Monday, November 6, 2017

More of the Same

A nice photo of Schlumbergera 070A Delia Webster. 070A appears to be campaigning pretty hard to win the Schlummy for Most Improved Returning Seedling, 2016-17 Season: it started blooming early (23 October), it's been blooming heavily and continuously since then, and the flower color seems a bit more intense this year besides.

The Canon is now officially mine, paid for and everything, and we are . . . getting used to one another.1 I have some default settings to use,2 and I (briefly) managed to get gallery photos for all the Anthurium seedlings that had bloomed up until that point. (Some seedlings have bloomed since then, so I'm not caught up anymore, but for a little while there I was, and it was glorious.)

Unfortunately, I feel like I'm not that much closer to resuming regular posting than I was a week ago; things keep coming up. Purged the 3-and 4-inch Anthuriums, moved a bunch of the survivors around, potted up 64 new seedlings, started a bunch of Anthurium and Leuchtenbergia seeds,3 replaced some light fixtures, had a (routine) doctor's appointment, another (less routine) doctor's appointment is coming up, I've been mildly sick (just a sinus infection; unrelated to the doctor stuff), I moved a batch of Schlumbergera seedlings into the plant room on 17 October,4 I still haven't found new places for the Coffeas that summered outside this year to live during the winter, there are a couple family visits coming up, and so on and so forth. Just a lot of stuff going on. None of it's a big deal, some of it's actually nice, but all of it takes time and energy to deal with, and the blog is the logical thing to drop while all this is happening.

So the good news is that everything is basically fine; the bad news is that I don't know how much longer it's going to be before I can start blogging like I was, because I don't know how much more unusual stuff I'm going to have to deal with. In the meantime, I'm still taking, sorting, and editing photos, and sooner or later posting will have to get back to normal.

Probably around Thanksgiving / Hanukkah / Christmas / New Year's when you are all too busy to read the posts.


1 (, he said, through gritted teeth)
2 Not the same default for all photographic subjects, unfortunately: currently there's one group of settings for light orange, tan, beige, and brown; one for red-adjacent oranges; and one for everything else. Which still doesn't work all the time, but it's better than what I had before, and I don't have to take a dozen different sets of photos in the hopes that one of them will give me something serviceable.
3 I don't know whether the Leuchtenbergia seeds will be viable; they're from the cross-pollination in 2013. I mean, you'd think that a desert plant would be willing to wait around for a few years before germination, in case there was just no rain that year, but I don't know. Either way, I suppose the odds of germination were getting worse the longer I waited, so better this year than the next.
4 All of which are new, and a couple of which are definitely old enough to bud, because they started and aborted buds a few times while in the basement. They all got moved too late to be blooming now, but I'm guessing they'll start in mid- to late December. When that happens, the hope is that we'll see a bit more color variety from the Schlumbergeras: the seed parents of this batch include a few we've already seen (the NOID magenta and NOID white, both pretty boring seed parents last year), a couple we haven't seen previously but that aren't likely to give us anything terribly new (the red/white 'Exotic Dancer' and the red-orange/white 'Stephanie'), some second-generation seedlings from 025A Clownfish, 026A Brick Wall, 057A Pyrotechnic, 082A Strawberry Madeleine, and 088A Cyborg Unicorn, which might or might not do anything interesting, and then a solid chunk of NOID yellow seedlings, from two different batches, which are probably our best bet for something interesting to happen.
And so we wait to see buds.


Paul said...

No reason to feel bad about having to put the blog on the back take the time needed for you.

Paul said...

Btw, when you do get time (and assuming you haven't already done so), you might track down a Canon forum. They might have some solutions to your picture color problems.

Xerographica said...

I spend lots of time trying to explain that society doesn't undervalue things like conservation. The issue is that the amount of money that people voluntarily spend on conservation will be less than their perception of its importance. As a result, there will be less conservation than people truly want.

So I especially appreciated your detailed explanation/justification for your plan to supply less blog entries. I can't help but wonder how your decision would be affected if the amount of money that your readers donated to your blog was equal to their perception of its importance.

When we buy plants we certainly do try and get a deal. But compared to the amount of money that we spend on conservation and plant blogs, the amount of money that we spend on plants is a lot closer to our perception of their importance. This means that we do a much better job competing plant producers away from the other uses of their limited time (alternative occupations, family, friends, hobbies, etc).

One analogy is tug-of-war. When it comes to obtaining plants, the amount of effort we put into pulling the rope is relatively close to our true preferences. But when it comes to obtaining plant info (blogs, Flickr pictures, forum threads, Youtube videos)... the amount of effort that we put into pulling the rope is a lot less than our true preferences. Either we suspect that an adequate supply of plant info doesn't depend on our equivalent effort... or we hope that other people will pull hard enough.

mr_subjunctive said...


