Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Coldest This Year

Tuesday was a lovely sunny day following on from a bitterly cold start. Even in the sunshine the temperature only managed to reach 5.1°C (41.2°F). Our average temperature for the day was 0.6°C  (33.1°F) the coldest in 2016 taking the place of 17 January 2016 that had a daily average of 0.8°C (33.4)°F.
It's not even winter yet!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Into the Freezer

Sunday wasn't all that bad for November and Monday was a lovely sunny November day. We decided on an afternoon at the allotment.
However, we've paid the price for that lovely sunny day as with clear skies overnight the temperature plummeted to a low of -3.7°C or 25.3°F.
I didn't have a little image of the lowest temperature and by 08:00 it was warming up a fraction. As far as records go it doesn't make it into our top twenty coldest days but it is the third coldest November day in six years. My record for November is -7.6°C (18.3°F) on 28 November 2010 with -4.4°C (24.1°F) taking second place on 27 November 2010.

I did take a little bit of video during our visit to the allotment on Monday afternoon. If you'd like a little late autumn tour the video is below.
The forecast is that after another sunny day on Tuesday but temperatures could fall even lower overnight into Wednesday morning. Watch this space.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Photography Kit

I thought I’d do, as one or two other bloggers have done, and go through my camera details. Sue has done a post on the camera equipment she uses here. As Sue takes photographs of the places we visit I often take video if nothing else to be different. I still want my camera to take good still shots when I’m out and about and for this reason I have moved away from the camcorder I used when I first started taking videos.
The world of video has moved on very quickly to encompass the world of 4k UHD (Ultra High Definition). As daft as it sounds a camera capable of shooting 4k video can produce video of a quality as good or better than normal broadcast TV quality.

My main camera is a Panasonic GH4 and is capable of shooting 4k UHD video and still images.
I put a great deal of thought into the decision to purchase this camera as it went against my idea that I wanted a camera where I didn’t have, what I see as, the nuisance of changing lenses. I wanted a camera with a lens that ranged from wide angle to long telephoto. However, there are lots of video on the Internet showing the image quality achievable with the GH4 and this persuaded me that this was the camera to go for especially for capturing video. Unlike our other Panasonic cameras this one doesn’t come with a multipurpose built in lens, so once I’d decided on the camera the next decision was which lens to buy to use with the camera. I chose a 14mm to 140mm zoom lens in the hope that this would fulfil all my video and still image requirements with just one lens dispensing with the need to change lenses.
Whitby Harbour Panasonic GH4 14 -140mm lens
If you follow my blog, you’ll know that photographing steam locomotives is one of my hobbies. The 14mm to 140 mm lens is perfect for doing this as zooming in to the full extent of the lens is not normally required. A camera has to be held very steady to avoid shaky video. I don’t particularly want to be limited to using a tripod for taking video and in any case where there are lots of people about it seems dangerous for both camera and passers by to have a tripod erected on a busy railway station platform. Nor do I want to be carrying a tripod around on the North Yorkshire Moors.
North Yorkshire Moors Panasonic GH4 14 -140mm lens
I also enjoy wildlife photography and I haven’t found much wildlife that hangs about long enough for me to get a tripod set up and camera switched on to capture the scene for either a still or moving image.
Thorp Perrow arboretum Panasonic GH4 14 -140mm lens
For some wildlife photography where the subject is reasonably close, like the swan at Thorp Perrow arboretum above, the 14mm to 140mm zoom lens captures some excellent still images and video. However, visiting nature reserves and wildlife parks when the subjects were further away, it didn’t cut the mustard. I’d been using a Panasonic FZ1000 with an equivalent zoom lens of 400mm so 140mm maximum wasn’t giving me the results I wanted. As a result, I’ve added an additional Panasonic  100-300mm lens to my camera bag even though it goes against the grain of having one single all purpose lens.
I’d normally take both lenses if I’m visiting a nature reserve or wildlife park but on other occasions like visiting the allotment I wouldn’t bother with the longer telephoto lens.
RSPB Reserve – Old Moor Panasonic GH4 100 -300mm lens
Providing the wildlife isn't too far away the 100-300mm lens gets some good shots and isn’t too heavy to carry around.

Then there was a new kid on the block. Not to replace what my existing Panasonic camera was capable of but to add a new dimension to my videos.
DJI Osmo 4k camera & gimbal
Doesn't look much like a camera does it! I think the DJI Osmo deserves a post of its own as it's most unlike any other camera I’ve used.

