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Archive for category Photography & Images

Monthly Image: Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron caught a bright orange goldfish in the Vassar Farm Pond just before I rode past, spotted the scene, and fumbled my camera out of the underseat bag.

The heron hurked the fish down, with the abrupt right-angle bend in its neck marking the fish’s current location:

Great Blue Heron - swallowing

Great Blue Heron – swallowing

A bit of wiggling & jiggling put the meal in the right place and the bird relaxed:

Great Blue Heron - ruminating

Great Blue Heron – ruminating

A postprandial flight around the pond apparently settled the fish:

Great Blue Heron - takeoff

Great Blue Heron – takeoff

It landed on a snag a few dozen feet from where it started, then proceeded to look regal:

Great Blue Heron - idling

Great Blue Heron – idling

Those things really do look like pterodactyls in flight!

 

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Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond

I watched the Canada Goose family paddling around the pond:

Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond - 2017-06-04 - family

Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond – 2017-06-04 – family

A hiker on the trail around the pond brought them to DEFCON 4:

Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond - 2017-06-04 - alert

Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond – 2017-06-04 – alert

The little ones aren’t triphibans yet, but they know the drill:

Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond - 2017-06-04 - wing exercise

Goslings at Vassar Farm Pond – 2017-06-04 – wing exercise

Maybe he only does that when Mom’s not watching?

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Golden Tortoise Beetle

An iridescent ball appeared on the kitchen wall:

Golden Tortoise Beetle - left top - light

Golden Tortoise Beetle – left top – light

Despite the silvery shine under LED lighting, it was a Golden Tortoise Beetle:

Golden Tortoise Beetle - right top

Golden Tortoise Beetle – right top

The iridescence shows up better with a bit of underexposure:

Golden Tortoise Beetle - left top - dark

Golden Tortoise Beetle – left top – dark

Transparent armor: who’d’a thunk it?

Golden Tortoise Beetle - left front

Golden Tortoise Beetle – left front

Mary spotted one in the garden some years ago; I’ve never seen such a thing.

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Monthly Science: Significant Figures vs. Accuracy vs. Precision, Marathon Edition

The rail trail recently sprouted white mile markers:

Rail Trail - Marathon 13 mile marker

Rail Trail – Marathon 13 mile marker

This one stood out:

Rail Trail - Marathon 13.10938 mile marker

Rail Trail – Marathon 13.10938 mile marker

Not being a marathoner, I had the vague notion a marathon should be an even number of kilometers, because it’s not an even number of miles, but nooooo it’s just an arbitrary distance everybody agreed would be about right for a good long run.

During the rest of the ride, I worked out that 1 micro mile = 5+ milli foot = 60+ milli inch, so the rightmost significant figure in that marker represents increments of, oh, a smidge under ¾ inch. Middle of the hash line marks the spot, perhaps?

I’ve seen similar markers along other courses, with varying numbers of ahem significant figures, and will not say how long it took me to recognize what it represented.

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Road Conditions: Rt 376 Brush North of Maloney

NYS DOT ground the asphalt surface and repaved Rt 376, dramatically improving the southern route to the rail trail along Maloney Drive.

Alas, the Japanese Knotweed continues to flourish:

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I sent a note to their email contact and got the usual autoresponder message, but may have a side channel through the Dutchess County Planning Department to their Bicycle Coordinator. We shall see.

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Mystery Pigeon

Mary spotted this critter atop the roof and, much to my surprise, it waited courteously until I deployed the camera:

Mystery Pigeon - on roof ridge

Mystery Pigeon – on roof ridge

It looks, walks, and acts just like a pigeon:

Mystery Pigeon - walking on roof ridge

Mystery Pigeon – walking on roof ridge

… but we’ve never seen one with those feather patterns & colors. It’s not in any of our books, so it may be an escaped domestic pigeon.

Those feathers require plenty of body maintenance:

Mystery Pigeon - body maintenance

Mystery Pigeon – body maintenance

As nearly as we can tell, it’s wearing a green leg band with three digits that might be 904:

Mystery Pigeon - leg band composite

Mystery Pigeon – leg band composite

If this was your bird, it flew through Red Oaks Mill NY just after noon on 1 May 2017 …

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Copying Video Files From Action Cameras to a NAS Drive

For unknown reasons, a recent VLC update caused it to ignore uppercase file extensions: MP4 and AVI files no longer appear in its directory listings, while mp4 and avi files do. The least-awful solution involved renaming the files after copying them:

find /mnt/video -name \*AVI -print0 | xargs -0 rename -v -f 's/AVI/avi/'
find /mnt/video -name \*MP4 -print0 | xargs -0 rename -v -f 's/MP4/mp4/'
find /mnt/video -name \*THM -print0 | xargs -0 rename -v -f 's/THM/thm/'

Yup, that scans the whole drive every time, which takes care of stray files, manual tweaks, and suchlike. The THM files are useless thumbnails; I should just delete them.

While I had the hood up, I listed the remaining space on the NAS drive and cleaned up a few misfeatures. I manually delete old video files / directories as needed, usually immediately after the script crashes for lack of room.

The Sony HDR-AS30V can act as a USB memory device, but it dependably segfaults the ExFAT driver; I now transfer its MicroSD card to an adapter and jam it into the media slot on the monitor, where it works fine.

Protip: always turn the AS30V on to verify the MicroSD card has seated correctly in its socket. Unfortunately, the socket can also hold Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick Micro cards (32 GB maximum capacity = roadkill), but the dual-use / dual-direction socket isn’t a snug fit around MicroSD cards. You (well, I) can insert a card so it looks fine, while sitting slightly canted and not making proper contact. The camera will kvetch about that and it’s easier to fix with the camera in hand.

I’ve disabled USB device automounting, as I vastly prefer to handle them manually, so the script asks for permission in order to mount the drives. The transfer requires about an hour, so I’ve extended the time the sudo password remains active.

The script lets both cards transfer data simultaneously; the Fly6 generally finishes first because it produces less data. That produces a jumbled progress display and the script waits for both drives to finish before continuing.

The Bash source code as a GitHub Gist:

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