Smile! The world is a beautiful place (^_^)

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS

tattoo

This is not just a ladybug like all others.. She has a cat tattoo on her left shoulder! 🙂

I always thought all ladybugs looked the same, but that’s not the case. According to Wikipedia, the spot size and coloration can provide some indication of how toxic the individual bug is to potential predators. It synthesizes the toxic alkaloids, N-oxide coccinelline and its free base precoccinelline; depending on sex and diet.

Seven-spotted ladybug or

Seven-spotted ladybug or “C-7” (Coccinella septempunctata)

Picture rotated and zoomed in:

tattoo-2

Hello Kitty


w43

Some pictures I took in Sweden last weekend:

(1) A little Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) peeking out from behind a tree

w43-1

(2) Small mushrooms growing on a fallen tree trunk

w43-2

(3) Clematis seed heads up close

w43-3

(4) The autumn colours were wonderful. I was lucky; the day after I left it started to snow 🙂

w43-4


w42

Week 42! Apologies for the slow update.. I haven’t used my regular cameras at all in the past months, but instead I’ve been shooting analogue with Diana Mini and an old Konica – first film rolls are developed and the results are Terrible but Fun 🙂  Anyway, today I went to the forest and I brought my PS as well:

(1) Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

w47-1

(2) Mushroom family

w47-2

(3) Sporophyte of the moss

w47-3


w34

Week 34 already! Here’s a Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) basking in the sun, we’re enjoying sunny summer days here in Amsterdam this week 🙂

w34-1

Its face look a bit comical seen from the front.. Little Muppet!

w34-2


two-faced

This fly has a second face in its face! 😀 It kind of looks like a cartoon character wearing huge headphones.

two-faced


w29

Two butterflies, photographed during a walk today. Unfortunately I didn’t have my Raynox lens with me so these were shot with PS SX60 only.

(1) Common Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) and a bee

w29-1

(2) Small white (Pieris rapae)

w29-2


anthrax

Anthrax anthrax, is a species of fly in the family Bombyliidae. It’s a fairly large fly, the body length is 10 mm. The body is black with four white markings at tergum 2 and 3 and two white markings at the end of the abdomen. Tergum 1 is black with tufts of white hairs at the side (visible when hovering, thus not in this picture). The wings are mostly black, only the tops are transparant, and the veins are dark brown. It kind of looks like the wings have been painted with watercolour, I think the pattern is quite nice. 🙂

anthrax


peregrine

A peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), photographed from my office window today. Not the best quality, it was quite far away and even though it’s one of the largest falcons, it was a tall order even for my trusty SX60. I think it’s a female, she was about the same size as a raven, males are smaller roughly the size of a crow.

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on Earth and in 2005 one was recorded stooping at a top speed of 389 km/h (242 mph). Impressive!

pelegrine


bath

A male Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) enjoying a cooling bath

bath-1

bath-2

bath-3

bath-4


whinchat

A female Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), swaying back and forth in the wind.. Captured with a shutter speed of 1/1000 s.

whinchat


w15

Four birds and one rabbit  🙂

(1) Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

w15-1

(2) Another Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

w15-2

(3) A female House sparrow (Passer domesticus) finding ornaments for the nest

w15-3

(4) Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) finding ornaments for the nest

w15-4

(5) Lots of cute rabbits around here in Amsterdam  ❤

w15-5


w14

It’s a lovely, sunny Spring day here in Amsterdam today. Here are a 3 bird pictures I took this morning-

(1) Great tit (Parus major)

w14-1

(2) Bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus)

This was a first for me! It’s been on my wish list since I first saw it in a bird book. Unfortunately the photo isn’t very sharp, it’s difficult to get close to these wetland specialists..

w14-2

(3) Dunnock (Prunella modularis)

w14-3


mandarijneend

He’s back! It’s been 2.5 years since I last saw this male Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), so I was delighted to spot him again yesterday. 🙂

mandarijneend-1

 

mandarijneend-2


denoise

I’ve been given a free trail version of Topaz DeNoise, a software to reduce noise in images without the need of a host editor like e.g. Photoshop. I’ve never used it before, nor have I any experience with other noise reducing software, however it’s pretty intuitive and easy to use. I’m sure the result could’ve been better with more practice and effort, but I’d like to share the first (and only) image I’ve edited so far.

The image shows a female Blackbird (Turdus merula), shot from a distance of roughly 15 meters at an ISO of 1000. I chose this picture for the experiment because half of the bird is in shadow and the other in bright light. Comparing the pictures below, you can see that the noise hasn’t been eliminated from the top image but it’s less obvious. The downside is of course that noise reduction cost some detail in the image, but I do think the edited version is more pleasant to look at.

What do you think? I’m interested in hearing your opinion and experience with noise reducing software!

(1) Edited version (no other software than DeNoise has been used):

denoise-1

(2) Straight out of the camera version:

denoise-2

 


w8

Five birds photographed in the Amsterdamse Bos today-

(1) European robin (Erithacus rubecula)

w8-1

(2) Eurasian siskin (Spinus spinus)

w8-2

(3) Short-toed treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)

w8-3

(4) Great egret (Ardea alba)

w8-4

(5) Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

w8-5


w6

w6


election

In 1962, there was an election to vote for the national bird of Sweden. The Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula) was pronounced as the winner, but there were suspicions that the election hadn’t been totally fair (the main concern was that most votes represented the capital, Stockholm, and not the whole country) and therefore a new vote was arranged last year. 40 bird species were nominated, and via 4 voting rounds (with voters from the whole country) a true winner would be presented. In each of the first 3 rounds, 10 birds fell out of the competition so in the final (held at the Falsterbo Bird Show) there were 10 birds remaining. And the winner was…. The Blackbird. 🙂

election


festival

The annual Amsterdam Light Festival brightens up our beautiful city during the dark winter days 🙂

Slideshow with 10 images-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


w52

Five bird pictures, taken  in Sweden during the last week of 2015-

(1) Bohemian waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus). This bird is called Pestvogel (“Pest bird”) in Dutch, but it has a much nicer name in Swedish: Sidensvans (“Silk tail”).

w52-1

(2) Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius). In Swedish: Nötskrika (“Nut screamer”), probably named so because of its loud alarm call which is a harsh, rasping screech and its love for nuts.

w52-2

(3) Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). One of our most common birds, the whole garden is full of these cute little fluffballs.

w52-3

(4) Eurasian nuthatch or Wood nuthatch (Sitta europaea). The name Nuthatch was first recorded as early as in 1350, it’s derived from “nut” and a word probably related to “hack”, since these birds hack at nuts they have wedged into crevices.

w52-4

(5) Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). This bird is to Swedes what the Robin is to Brits: It holds a starring role on Christmas cards, Christmas postage stamps, etc. No Winter holiday feels complete without snow and Bullfinches.

w52-5


2016

Happy 2016 everyone!!

As in previous years (2015, 2014, 2013), my first image of the year is one of Stuffe. This was taken on Christmas Eve, before the snow came

2016


hackspett

A bit early, but wishing you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I’m off on vacation, see you again in 2016 🙂

Here are two pictures of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) I took this morning.

hackspett-1

hackspett-2


wired

A Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), photographed contre-jour in the Amsterdamse Bos.

wired


roodborst

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the Amsterdamse Bos

roodborst


wren

The Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is a very small bird with a very strong voice.

Americans might recognize this bird as similar to their Winter Wren or Pacific Wren, those used to be considered sub-species of the Eurasian Wren but in 2010 (based on vocalizations and genetics) they were split into three species.

This one was photographed in August in Amsterdam.

wren