17 February 2023

Perceptual adjustment

I had what I thought was an interesting experience when editing one of my photos. Look at the first view before proceeding to the second one, and get a sense of the image as you parse it. I thought it looked (strangely but convincingly) like some sort of a mountain scene with a glacier or river draining into a pool, with some very large bird overhead. 


Modest recropping with added information in the second view changed that assessment for me, putting the view into its actual context of a small scene, with seafoam streaming around moss-covered rocks. 

Did the two other Purple Sandpipers in the lower left have the same effect for you, or did you interpret the scene accurately in the first place?

09 February 2023

Overlooking the ocean

 I visited Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, MA the other day, where the quarry was partly frozen over:

There was much Nice Ice to see:

I saw this sign:

I didn't think the Atlantic was an ocean that should be overlooked, so I went to the overlook to overlook the ocean. I quickly discovered that there were more Harlequin Ducks than I think I've ever seen in one place at a time, counting at least 18 in this view:
I came home with over 100 images of them, such as this lineup of interested males:

And a closer approach:
 Followed by dispersal:
And a flyer: 
And also some Long-tailed Ducks, including one whose expression seemed quite imperious:

It was a fine day out. I'm glad I went.

13 September 2022

Update day! Whee!

Ubuntu's 22.04.1 LTS release came out fairly recently, and I had it on my to-do list to get around to updating some components of my personal digital empire once it did. I'd already been using 22.04 on my desktop for several months, to general satisfaction and particular appreciation of its having included a new enough version of Darktable to handle the CR3 raw format that one of my cameras produces.

So, to the updating. I have a DigitalOcean droplet that runs the Nextcloud snap. I like having a small bit of cloud that I can manage myself, primarily to share files among devices and sometimes with others. I use memory cards with higher storage capacity than the minimal droplet's 25GB, but it serves its purpose. sudo do-release-upgrade worked fine. One system checked off.

I also have a home server, which also hosts a Nextcloud alongside other services, for larger-capacity sharing within my LAN. Here, the Nextcloud instance hadn't auto-updated like the droplet's snap, and I (bad me!) hadn't been attentive to updating its versions while the service continued to "just work". After the OS upgrade, I found that the Nextcloud-in-place required a PHP version earlier than the 8.1 included with Ubuntu 22.04, so couldn't generate display pages. There's a third-party repository that has older PHP releases, but I wasn't quickly able to line up the right set of configuration for the old Nextcloud to make use of it, and it was Update Day anyway! After three successive updates to Nextcloud to successive versions, I got it current and able to find and use PHP 8.1. My screen sync icon winked with approval. 

Lesson: be aware of dependencies, and do upgrades when you have time to deal with surprises.  

02 January 2022

05 September 2021

Virtual Aviary

I set my virtual aviary site up a couple of years ago, but hadn't set up a pointer to it here until now. It started as a learning exercise in Python and Django, but I've kept it live and growing as a vehicle to host my collection of bird photographs. It's been satisfying and informative to structure and apply a database to organize the images based on metadata, and to explore tradeoffs between appearance and functionality. I'd never have gotten to its current count of 231 photographed species in New England without the help and company of other birders, so am appreciative for that. 

02 June 2021


Wikipedia describes the coloration of this Common Nighthawk as cryptic. I don't read this usage as relating to cryptography, or to a type of crossword puzzle, but it is certainly well camouflaged as it sleeps during a morning.