Monday, January 17, 2011

Well, what did I do this weekend?

Are you able to remember what you did on the weekend of 15-16 January? Gattina of Writer Cramps hosts this fun meme where you are able to record what you did over the weekend. You never know when you may need an alibi.

We had a rather restful weekend. I spent a lot of time in the garden watching Shadow. Yes, he is still being nannied by me although he is off the leash most of the time now.

While in the garden I played around with the functions of my camera. I know how to use Program, Auto, Self-timer and a few other functions - well, actually only Program, Self-timer and Auto!  However, both my daughters-in-law have encouraged me to use the manual function. Yes, the MANUAL function. It's scary at first (was for me!) but I'm becoming more and more used to it. I have a few photos below where I didn't watch the light and it's obvious in those images.  It's quite a challenge when you need to peer through your reading glasses at the screen and the over them at the subject! All the while you are adjusting the shutter speed and the apeture, which I learnt was the f-stop. Mmm. I have taken this opportunity to practice posting my photos on my unsuspecting readers and I thank you in advance for visiting under these conditions, LOL!

Apart from the very first photo which is taken using the Super Macro function (where you have to be on Program), all the other photos are taken on Manual function. Only yesterday I read an article by a professional model turned professional photographer and she said that lighting is everything in a photo. Well... you be the judge!

Barbeton daisy (Gerbera spp) taken using the super macro feature on my camera

Cape Robin-chats are prolific in my garden. They nest here every year; I've not yet found a nest, but many times over the years have had the priviledge of seeing a juvenile Robin-chat whith its mum and later seeing it foraging for food on its own

 African Red-eyed Bulbul singing his special song for me in my garden. His calls says: "Wake-up, Gregory!" (See lighting not so good in this photo)

A Dark-capped Bulbul singing his heart out at the top of a tree in my garden. I sharpened the image in order for the dark eye and more prominent "cap" to be visible. I heard a different call outside my office window and when I went out to check, I spotted this bird. His call is "quick-chop-toquick"  I 've never seen this bulbul in our area and wonder whether this is the outer range for it.

White-browed sparrow weaver - not a very good photo. Trying to use the manual function on my camera without my reading glasses is not a good idea! (I subsequently went indoors and fetched them and could read the screen after that!)
A thrush (not sure whether it's a Karoo or Olive Thrush) takes a bath in one of the dogs' water bowls

This is about the limit of Shadow's tree-climbing skills!

Southern-masked weavers are plentiful in Free State suburbia. The males build the nests and if the female doesn't approve, she smashes it (or merely ignores his efforts and looks for another mate!) The male then goes on to build another nest. When she does eventually accept his offer, you'll see her picking flower petals with which she decorates the nest (women! The same all over, eh?)
Southern-masked weaver's nest. This one has young in it but I have not yet managed to capture the parents feeding them

Pineapple flower (Eucomis autumnalis) blooming in my garden now - no prizes for guessing where it gets its common name !

My front garden in full bloom

I baked a whole-wheat bread - delicious

On Sunday, Grant and I packed some sandwiches, a flask of black coffee and headed 200km down the road to Golden Gate Highlands National  Park on the bike. More about this in a later post

For more of what other people did this weekend, click here


  1. The Robin-chat photo is wonderful, Jo.
    The southern masked weaver photo looks as if a hair got in front of the lens, but the bird itself is lovely and clear, I can even see the wrinkles in its feet. Fabulous to know the female decorates the nest with flowers.

    And of course I love Shadow. Laughed to see his tree-climbing skills. So sweet.
    Your last photo shows speed! Well done!
    I don't know if my camera has a manual setting, and I'm afraid to look. LOL
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. I love your last shadow shot, and the bird photos are great. I've never been brave enough to try the manual settings. Maybe that should be my next project.

  3. Sounds like a fabulous weekend, Jo... Love seeing your birds and that gorgeous garden....

    Can't wait to see pictures from Golden Gate.

  4. Some wonderful pictures of your garden and many delightful garden visitors, Jo! A most enjoyable read. Thank you!

  5. Glad I'm not the only one with a camera smarter than its owner. But I think the glasses help. Nice variety of birds.
    Oh boy, a new NP to see.

  6. Good for you having a go at manuel settings. Today I was playing with shutter speed and moving objects.
    What kind of camera do you have? Love all those pretty birds and your pics are very good. Birds are hard to take when they flit about all the time. Sometimes you have to let more light in when taking a bird with the bright sky behind or else they become too dark.

  7. Geez you have a whole zoo of birds in your garden ! I see a sperling from time to time and that's it !
    Yes magpies we have too.
    I also have tried manual functions, but then I quickly returned to automatic. I am too lazy to learn and then I can still correct the photo with Picasa !
    I only have this little Sony Cyber shot thing also it's quiet sophisticated.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo