Monday (14-September-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

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


Morning 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 the Morning 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.

Out on the patio, I planted some Garlic for next spring and watered the Grow Towers. 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 (48.6 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (51.5 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Lots of clouds. A surplus of 2.9 kWh.

Tuesday (01-September-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

The immature Baltimore Oriole is willing to stand up to a gang of Blue Jay’s.

Morning at the Birdfeeders: Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Gray Catbird, House Finch, Song Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole, and Northern Cardinal.


Morning 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 the Morning 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.

I went out with the DR Power Brush Mower to mow the wildflower meadows. Not much is blooming anymore, and the weeds including the invasive “mile-a-minute” vine are starting to take over. I attempted to capture the exercise with a Garmin VIRB-360 camera both on a fixed tripod, and a tripod I carried over my head. While mowing the sections I kept finding adult Praying Mantis which I tried to move away from the mower. The Praying Mantis are “good” bugs.


Saving the Praying Mantis. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

The fawns still have dots. While cooking dinner I saw these two in one of the wildflower meadow sections that I didn’t mow. You can see that the weeds have taken over. The deer seem to be immune to the electric fence.


Fawns with Spots inside the electric fence. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Daily Electric Energy Used (51.2 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (32.5 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Lots of clouds. A deficit of 18.7 kWh.

Monday (31-August-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

The Theta Z1 camera has Dual 3 mm fisheye lenses and uses two back to back 1.0-inch back illuminated CMOS image sensors with an output size of approximately 23MP (6720×3360). The camera can be programed to collect images in JPG or Raw (as DNG) format. The JPG images are transformed in the camera from two 360 degree fisheye images to a single 360 degree equirectangular format (6720×3360 pixels). The DNG images are the two individual 360 degree fisheye images (6720×3360 pixels). In order for the DNG images to be used the two 360 degree fisheye images need to be transformed to a single equirectangular image. Ricoh provides the Theta program (runs on Windows 10) that can be used to view and rotate the 360 degree images. No save or output capabilities. They also provide Ricoh Theta stitcher plugin for Lightroom that can be used to transform the dual fisheye images into an equirectangular image. You have to export the file to the Theta stitcher to do the transformation (one at at time), no obvious batch transform capability. I found that I could do batch transformations with the PTGUI.exe

Backyard Sumertime Nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
JPG 360 degree equirectangular format image out of the  Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
Backyard Sumertime Nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
DNG dual fisheye image format out of the  Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
TIF 360 degree equirectangular format image transformed from Theta Z1 360 camera DNG image using PTGUI.  (DAVID J MATHRE)
Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
TIF 360 degree equirectangular format image transformed from Theta Z1 360 camera DNG image using PTGUI then edited with Capture One Pro. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
DNG dual fisheye image format out of the  Theta Z1 360 camera then edited with Capture One Pro (DAVID J MATHRE)
Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Theta Z1 360 camera (DAVID J MATHRE)
Above DNG dual fisheye image format out of the  Theta Z1 360 camera  edited with Capture One Pro then converted to TIF 360 degree equirectangular format using PTGUI. (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (41.3 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (32.0 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Lots of clouds. A deficit of 9.7 kWh.

Thursday (06-August-2020) — New Jersey

Tropical Storm Isaias Aftermath.

I slept in a dark house for the second night with the windows open. The house was getting hot inside. Several PSE&G crews spent the morning and afternoon examining the downed power lines. It must have been considered a complex repair since there were often more supervisors than actual line workers. Power was restored at 17:21. My house and next door neighbor were lucky in that we could be restored before everyone else further down the line. That is a good thing since the last outage report on the PSE&G website indicated power to the house wouldn’t be restored until Sunday. Once the power was restored the priority was making sure that the Geothermal HVAC system came online an started cooling the house, and the LG fridge/freezer was on and cooling. I ended up throwing out the food in the fridge, and then cleaning it with dilute bleach. The food in the freezer was still cold, so only lost a few things that melted. This shows that the insulation for the freezer is pretty good. The water on the floor must have been external condensation or a unplanned defrosting that helped keep the food cold. The network, servers, and computers all restarted without any problems.

Daily Electric Energy Used (26.7 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (2.8 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Not much sun left after the power was restored. Geothermal HVAC busy. A deficit of 23.9 kWh.

Tuesday (04-August-2020) — New Jersey

Tropical Storm Isaias.

During the night the clouds were moving fast. The first heavy rain squall passed through about 05:15. It started raining again at 09:00 with heavy bands at 11:15 and 11:45. The weather station reported 3.19″ of rain up to the time it stopped collecting data. The wind started increasing at 09:00 with sustained winds of 18 mph and gusts of 34 mph. Power to the house failed at 11:06. The weather station continued to report data until 13:25 via WiFi when the UPS for the network went offline.  By the time the weather station stopped collecting data the relative barometric pressure dropped from 30.0″ to 29.4″

I reported the power failure to PSE&G online at 11:21 and was told it would be restored by 18:00 the next day. I could hear several of the neighbors generator running. A neighbor texted me that live power lines were down and arcing in the street in front of my house. I took some pictures from my front door, and the back door of the garage. Even though it was still raining the arcing 10 kV power lines started to burn the asphalt. It took a while until the power company de-energized the lines. After the lines were de-energized I went to check out the damage. The two large oak trees at the head of my driveway had fallen. The oak tree on the east side of the driveway broke above ground and fell onto my rock wall and crossed the street ultimately landing on the rock wall on the other side of the street. The tree missed my mailbox with the troll that lights up at night, but did block my driveway and the street. The oak on the west side of the driveway fell while pulling the root ball out of the ground. These were two of the largest trees in my yard.


Downed Power Lines Electical Fire on Grandview Road in front of my House. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Little Planet View of my front yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. Composite of 22 images taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Little Planet View of my front yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. Composite of 22 images taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Individual images used to create the Little Planet view of my Front Yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Front yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company, District 1, Car 46. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Front yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company, District 1, Car 46. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Front yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. West side side oak tree across Grandview Road, composite of 4 images. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Front yard after Tropical Storm Isaias. West side side oak tree across Grandview Road, composite of 4 images. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


East Side Downed Oak Tree; West Side Downed Oak Tree; Downed Power Lines Damage to Grandview Road. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.