How to talk yourself out of buying a camera

I recently came across a pretty good deal on a Panasonic Lumix GF2 camera: $80 plus shipping. Not bad. I thought maybe I’d buy it. But why? Uh … because it was cheap and I was bored, frankly. Do I really need to spend money on anything right now? Nope. Not a good idea. Okay, so far these arguments aren’t steering me away from the purchase. Time to try harder. Get some Con Points going!

1). It has no lens with it. Even the cheapest lenses for this MFT mount go for more money than the camera. We’re talking “you could buy a decent lens for the Canon with that cash” levels. Oh you might find one used eventually, but a camera without a lens is useless. The Lens Is The Camera. Any other peccadillos you can work around, but not a bad or missing lens. Option: lens adapter that lets me put an EOS lens on it. That’s another $30 and the Canon lenses I’ve got aren’t great. Could then adapt again to use the Takumars, but in either case it would be manual all the way. Hmm. This is a significant Con Point.

2). It had no viewfinder, just an LCD screen. Bleah. My only complaint against the little Fuji is its lack of viewfinder. Those screens are useless in daylight, which is where and when I shoot most pictures.

3). It’s a Panasonic Lumix which I haven’t been impressed with. My one foray into that brand was the worst photographic experience I’ve had so far, and that’s saying a lot. Other people have had great luck with different P-L models, but I am soured.

4). It’s micro four-thirds format. I’m not sure this is Pro or Con. I’d like to see what the format can do, but it doesn’t really hold much promise of adding to my repertoire. A full-frame sensor would be of more use to me.

5). It’s mirrorless. Ah, sensor covered with dust! In just a few experiments with the Canon I have seen how easy it is to bugger up the imager on an interchangeable lens camera. Mirrorless models have not even a mirror to help keep the dirt off. Definitely a point against. And for those who say “leave the lens on”, well what’s the point of being able to change lenses if you don’t do it?

6). It has a touchscreen for most of the controls. Ew. And yuck.

At this point I was pretty much resolved not to buy it. I honestly couldn’t think of anything in its favour other than it being relatively cheap and something to disturb the monotony. That’s not good enough. Especially when my last cheap purchase was less expensive and delivers some fine photos like these (all taken with the Fuji EXR):

Corvair on the go
Dogs pretending to be innocent
Cloudbow
Rose hips

 

Truckin’

Some photos accumulated over the past few weeks during town trips.

Firther?

 

An old school bus converted into a camper passed by the house and was caught by the trail camera there. This is a small segment of the full image.

1940 Ford on a newer 4×4 chassis
Rear view of the Ford – These were taken with the marvelous Fuji EXR
Blue Dodge has a green friend now.

Taken with the Nikon. The green truck appeared, then disappeared causing me to think it was a parts truck. Then it came back, so I think it was off having some work done to it. That’s nicer!

Speaking of Dodges …

 

… this one is pretty nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misc.

Well it’s raining again. From the looks of the forecast I have showers to put up with off and on for sometime to come. This interferes with the current vital project of harvesting firewood. I don’t like getting wet and I especially don’t like working in a wet forest with the greater potential to slip and have an accident.

New wood stove at work.

Yesterday I ‘saw off’ all the neighbours so when I’m out here now I’m essentially alone. If something goes wrong I could be in big trouble. It has happened before, and I’m not younger or healthier now. Yes I’m too old for this.

It also isn’t any good for photography, all this rain.

Speaking of which, a few notes.

Some of photographers I follow have recently posted items that I am going to comment on in a non-specific way. This is not meant to be mean or insulting to them, just my observations.

Award Winners.

It’s great that you enter contests and win awards. Really. Not my thing but I am happy for you so keep it up and be happy yourself. I just want to say I’m amused by the fact the photos of yours that win prizes are not ones I would select from your efforts as being the best. This is more a comment on judging and competitions than your work. Hey I once won a poetry contest with the most trite piece of rubbish I’d ever penned. When you’re judged by other peoples’ tastes remember they aren’t necessarily any good. It’s fine that you can supply the right kind of photo to win, but the important thing is: are you making photos that you like? Please yourself and you’ll be happy.

Damsel

Film vs. Digital.

I notice some film images recently scanned and posted that were not sharp. I literally grew up taking film shots (insert the tired history: hundreds of cameras, thousands of images). This may be due to the scanning process, but since the same people use the same equipment and achieve different levels of results I can only conclude that sometimes film is not as sharp as digital (duh!). This is a milestone as there was a time when film, any film, had greater resolution. Other than a tendency to ‘blow out’ with overexposure, digital has unquestionably surpassed film in quality. If you know how to use it.

