Another round

Well Wednesday was a day, make no mistake. In fact it was a day and a half. Maybe even two days. It was longer than normal in ‘up hours’ and more full of activity than I would like.

I went out to the cabin, and on the way there was greeted with this:

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Blown Down

Quite a large blow-down of trees on the road. Fortunately someone else had already been cutting them off and I was able to drive through, or rather over some of the smaller bits to one side. This is what happens when it rains a lot and the wind blows and the trees have shallow roots like conifers do. Also when someone has done some not-quite-to-spec logging up behind them.

Anyway I got out there and got the batteries changed so the power is back up to normal. I also managed to get the water system up and running, although there’s a couple of leaks to be seen to. I heard a lot of birds, but it may have just been this trickster putting me on:

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Another Raven

If it was, he’s very talented.

Probably wasn’t a safe day to go out on the lake, as this sea monster was sunning itself out there:

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Sea Serpent

Great, spiny thing leftover from the age of dinosaurs. They eat boats, you know.

Of course a day without art is a day without art, so here’s some art:

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Water Abstract

The Beetles stopped by to entertain:

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100% Beetles

Anyhow, I’m one (hopefully) day’s work away from being able to take the trailer out there and set up camp. And then really start working.

Or maybe spend more time trying to take pictures of birds.

 

I shouldn’t have done that

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I’m behind on everything now. That includes reading posts and comments and responding to people. Also projects.

It started when I mowed the lawn. The second day of it anyhow. Wherein I use the rotary mower to go around the edges and get the bits the ride-on won’t fit into. Anyway it took 10 minutes to start the thing ’cause it’s like 15 years old but that isn’t really the problem. The problem is the 30 minutes of actually using it felt like 30 years. Such a simple activity and I come away sweating and gasping and weak and aching and hands tingling. Yeah, I shouldn’t be doing this. But you can’t mow a lawn 3 minutes at a time, it doesn’t make sense. You have to start and keep at it until you finished some amount to make it worthwhile to start.

Anyway I rested up for a day after that and then it was Monday. Time to go get the new batteries. Some of them, anyway.

They don’t help you load your car now, due to the pandemic restrictions. I got four batteries. Each weighs 65 lbs. All I had to do was move them from the cart to the back of Jojo. Ah-ha. “All”. I used to lug batteries about quite often, and many of them larger. 65 lbs. is still a significant amount of weight, and again it’s four in a row that must be done in short order. Good thing I could sit in the car for a bit after that.

It isn’t so much a matter of “where is my strength?” as “where is my stamina?”

So I’m still trying to get over that. I disliked being aged and I dislike being infirm even more.

Oh I’ll have to move them to the Nissan, and then into the cabin where the old ones have to come out. 65 x 4 x 3 transfers = 780 lbs. For the first set. All to be done “at once”. Plus the drive and whatever else I get squeezed into doing.

It had better warm up. The cool, rainy weather just makes my joints hurt.

The raven was a long way off in the top of a tree. Not much to take pictures of lately.

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Chipping Sparrow

Out and about

Plus a few random photography remarks.

I missed a few shots this past week (including a marmot) as it is impossible to grab a camera and turn it on and frame up the subject and take the picture while you’re driving down the road. Even if the road is a gravel logging path and you’re only doing 10 KPH at best. I did manage to stop upon hearing a rat-a-tat-tat noise in some dead birch trees, thinking it was a woodpecker. I spotted something red moving in the viewfinder and clicked, waiting to figure out what it was until later. It was this:

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Red-breasted sapsucker

This image was shot with the Canon T100 using the 55-250mm zoom at full extension. (This is a 640×480 view cropped from the full frame, not reduced.) With the crop factor this works out to about 400mm on a 135 camera. Why the Canon? Why not the famous Nikon P610? A couple of reasons. First, the Canon ‘fires up’ quicker; turn the dial and it’s ready (the Nikon works its way through some motor gymnastics before it’s ready). Second, the Canon’s optical finder is easier for me to see through. This is getting to be a problem, especially when trying to spot small subjects like birds in the distance.

