Thursday (17-September-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

I noticed several articles on the net about scientists testing the 3,200 megapixel camera for the Vera Rubin Observatory’s telescope by taking an image of a Romanesco broccoli. It didn’t look like the Broccoli that I am familiar with but was fascinated by the Fractal pattern. Romanesco broccoli was available online at Whole Foods so I ordered one for my weekly grocery delivery. It looks more like a Cauliflower, but green with Fractal like towers. I used it to create my version of a high-resolution focus-stacked image. I set up a Leica SL2 camera with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens on a tripod with a 10 cm focusing rail. The SL2 camera has the capability to take 187 megapixel images using pixel shifting technology via a Multishot mode (available after a Firmware 2.0 update). I took 87 high-resolution images (ISO 50, 50 mm, f/1.4, 1/10 sec) moving the camera forward in ~1 mm intervals. This resulted in 16,269 megapixels of data. The images were processed with Capture One Pro and then Helicon Focus to afford the following focus-stacked (12510 x 10008 pixel, 717 MB) images. The images is in focus for the full depth of the Romanesco broccoli. I love the natural Fractal patterns. You can see that there are some sections where black mold has started growing. Now to clean it up and figure out how to cook it for dinner.

High-Resolution Focus Stacked image of Romanesco Broccoli. (David J Mathre)
Romanesco broccoli. Composite of 87 focus-stacked images taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 50, 50 mm, f/1.4, 1/10 sec, multi-shot mode). Images processed with Capture One Pro and Helicon Focus (Method A (contrast), Radius 8, Smoothing 4). (David J Mathre)
High-Resolution Focus Stacked image of Romanesco Broccoli. (David J Mathre)
Romanesco broccoli. Composite of 87 focus-stacked images taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 50, 50 mm, f/1.4, 1/10 sec, multi-shot mode). Images processed with Capture One Pro and Helicon Focus (Method B (Depth Map), Radius 8, Smoothing 4). (David J Mathre)
High-Resolution Focus Stacked image of Romanesco Broccoli. (David J Mathre)
Romanesco broccoli. Composite of 87 focus-stacked images taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 50, 50 mm, f/1.4, 1/10 sec, multi-shot mode). Images processed with Capture One Pro and Helicon Focus (Method C (Pyramid), Smoothing 4). (David J Mathre)


High-Resolution Focus Stacked image of Romanesco Broccoli cropped 1x, 2x, 4x, 16x, 32x. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Morning at the Birdfeeders: Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Gray Catbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.


Afternoon at the Birdfeeders. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Contact me if you are interested in a Time-lapse Video of this session at the Birdfeeders. My setup for the birdfeeder images is a Nikon D850 camera and 200 mm f/2 VR lens set to take one image every 5 seconds over a 5 hour period (~3600 images). The new time-lapse video format is 720p (1080 x 720 pixels) and 1 frame/second. The length of the video is about 1 hour in a 1 GB MP4 file. The previous time-lapse videos of the birdfeeders were at 12 frames/second, and to be honest were too fast to identify the birds.

Daily Electric Energy Used (34.9 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (35.0 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Sun and clouds. A surplus of 0.1 kWh.

Tuesday (15-September-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Out working on the patio, I harvested the Broccoli Rabe and Radishes in the Grow Towers. This opened up light for the Basil and Pepper plants. I also distributed worms in to the composting tubes in each Grow Tower. I used the Ricoh Theta Z1 360 degree camera to make time-lapse Little Planet videos of the work on the patio. Same workflow as yesterday: Theta Z1 Camera set to record images using program auto mode (shutter, aperture, white-balance, JPG + RAW (DNG) every 10 seconds. Camera mounted on a tripod just above head level. The camera collected ~ 360 images (~ 1 hour) before running out of internal storage space. The DNG dual fisheye images were processed with Capture One Pro, saved in TIF format. Then converted to 360 degree equirectangular pano images with PTGUI (batch process). The Little Planet time-lapse video was created using PhotoShop CC (image converted to 1:1 format (7430 x 7430), rotated 180 degrees, converted to polar coordinates, then exported as a MP4 video (1920 x 1920, 10p). Rotation to the video was added using Premiere Pro.

