Not about everything

March 30, 2013

50 shades of green, iPad case

Filed under: nature photography,photography — takaita @ 13:53
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ipadcase, 50 shades of greenSo it seems that Redbubble now does iPad cases. Thought I had some photos that are nice for that. This “50 shades of green” for example.

Order it here.


November 17, 2012

Long exposure bird photography, II

In the past I have written about “Long exposure bird photograpy” with some self-made examples which were meant to be sort of funny. But I never came to show some self-made examples which I really like. So here they are. Shutter times are resp. 1/10 and 1/15 second.

October 17, 2010

Damselfly Valentine

Damselflies copulate in the form of a heart. Valentine is about love too. So why not offer some of my photographs of damselfly couples as a very special valentine card?

Here are some. Order them from Redbubble.

Love Dance

Emerald Couple

Hold Me

July 22, 2009

Some pretty damselfly photos

Just to show to the world some of the Damselfly photos I made this year. If you are really impressed: click on the photo and order a print. But it is fine with me if you just enjoy looking at them here.

Red-eyed damselfly
Female Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas). The rain left some drops on her wings.

Green Emerald Damselfly
Female Green Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis). The sunlight shines on the grass from behind.

Emerald Damselfly
Male Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa). Holding on to grass on a very windy day.

Common Winter Damselfly
Female Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca). A new generation has emerged. Winter Damselflies get through the winter as an adult, reproduce early in spring. The last of them can be seen until half June. Then the new generation emerges halfway July – this is one of them.

March 13, 2009

The Robin is a curious bird

Filed under: biology,bird,nature,things to do — takaita @ 22:30
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The Robin is a curious bird. I only found out since the time I usually carry around a camera on my walks.

European Robin

Currently I am more into dragonflies than into birds. Mainly because dragonflies are easier to photograph, but also because there are fewer species of them which makes them usually easier to identify. But because the dragonfly forum which I frequent, is on the same site as a bird forum, I sometimes read go to read that bird forum. Especially in the winter when there is not much to do at the dragonfly forum.

That bird forum is interesting. When I was young I had some interest in birds and bought a quality bird guide (from my own hard-earned money) in order to identify the species I saw. I still have that guide, but it is totally out of date. It seems that every species in that guide now has been split into several species or subspecies. Of course that is mostly done to satisfy the need of the bird watchers. They love to have a check behind as many species as possible. Did you know that there is a special word for this kind of people? They are called “twitchers” and it is not easy to become a fully accepted twitcher. There is a long trajectory, in which you first see only common species, then find out that there are rare species too – which you apparently start seeing everywhere until you realize that you are just fooling yourself (and others) and return to seeing common species everywhere with only very occasionally a rare species (after which that sometimes gets eaten).

An essential part of bird watching is bird listening. I remember reading a story on mentioned forum about someone who though he had seen an extremely rare species (at least for the Netherlands).  Because many bird species migrate between their summer and winter residence, bird listeners spend a small capital on microphones and spend days and nights on locations where these migrating birds fly over and occasionally come to the ground to feed. With these microphones they try to identify migrating birds by their sound. I don’t know how hard that is. I have trained myself to recognize about 10 or 20 bird species by their sound. It always makes me happy to hear the first Chiffchaff again in spring – and it can surprise me sometimes that others don’t notice. But the real twitchers take that to another dimension with their microphones. So this person wrote on the forum about a sound he heard, which was familiar, but then he swa the bird and it did not look like the species it sounded like. Then he remembered that there was this species which sounds like the familiar one, looks a bit like another (also familiar) species, but is very, very rare. Did he see that very very rare species? He could not be sure, because he heard nor saw it again. But he wrote a long story on the forum with remarkable details such as how many meters away he saw the bird (he measured it very precise, something like 84.5 metres), wrote about the sound he heard and what he thought about it at that moment and then what he thought when he saw the bird and if he could be sure if the bird he saw was the same one as the bird that made the sound. I was impressed. True, not everybody on the forum was as impressed as I was.

Anyway, these kind of stories are what keeps me interested in the bird forum. People want so much to see some rare species and at the same time are aware that they are probably mistaken when they think to have seen one. This tension between desire and self-control and an effort to be ‘scientific’ gives many contributions on this forum a great suspense.

