Archive for June, 2009

Veggie plot update – what’s for dinner?

It’s been another hot one today and the weather forecast is looking good until the weekend when heavy thunderstorms are predicted (would love to photograph a lightning storm). With all this sunshine I keep expecting to come home from work and find the greenhouse full of wilting plants but everything is looking good so far so I’ll keep up my twice daily watering regime, damping down the greenhouse and weekly feeding.

Our first mini cucumber was ready for picking and with perfect timing because we’d run out of the ones I’d brought from the supermarket.  There’s plenty more to come  on each plant so hopefully lots more for many salads over the summer months.

From plant…..

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…to kitchen table….fantastic !!

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…and a few more on the way!

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Of the larger cucumber variety, one is about 8″ long and starting to fatten up and grow longer each day. Again, I counted about eight to follow. I was a bit concerned at first because it looked a bit…well…knobbly. However, with each day the bumps and ridges are smoothing out.

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..with hope, more large varieties to come.

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The runner beans are still coming along nicely although not many beans yet. There’s about 10 I can see but there only about 4-5″ long at the moment.

I’ve mainly been getting a lot of male flowers on the courgette plants but no courgettes. However, checking today, I found this little fella tucked underneath a leaf.

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The other courgette plant seems to be doing better.

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The Sweet peas and sugar snap peas are roaring on and are now wrapping themselves around the supports and string I fashioned last Sunday. I love how they cling to anything.

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There’s plenty of flowers on the tomato plants and I spotted my first tomato the other day on the ‘Money Maker’ variety.

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Most other things in the veggie beds are coming along nicely and I’m loving nipping out in the garden each day to add something to our evening dinner. Even if it’s only a handful of chives or a few strawberries I’m totally hooked 🙂

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I’m thinking back to when I created my little plot on graph paper, all the work involved (see clearing the veggie plot posts) and the first greenhouse vs wind fiasco but it’s all come together and we’re starting to reap the rewards. This is the first time I’ve ever grown anything and am loving every minute.

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Celebration weekend.

I’m hoping this weekend is going to be a cracker. Firstly, my friends Andi & Lisa got married yesterday  and they’ve asked me do the photography for them. Secondly, my sister-in-law is about to have their first child which could appear any minute now. We both waiting by the phone  but nothing yet.

I’m really chuffed to be asked to photograph the wedding but at the same time quite nervous being new to photography and not to make a right hash of it on my friends special day. I met with them a few weeks ago to discuss the types of shots they’d like throughout the day. I’m guessing like most weddings, they wanted a mixture of formal and informal shots. Curstie helped me out with the informal shots using my spare camera so I could concentrate on getting setup and rounding everyone up- My time limit after the ceremony would only be 15 minutes before the next wedding party arrived.

The day started off very early for me with a quick call to the groom to see if he was o.k. and offers to help setup the reception room. Then I gave my gear one final check to make sure I had everything and lens/filters were cleaned and the camera settings were reset to starting default.

My camera bag is looking a bit tatty and doesn’t have enough room for everything so I finished work early on Friday afternoon for a last minute trip into town to pick up a new bag I’ve been interested in which is the LowePro Slingshot Aw200.

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By mid-morning I drove to the brides house to begin with some early pre wedding shots. Lisa looked absolutely stunning in her dress and their three children were very well behaved allowing me to take lots of shots. Next, I had to follow the bride and family to where they’d be meeting the horse and carriage that would be taking them to the registry office. It’s a shame the weather turned to rain but with jacket covering my camera I was able to continue shooting.

Next was quite literally a horse race as I had to get to the registry office before the bride so I could set up and be ready for when she arrives.At least the rain had stopped by now.

Andi was looking rather nervous when I checked in on him but after brief chat he seemed to turn less green!

The actual ceremony went without any problems and my friends are now Mr & Mrs.

Outside, with rain again on it’s way and a strict time limit to keep, I was running around and barking orders to get various groups in order. Although by far the most stressful part, it really was fun to do and poking fun at myself was rewarded with some fantastic smiles.

Chasing after the horse and carriage containing the happy couple like some crazy paparazzi was something i’ll always remember!

Despite a few hiccups with the entertainment the reception went very well and I was able to tick of even more photo’s from the shopping list that the couple had given me. By the end of the day (11pm) I was completely shattered.

Here’s a few examples of photo’s I took –

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The happy couple – Mr & Mrs Calladine.

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Praying that I’d not left the lens cap on!

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Here’s a few taken by Curstie of me running around!

Now..who’s turn is it to be nervous!

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Run Run RUN!

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Phew…I need a drink

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B Movie

Having a very busy day out in the garden yesterday trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn, cleaning the pond pumps and generally having a bit of a tidy up around the flower beds I was so glad to be off work today to take a breather.

