So far the birds have refused to sit on the tree stump. This is getting tedious. Today’s images are again of the outlook from the house. They are a combined effort as I had endless problems generating versions acceptable to me. I consulted my photographic guri (is that the plural of guru?) Sandra Schänzer and Steve Gingold.  Due to time zones Sandra bore the brunt of my stupidity. Eventually I stopped the iterative process here:E4view finalversion GardenE4

The original thinking was to prove that we do occasionally get clear days in Hong Kong The rain has probably soaked all the toxic crud into the ground, poisoning all the subterranean dwellers and indeed those that feed upon them. I was struggling to get a decent sky – it looked very washed out in my initial efforts and there were artifacts in the sky. I spent some considerable time trying to work out whether Lazarus the Laptop was right in correcting my artefact to artifact? It seems both are acceptable. I finally rid images of the distortions by increasing the image size. This is the first time I have had this problem and I’m not sure why. Normally a 200kb low res file is perfectly ok.

I also wanted to show a little more of the habitat that brings in the birds. The semi-manicured lawn in the foreground is opposite our house. This is owned by the government but within our compound in a manner of speaking. That is to say the residents have occupied it at one end with children’s playthings – trampoline, small slide, etc.; in the middle with a running area for the dogs, which sadly are not always garden trained; and finally the top end has various plants and shrubs that provide berries and the like for the birds to plunder. The migrants are pretty indifferent to where they drop in. Luckily the middle section, which is roughly in front of our house, seems quite attractive. Behind the burning bush (careful Lottie) is where the 6′ Rat Snake appeared and the Slaty-breasted Rail was pottering about further right.This is a very photography friendly range. Over the back of the hedge is a hidden veggie garden. In the distance are houses that follow the road towards the Country Park.  Some of the water birds fly towards us from the bay below, so we get Osprey over the house now and again. White-bellied Sea Eagles nest very close by and they fly right to left across our view. Raptors appear from the wooded hillsides. Peregrine Falcons dash past, Crested Goshawks and a Bonelli’s Eagle a few weeks back. The challenge is the light. We face pretty much due East. So in the morning photography would be straight into the sun and afternoons the sun disappears below the top of the houses quite quickly. The optimum time for bird snapping is quite short – maybe 4pm to 5.30pm.

I was quite surprised by the reaction to dear old Boris in my post about London mayors. Sitting 6,000 miles away my exposure to him is usually through the pages of Private Eye, which is available in the reading room of my club (no ladies allowed in the reading room I am afraid). I am not quite convinced that he is a tiny step away from candidature for entry into the world’s worst megalomaniacs club. You can’t conquer the world on a bicycle and nobody will take you seriously with a haircut like that. In the haircut stakes he ranks far behind Hitler and Kim Jong Un but slightly ahead of Mao. I always struggle to work out how much is an act and how much is the real Boris. To help my American readers a little, Boris would be a sort of (highly) intellectual Ronald Reagan. With a bad haircut. He has hired one of my ex-colleagues as an advisor and that, I regret to say, would preclude me from voting for him.

I tend to steer away from politics and religion.  You are bound to upset almost everybody at some point if you head down those paths. I am not even sure I know myself what my views are. I always felt that the box I needed on the ballot paper was the one that said “no suitable candidate”. Instead I occupy myself with the world about me. I divorce myself from the horrors of reality as much as possible. My greatest worry for over 24 hours has been how to get rid of my artifacts. That and Lulu’s trip to the vet tomorrow. She is not a well dog and we are worried. And on that depressing note it is time to hit the publish button.

25 thoughts on “Stumped

  1. It was a pleasure to help Andrew 🙂 Especially as I don’t really think that I’m a post-processing guru 😛 The photo looks pretty nice now with a good sky and the lush green is just beautiful – pure Asia!
    I also keep my fingers crossed for Lulu’s recovery and hope that all will be fine again soon.

  2. Amazingly interesting group of Comments engendered by your post, Andrew. My main response must be to hope for Lulu’s recovery: I can’t bear to think of an animal’s suffering – as all here. I am quite unable to ignore politics as I’ve never in all my very long life experienced a group of … people as appalling as our current lot – NEVER. As for religion, I just wish it had never arisen. That, or the Greek panoply still existed; as least they were interesting.

    • I might blog on religion in an abstract sort of way. I have noticed that many of the Chinese tend to take the religion that is best befitting their current circumstances, my own dear Mrs. Ha included. I regard it as a very pragmatic approach. Heaven knows though what they put on the census form against religion: pix’n’mix? For me it is like politics – no suitable candidate.

  3. Ok I’ll show my ignorance. What are artifacts in the sky? Maybe you did such a good job of ridding the image of whatever they are that I can’t see them on my iPhone.

    Very sorry to hear about Lulu. Without raising the spectre of religion I pray the vet is able yo help her.

    London has Boris, Toronto has Rob Ford, a crack politician!

