Archive for category Photography & Images

Ice Jewelry

We spotted this assortment of jewelry gleaming along Clove Creek:

Ice jewelry - overview
Ice jewelry – overview

A closer look at a necklace:

Ice jewelry - detail 1
Ice jewelry – detail 1

And the brooch:

Ice jewelry - detail 2
Ice jewelry – detail 2

The water level has been dropping for several days as the air temperature went from tolerably cold to well below freezing.

It’s better in person; I couldn’t get close enough to avoid using the Pixel’s digital zoom, so the images have more gritty texture than you’d expect.


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Sony HDR-AS30V Helmet Camera: MicroSD Card Spacer

Sony tried, they really tried, to make their proprietary Memory Stick flash memory cards catch on, but the slot in their HDR-AS30V Action / Helmet camera accepts both Memory Stick Micro and MicroSD cards. The two cards have slightly different sizes, the AS30V’s dual-purpose slot allows MicroSD cards to sit misaligned with the contacts, and the camera frequently kvetches about having no card.

The only solution seemed to be starting the camera while watching the display to ensure the card worked, but it would sometimes joggle out of position during a ride.

I cut out a tiny polypropylene rectangle(-ish) spacer to fill the Memory Stick side of the slot, sized to fit between the spring fingers holding the MicroSD card against its contacts:

Sony HDR-AS30V Camera - MicroSD card and spacer
Sony HDR-AS30V Camera – MicroSD card and spacer

Not the best cutting job I’ve ever done, but it was an iterative process and that’s where I stopped. If this works and I have need for another / better spacer, I promise to do better.

The spacer’s somewhat mottled appearance comes from tapeless sticky (an adhesive layer on a peel-off backing: inverse tape!) applied to the top side, which will affix it to the slot. I’d rather glue the spacer to the MicroSD card, but then the card wouldn’t fit in the USB 3.0 adapter I use to transfer the files.

The chips along the left edge of silkscreen come from my fingernail, because pressing exactly there seems to be the best way to force the damn thing into the proper alignment.

So the slot + spacer looks like this:

Sony HDR-AS30V Camera - dual-card slot with spacer
Sony HDR-AS30V Camera – dual-card slot with spacer

The MicroSD card fits in the far side of the slot, facing toward you with contacts downward, thusly:

Sony HDR-AS30V Camera - MicroSD card with spacer
Sony HDR-AS30V Camera – MicroSD card with spacer

And then It Just Works™, at least on the very few rides we’ve gotten in during December and early January.

Incidentally, the blue and exceedingly thin latch finger holding the battery in place will snap, should you drop the camera on its non-lens end from any height. Conversely, should you drop it on the lens end, you can kiss the optics goodbye. Your choice.


Monthly Image: Red Oaks Mill Dam Flow

Some of our regular walks take us over the Rt 376 bridge downstream of the Red Oaks Mill dam and I try to take a picture whenever we cross.

For reference, two years ago in December 2016:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11

January 2018:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2018-01-13

Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2018-01-13

April 2018:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2018-04-08

Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2018-04-08

October 2018:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2018-10-29

Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2018-10-29

November 2018:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2018-11-18

Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2018-11-18

December 2018:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2018-12-31

Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2018-12-31

The dam breast seem from the north (left in above pictures) in December 2018:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - north view - 2018-12-30

Red Oaks Mill Dam – north view – 2018-12-30

Searching for the obvious keywords will produce far more pictures than the subject may deserve.

Getting hydropower from the rubble would require considerable capital investment …


Imagemagick 6 vs. PDF

Come to find out Xubuntu 18.04 ratcheted the ImageMagick security settings up to a dangerous chattering whine:

convert p???.jpg "Machining D-bit Drills.pdf"
convert-im6.q16: not authorized `Machining D-bit Drills.pdf' @ error/constitute.c/WriteImage/1037.

Fortunately, someone who understands this stuff encountered the problem before I did and posted a great description of the solution.

To forestall link rot, the process looks like:

cd /etc/ImageMagick-6/
sudo cp policy.xml policy.xml.base
sudo nano policy.xml
… change one line …
 policy domain="coder" rights="read|write" pattern="PDF"

It is completely unclear to me whether ImageMagick (as of ImageMagick 6.9.7-4 Q16 x86_64 20170114 ) requires or merely tolerates the vertical bar in place of commas, nor whether it’s in my best interest to replace "coder" with "*".

In any event, I can once again stuff bitmap images into PDF files.


Kindle Fire Picture Frame: Copying the Pictures

Being a bear of unbearable consistency, I save edited picture files with a description following the original camera-assigned sequence number:

IMG_20181108_190041 - Kindle Fire Picture Frame - Another Test Image.jpg

Yup, spaces and all.

Kindle Fire Picture Frame - Another Test Image

Kindle Fire Picture Frame – Another Test Image

I store my general-interest pix chronologically by year, in subdirectories for interesting categories, so copying all the edited (a.k.a. “interesting”) pictures to the Kindle Fire becomes a one-liner:

cd /mnt/bulkdata/Cameras
find 20?? -iname \*\ \*jpg -print0 | xargs -0 cp --parents -t /mnt/part/Pictures

The --parents parameter tells cp to recreate the directory structure holding the picture in the target directory, thereby keeping the pix neatly sorted in their places, rather than creating one heap o’ pictures.

Come to find out I’ve edited slightly over 7 k general-interest pictures in the eighteen years I’ve been using digital cameras, of maybe 27 k total pictures. Call it a 25% hit ratio; obviously I’m not nearly fussy enough.

Then there’s another 16 k project-related pictures, of which 10 k were edited into something useful. With an emphasis on utility, rather than aesthetics, a 60% hit ratio seems OK.

Which works out to half a dozen pictures a day, every day, for eighteen years. I loves me some good digital camera action!

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Small Stone Moving By Itself

A decorative snail emerged from within a large garden lettuce:

Snail - looking left

Snail – looking left

It seemed interested in its new surroundings:

Snail - looking right

Snail – looking right

And eventually set off on an adventure:

Snail - escaping

Snail – escaping

We returned it to the Great Outdoors, far from the garden goodies, and wished it well.

Sometimes, having eyes mounted on stalks would be advantageous, but I’m unwilling to give up opposable thumbs to get ’em.



Everybody Wants to be a Star

The Wzye Pan camera overlooking the bird feeders attracted the attention of a Downy Woodpecker:


Screenshot_20181029-112307 - Downy Woodpecker at the Pan

Screenshot_20181029-112307 – Downy Woodpecker at the Pan

The camera sits on a “guest” branch of the house network, fenced off from the rest of the devices, because Pi-Hole showed it relentlessly nattering with its Chinese servers:

Blocked Domains - Wyze iotcplatform

Blocked Domains – Wyze iotcplatform

In round numbers, the Pan camera tried to reach those (blocked) iotcplatform domains every 30 seconds around the clock, using a (permitted) lookup to check Internet connectivity. Pi-Hole supplied the latter from its cache and squelched the former, but enough is enough.

I haven’t tested for traffic to hardcoded dotted-quad IP addresses not requiring DNS lookups through the Pi-Hole. Scuttlebutt suggests the camera firmware includes binary blobs from the baseline Xaiomi/Dafang cameras, so there’s no telling what’s going on in there.

The Xiaomi-Dafang Hacks firmware doesn’t phone home to anybody, but requires router port forwarding and a compatible RTSP client on the remote end. Isolating it from the rest of the LAN must suffice until I can work out that mess; I assume the camera has already made my WiFi passwords public knowledge.

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