RogerBW's Blog

A Walk in the Woods (May 2014) 04 May 2014

Yesterday was sunny, and we went for a walk in one of the local woods. (Images follow.)

I've just acquired a new camera, on the basis that while the Pentax K10D is still a lovely piece of kit it doesn't do a lot of good if it's not round my neck when I see a thing I want to photograph. So thanks to a friend with one to sell I now have a Canon Powershot A1300; it's not as manually-controllable as I'd ideally like, but it does have a plain viewfinder as well as the screen, and it's small enough that I can drop it in a pocket and forget about it. So this was an excuse to try it out. (Each image links to the original. cc-by-sa on everything.)

We were expecting a flurry of rhododendronage, but this was the only impressive blossom:

Rhododendron blossom

while most of the rest were more like this, not yet out:

Non-blossoming rhododendron

though clearly the buds are nearly ready, and in another week or two I should think they'll all be open:

Waiting buds

The ferns were making a good start. I like ferns; they're plain, old-fashioned plants that don't need any of these new-fangled insects to pollinate them. And when they're opening they look like the end of a cello. (Focus isn't all it might be on this one; there wasn't much to lock onto in the foreground.)

Ferns

We rounded a corner and saw a more enthusiastic rhododendron:

Purple rhododendron bush

and this one a little further up:

White rhododendron bush

but that was about it as far as the flowers were concerned.

Over at the pond, the water was writhing, and this turned out to be a mass of tadpoles, big and fat but not showing their legs yet:

TadpolesMore tadpoles

Further out in the pond, a rhododendron was trying its luck:

Aquatic rhododendron

Although the rhododendra were only just starting, the bluebells were going pretty well. Here are some through beech trees:

Bluebells through beech

And a fine low haze:

Bluebells in the open

While this particular wood is "managed" by the Woodland Trust, they don't do a terribly good job. Here are some typical major paths, still not recovered from the heavy machinery they (or rather their contractors) have been using to grub out the pines:

Muddy pathAgain, muddy path The last muddy path

Sadly, their approach to this has been to declare that adjacent trees are what make the paths muddy (yes, the trees that suck water out of the ground are apparently what makes the ground damp) and cut them down. When this doesn't work, they cut down more trees.


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:13pm on 04 May 2014

    So is the new camera an improvement on using your phone or not?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 12:20pm on 04 May 2014

    Definitely! (There are some phone pictures elsewhere under the "real life" tag; see the Marlow flood reports.) It has real (optical) zoom, and the sensor resolution is 4608×3456 rather than 1536×2048. I could do with the option of just a smidgen less automation, but I haven't actually looked at the manual yet (I need to fire up one of the machines with an actual CD drive in it) so I may be being unfair. The only real problem is that, like the phone, it's too light to be easily held properly steady; and that's intrinsic to the size. Other models in the range have image stabilisation, but I think I did all right here without bracing myself on anything.

  3. Posted by John Dallman at 05:57pm on 04 May 2014

    Yup, those are a lot better than 'phone cameras manage.

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