When technology works, it can be really fun (also when it breaks down, that can be really fun too because you can take it apart). Three or so years ago, I bought a tablet computer on which to “do my writing”. The idea was simple (like me) – a nice portable device on which I could write using a stylus-type pen, a device I could train to ‘read’ my handwriting so that I could then convert my scribbling into digital form, ready for the creation of the next novel.
It didn’t work that way. The device I purchased, whilst being OK and having a detachable keyboard, didn’t have reliable handwriting recognition software for it (it had some, but no-one who used it thought it worth the money). So I used it, primarily, for games. Quite crummy games.
Last year, when I went back to Reading for a contract, I bought myself a new camera, a Ricoh WG30, which has wi-fi on it. Great I thought, I can transfer pictures easily to my laptop PC. Only that didn’t really work because Ricoh neglected to design the thing to be sensible (I’d put some technobabble in here to explain, but you’re probably already wondering what the hell this has to do with bees, so I won’t).
The other thing that the camera could do (allegedly) was be remotely controlled from your internet browser. Obviously, this didn’t mean the one actually already loaded on your tablet, but hey, that’s technology for you. I found a browser that DID work and now – well, now you see the point of this mini-rant.
I have been able to set up the camera a centimetre (‘really close’ in proper distance units) from the flowering leek plants in the garden and then sit in the Limery with a cup of tea watching patiently. These pictures are my very first attempt (there are about a hundred others, all out of focus, with no bees or discernible image).
The detail produced from such a small camera is astonishing. I was really surprised when I enlarged these pictures and could see the pollen and the hairs on the bees’ legs, and their ‘fur’ in general.
I also set it up to monitor the back of the garden bench as the birds like sitting there as they wait their turn at the feeders. Clearly this sparrow thought it would be funny to moon the camera. It was right.