Sunset before the smoke came

Equipment, equipment, equipment.

I like new cameras. I like old cameras. I like digital cameras. I like film cameras.

I can only afford to use the digital ones I have, and fortunately four of them are more than good enough for my ‘professional snapshot’ style.

But I like cameras for their own sake. It’s the engineer in me. So I will read reviews of the latest Sony A7**** whatever, although I won’t necessarily want it. I will want cameras I can’t afford, usually for rather dubious reasons such as “I’d like to try it” or Eric L. Woods’ famous “because I like it” criterion. Mostly I dream about being able to pick up cheap digital to play with, like the Canon PowerShot A70 that I have or the old Kodak V1003 (both of which work, but have limiting defects now so don’t get used). The Fuji EXR is one of the best cameras I’ve ever had, especially for the <$75 price.

The point is that equipment can be a thing in and of itself, intersecting with the end result images. It is troublesome when you buy a lot and never use it, or buy something pricey which doesn’t give results (ahem, Lumix ZS60).

As such I’ve been focusing (pun intended) on the images more than the equipment lately. Mostly because the market for more equipment is not good where I am: poor selection and terrible prices.

Oh Red Cap!

Other notes.

I’m not terribly pleased with the way this WordPress work-around works, as it’s a pain to work with and limits my photo sizes to ‘small’. There’s probably some method of adjusting that, but I haven’t stumbled on it.

Life in general I shall not comment on. The world is a very depressing place right now, with little sign of improvement. Quite the opposite. My opinions on it won’t change anything, so I’ll just remain quiet.

Today I will bring in another load of wood, in the rain, and unload it, in the rain. Tomorrow … well I don’t know. The shed is about half full but I can’t count on the weather so I guess I will play it by ear and keep harvesting.

Sadly it looks like the Mrs. will not get to spend time out here this year. That was the main goal of my efforts too, but events conspire against it.

Try to be happy.

Leftovers

Some odds and ends shots in black & white.

Fog, not smoke haze.
Downy woodpecker. This was colour, but the ‘blown out’ portion was a ridiculous mess of white, yellow, and green while the bird was pretty much B&W in shadow. Desaturation solved the problem.
Mushrooms are in bloom.
Vigilant robin.
Beached shoes.
Male varied thrush hunting seeds in the bushes.

Where there’s smoke

The wildfires burning on the west coast are doing incredible damage, as usual. We here in British Columbia are all-too familiar with the situation. The smoke from those southern fires has drifted up here, even reaching my remote location. Shades of the 2017 nightmare, I’m under hazy skies again.

That would be the sun.

It’s a bit difficult to work in this, but no place near as bad as what it’s like down where the fires rage. There’s nothing to do but wait, and leave the firefighting to the experts. I’m too old and infirm to take active measures. (I spent a lot of time in 2017 trying to explain the methods used and the why for of them. It was a waste of time because the answer is always to fly the Martin Mars, don’t you know. So glad those ‘Internet experts’ weren’t actually in charge of operations.)

Cameras have trouble with this haze too; getting a focus lock can be a challenge when the world itself no longer has sharp edges.

Soft focus only.

Wildlife is in hiding for the most part, except for this brave red-necked grebe:

Art shot.

These are not the kind of pictures I was wanting to take, but we play the hand we’re dealt.

Water bug.

It will have to end sometime. The smoke will clear from here before it does, and things will get back to normal.

Ha! Normal. What is that?

We live in interesting times.

What’s the point?

Well a store is tempting me with a deal on a Sony DSCHX350/B but …

You see, it’s one thing to buy equipment that will add to your photography or replace a failing unit as this might replace the Nikon P610. But that’s only might replace it. It could be another disappointment like so many other purchases have been.

And then there’s the question of the end result. What good are pictures if no one ever sees them? Personal satisfaction is one thing, but if you’re spending lots of money your images better be reaching lots of people. Certain changes to Internet outlets have reduced that factor for me. I am not happy with the changes at WordPress, and Facebook … I have stopped using it. I don’t believe there is an outlet suitable anymore, or that any offers a chance that the pictures will be seen. So I scale back. I can get buy with the cameras I’ve got if I only need to please myself. The future is a rather uncertain thing to be investing in at the moment.

Grasshopper taken with the Fuji.

