Facebook. Infinite focus rather than autofocus. 4/26/2014
Wetmore Spring. Glad to see it operational again, a few years back it was closed down because groundwater up the bank was getting into it. We don't do anything about the polution, we just pass laws that people can't drink the water. Somebody set some spring tiles into the ground to keep the groundwater out. For a lot of people this public spring may be the only water they have at times. I've hauled water from here, it's the best tasting water I've ever had. I used to live about 1/4 mile up the road and my grandfather had a hydraulic ram set up to pump some of this water up to the house at one point. That pipe used to be cast iron, not plastic. The water's cold enough to make your arm ache, even in hot weather, if you reach into that tub. It's been running at least 50 years, never fails. 4/26/2014 dscn3343.jpg
dscn3357.jpg I walked back down to this tree again, still no idea what kind it is. Could be cherry. 4/27/2014
I was looking to see if more of the same bud structure had opened, but there were so many more I wasn't sure which one I was looking at before. 4/27/2014 dscn3368.jpg
dscn3374.jpg So anyway, don't tell anybody I was out there taking 28 pictures of one tree, ok? (today alone)

Reminds me of one time in high school I had found this black newt with yellow spots so I brought it in to show my biology teacher. He said "Oh yeah, these are so rare you'd better put it right back where you found it." 4/27/2014
And a more traditional flower. This was autofocus in macro mode, I didn't lay down on the ground today, it was too cold. 4/27/2014 dscn3376.jpg
dscn3385.jpg Maybe it's my imagination but I think he looks annoyed. Focusing on infinity didn't work so well for these. 4/28/2014
There's a whole group of them over here near the barns, eventually they'll be in some pasture somewhere. These are organic beef, not dairy cows. 4/28/2014 dscn3391.jpg
dscn3400.jpg The tribunal et al. At some point they either realized I was carrying my walking stick or thought it was time to get fed and they all stampeded to over by the barns. So I didn't have as long to experiment with focus as I thought I was going to. 4/28/2014
This is the farthest I've been down this road in recent years. The house I live in is just left of the right tree, up on the hill, so I walked a good mile today, not on level ground. I need to be doing this 3-5 times a week. 4/28/2014 dscn3434.jpg
dscn3463.jpg I bought this display for my Raspberry Pi, a PiTFT by Adafruit. It's a 2.8 inch LCD with backlight and touchscreen. I'm using the Pi more than I expected to and for things I never realized it could do. It runs the whole Debian set of about 32,000 programs, it's the best thing I've got for transferring pictures off my camera and running my flatbed scanner. The hard drive is a 32 gig SD card. This is its standard X desktop crammed into the display's 320x240 size. It's about the same size as the viewfinder on my camera. 4/29/2014
In the middle of life the water pump in the well started tripping its circuit breaker. Called my uncle the electrician who said call the plumber and get it replaced. So after much digging and climbing down a ladder into what was probably the original well, out came the old pump at the end of about 80 feet of plastic pipe. It's 10 years old. 4/29/2014 dscn3493.jpg
dscn3521.jpg And here's the new pump almost ready to go into the well. What amazed me is that there's no attempt made to keep water out of the electrical connections at all, just 220 volts sitting in water for 10 years. Pure water isn't a very good conductor of electricity. So any of that stuff from the movies about throwing an electric heater into a bathtub to electrocute somebody is just Hollywood. 4/29/2014
Back to the Pi. I can use the display as a console for displaying 40x25 text, which I think is about what an Apple II screen was. And I can actually read this (with my reading glasses on). The display mounts to the top of the Pi, they're both about 4 inches wide. So I could sit with this and a USB keyboard and do stuff, like during a power failure or in my car, because the Pi runs on 2 watts. I'm dangerously close to buying a second one. It's real Linux, not Android, that I can actually write programs on. Total cost is under $100. I'm not much of a Linux fan but I've also got FreeBSD for it. I can connect via network from a "real" computer, connect to the internet, drive a printer, edit images, do spreadsheets, write a book... It comes with a protective plastic cover I haven't taken off yet, crumbs aren't included. 4/29/2014 dscn3550.jpg
dscn3558.jpg OK, here's proof that this thing is tiny. Raspberry Pi with display. Ethernet and 2 USB jacks to the right, HDMI on the left, On the side toward my fingers is an RCA composite video out and a headphone jack. On the side toward my thumb is a mini-USB jack that it gets power through and a slot for an SD card that it boots from. The camera board plugs into a connector behind the ethernet jack. One of the problems in building a case for it is that there's something on every side you need to leave accessible. 4/30/2014

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