Not Popcorn, Prickly Villains

So someone told us that the strange white spots appearing on our prickly pear cactus was an infection but not the kind we thought.
In fact it’s an infestation of cochineal bugs (Dactylopius sp.). These are tiny insects feeding on our cactus, hiding under fluffy white weblike wax, which helps protect them from predators and the elements.

Creative uploads cactus infestation

These insects are crushed for a natural dye in some localities.

Or they kill your cactus. There’s a chemical spray that doesn’t always work. So I followed this person’s alternate instructions: Power wash off the webbing and spray the cactus pads with watery dish soap (unscented Dawn is recommended; not the lemon variety which is bad for the cactus.) The idea is that the bugs didn’t like to eat soapy cactus, or less likely, it poisons them when they try.

It was kind of interesting; I used a jet setting on my garden hose instead of a power washer. (I imagine a truly high setting might cut into the cactus pads). When I hit the white clumps just right they would not only wash off but also occasionally flash with a reddish purple burst of color as it presumably crushed the bugs inside.

Given that I didn’t know how to kill the bugs that would otherwise wash to the ground under the very cactus they liked to eat and might just climb back up, I was all for reducing the population.

A few days later it’s looking pretty good, time will tell. I expect there will be some stragglers. Hoping for some good luck.

—– David

P.S. Some message boards suggested using a toothbrush and soap on the individual pads, so if you have a smaller cactus collection and can actually get to all the pads, you can try that. I didn’t have that luxury of scale.

P.P.S. So I always talk about editing things, and my Google searches are no exception. I found this information throwing all the keywords I thought might be relevant, then edited them down and added others based on the results I was seeing.

Not Popcorn, Prickly Villains was originally published on Creative Uploads

I Can Haz Prisma Update? 

Creative uploads prisma cat photography cameraphone filter

Prisma on Android is up to date like its IOS sibling with a feature I CAN put my finger on. You can drag and drop your chosen styles into whatever order you want.

Just press, hold and drag to rearrange your favorites. This is in addition to the Store icon you see on the lower left, which lets you manage styles, add some new ones and “remove” ones you don’t want (essentially hiding them.) That’s been there for a while.

Still all free (though I have my suspicions there will be premium ones someday), the real app links are at http://prisma-ai.com (many spoof versions out there.)

Quibbles:

  •  Hey, I don’t miss the auto crop to square, but I would like to be able to crop in the app someday. 
  • In an earlier post about Prisma I mentioned (and then emailed Prisma support about) possible privacy issues in their social site, which forces you to enable location settings to post, so they can localize the feed. But they never got back to me about my questions of whether it then embedded the location info in the pictures themselves. Concern and caution but not yet a deal-breaker for me in the app, just still don’t use the social site.

But look, catz!

—–David

P.S. This is my accountant’s cat. It’s sweet but I’m allergic, so in lieu if petting it I told it I would make it internet famous. Well, we meowed at each other, I don’t speak fluent cat….

Creative uploads prisma cat photography cameraphone filter

I really do enjoy these silly styles. This one’s “Vivid,”one of the new ones, “Udnie” is the featured image, always one of my favorites. The one atop this page literally tells you what it is.

I Can Haz Prisma Update?  was originally published on Creative Uploads

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours?

Creative uploads photo talent practice

Sometimes you just take a picture. It’s a snap. It takes a second and maybe you doubt even give out a lot of thought when you do it.

But does it reflect things you’ve learned and forgotten from the thousands of pictures you’ve taken before, whether loved or ignored? Is it an innate skill grown from casual talent?

Yes.

Can you be good without being born with “talent”?

Yes.

Because people that are good at something may have had so-called talent, but really that means they had a drive and curiosity and interest that led them to dedicate time toward playing with and learning and understanding  what they wanted to do.

So take a picture, it will last longer than you think. Even if you never look at it again.

—–David

P.S. So for everybody that takes selfies and that’s it, you will get really good at selfies, perhaps accidentally. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make a career out of them because although they are portraits, the self-portrait market doesn’t pay a lot.

Unless you have a sponsor.

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours? was originally published on Creative Uploads