The trouble is I have a lifelong affinity for photographic equipment. But I have no access to a source of cheap used digital cameras to experiment with. (Side note: Eric L. Woods recently did a while series on revisiting equipment and speculated on ‘vintage’ digital being a thing. Well, it is. Some of the best images come from “out of date” camera technology.)

As my grandfather would have put it, there are a lot more rat holes than sand these days.

Loon unfazed by rain. Taken with the Nikon.

I’m in “wood harvest mode” now, so I get quite tired every day. I’m experimenting with the trail cameras and taking the occasional shot with the others, but no ‘concentrated’ photographic endeavors are happening now. Soon it will be seriously Autumn and then Winter. No doubt some picture opportunities will present themselves. What I’ll make of them remains to be seen.

Lake sunset using the Canon & Super Takumar 28mm.

New Cameras

Strange circumstances led me to buy a pair of “trail cams”. One of the circumstances being my desire to try them out, another being a need for surveillance at two locations, and the third – the ‘clincher’ – being a pair put on sale for 50% off. Okay, let’s see how good 12 MP Tasco cameras are.

The answer is: not bad, but not fantastic. Pretty easy to set up (I read the instructions after getting them working, it’s that simple). Resolution is not bad and the lens is fairly sharp. There’s no angle of view adjustment on these: fixed focal length. They also have infrared night vision, which works about as well as you might expect, i.e. not very good. You really wouldn’t be able to identify anyone from the night images.

Now the downside. False triggers are wanton and often. I have lots of photos of apparently nothing moving (most likely wind disturbing branches) and sunrise drives it crazy as it transitions from IR to daylight imaging. One of the testing problems was getting anything in front of the camera that it is supposed to take a picture of. Where is all that wildlife that’s been abundant in the yard this year? I only got this picture of some kind of weird bear creature.

Sasquatch perhaps?

As for surveillance, it disturbingly did catch something:

I have no idea who this is, but they pulled into the yard and right out again bold as brass. Considering how remote the location, this is kind of scary. The picture before shows me scanning the sky for an airplane I heard overhead, and the one after shows my friend Lorne’s truck pulling out when he went to town. I had left the gate open to make it easy for him, and this is the thanks I get.

There are settings to change how often it takes a shot when triggered, and right now it’s at 30 seconds. I should have had it at 15 seconds or on video but the number of false triggers caused me to slow it down a bit. See my reward!

Of course even if you do get a photo of the burglars it doesn’t prevent your house from being robbed, and this clearly demonstrates that having the gate locked is superior to any camera surveillance.

Meanwhile we have some documentation of the wood harvest:

Going out to get wood.
Dragging a log in.
Camera at home captured me coming in with a trailer load.

Not the best equipment ever, but the least disappointing photography purchase I’ve made since the Fuji EXR. I will continue to experiment with them and see if I can get any pictures of actual animals, other than ‘sasquatch’.

Lake? What lake?

Today has been full of surprises, and all before 10:00 AM. First of all it was very cold last night; some spots around the area hit freezing. Second I awoke to the lake being shrouded in fog. I took some pictures. After that it went downhill.

See how you can’t see the lake? A little enhancement helps:

When I first went to write this I was horrified by finding WordPress had suddenly shoved their terrible “Block Editor” on to everyone. Having spent a lifetime dealing with badly designed and broken things, I recognize ‘Edsels’ right away. The Block Editor is an Edsel.

At any rate, I was planning my day around slicing up some rounds of wood, putting them in the trailer, and hauling them home. This would be followed by making all the preparations to at last be able to bring wife and pets out to the cabin for their first stay since 2017.

Then the really bad news came.

Our neighbour had an accident while riding her horse. I don’t know the details beyond fractured skull and spine injury. Needless to say she’s in critical condition, has been airlifted to the nearest major hospital and we await further news. Meanwhile her husband is beside himself with worry, as you might expect. I remember exactly what it’s like from when my wife had her first car accident in 2009.

So at the moment we are on hold. If/when he is allowed to go see her he’ll need someone to look after their animals. Thus there is no point in moving out household here only to send Brenda back. We’ll just wait and see. There is no chance that the prognosis will be “full recovery” given the nature of the injuries.

This picture I’m dedicating to her, even though she may never see it.

It’s a beaver. A Canadian icon.

WHAT THE HELL?

Well I was going to write a nice little piece with some interesting pictures in it, but WORDPRESS has changed format to something unusable and ugly. If I can’t figure out how to get a PROPER interface back, I’m done with this web site. This is the same stupid thing FACEBOOK does: change for the sake of change, never for actual improvement.

Screw this.