Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nature Studies, Great Egret Stalking, Shadbush and Swimming Snakes

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I'm working in a Pentallic Nature Sketch, sketchbook. It has nice 130lb mixed media paper in it. It's a product I used to use all the time before the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks were around. At that time it was the heaviest weight paper I could find in a sketchbook.  It used to have a paper front cover and a heavy cardboard back cover. The paper front cover always took a beating and got ripped. I always said if they ever put a better cover on the book that I would go back to using it.  Well, Pentallic has put a wonderful cover on their Nature Sketch sketchbook.  It's heavy, covered in forest green leather like vinyl and has the same graphics as the old one only in simple silver instead of full color. The back cover is still plain uncovered heavy cardboard.

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You'd think I would be elated. But....I'm finding with this book, and maybe it is just this book, the back cover keeps coming out of the metal spiral binding. That drives me crazy. The holes are rectangular and the spiral binding is the typical double wire loop, very similar to what I use when I make sketchbooks with my Cinch binding machine. The old paper cover sketchbooks had a flexible, black plastic binding that was a continuous spiral so the covers could never come off.

I'm also having a problem with scanning. The book is just slightly wider than my scanner bed and the spiral binding won;t allow the page to press flat against the glass scanner bed and light gets in at the edges and so you see the yellowish discoloration of the page on the binding side of the image. Sigh.  I am moving closer and closer to investing in a Epson large flat bed scanner, though I fear In will still have problems with spiral bound sketchbooks not laying flat.  I'm going to have to try trowing a towel over the whole thing when I scan to see if that keeps the light out. No amount of photoshop fixes seem to really help this, at least in the amount of time I want to spend fixing up images to post.

So, enough complaining!  It's been beautiful out and I had no end of fun watching a Great Egret in my pond stalk his lunch the other day. The Shadbush is blooming and that means the Shad are running in the rivers, and Shad festivals are about to start popping up all over Connecticut, a sure sign that spring has finally and truly arrived. Other residents of the pond include large numbers of Tree Swallows who are mating and nesting in hollow trees, Red Wing Blackbirds patrol the pond, and Northern Flickers and pecking and excavating holes in trees.

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The Eastern Rat Snakes are out in abundance I saw four on the rock wall sunning on my way down to the pond and then three swimming in the pond, which is always a weird sight no matter how many time I see them, they're like little Loch Ness monsters!  

Much more to come as spring blossoms!

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