Greg
animals brewing
food and drink gardening
general health
history language
music multimedia
opinion photography
politics Stones Road house
technology
Greg's diary
recent entries
Translate this page
Select day in June 2019:
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30
Select month:
2018 Sep Oct Nov Dec
2019 Jan Feb Mar Apr
2019 May Jun Jul Aug
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Sunday, 23 June 2019 Dereel Images for 23 June 2019
Top of page
next day
last day

Pleasant landscape
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Walking the dogs takes us through some pleasant countryside. For some reason I have always found this view particularly pleasant, but I don't know why:


This should be Meadow-3-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Meadow 3 detail          Dimensions:          4647 x 925, 1263 kB Display location on map
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 23 June 2019, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 23 June 2019, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 23 June 2019 Complete exposure details

 

That's a view south-west to the “schoolyard”, where indeed there was a school 130 years ago, on the corner of Bliss Road and what became Stones Road, at the top left of this section of the Krausé map:

 
This should be Dereel-map-detail-7.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dereel map detail 7
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 42 kB
Dimensions of original: 300 x 225, 22 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 9 October 2015:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But why is it pleasant? I don't know. I'm not even sure I have captured it there, but Yvonne tells me that she finds it a pleasant view too.


Focus stacking revisited
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

It's been some time since I discovered some flowers at the east end of Grassy Gully Road, and I've been meaning to take some focus-stacked photos of them since then; I now have three cuttings in various states of decay.

In the meantime, I have a number of other issues: the problems with my Olympus STF-8 macro flash unit and focus stacking, the failure of my Viltrox JY-670 Macro Ring Lite, the arrival of the RF-550 “MacroLED Ring Flash” and the availability of new firmware for my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Today I finally got round to trying out what I had planned to do when the LED “flash” arrived.

In each case, I planned to run a series of 8 images with what Olympus calls “focus stacking”, in other words with in-camera stacking (straight series for focus stacking are called “focus bracketing). The first one was with available light. Damn, forgot that the camera was set for manual exposure, and took a series underexposed by 8.2 EV. Miraculously, DxO PhotoLab managed to extract something:

 
This should be Focus-stacking-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Focus stacking 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 50 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 4107 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

OK, now set the exposure correctly.

 
This should be Focus-stacking-2-PMax.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Focus stacking 2 PMax
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 67 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 2097 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Yes, the focus depth isn't enough. One of my pet peeves is that setting the number of steps is left to guesswork. Clearly I'm going to have to come back and do this photo another time with more depth of field (100 images?). But it doesn't look that bad.

That's with available light, though. What about with the flash units? First, take individual test photos with the LED flash, which wants 1/100 s instead of the 1/250 s for real flash units:

 
This should be Test-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Test 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 67 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1537 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Test-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Test 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 69 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1310 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The first was at f/5.6, the second at f/4. Clearly f/4 is better. That's with full power, subject distance: 6 cm. That corresponds to a guide number of 2.4! And that's at ISO 200/24°. A normalized guide number (ISO 100/21°) would be 1.7! In fact, it seems that the whole idea of “flash” and shutter speeds is nonsense: the “flash” is no brighter than the normal LED light. Here “flash” and LED light with the same exposure settings:

 
This should be Test-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Test 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 69 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1310 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Test-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Test 5
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 69 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1260 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So given the camera constraints, I should get double the light at 1/50 s, but the subsequent photos didn't bear that out. And of course with focus stacking, there are other issues as well:

 
This should be Focus-stacking-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Focus stacking 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 73 kB
Dimensions of original: 5185 x 3888, 3986 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Oops, the camera wants 1/50 s, but is too polite to say so. Try again:

 
This should be Focus-stacking-4-jpeg.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Focus stacking 4 jpeg
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 93 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1228 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Next, try the STF-8. Yes, this time it tells me in its own inimitable way: no TTL flash with focus stacking! What a useless piece of hardware, especially since it doesn't even have a flash test button for me to do an exposure measurement. Tried anyway, one stop down from the “LED flash”:

 
This should be Focus-stacking-5-jpeg.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Focus stacking 5 jpeg
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 48 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 252 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

In the past I have complained about the weakness of the STF-8. It has certainly met its match. Tried again and again and got good results at 1/16 strength:

 
This should be Focus-stacking-7-jpeg.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Focus stacking 7 jpeg
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 96 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1340 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 23 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So the STF-8 is 5 stops brighter than the “LED flash”. Based on that measurement, and knowing the guide number of the STF-8 (6.5), the guide number of the “LED flash” is 1.2, even less than what I calculated from my images above.

But wait, there's more! Next I had to upgrade the camera firmware. Connected up and started the Olympus Viewer software, which of course first wanted to upgrade itself. Then connected the camera and saw a popup. something like “The E-M1 Mark II setting is not supported”. While I was setting up a screen grab, it reconsidered and let me upgrade the firmware, with the usual misleading comments.

