Nikon D7200 Tokina 100mm f5.6 1/50 ISO 200
One of the commonest British mosses. Possibly one of the most beautiful. It’s the translucent caps on the ends of the sporangia that pulls in the punters.
Capillary Thread-moss, Bryum capillare.
Shepherd’s Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris. Nikon D5200 EL Nikkor 50mm N f4 1/250 ISO 100
I also shot some fancy pants focus stacks of this, but I prefer this simple, somewhat abstract image.
What can I say? Life continues to be photographically challenging. Bit miffed not to have perfect symmetry down the central spine in this shot, but it was actually curved not straight so that wasn’t possible without Photoshop furtling.
Cactus. Sony DSC-HX20V f3.5 5.8mm 1/30 ISO 800
Said to be a completely arboreal species (but this one was happy on the ground). It is the only UK bush-cricket which is largely carnivorous, eating a range of other insects. Quite nocturnal so rarely seen – but probably not that rare.
Oak Bush-cricket, Meconema thalassinum. Nikon D5200 Tokina 100mm f16 1/250 ISO 100
One branch of my family lies buried in this churchyard. Abandoned many years ago, the church of St Peter The Poor Fisherman clings stubbornly to the coast, continuing to defy the joint efforts of the sea and the Church Preservation Society to undermine it.
Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f3.3 17mm 1/45 ISO 800
It’s common, it’s green, it’s a grasshopper. What else do you need to know? That I have fond memories of grasshoppers on long summer afternoons from my childhood. And that they’re not so common any more.
Green Dock Beetle – Gastrophysa viridula.
I’ve seen some lovely images of Red Dock Weevils (Apion frumentarium) recently, so went looking for them but I didn’t find any. Instead, I found lots of Green Dock Beetles. It’s the mating season (for Green Dock Beetles – what you get up to in your spare time is your own business). The females get so full of eggs that the wing cases don’t preserve their modesty:
If you want to find some for yourself, look gently (so they don’t drop off) on the underside of Broad Leaved Dock leaves. Sadly they were all too frisky for any focus stacks so you’ll have to make do with snapshots.
Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm f8 130mm +68mm 1/250 ISO 800
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae. I think I like this shot best. Or do I prefer this one?
I’m quite pleased with this. High magnification, but the lighting is a little harsh – I’m working on that! To give you an indication of scale, the capsules of the sporangia are about 3mm long. I don’t know what species this is – mosses are hard!
Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm f22 70mm +68mm 1/60 ISO 400
Update: Now I know.
The reason there is no Icelandic mythology about the northern lights (apart from that invented by the tourist industry in the last 30 years) is that because during the Middle Ages (where the folklore comes from), the magnetic north pole was close to Iceland, so the band around the pole where the aurora occurs was far to the south.
We drove to the south coast and arrived about 9.30pm. It was cold, around -5°C but with another 10 degrees of windchill, but the skies were clear. So clear and dark that you could make out the milky way. I tried, but the milky way was a little too much for little cam to cope with. And we waited, got colder. After an hour or so, five layers just weren’t cutting it any more. And we waited. And got colder. By 11pm I’d just about had enough. I was so cold and so tired I was ready to pack it in. The Kris said, It is starting.
To the north we could see the thin, vertical milky band we had been told to watch for. And then there they were, the northern lights. Mostly green but with a faint touch of orange. Then they were all around us, to the north and to the south.
I shot and shot and little cam performed magnificently, far better than a pocket sized camera has any right to. I carried on shooting until I was so cold that my hands wouldn’t move and I couldn’t work the camera any more. So I put the camera in my pocket and stepped out into the wind and watched. And then they started to dance, the lower edge rippling and bucking like a curtain in front of an open window.
Then it was too cold and just too dangerous to stay any longer, so we drove back to Reykjavík. It was one of the scariest drives of my life, drifting snow obscuring the road and nearly getting blown into the ditch by cross winds several times. And they followed us all the way, all around, even into Reykjavík after we hit the street lights.
I got to be about 2am but I couldn’t sleep. I was buzzing. Never, ever dreamed I would see anything so magnificent.
Sony DSC-HX20V ƒ3.5 7mm 1/4 ISO 800
iPhone 5s 4.15mm f2.2 4.2 mm 1/30 ISO 40