Title Image

Title Image


This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Post Manuscript Submission Brew Day

Its still pretty quite here on the Western front. The weather is not quite so jealousy inducing (only mid 60s°F). I just haven't had the motivation to post some older, but fun, camera trap images, bird images, or very recent Spring herp images.

So if you don't mind a quick brew day post of cell phone cam pictures here you go. Two of us (re)submitted manuscripts and none of the three of us felt like working on our dissertations.

The goal was pretty simple: two beers

6 gallons of a coffee porter. We stole the idea from a local brewer at Sante Adarius Rustic Ales, made with locally roasted Verve Coffee. The SA version of this porter was one of the best beers, let alone porters, I have had in a long time. The trick is an overnight cold brew with much less coffee grounds than you might expect in the keg when the beer is mature.

The second brew changed mid-brew when yours truly did some bad simple arithmetic and added too much volume for the boil, but didn't realize the mistake until afterwards. So 6 gallons of a double Red Ale (~9%ABV) became a heavily hopped Red Ale (~6%ABV).

A few of the beers sampled during the day

A wonderful tart wheat from Rustic Ales that was bottled with a wine yeast if I remember correctly

The tower of power

Not my foot in a sandle. I learned my lesson once before

I'm too lazy to switch the order of these two photos so the finished product comes first

Grilling Fajita fixin's: Skirt steak, Pork ribs, onions and bell peppers

So we had a really good yeast starter going and carboys a little too full. Finished brewing and this was how our ferment was going the next morning. Made a mess, but those were some happy yeast. We are not too worried about any contamination here. The yeast will win any evolutionary arms race inside these brews.

Going to have to get the burner going and Tower of Power assembled in a couple of weeks to ensure that the current tragedy of an empty kegerator doesn't hit us again. I think I am going to have to try my hand at a Saison which will make a great Mojave Desert beer.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Beautiful Day in the Redwoods

Sorry East Coasters but your life is not as good as ours this fine Spring day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chorus frogs come out at night

Speaking of the blog being in the dark for a while, how about a post full of pictures taken in the dark.  A couple of months back I took a free photography class with Chris Hartzell, in Monterey that focused on shooting frogs at night. It was a very informative and leisurely class, where I learned how to use my flash much better than I could before.

We employed two techniques, one taking images with a backlight and one without any other light other than that of our camera mounted or hand-held flashes. These led to two different kinds of images: (1) images with a lit green background or (2) images with a black background. I really liked the idea of the black background because it is so much more natural. It gives the viewer a more honest take on the environment that the frog was in. It was well after sunset and damn dark out, so why not let your image show that. It may not be type of image that makes the cover of Sexy Endangered Animal Monthly, but it shows the subject in a more natural setting.

Enough blabbing ... on to the photos.

Pseudacris sierra-7647

Pseudacris sierra-7642
No backlighting, just the dark night sky

Pseudacris sierra-7639
A face cute enough to kiss

Pseudacris sierra-7635
Full-frame with flashlight mediated backlighting

Pseudacris sierra-7632

Pseudacris sierra-7627
Doing a bit of calling

Pseudacris sierra-7622
How about some color?

Thanks again to Chris

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Coyote Blogging

Knowland Park, Oakland   Jan 2013

Much like this 'yote, we at CTC have been lurking in the darkness lately... we hope to emerge soon.