Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hoot! It's a coot!

My nature photogaphy has improved.  A lot. At first it was nothing but a shaky blur. (Mind you, I constantly see YouTube videos with a million and a half views which are dark, shaky, and totally incoherent.) It's easier with closeups, of course, though I am not particularly close to these birds. The ones I really want to capture are on Lafarge Lake. We once saw THREE types of mergansers in one day (common, red-breasted and hooded), but I got no more than two or three seconds of focused footage surrounded by shaky, blurry, tilty, finger-covered crap. Since I haven't figured out how to edit these (and it was not long ago I had never even held a camera, so one step at a time), I can't post those. The mergansers hang out in the middle of the lake, so focusing on them is murder. You have to smoothly pan the camera ahead of the bird so that it continually swims into the frame. Otherwise you'll lose it. Mergansers swim like crazy, but they are so breathtaking that I will keep on trying.

Doll fight!



This is so beautiful I want to SCREAM

This type of organ is sometimes called an orchestrion, because it mimics the sound of orchestral (or band) instruments. This had a tag on it of Hal Roach, so I think it's likely a medley of tunes used in the Little Rascals/Our Gang comedies. Thus the tunes have a familiar ring that you can't quite place. There are hundreds of YouTube videos of antique instruments like this one, some of which play WAY out of tune. None of them are this beautiful. 

I can see this being pulled by horses in a sort of gypsy caravan. Antique carnival music. This was the closest thing people had to "recorded" music back then. Though you can hear the great head of steam building at the beginning (because the organ, after all, is a wind instrument, contrasting with the fact that the piano is percussion), the instrument in truth is like a player piano, its tunes "programmed" on rolls of paper with holes in them. (And by the way - are you old? I mean REALLY old, like me? If you are, you might remember computer "punch cards" with holes in them. Must have been the same principle. Our light bills and water bills came in this form, and on the outside of the envelope it would say, "Don't bend, fold, mutilate or spindle". I never did figure out what "spindle" meant. Impaling it, maybe, on a fork or knife. At any rate, this gorgeous thing just thrills me.)

Some more. There are lots.