Tag Archives: the Gimp

Birds, blackberries and more

Ugh! Missed my regular Monday post arguing with Hugin and the Gimp over a layered exposure image. Slept on it and achieved better results in half an hour Tuesday morning than I had in half a day yesterday:

Early dawn fog over Albury, April 11, 2011.
Early dawn fog and upper level cloud over Albury, 7:22am, April 11, 2011.

The weekend was as usual busy. A few highlights included another sighting of a Double-barred finch in one of the wattles, a brief glimpse of what looked like another Common Egg-fly butterfly down by the blackberry we were burning off, and discovering two juvenile Blue-tongue lizards hanging around in the badly over-grown front garden.

Blue-faced Parrot Finch
Blue-faced Parrot Finch

A less than successful foray into the Blue-faced Parrot finch aviary for better photos – not only will they not keep still, they like to hide in shadows.

Geronimo, one of my tame hand-reared Gouldians is quite clingy at the moment, and kept flying to my arm or shoulder wanting to come out of the aviary and explore the service-way and holding cages behind the aviaries. She likes to check out the other Gouldian aviary, and the Blue-faced Parrot finch aviary for a few hours, before coming back inside to overnight in a holding cage away from the cold and rain that moved in early Sunday morning.

The baby Gouldians I’m currently hand rearing are doing well. Flick is now fully feathered and in a holding cage learning (from Geronimo) what seed is all about. He/she also spends a few hours a day when the weather is fine out in the more sheltered of the Gouldian aviaries. The new youngster is feeding well fit to burst, but will be staying in the brooder box for a while yet.

Saturday afternoon we burned another two patches of blackberry. One particularly difficult clump growing on a steep slope I thought would prove very difficult and uncooperative, but actually burnt better, eventually, than the smaller clump on the flat. Both clumps had leaders sneaking out a long way trying to spread – hiding in the grass and up to 4 or 5 meters long. Little wonder blackberry frequently escapes eradication attempts.

Sunday the rain started again. It came in with a cold southern air mass. Our deciduous fruit and flowering trees are starting to change colours and lose their leaves. Winter is on it’s way.

Busy Weekend

The last week has been pretty busy, not to mention the weekend.

Gangles, warmed up and hungry
Gangles, warmed up and hungry. The bright blue-white nodules at the sides of the beak are presumed to help the parents find the beaks of their youngsters when feeding them in darkened, enclosed grass lined nests.

Amidst the Saturday morning aviary cleaning chores this baby Gouldian was found evicted from the nest. He/she was “stuck” to a sibling that had been some days dead, and was possibly thrown out of the nest in error. Past experience in returning baby Gouldians to their nests has not turned out well. One poor baby was thrown out and returned four times before I took him inside, by which time he was too badly injured from the evictions and chills to survive. So this little fellow came straight inside into the incubator/brooder.

Once he/she warmed up enough I managed to get it to take a small feed. The first 48 hours is the biggest hurdle.

“Gangles” as I called it as it seems to be all legs, is now feeding well, 3 to 4 times a day. There is no guarantee of survival thou, sometimes the parents “know” something is wrong with a youngster when they evict them. Hopefully Gangles was tossed by accident and he/she will do well.

Checking the Illawarra Flame trees on Saturday I found a second baby Tailed Emperor caterpillar, an adult Tailed Emperor butterlfy with age damaged wings resting on a leaf, and I *think* some Tailed Emperor eggs! Later that afternoon I saw two beautiful adult butterflies sunning themselves in the White Cedar trees. Caterpillar and egg photos have been added to the Tailed Emperor page.

Sunday we managed to thoroughly ruin the plans for world domination of three stands of blackberry, including digging up the rest of the clump by the buddleia. The long leather gloves again resisted most of the thorns (thanks Jean).

Olives on the olive tree
Ripening olives

Also on Sunday I went to check on the first of the olive trees to set fruit and found they were colouring up! The olive trees were grown from cuttings taken during an Olive Enterprise Management course run by Wodonga TAFE. I decided to pick the fruit to give the tree a break – they’d been struggling through the drought and were only just starting to put a burst of growth on.

There was a nice sounding recipe in the course handbook, using up to a 30 day rinse, followed by 6 months immersion in red wine vinegar and salt, to which we might add some fresh bay leaves from our Bay tree, or Rosemary, or chilli …

This morning I downloaded a copy of the Gimp for OS X, something I’d been meaning to do for a long time. It’s even nicer that it was before. All the familiar old filters are still there, plus some new ones. It recognises my D70 camera RAW files (whoo-hoo!!) and seems to do a nicer job with colour balance and exposure tweaking than Photoshop. The new photos in this post and on the Tailed Emperor images page were all processed with the Gimp.

The Gimp, for those who haven’t heard of it, is an image manipulation program similar to Photoshop, but freely distributed. The Gimp is available for Unix, Linux, Mac OS X and windows.

I couldn’t resist trying out some of my old favorite filters, and some new ones, after the Photoshop/Gimp RAW file test. Here are a couple of the images:

Gimp Nova, supernova and multiple lens effects.
Gimp Nova, supernova and multiple lens effects, just for fun and old times. The Gimps filters really rock!
More Gimp filters - twirling fractal
More Gimp filters - twirling a warped fractal. Can't recall Fractal Explorer from my old Linux Gimp install.