Daily Electric Energy Used (39.7 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (52.1 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. More sun. A surplus of 12.4 kWh.

Friday (14-August-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Afternoon walkabout with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens. I am getting to like this camera. It is a bit heavy, but feels robust. The focus is fast, and does a good job tracking moving subjects. All of these images are hand-held using the in-camera sensor based image stabilization.

I didn’t plant wildflower seeds in the back wildflower meadows this spring. Only a few Sunflowers, Zinnia, Plains Coreopsis, and Sweet William flowers returned (self-seeded from last year). I am still getting Strawberries in the Grow Towers. A few Monarch and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies are feeding on the remaining Thistle flowers. I also observed a Monarch butterfly laying eggs on a Milkweed plant. Kermit the Bullfrog was sunning itself on a log in the pond. I am still waiting on the township to remove the fallen oak tree.


Backyard Wildflowers. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Strawberry. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Strawberry. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Backyard Butterflies. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Kermit the Bullfrog on a Log. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Kermit the Bullfrog on a Log. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and American Goldfinch. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Downed Oak Tree post Tropical Storm Isaias. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Downed Oak Tree post Tropical Storm Isaias. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (60.4 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (56.7 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Clouds and rain. A deficit of 4.72 kWh.

Sunday (28-June-2020) — New Jersey

Early Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

The late afternoon and early evening thunderstorms passed north and south of here. Image of the first quarter moon with the storm clouds to the south a little before sunset.

First Quarter Moon over Summer Thunderclouds at Dusk. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 24-90 mm lens (ISO 100, 44 mm, f/4.5, 1/640 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
First Quarter Moon over Summer Thunderclouds at Dusk. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 24-90 mm lens (ISO 100, 44 mm, f/4.5, 1/640 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
First Quarter Moon over Summer Thunderclouds at Dusk. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 24-90 mm lens (ISO 100, 44 mm, f/4.5, 1/640 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
First Quarter Moon over Summer Thunderclouds at Dusk. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 24-90 mm lens (ISO 100, 44 mm, f/4.5, 1/640 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)

Birds of the Day: Blue Jay, Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, House Finch, and Red-bellied Woodpecker. I didn’t know that the woodpeckers like fruit. When this woodpecker visited all of the other birds, including the Blue Jays left it have the birdfeeder to itself.


Early Summer Birds of the Day. Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Daily Electric Energy Used (57.3 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (74.6 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Sun with some clouds. A surplus of 17.3 kWh.

Weekly Electric Energy Used (399 kWh) from Sense. Weekly Solar Electric Energy Produced (490 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. A surplus of 91 kWh.


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Monday (25-May-2020) — New Jersey

Backyard Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

Birds of the Day — Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Blue Jay, Tufted Titmouse, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Gray Catbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Mourning Dove, Carolina Wren, and Eastern Phoebe. Many of the birds are young. There continues to be lots of action at the Eastern Phoebe nest with both parents feed the new hatchlings.


Birds of the Day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Spring flowers of the day — Poppies (California, Oriental, Red), Dame’s Rocket, Five-spot, Rhododendron, Johnny Jump Up, Babies Blue Eyes, Bachelor Button, Cornflower, Sweet William, Dianthus, Siberian Wallflower, Daisy, Foxglove, Babies Breath, Grass Lily, Forget-me-not, and Tulip Tree.


caption. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


caption. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


caption. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


caption. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

While watching the birds, I caught a squirrel running across the backyard with a black walnut it burried last fall.

Squirrel with a Black Wallnut.  Image taken with a Nikon D5 camera and 600 mm f/4 VR telephoto lens. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Squirrel with a Black Wallnut. Image taken with a Nikon D5 camera and 600 mm f/4 VR telephoto lens. (DAVID J MATHRE)


Squirrel running with a black walnut. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Daily Electric Energy Used (47.1 kWh) from meter readings the Sense Home Energy Monitor. The daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (55.0 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Sun and clouds. A surplus of 7.9 kWh.


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