The Robin is a curious bird. I only found out since the time I usually carry around a camera on my walks. First time was when I took the photo displayed at the top. Walking in the dunes I noticed a Robin. I prepared my camera in a reflex, but mosty expecting that the bird would have flown far away by the time I had it in focus. To my surprise it did not fly away, but kept sitting there, seemingly watching me.

Last week I must have remembered that moment, when I was in a city park which has some pretentions to be natural, and saw another Robin no too far away. The thought came to me that I should just stay there with my camera ready until the bird would come to watch me from a bit closer. Half to my surprise that was exactly what happened. The bird came to me to have a closer look. And this was the result.


February 8, 2009

Did the Romans have digital cameras 2000 years before our era?

Filed under: history,mystery — takaita @ 11:59
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October 30, 2008

Long exposure bird photography

Filed under: bird,nature,nature photography,photography — takaita @ 20:46
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The “Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen” (Society of German Animal Photographers) has a prestigious yearly photography contest. Recently the 2008 results have been published: the “Europäischer Naturfotograf des Jahres 2008” (European Nature Photographer of the Year 2008).

You will understand that I want to be mentioned there too one day. So I looked at the winning photos closely. One thing was interesting: many winning bird photos were long exposure photos, but taken in daylight. Moving birds, a blurred image. I am not sure if I can explain it well, it is the best you will just look at it. Check out this photo, and this and also this one, and you understand what I mean.

This is inspiring photography. This is something to try myself. I took my camera, set it on ‘shutter priority’ at 1/5 or 1/20 seconds and went to the nearest park in my city. There are no rare birds over there, just some gulls and pigeons, ducks and such. You can imagine. That does not matter, this is not about the species, this is about the revolution in bird photography. A revolution I did not start, but of which I certainly want to be part of.

And here are my results:

Long exposure bird photograhy

Long exposure bird photograhy

Long exposure bird photography

What do you think? Am I going to be the next winner of this contest?

(Additionally, I did some more of this and some results aren’t that bad: see here)

September 12, 2008

The apple in time

Filed under: photography — takaita @ 15:58
Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes I rediscover a silly photographic project which I did in the past and have forgotten about. That recently happened with my “apple and fence” series. It was in the times that I only owned a simple digital camera, the Canon Powershot A400. I had bought that, because it was the cheapest camera available in the shop. Still, it gave me lots of fun, maybe even more fun then the gear I own now. Because now I seem to have some pretensions. Back then, I was just having fun.

One day, I found a clock house of an apple next to the office which I visit on a daily basis for work. I decided to follow its decay over time. It was not so easy to find the same spot every time, but it somehow worked. After a month it was gone, the city cleaners had done their job and ruined my photographic experiment.

Recently somebody asked if I had any series of photos, and then I remembered the rotten apple. Then I thought it would be nice to have it as a poster. And so now it is there. You can order it as a poster.

Do you think I should make it available as a T-shirt too?

January 5, 2008

Nature photography scandals in the Netherlands

Again there is lots of talk in the Netherlands about misbehaving nature photographers. This time a fox has been shot by a nature conservation organization, because it had been tamed by nature photographers. The reasoning behind shooting the fox was that it could get dangerous for children, because it lost all fear for humans. Of course there is lots of discussion about the need to shoot the fox.

Nature photographers spraying tree frogs

Earlier in 2007 there was a scandal about some nature photographers spraying tree frogs with some substance (possible liquid nitrogen) in order to make a nice photo.

In the age of digital photography, it shows that the Dutch have a disturbed relation with nature. Nature in the Netherlands is perceived as a free Zoo.

Nature in the Netherlands
Here in the Netherlands we have replaced our nature long ago with parks. Some are called a National Park, giving the suggestion that it is wild nature. But it isn’t. Potentially dangerous animals have been killed long ago. All original forests have been cut, the last was the Beekbergerwoud (sorry, I could not find a link in English), destroyed in 1871.

Of course there are several organizations in the Netherlands that work on nature conservancy. Their work probably looks a bit different from the work of nature conservancy in other countries. Their work in the Netherlands is not nature conservancy, but natuurontwikkeling (= nature development, the Dutch wikipedia is the only one to have an article about this). It means in short that nature is being created. The big example for nature development is the Oostvaardersplassen, a wetland created in what was formerly a sea, but has been turned into land by dikes, pumps and mills. To make this area more natural, the nature conservancy organizations have released some big half-wild animals in there such as Konik horses and Heck cattle. And now this area is the Dutch pride of nature.