Freezing Mist

Saturday wasn't the sort of day to be outside.  Rather oddly the coldest part of the day was through the daylight hours. The cold peaked at 08:30 in the morning dropping to -0.8°C (30.6°F). Shortly after that the freezing mist formed and remained until the late afternoon when it lifted and the temperature gradually began to rise reaching the dizzy heights of 6.0°C or 43°F by midnight.
It was a bit cold on the fingers trying to capture the frost on the leaves.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

A Murmuration?

Friday wasn't too bad a day. At home it was cloudy all morning but in the afternoon we visited RSPB Old Moor where we were lucky enough to have a few hours of sunshine. Overnight Friday into Saturday saw this November's lowest temperature so far with -0.8°C or 30.6°F.
It was cold enough to form a thin sheet of ice on the bird bath.

Over the last couple of weeks there have been reports of starling murmurations at RSPB Old Moor and we were hoping that they would perform their aerial antics on Friday as they roosted for the evening. After our afternoon walk around the reserve we hadn't spotted all that much of note to take any photographs of. As usual most of the birds were keeping nicely out of reach of our zoom lenses.
This robin was tempted onto a fence post with some carefully placed seed. It was a pity about the twig casting a shadow.

We stopped off by the kingfisher screen where by all accounts a kingfisher had been spotted only moments ago. My camera was at the ready but unsurprisingly the kingfisher didn't return.
I did, though, manage a decent photo of the branch specially positioned for the kingfisher. It was now late into the afternoon and the light was starting to fade and my camera was taking a few seconds before it was able to focus. As we were moving away from the kingfisher screen the starlings were starting to gather on one of the large electricity pylons which cross the reserve.
As it got darker more and more starlings kept arriving until at one stage the top two arms of the pylon were covered with starlings. It was also cold standing waiting for the starlings to do their thing. You'll have to watch the video of our visit to see what happened.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Winter's Here

Wednesday and Thursday were dull winter days and although the sun did make some sort of effort to break through the clouds on Wednesday, it made no effort at all on Thursday.

On Wednesday I'd taken my new toy, my DJI Osmo (from now on known as Gimbaly), for a walk in Rothwell park to give its new z axis stabiliser a test. It hadn't been very successful but I thought it was probably my fault for not getting the connections secure. The picture kept disappearing and reappearing on my phone so for most of the time I had no idea what I was recording. It turned out that the video colours were all washed out too which is not what I expect from Gimbaly.

With connections all checked it was time for another quick walk around the park on Thursday to undertake another test run.

This one was certainly more successful than the previous day as Gimbaly and my phone remained in contact with each other throughout the walk of about 6 minutes.
I've grabbed a still image from the video showing how many of the trees have lost their leaves and are now in full winter mode. It definitely wasn't the best of days to be testing out video as by the middle of the afternoon when the filming was done the light was already failing badly.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Withdrawal Symptoms

Tuesday was a big improvement over Monday thank goodness. It wasn't exactly a brilliant November day but at least it didn't rain as much and a one stage the sun dared to break through the clouds. Needless to say that particular state of affairs didn't last for long.
Temperature & Rainfall 16-22 November 2016
We haven't had a rain free day over the last week with the rainfall total over the last 6 days coming to 44.8mm or 1.76in.

I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms through lack of photography. I haven't taken a "proper" photo in over a week now. I'll forget what my camera looks like if I don't take some photos soon.

Still the bad weather and enforced lay off due to the naff weather has meant I've had time to finish transferring all my data and software to my new computer. Not everything is working as I would like and, from my research on the Internet, the odd problem doesn't have a straight forward solution. I have found that, although I thought I was backing up all my data so that should the worst happen I could recover everything from my backup portable hard disk, it wasn't the case. I'll have to give more thought to how I do this in future.

As I haven't taken any photos for a few days, I thought I'd post this one of a swan taken on the lake at Thorp Perrow arboretum a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Monday was wet. It rained for most of the day. It didn't come down in "stair rods" but just steady rain all day long.
Temperature & Rainfall 21 November 2016
In the end we'd 21.8mm (0.86in) and it was still raining at midnight. It turned out to be our 13th wettest day since 2010.
We've now had 69.8mm (2.75in) of rainfall in November which is around average for the month. The forecast is for more settled drier weather from the middle of the week.

Monday, 21 November 2016

A Cold, Wet Weekend

There's not much gardening going on at the moment. The weekend turned out to be cold and wet although we missed the worst of storm Angus.
Temperature & Rainfall 19-21 November 2016 (to 10:30 am on 21st)
Although November has been colder than I'd expect we have had some decent days with spells of sunshine and not much rain. More recently that dry weather has disappeared but that hasn't really introduced any milder weather normally associated with rainier conditions. As you can see even though it was wet over the weekend the temperature has struggled up to a maximum of about 6°C or 43°F. Our average temperature for November stands at 6.2°C (43.2°F) which wouldn't be out of place in the winter months of December, January or February.