Which brings us to point number three: optical and digital zooming. The Nikon can outdo the Canon optically by a factor of over 3X (1440mm vs. 400mm). This is because it has a smaller “2.3” sensor (which also reduces its effectiveness in low light). But the Canon has a slight edge in MP of about 12% so it’s better at post-shoot digital zooming. This has lead me to the decision that a T7 with its 24MP sensor would be even better for me – 50% better you might say. So in a weird way post-shoot digital zooming helps make up for my failing eyesight. Something to think about as the Nikon keeps producing out-of-focus pictures due to the loose lens (no, I can not tell if the image is in focus in the finder of any camer: I am dependent on autofocus and depth-of-field).

Now here’s a tiny butterfly. Not being a lepidopterist I don’t know what kind.

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These were taken with the Fuji F80 EXR, of all things. Not really the camera for the job but it did it fairly well. The first shot is full frame, the second digitally zoomed (as is the third). You may notice a colour shift between the two shots as the camera tried to come to grips with the scene. The second image is somewhat washed out in the dried grass but the colour is better on the butterfly.

Now here’s what the Nikon did with a much larger version of what looks like the same butterfly (the first one was perhaps an inch long, the second closer to three inches):

The Nikon has utterly failed to focus a couple of times, usually when the lens is pointing down (which is telling). Here’s a shot that shows the motor-driven lens isn’t as quick as it should be. Look for the bird.

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Top of the frame

Of course if the subject will sit still, it’s fine:

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Duncan Dog wondering how long this picture business will take

Or if the conditions are right and you don’t need maximum magnification on one small object far off in the distance:

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One goes up, one goes down
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Raven again

And back to the Canon for a combination of maximum optical zoom with a bit of digital as well:

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Young mule deer doe

A discussion elsewhere about zoom lenses and whether or not you need them reminded me of an old movie camera I used to have: the Kodak Medallion 8. It took 8mm cartridge film, and had a 3 lens turret that allowed you to switch between wide-angle, normal, and telephoto just by pivoting the lens elements around (not while shooting of course). A cheap version of a zoom, and easier than changing the whole lens!

The difficulty with spotting a subject at the ‘normal’ focal length of your eye and then getting a camera fixed on it with a telephoto lens is sometimes aggravating. Being able to spot it with the zoom at wide/normal and then twisting a ring to close in on it is much better. Motor zooms are slow for moving subjects like birds. Sometimes even the fastest autofocus and shutter release is slow; birds can be really, really quick!

But I can see where if I continue shooting wildlife I would stay with the medium-to-long manual zoom lens, quick center-spot autofocus, optical finder, and as many pixels as possible to facilitate post-shoot digital zooming. This is not the best combination for everyone, of course; I just like shooting wildlife and that’s mostly best done from a distance. Even butterflies are reluctant to hold still while you move in closer.

Addendum: Since writing this I came across another blog wherein the author made a statement along the lines of “like many people I like the effect of limited depth-of-field”. Am I the last person on Earth who wants sharpness in photos? Yes sometimes it’s nice to blur the background, but not always! And if the whole of the subject isn’t sharp … well to me it just looks like someone did a bad job photographing it.

Shutting up now. Do what you like.

Work continues

Here’s a picture of where I’ve been working at the cabin: underneath it. The dirt was up to the logs here and needed to be removed so that I could get through and run electric lines and water pipe.

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Taken with Kodak P850

Yes it’s every bit as unpleasant an environment as it looks. Even more so. On the positive side I did get through and yesterday managed to get the electric outlet for the water pump installed and the outside electric outlet in back (for the trailer) as well as the water inlet connection. How much easier it all was before we had the place ‘skirted’! You could run a line in through anywhere then.

I also found some holes that need fixing up, and where the packrat got out. He doesn’t seem to be there anymore, which is fine by me.

The next step will be fixing up some of the road so the trailer can be brought in without damage (it’s really rough in spots) and then replacing the batteries so the inverter can run something heavier than a couple of lights and the Internet set-up.

You don’t have to understand any of this beyond the fact I know what I’m doing. Sometimes I wish I didn’t. It’s be easier to say “can’t do it; don’t know how” and save the effort!

Moody on Monday

It got cloudy Saturday when I was out working at the cabin. It started raining while I was on my way home. It rained Sunday. Gray days, gray days. No bright and beautiful sunshine to work with, so work with the gray.

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Mt. Timothy
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Canadian Bald Eagle
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The eagle keeps circling
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In the ominous sky
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This is the third time I’ve accidentally created this ‘superimposed’ effect
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Mercury Sea Shipwreck

There’s more work to be done out there. Always more work to be done. But it can wait for a sunny day.