Not only is it the Dutch pride, it also serves as an example for management of other “natural” areas. That means that in areas that are called nature, projects have been done that include digging of lakes, releasing cattle, cutting of mono cultures of trees, releasing of beavers etc, all in an effort to create nature. At the same time the latest more or less natural area of the Netherlands, the Wadden Sea, is more and more being exploited for economic purposes.

You might understand that the Dutch have a very interesting relation with “nature”. Nature isn’t wild and dangerous. Our nature is a garden. We are building things like a “fauna passage” under highways to connect one area to another (see photo). In this case on one side of the highway there is a city park and on the other side there is agricultural land.

It is not that such areas are totally uninteresting. Last year (2007) I photographed over 20 species of dragonflies in the city park (see here). But it is just a park. We, the Dutch, have not much better left when it comes to nature.

It might come as a surprise, but actually the Dutch approach to nature conservation serves as an international example. More and more countries loose their natural nature. The pressure of the ever-growing number of people and their ever-growing economic activities pushes nature back everywhere. And because here in the Netherlands we have nothing left to loose when it comes to nature, we are in fact the front runners of nature conservation. The current situation here might be the future for all countries. So people come here from abroad to see how the Dutch recreate nature. How the nature conservancy organization try to raise interest in nature and how they use iconic species as representatives for ecosystems.

The Tree Frog and the King Fisher have gotten an almost holy status. The side effect is however that every nature photographer needs to make a photo of these species. I have read questions on forums from people who wanted to photograph a king fisher, even though they had never seen one in their life. There are currently ab0ut 450 King Fishers in the Netherlands. Each of them must have been photographed hundreds of times. There are special excursions organized for nature photographers to areas where Tree Frogs can be found. People pick them up to put them on blackberries and other spots that will make a good photo. Others don’t, but their photos are considered suspicious anyway.

Photography nature reserves
Maybe the best is to create special semi-natural areas for nature photographers. A bit like a zoo, but it should look a bit more natural. Next to it an animal nursery where iconic species are bred and released into the area. Photographers pay an entrance fee and can walk around and photograph the animals. If they happen to harm some individuals, it does not matter that much.

December 14, 2007

Group sex and prostitution on Flickr

Rode Brug
Rode brug

Dear internet user,

My photos on flickr must be a disappointing experience for you. They often are just not exactly what you were looking for. I apologize, but I have to say that I was not aware of the problem. Until yesterday. Flickr opened up the referrer statistics for views on photos. Now I can see what you were looking for when you opened one of my photo pages.

While you were looking to satisfy your sexual needs, I could not offer you the slightest release. You were looking for prostitution at the “rode brug”(red bridge) in Utrecht, I could only tell you that the prostitution is taking place one bridge further, at the Marnixbrug. My photo of this Red Bridge just shows you simply a red bridge. Oh yes, I have a photo of the boats of the prostitutes too, but – I apologize again – you have more trouble finding it, and what is worse, it just shows the backside of the boats. No flesh. Sorry.

And also you have been searching for “group sex”, and must be totally disappointed by my photo of four couples of damselflies, sitting on a branch. They are having sex. But I don’t think that damselfly sex will turn you on. However, maybe you find it interesting. Somewhere else I have written some explanation about Dragonfly Sex. Just read it, it is fascinating stuff.

Group sex
Damselfly group sex

One other thing I have vastly deceived you with, is the 10 million megapixel camera. Yes, you searched for a camera with millions of megapixels. That is about four or five orders of magnitude higher then the current digital cameras have. You see, one megapixel equals one million pixels. Current digital cameras have about 10 million pixels, which equals 10 megapixel. Some have a bit more But you do not have to be that ashamed of your ignorance. That photo that you were looking at, was of a poster hanging at the window of a professional photography shop. They made the same mistake.

What else should I write you.Well. Some of you have found what you searched for. You searched for “Evernia prunastri” or “Euphorbia cyparissias“. That gave me a good feeling.

Regards, Taka

Euphorbia cyparissias Evernia prunastri
Euphorbia cyparissias Evernia prunastri
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