June 15, 2018

Fireflies in Atlantic Canada

After talking to a friend online about fireflies in our area, a discussion following their posting of a photo on social media of what I at first thought might Ellychnia corrusca (a species I recently observed for the first time and posted here), I went to see what else I could find written on the topic. I was pleased to find an academic paper from 2012 surveying fireflies of Atlantic Canada, written by an acquaintance I used to work with back in the 90's as volunteers for our local community net. I'm sure I'll be referring to this again! http://www.acadianes.ca/journal/papers/majka_11-13.pdf After some more discussion about the social media post, it came to light that, well, they recall observing some lit up in the night, so they might not be Ellychnia, which lack light-producing organs. Pyropyga nigricans was proposed as an alternative for their photo. We'll follow up on this later.

Posted on June 15, 2018 03:43 PM by benarmstrong benarmstrong | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 10, 2018

Discrete Camera, Android + Digikam + iNat photo processing workflow

I have a new tool for iNat observations! Supplementing my Android phone (OpenCamera + OsmAnd) which I still use to capture both photos and GPS tracks for later integration & processing using Digikam, I now have a discrete camera, a Ricoh WG-50, which is a point-and-shoot camera. Although it has neither Wi-Fi nor GPS, it is small, tough, and affordable, all priorities for me. There's nothing wrong with USB, and Digikam makes it pretty simple to GPS correlate all the photos, so those weaknesses aren't a big problem for me, and the unique macro features of the WG-50 really sold it to me in the end. I'm still getting acquainted with the equipment, so my shots aren't yet up to the consistent quality of the Android camera shots, but they're getting there.

I am starting to get serious about doing something about optimizing my photo processing workflow using all of this hardware & software. See my comment added to this Digikam bug requesting iNaturalist export capability: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=394544 which records some of my thoughts about what would help me, and how I might contribute.

Posted on June 10, 2018 10:24 AM by benarmstrong benarmstrong | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 05, 2018

Why, oh why do I insist on the hard way? (Or: My aversion to keys)

Why will I spend hours and hours exploring up and down taxonomic trees, study countless photographs, and ultimately trudge back out onto the trail to hunt for new individuals to look at more carefully, (usually with specific questions in mind this time in order to resolve a disputed ID,) but abhor spending even 5 minutes consulting a key? OK, 10 to 15 at the worst, because I'm still picking up all of the prerequisites needed as I study the keys. But certainly using a key is more efficient! It's not like there aren't any about for most of the things I encounter (gobotany covers the majority).

It's a sickness, that's why. I voraciously consume complex systems. The more complex, the more alternatives, the more unsettled things are, the more intricate and confusing the bits are, the more fun it is! Putting things in boxes kills the fun. It's the end of the hunt. Game over.

But sometimes you just need to get a job done and get on with the next thing. The sickness is: once I set off on the chase, my mind will ... not ... let ... go. I just find myself utterly incapable of calling it quits on the "hard way" and doing the sensible thing: "use the key!" Sigh.

So this summer's resolution? Overcome my aversion to keys! Wish me luck.

Posted on June 05, 2018 08:04 PM by benarmstrong benarmstrong | 4 comments | Leave a comment

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