    • Rod, you must know the old Beatles song Artifacts in the Sky with Diamonds. They manifest them selfs as blurred or jagged pixels, making the image look distorted in patches. I think the final version sorted them out and now I know not to over-compress images if they appear. I usually downsize to <200kb. I have heard of Rob Ford. A fine man he may be in many respects but sadly none that qualify him for public office.

    • What a great story to have in the family, aside from the initial fear factor. I agree that Dave would not tackle the oiks the way Boris did. Are we on the subject of our old friend Guri Yeller? I never did work out how he played the spoons. Was he rumbled eventually? I don’t think I’ve heard of him for years.

      • A strange way of gaining fame. I saw him on Parkinson after his powers had been given huge publicity and was underwhelmed. Even if it was for real it seemed a rather pointless talent. Was seen taking an interest in Exeter City some years ago. I haven’t missed him too badly.

  4. Poor Lulu. I do hope the vet can offer something that will ease her pain. Our first beagle, Cassie, had back issues. We managed that with steroids and pain meds and she did ok. I hope the same is the outcome for your princess, Andrew.
    I think your final iteration looks pretty good. Sandra mentored you well.
    The problem across the street is not the garden training, or not of the doggies, but the consideration of their owners. Dogs will be dogs and our street is, unfortunately, often lined with the evidence of their walks and the lack of neighborhood fastidiousness of their owners.We pick up after our dog and often after those of others too. 😦
    Yes, it is best to steer clear of religion and politics. Who needs our opinion when most minds are made up anyway. Why stir up a hornet’s nest for no good reason? 🙂

    • Thanks Steve. We also suffer from ‘dog mines’ that are not cleared up. Lulu is well behaved on the few occasions she ventures out. She prefers to be ‘waited on’ at home. I shall do a medical report on her anon.

  5. Sorry Lulu is in so much pain. 😦
    Really?! Important men sitting around reading Private Eye sans women. Imagine those conversations!
    Like so many, I never would’ve imagined HK so green, lush and beautiful. A terrific reward for working hard all those years. Thank you for sharing with us!

  6. You’re just too hard on yourself, Andrew. Or at least on your imagery. Pixels cannot re-create the eye’s vision of reality. Artifacts in the sky are absolutely acceptable additions to the Universe. Hunting them down for elimination sounds like a video game challenge, sorta like slaying the critters in PacMan. I see the lush vegetation, the shape of the distant mountains, the relationship of vessel to harbor, the great cloud raising a monsoon in my memories of Da Nang in May…. I relate to the imagery and its reflections of realities filtered through my perceptions, my recollections, my pixellated portal. Stellated and rendered visible. And I pray for Lulu’s healing.

    • Thanks Eb. I was thinking of and missing your wisdom yesterday. I was wondering how Gandalf has settled and whether the pain of separation has eased a little. Thank you for your prayers for Lulu. She is so much a part of our family and we want her in best health again.

  7. I see Boris in much the same way I see Prince Harry. The ‘people’ love him. People who know nothing of politics, ideology and the like adore Boris, poor people, people with no hope of anything much although they are told they do have hope because they can go to sub-standard schools and colleges and get an education and be whatever they want to be… they love Boris, people who can’t afford to get a bus to London so it might as well be on another planet, people who can’t get a job anywhere else in the country and can’t get one where there is a job in London because they can’t afford to live there… they love Boris man of the people.

    In much the same way that people love Prince Harry, everyone wants to go for a pint with good old down to Earth Harry, he’s not posh like the rest of the royal family, he’s not privileged like the rest of them, he is one of us, he is as basic as any other squaddie recruited from an academy on the edge of a council estate as the only viable alternative to joining the dole queue… he likes girls and booze and sport and he’s no different to the rest of us.

    They are powerful tools Boris and Harry, powerful in controlling the masses, making them feel understood, represented and keeping them satisfied with their lot. Well moulded as bumbling buffoon and top lad.

    • Very interesting thoughts. Thank you. It would surprise me if the people really thought Harry was one of them. Royal family members eventually have to toe the line. They may blur that line occasionally – even Prince Philip has found himself in hot water occasionally – but fundamentally they can’t go too far off piste. Boris, I can see how he might appeal to people who don’t look at policies. I would see him more as a clone of many who have gone before him than a clown. I’m sure the bumbling buffoon is a veneer but what really lies underneath? I am not sure.

      • A desire to become PM by all accounts.

        As for Harry you’re right but the power of the media is so strong when it comes to Mail/Mirror/Sun readers and they are so easily influenced, I teach many of them and their children and they seriously believe that Harry is just like ‘us’, they feel he spat the silver spoon out at birth. It’s amazing.

  8. What’s wrong with Lulu? You do have a nice outlook. I thought people in HK lived in high-rise with a little balcony overlooking a market down below where they sell shark-fin soup. Is the rate snake friendly and trained?
    Don’t get me going on politics. Australia is on the cusp of hiving off a thousand boat people to Cambodia by paying them a rumored sum of $ 40.000.000.-
    Unbelievable. Trading refugees!

I'd be delighted to hear what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s