We've still got plenty of potatoes stored in sacks in our garage. I retrieved a couple of buckets full this week.
Potatoes - Casablanca lifted on 08 August 2016
These Casablanca potatoes are a first early variety which produced a bumper crop this year. They were lifted a little over three months ago now. They've kept well and are still very tasty when cooked. The only slight drawback is that they can break down slightly if not cooked with a little bit of care.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Cold and Wet

Friday turned out to be cold and wet. For an hour or so in the morning it was nice and sunny but the clouds soon rolled in and that was the last of the sunshine for the day.
Temperature & Rainfall for 18 November 2016
Around lunchtime the rain fell with some wet, sleety snow mixed in but it never showed any signs of settling. By the end of the day the day's rainfall came to 11.2mm (0.44ins), nothing exceptional. Through the daylight hours the temperature hovered around the 3.5°C (38.3°F), on the cold side even for late November. Without having any remarkably cold nights this November is so far turning out to be the coldest of the last few years.
November Average Temperatures 2010-2016
It is going to have to remain cold to match that 2010 temperature by the end of the month, though and the forecast at the moment is for milder weather to return by the middle of next week.

The cold and at times windy weather of the last few days has cleared most of the leaves off our acer.
It looked good at its best over the last few weeks.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Computer Updating Update

The weather has gradually deteriorated as we've progressed through the week. The week began on a milder than expected note but has steadily fallen to a little colder than we might expect.
Temperature and Rainfall 15-17 November 2016
After a rather calm spell of weather it became windy on Wednesday and that continued into Thursday when we had some rain thrown in for good measure.

I've continued moving over all my "stuff" from my old to new computer. It's certainly a frustrating job and I've now moved over all I can think of but there is bound to be lots of things I've forgotten. A list of unknowns if you like. I know this because they crop up by accident as I start to use my new PC more and more. A piece of software wants a username, a password or a product key before it will do anything even though it's now installed on my new machine. Do I really want to know if my email uses POP or Imap? The answer is yes if I want it to work as it's done for the last seven years. Software sometimes asks for a password but it isn't always immediately obvious which password it refers to unless you are some sort of computer expert.

To keep me from going insane I've helped Sue with a few jobs in the garden. We though it was about time the outdoor pots of more tender plants were moved into the greenhouse for some winter protection.
First job was to clear the spent tomato haulms from the summer crop to make some space for the pots. I even managed to find one or two usable tomatoes.
All our tubs have now been moved inside. I'll probably throw some fleece over them if any very cold nights are forecast but other than that they'll have to take their chance with the weather. If anything is killed off over winter I think it's cheaper to buy replacements next spring than any attempt to add extra heating into the greenhouse. I'll keep them as dry as possible and hope that we don't get any prolonged spells of cold weather.
I think our banana is showing just how tough it is as it is still green even after standing outside in last weeks snow.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Mild and Cloudy Super Moon Day

Monday was mild and cloudy although we didn't get any rain apart from a sprinkling in the early hours of the morning.
Temperatures Records for 08-14 November 2016
Monday turned out to easily be our mildest day of the month reaching 14.1°C (57.4°F). Our temperatures have been steadily increasing since our cold and snowy day last Wednesday.

We were on the lookout for Monday's super moon when the moon is "only" 221,524 (356,509km) miles away from earth. It won't be so close again until 25 November 2034. However, each time we looked out of the window the stuff we could see in the sky was cloud. Then around midnight we spotted the moon almost by accident as we had a final look of the night out of the window.
It really needed a tripod but that wasn't going to happen at midnight.

Monday, 14 November 2016

A Plot Visit

Sunday morning was mild and sunny and although it clouded over in the afternoon we decided on a visit to the plot. It's been a few years now since we placed weed control fabric and wood chippings around our redcurrant bushes and the area was in need of a bit of a refurbishment so we decided to make a start on the upgrade to this area.

We also needed to harvest a few fresh vegetables. As usual I had a look around the plot to see if anything else of note was going on. I was surprised to see that some of our strawberry plants had strawberries on that looked like strawberries and that they hadn't turned to mush in the snowy weather of a few days ago.
Of course something had beaten us to eating the fruit. We have a few lettuce plants that survived the cold too. These plants were devastated by slugs in summer when the seeds were sown and they have been neglected ever since. This iceberg type lettuce looks like it might have some edible leaves to pick.
There's a few salad varieties still surviving too.
We made a start on our redcurrant patch but it will probably take us another couple of afternoons to complete the renovation.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

A Bit of a Nightmare!

