A cricket

Ever since we moved to our house in Briarcliff Manor from time to time we see one of these in the lowermost level of the house. They seem to live in the crawl space but every once in a while one ventures out. I managed to get a closer look at this one and I’ve concluded that it’s a camel cricket – not originally native to the US. It originated in Asia. They don’t bite, don’t fly, don’t carry disease and, most importantly, don’t make noise like normal crickets. Our house must be their entire universe and I don’t have the heart to kill them. But then I’ve always liked bugs and this one, as bugs go, is rather cute.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Surprise encounter with a snapping turtle

As we were walking up from North Beach our dog, Harley suddenly gave a startled yelp and leaped backwards. When I looked down this is what I saw, the only difference being that its mouth was open and it was spitting: snapping turtle, about two feet long. Luckily Harley showed no signs of injury, although that looks suspiciously like Harley hair in the turtle’s mouth..Must have been a close thing.

Broader view of the monster.

Taken with a Canon EOS 5d and EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM.

Two turkeys and a guinea fowl.

Taken at Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster, NY. The farm was known for its rare farm animals. However, when the farm was given back to Putnam County (which owns it) in 2014 the rare animals were sold and are no longer on the property. I believe there at still a number of “not so rare farm animals” on the farm. The above picture was taken in 2013 so these might well be rare turkeys and guinea fowl.

A new addition since 2014 is Tilly’s Table, a farm to table restaurant.

Taken with a Sony Nex 5N and Sigma E 30mm f2.8.

The Humble Sparrow

After walking our dog last Saturday I was sitting on the porch at Moonbean Cafe in Briarcliff Manor, NY having my usual coffee. I noticed a number of sparrows flitting in and out of the tables, no doubt searching for crumbs left by the diners. Having, nothing else to do I decided to try and get some pictures of them.

It turned out to be more difficult than I thought, exposing perhaps a few problem areas with my newly acquired Panasonic Lumix GF-1 and Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f4.0-5.6.

It was rather dark under the porch and the sparrows tended to stay for the most part at ground level where it even darker. Also they’re quick little buggers, rarely staying in one place for more than a second or so. A review of this lens on Ephotozine states: “Autofocus is pretty quick in single focus mode in good light, although it may struggle to keep up when attempting to track moving subjects or for focusing in dim lighting conditions.” I can certainly confirm this. The continuous autofocus was next to useless. Also because of the dark conditions I had to “up” the ISO to 1600 to get a decent shutter speed. This introduced a lot of noise into the image – too much for me to correct it in Lightroom.

I like to bracket pictures and with other cameras I use I’m accustomed to pressing the shutter release and having the camera take three shots in rapid succession (click, click, click). With the the GF-1 you have to keep pressing the shutter release and there’s a noticeable pause (click…click…click) between the shots.

Of course this is now a rather old camera (2009 vintage) and I’ve only used it once before, and with a different lens. So it’s likely that some of the problems I encountered were the result of my lack of familiarity with this camera/lens combination.

Taken with a newly acquired Panasonic Lumix GF-1 and Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f4.0-5.6.