Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Corner shot

Philippe: I'm actually wondering what kind of balcony view you'd get living there. Makes you wonder what the developers were thinking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trying to get warm

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Our younger daughter, finding one of the cats smelled like cat litter, decided to bathe both of them.

They weren't pleased.

Here they are, trying to get warm on the girls' monitor.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: This is one of a series of photos I got of a fire a block up from our place. The rest can be seen at a set I made on my flickr account. These photos are the jpgs straight from my camera. They're a fraction of the file size of the RAW images, but they're untouched and full size. I didn't even stop to get rid of the crud that blew onto my lens.

As I write this, the building is still burning, but under control. I counted at least 6, possibly 7, fire trucks, including 2 cranes. There were also various support vehicles I didn't even try to count.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mystery Spheres solution

Time for an answer to the last mystery photo posted. I'm not sure, but I think CLarochelle got it - or at least something very much like it. Her answer was water beads from an aromatic diffuser.

What I had weren't sold as part of an aromatic diffuser, but it does give me ideas! Here's another look...


The actual substance is sodium polyacrylate, and they were sold at Micheals as Water Jewels. They're the same as the irregularly shaped crystals sold as a soil-free growth medium. On the packet they came in, suggested useages were for flower arrangements and house plants, as candle holders, or just for decoration.

The above photo was meant to be a fully hydrated pellet next to some dry ones, but in the time it took to get the photo, the little ones were already starting to absorb moisture from the hydrated on.


Of course, we just had to see what they looked like on the inside. *L*

They came as colourless pellets, but I added a few drops of green food colouring to them after they had fully hydrated, and I saw that I'd put in too much water for the amount of pellets. One package of pellets is supposed to be able to absorb 1 gallon of water. We only used 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon and it's sitting in a little rose bowl I've got. We're waiting to see how long it takes to dry out. We've also discovered it's almost impossible to walk past the bowl and resist running our fingers through the stuff. *L*

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Picking up the camera

Anna: The following photos were taken by Philippe. He hasn't been taking photos very often lately, so he was looking for a reason to pick up the camera. :-D


This photo was an accident, really. He forgot to turn on the off shoe flash, so it ended up being a long exposure. With no tripod and shakey hands.

The end result turned out to be far more interesting than the clear photos taken afterwards. This photo is completely unadjusted, except for resizing.


Here we have a fuzzy looking baby snail. I cropped it rather tightly, mostly because it happened to be crawling over a piece of ... er... pleco poo. Taken using the macro lens and the off shoe flash. The snail is less than 1/4 of an inch long.

I have no idea what the orange bits are. We can't actually see them normally. Amazing what can be seen when using a macro lens.

At most, we've counted 18 baby snails, though there's no guarentee that there still is that many. They finally started hatching from one of the egg clusters on the underside of the lid, after I happened to move the light to a different position. I guess the extra warmth did it. The egg cluster than was being laid in this photo, however, fell into the water some time yesterday evening. I have no idea how long it was in the water before I spotted it, and decided against trying to fish it out of our really deep tank. It's still bobbing around on the bottom. At the moment, there are still 3 egg clusters in place. The very first one laid is as unchanged as ever. The second one, I can barely see way in the back, under where the filter is hung. It may have actually had some eggs hatched, but I can't see it well enough to say for sure. There's one left on the underside of the lid, and a few of those have hatched, though not all survived. I can still see some that hatched but never dropped into the water, dangling from the bottom of the cluster.

The babies are in a wide range of sizes, and one's grown amazingly quickly. They seem to hide in the gravel a lot, but they also like to go into the fake rock cavern and inside the skull we've got, so I doubt we ever see all of them at once. We'll see how many survive to get big enough to give away.

Our tank sure is clean, though.