Weather wise Saturday turned out to be the mildest day of the month so far with the temperature reaching 11.4°C or  52.5°C. After some overnight rain, the heavy cloud never cleared away and it turned out to be our dullest day of the month too.
I spent most of Saturday working on the change over to my new computer. It's proving to be challenging to say the least.  The amount of time it takes copy from hard drive to portable hard drive and back to a new hard makes the process very tedious. Then of course things never quite go to plan or like that  YouTube demonstration. It appears so simple but doesn't turn out that way when you actually try to do it yourself.

So far I think I've sorted out my images although I've still another large batch to transfer. I've now attached my images  to the correct Abode Lightroom catalogue.

My weather station data has been transferred successfully but my weather station itself doesn't want to talk to my new computer for any length of time.  I keep getting a message saying USB connection lost and I've no idea why.

This blog is a bit of a test to see if I've got this part of my new system up and running. Here's a photo from our visit to RSPB Old Moor on Friday.
My first picture imported into Lightroom using my new computer. All I need to do now is sort out everything else. I may be sometime!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Computer Replacement Time

Thursday and Friday were improvements over Wednesday although they didn't have to do too much in order to achieve that. A little bit of sunshine and a few heavy showers were the order of the day on Thursday whilst Friday was sunny and dry and a little bit milder.
Friday was nice enough to tempt us outside and we had a visit to RSPB Old Moor for an afternoon walk around the reserve.
The time has come for my computer to be replaced. It runs my weather station so it runs 24/7. It's easier that way to keep all my weather data up to date. I don't have to work out which weather data has been downloaded from my weather station to my computer or whether it's been uploaded to the Internet. Checking back it means my computer's been running for almost 7 years non stop. It can still run reasonably well at times but then it seizes up refusing to do anything. It can be most frustrating waiting for something to appear out of a black screen.

Besides figuring out how to transfer seven years of weather data and all the associated internet requirements the other major challenge is to transfer all my photographs which are all stored using Adobe Lightroom. There's lots of help on the Internet and YouTube explaining how to transfer images and also how to transfer and connect them back to the Lightroom library with all their keywords.

This is my way of saying that if you notice things going a little bit haywire over the next week or so you'll know I've done something wrong.

Blogging will be on hold for a few days until things are sorted out.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Winter's Early

Wednesday really brought a taste of winter with it let alone autumn. With a little bit of luck Wednesday might be as bad as it gets all winter never mind autumn.
Early morning rain turned to snow around dawn and continued falling until around lunchtime when it turned back to rain. It wasn't heavy snow and it was the wet, slushy type that doesn't normally hang about for too long. The highest temperature all day was 3.4°C (38.1°F) falling to just below freezing late into the evening.
This time last year we were basking in lovely November weather as the temperature soared to 16.2°C (61.2°F). The mild weather stayed around for a few days last November. This is in stark contrast to this year as November has a distinctly more winter than autumn feel to it.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Oh Dear!

Tuesday was another dull and cold day. It started to rain late into the evening.
Temperature and Rainfall Records 07-09, November 2016
Now remember that forecast of snow. If you look at the above chart it looks as though it stopped raining at around 06:00 on Wednesday morning. In fact the rain turned to snow and my rain gauge stops measuring until the snow begins to thaw and turns back into water.
We haven't had very much snow so far and it's the wet and slushy type which won't hang about too long. I'm not too sure our banana tree is very impressed that it's out in the snowy conditions rather than being in the greenhouse only a couple of feet away.
Hopefully I haven't left it too late to move our banana plant indoors and out of the worst of the "winter" weather.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Forecast for a Keen Frost and Snow

Monday was another dull and cold day. The temperatures were almost a repeat of Sunday's although the overnight low was a little bit colder.

The weather forecast on Monday suggested a very keen overnight frost into Tuesday morning and the some snow falling in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
We haven't had that keen frost on Tuesday morning. The temperature fell to 1.8°C (35.2°F) enough to frost the greenhouse windows and timbers.
We'll have to see if the forecast of snow in the early hours of Wednesday morning turns out to be correct. The chances are that snow will fall on higher ground in the Pennines and we'll escape with just some rain.

Meanwhile in the garden some plants are carrying on as though the cold weather isn't here.
Things might change if that snow does turn up as forecast.