Not sure how to respond to this exactly, but I feel like it sort of requires a response, so bear with me:

My continuing to write the blog is not contingent on it providing a set amount of money. If it were, I'd have stopped a really, really long time ago. So, while donations are always welcome, and while I have, historically, made a small amount of money from blog donations (<$200/yr., on average, over the last 7.5 years, with a single individual providing just under half of that), the posts aren't slowing down due to lack of money, and more money wouldn't speed them up.

I'm also really uncomfortable with any implication, intended or not, that people ought to donate a certain amount of money to the blog just for finding it useful, and if they don't then they should feel bad. I mean, yeah, in an ideal world, sure. But I don't ever want people to feel bad about not contributing if they don't actually have money to contribute -- I use a lot of sites that I can't afford to support financially, which has zero to do with whether or not I find them valuable. (I also have some relevant personal history: a site that I liked and spent a lot of time hanging out in, many years ago, started begging for money so much and so frequently, and saying outright that if you didn't contribute money to the site then it meant that you didn't value what they were doing. It became unpleasant to go there, and eventually I stopped doing it. I don't want to turn into that.)

It's fantastic if people want to donate money to PATSP, and I'm certainly grateful when it happens (I do try to write individual thank-yous when it happens; sometimes I even manage to do so in a timely manner.), but doing so won't bring the frequent posts back any faster, and I don't want anybody to think that if they don't donate, they should feel bad, or I think they're bad people, or anything like that. If writing PATSP was about having a steady, dependable income, I'd have stopped doing it years ago.

(Not quite satisfied with this as a response, but it'll have to do for the moment because I'm kind of out of time.)

Xerographica said...

Personally, nobody has donated even a penny to my plant blog... but I post entries anyways... albeit fairly infrequently. I take the time and make the effort to blog about plants because I derive a certain amount of benefit from doing so. But would I continue to blog if I knew for a fact that nobody else derives any benefit from my blog? What if I knew for a fact that people derive a ton of benefit from my blog... would I blog more regularly?

The amount of benefit that we derive from other people's behavior should have some influence on their behavior. Otherwise the world would really suck. The question is whether the amount of money that we spend on other people's behavior should accurately reflect/reveal/signal the amount of benefit that we derive from it. This wouldn't be a relevant question if people were mind-readers.

So my intention really wasn't to try and guilt anybody into donating to your blog. I was just trying to shed some light on the inherent challenge with public goods. The more people who understand the problem the faster a better solution will be found.

Trevor Walker said...

What model of Canon do you have? I've used a few in the past, so maybe it's possible to figure out color settings that will work for you.

Also, possibly more importantly: what's your lighting situation? It turns out the human eye is a whole lot better at adjusting colors to what they "should" be than a camera, so it's possible a lot of your color woes come from lighting that's either inconsistent (i.e. different for different plants, requiring different color adjustments) or just doesn't output a very good spectrum (if, for example, your plant's flowers happen to reflect mostly 675nm light, but your lightbulb only outputs 400-600nm, your red plants won't look right in photos even though you know they're red. CFLs are notorious for this kind of thing.

If you think lighting might be the issue, I'm happy to recommend some lights that should give you better results.

mr_subjunctive said...

Trevor Walker:

The lighting situation is, I set up a table by a north-facing window (which gets light reflected off of a white house), and place a white panel of styrofoam on the side of the table opposite the window. So it's consistently natural light, though of inconsistent intensity and color temperature, depending on how thick the clouds happen to be that day. I try to take photos at more or less the same time of day, as well (usually between 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM).

I have a Canon SX620 HS; increasingly I'm leaning toward using "cloudy" in the white balance menu and "my colors off" in the my colors menu as the default settings, though for light oranges, tans, and browns {fluorescent + my colors off} seems to work better, and for red-adjacent oranges {cloudy + positive film} is more hue-accurate, though the saturation always has to be turned down a bit after. This is based mostly on what seemed to work the best when I tried all the combinations.

Trevor Walker said...

Darn. There goes my theory. Natural light should be fine, though it will vary a bit with cloud cover and time of day as you mentioned.

As far as camera settings, I'm not sure I can add a lot since you've done such exhaustive testing. One last thing to try, if you haven't already, is using the "this is white" setting with a grey card rather than a white surface - white can throw things off if it's close to the maximum brightness in the image, so gray usually gives better results. Ideally, even if the colors straight out of the camera aren't perfect, you'd be able to use a uniform adjustment like your saturation decrease for all photos and get good results.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!