Early this morning I happened to be out in the garden with my camera and noticed a number of bees buzzing around what must be a very popular plant for them. Eager to try out my new Macro filters I’d see how close I could get without disturbing them. I used my +10 filter for the following shots, hand held at ISO 100 and continuous shooting mode.

Buff-tailed Bee

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Common carder bee

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White-tailed bee

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I’m sat in a comfy armchair with a coffee, my laptop and a copy of the BBC Gardeners World magazine which a friend at work kindly brought me for giving her a few spare plants. There’s quite an interesting article on the decline of bee population  and it pictures six of the most common to the UK which I’ve used to try and identify the ones I’ve photographed.

Ideally I’d like to get even closer –  maybe with all my filters stacked,  use my tripod, pre-focus on an area and then sit posed with my remote shutter release  so I don’t get my hands this close again !!

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Crop update.

Just a few more photos taken earlier today of various things in the greenhouse and veggie plot.

All my Tomato plants seem to be doing quite well. The four Russian varieties given to me by a work collegue seem to have larger flower than those I’ve seen before. They almost look like Sunflowers.   I not sure what variety they are so am really excited to see how these grow…..and taste!

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We’re continuing to pull out a bumper crop of Radishes which taste amazing. I’m sowing replacements everytime I lift a few out.

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My mini cumumbers are about 2″ long. They should be ready for picking at about 5-6″

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More mini Cucumbers

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Our strawberries taste sooo good…need to grows LOTS more of these next year.

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As well as regular watering and feeding, I’ve been damping down the greenhouse in the morning and late afternoon when I get in from work. I’m a little worried about the rising temps inside the greenhouse though and it’s only mid June.

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Macro Filters for my Canon 450d

One great thing I love about my Fuji 5800 camera is the fantastic Macro (and ‘Super’ Macro) mode and since buying my Canon 450d, I’ve always wanted a dedicated Macro lens. My standard 18-55mm kit lens isn’t bad, but it’s nothing like what can be achieved with a dedicated 1:1 Macro Lens. In time, I aim buy one but for for now I thought I’d try out some of the (really) cheap macro filters you can find online.

I brought mine on eBay at the ‘buy it now’ price of £10 and they arrived this morning after being shipped from Poland  – odd, the sellers address was in Scotland!

I wasn’t expecting much but the quality of the contents surprised me somewhat. In addition to the four filters there’s  a rather nice storage wallet for them and a mini tripod. My first thought was to bin the tripod but after having played around with it, I must say, it’s actually quite good and somehow takes the weight of my camera!

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Each filter is threaded and simply screws onto the end of my lens and acts as a magnifying glass. They’re rated as the following magnification – +1, +2, +4 and +10. Even better, each filter is threaded on both ends so they can be stacked and fitted as one unit to give even greater magnification.

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Here’s a few test shots –

This one was taken with my standard Canon 18-55mm kit lens without any filters attached.

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This one with the +2 filter attached

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This, with the +4 filter attached…focusing becoming harder.

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..and finally this was taken with all four filters attached..AF was having problems so had to switch to manual.

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Here’s a few more test shots taken with all four filters attached.

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Pea gravel

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Tomato bud.

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Another strawberry.

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This looks like something out of a Sci-Fi film, it’s actually a courgette flower 🙂

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All in all I’m REALLY pleased and for only £10 I’d highly recommend them.

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Courgettes & Cucumbers

Out watering the plants in the greenhouse and I noticed some new additions tucked amongst the leaves.

Our 1st cucumber! – F1 Telegraph Pole

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..and another!

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Mini variety of Cucumber – Socrates F1

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Courgettes in flower

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One of the three courgette plants we’re growing.

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Some of the salad crops

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Sweetcorn

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Advice needed…do I need to space out my Tomatoes a little more?

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A couple of the roses are now in bloom, there’s plenty of buds this year so hopefully lots more to come.

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Water Lillie in our pond. We usually have a red variety too but no sign of them yet.

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Our first crop!

By ‘crop’ I mean…well see for yourself 🙂

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Yes, I know it’s only two Radishes, but these are the first vegetable I’ve ever grown so we’re all rather excited about it. I pulled a few more up and we added them to this evenings side salad.

Out on the plot, the Sweetcorn are roaring, each plant is around 2.5 ft now. The Courgettes are showing their first flowers as too are some of the Toms. Peas and Sugar Snaps are just starting to emerge and the Onions and Beetroot are looking very well to. In general everything else is looking quite healthy and am quite please with hows thing are going.

We’re also debating weather the very small green round pods forming on the Olive tree are actually olives…hope they are:-)

What I’m really enjoying doing is giving away some of my spare plants to family, work friends and neighbour’s.  Some have given plants back in return which of course isn’t necessary but very kind of them.  Our neighbour swapped me a Courgette plant for a Clematis 🙂

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