Try again. There were two things I wanted to check: does focus stacking now work with the monitor connected, and can I now use TTL flash with focus stacking? In each case, the answer was “no”. No difference.

What's causing that? My guess was electronic shutter, but no, that still seems to work (and it limits the shutter speed to 1/50 s, as one would hope). Time for a bug report.

And the RF-550 “flash”? What a useless piece of hardware! Less than one-tenth of the advertised guide number, applicable in equal proportions to the use of foot guide numbers in specs otherwise in metres, and just plain lying. Should I return it? It cost almost nothing, and maybe it could be useful.


Monday, 24 June 2019 Dereel Images for 24 June 2019
Top of page
previous day

Frost!
Topic: general, Stones Road house, opinion Link here

It's been a fairly mild winter so far this year, but last night made up for it. The weather station, 3.5 m off the ground, measured -0.9° at 6:14, but when I got up and went outside, round 8:30, I found temperatures as low as -3.7° to the south of the house.

And the air conditioner couldn't cope. When I got up the temperature in the lounge room was round 18°, and the temperature in the office didn't reach 20° until about 10:00. Why?

I've complained about this in the past: it's the ridiculously long time that the air conditioner rests after de-icing. I've measured up to 14 minutes, and today I counted 13 minutes on one occasion. Now that we have the photovoltaic power installation, I can see more exactly:

 
This should be Power-consumption-detail.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Power consumption detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 590 x 458, 121 kB
Dimensions of original: 443 x 344, 38 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 24 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The spikes between 6:00 and 8:19 are where the air conditioner was running. The troughs in between are where it was de-icing: nearly 50% of the time! Coupled with the reduced efficiency of the system when it's cold, it's no wonder that it couldn't cope.

And the missing spikes between 7:30 and 8:00? I puzzled about this, but then it was clear: the system was drawing power from the battery (the sawtooth pattern). Unfortunately the system doesn't show a total power consumption in this graph.


Murder most foul
Topic: general, animals Link here

Walking the dogs today, saw a strange sight:

 
This should be Dead-kangaroo-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dead kangaroo detail
Display location on map
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 643 x 420, 170 kB
Dimensions of original: 3406 x 2226, 2825 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 24 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

It almost looks like the tomato sauce or whatever they use in films to depict a murder, and there are clear car tyre tracks in the liquid. But what is it?

 
This should be Dead-kangaroo.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dead kangaroo
Display location on map
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 237 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4610, 7838 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 24 June 2019:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

This seems to be a particularly bad area for kangaroos; I hit one myself almost exactly there four years ago.


Painful houses and bedrooms
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

It's clear that I'm no fan of “smart phones”, and I've grumbled at length about “smart TVs”. But now there's a new source of pain: “smart homes”. I've read various articles about them, mainly dealing with things like talking to your devices and remote controlling power points, but mainly the choice of a “system” (clearly “interoperability” is an old, worn-out magic word).

It's not as if I don't have various parts of the house connected to my local network. My article above about the air conditioner is one example, and then there's the network-connected sprinkler system. But I don't want to be tied to one vendor, and remote control of power points seems rather pointless to me.

But now there's a new level of pain: smart bedrooms. What on Earth do you need in your bedroom? The article explains: turn your TV off when you go to sleep (never mind that we watch TV in the lounge room). More “smart lights”, ultimately remote-controlled power points, but of course expensive and hard to use:

Smart lights are great for control from the comfort of your bed. You can create timers, turn them on and off with your voice or phone, and if you use smart bulbs, you can dim the or change colors to something less harsh for the evening. And with a few routines, you can create a sunrise effect without having to buy an expensive clock.

With your phone! Instead of pressing on a switch, you swipe your phone a couple of times and you're done! Or you use voice and wake up your partner. So much more practical. And for only $140 (a starter kit recommended in a link), you can save the cost of an expensive $10 clock.

But clearly the people who wrote this article live in a different world:

Your bedroom likely has a myriad of electronics, whether that be chargers, fans, heaters, humidifiers, or TVs. Smart plugs are a great way to give those devices intelligence without having to buy a new TV or rewire an outlet.

No, my bedroom has none of those items whatsoever. There's a thermostat for the air conditioner, but that's not interoperable, and it's not part of that list. Dammit, a bedroom's for sleeping in! What kind of daily rhythm do these people have? Maybe no lounge room? No partner?

What could I use in the bedroom? About the only thing that I can think of is an Internet-connected radio and a phone. I suppose the idea of a real phone doesn't occur to the authors because they only use mobile phones, but they take that as a given, not part of a “smart bedroom”. Still, when building the house I did have network cabling installed in the bedrooms, so maybe an Internet-connected radio might not be such a bad idea. Only there is absolutely no overlap with the “smart bedroom” described in this article.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


Greg's home page This month Greg's photos Greg's links

RSS 2.0 Valid XHTML 1.0!