Dandebugs

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Two
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Four

Taken with the Nikon P610.

No one pays me to write this blog. Nor would they.

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.

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.

This and that

Some things going on. We had a really low overnight low Saturday night. Like flirting with freezing. Such is the Cariboo. I’m trying to ‘finish up’ the main bedroom here at the cabin so the Mrs. can come out and stay. She hasn’t been able to spend real time here since 2017, and it’s her favourite place on Earth. I figure I’m about 4 days away from making this possible.

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The bedroom wall finally covered

 

And there are so many ‘little’ jobs left undone around here. I won’t lack for things to do. In fact I will have to ignore some of them as it’s time to start the annual firewood harvest again.

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First logs of 2020

The bug population is going down already.

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It’s supposed to be sunny for the foreseeable future, but we did get some rain.

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Got mud?

On the photography front, the question of buying that Sony DSC HX300 has resolved itself by someone else buying it. Oh well. I still think it would be a good model to replace the Nikon. So far that camera hasn’t died completely, it’s just become somewhat erratic in operation. I still manage to get good shots with it though.

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Another Nikon moon
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Dragonfly on the wing

Meanwhile the Tamron lens continues to disappoint. I’ve noticed the colours aren’t accurate on it, in addition to its focusing and sharpness issues.

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No, it’s not that good

With the promise of sunny days ahead, perhaps I’ll even be able to shoot some pictures with the Takumar lenses on the Canon. Funny that I spent $400 to get a camera to use old lenses on and would have to spend nearly twice that to get a decent modern lens. This newer equipment seems to be a lot of glitz and little performance. Especially considering the prices.

Back at the lake

Last weekend I roasted in 30+C heat finishing the roof on a shed I started building years ago. Now it’s done and can be used. So I immediately shifted back to the cabin where there’s no end of projects to work on. But all work is no fun so …

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Always an interesting sky.
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I wonder what this plane is and why it flew over.
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Ant in a hole in a tree.
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Valuable rock.
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Damselfly.
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Dragonfly.

Pictures taken with the Canon T100. First three with my new Tamron 18-200mm zoom. More on that later.

 

To be brief

Some bad things happened quite suddenly around here. Not catastrophic (at least not yet), but bad. This morning I have no idea how to proceed with anything. So let’s look at some pictures instead.

Shooting around the yard with the Canon T100 and 55-250mm Canon lens, as I ‘practice’ for when the Nikon fails completely.

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Turkey vulture overhead. An omen? Notice how fuzzy the lens is. The Nikon would have this sharp and closer.
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Bee drenched in pollen. Again not sharp and the exposure is questionable.
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Exaggerated clouds
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Documentation: I finally replaced the wiring and lights on the utility trailer. I’ve had the kit for more than ten years. I don’t do things quickly.
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Junco feather. Again it would be sharper with the Nikon. When you go to 100% on the original image you see it’s in focus, just ‘soft’. The Canon lenses do not perform.
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Albino Raven Moth. Or something. This creature is very tiny: the image is about 10x actual size. Again not sharp.

Anyway the kids have gone home, I haven’t finished the shed roof, and I’ve got to go back to work on the cabin. Someone invited the younger lot up to stay too. Also the Nissan has thrown up a new fault: high oil pressure (possibly the sensor or gauge has failed, possibly the pressure relief valve is stuck). If that fails I could well be stranded out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a long walk to civilization from anywhere along that road. No money to replace the vehicle either, even if there was something available to replace it with.

We live in interesting times, which I’m sure you know is an ancient Chinese curse.

Bug life

What am I doing? Working on a shed. How is it going? So-so. One day I spent hours staring at my framing square like I’d never seen one before, the next day I got all the rafters up.

In the meantime I have taken some pictures with the handy-as-can-be Fuji F80 EXR. Most of them documenting the shed build, but others …

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Not bad for a camera that really isn’t suited to this type of photography.

I’m supposed to be ‘practicing’ with the Canon; getting used to using it in place of the ailing Nikon. But the Fuji fits easily into the pocket and goes along with me anywhere. I have no regrets in buying that camera!

Around the yard with the Nikon P610

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Thunderstorm threat

I’m told the weather is about to change from very hot to much cooler and rainy. I guess it figured out I was home and wanted to do that shed roof. Anyway, before it does I took some time to take some pictures. Nothing much; just getting back into it.

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Chipping sparrow

For some reason this little fellow got over 50 likes when I posted it in a bird group. It’s not even a good picture, frankly. But he is a cute little bird.

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It’s called a dark-eyed junco

With good reason. Note the detail in the feathers! This is a 640×480 crop of the full-size image taken at the P610’s maximum telephoto length of 1440mm equivalent.

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Get into yellow

Any more pollen on him and he’ll be yellow itself. Or maybe bee yellow.

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Berry good picture

I cropped this square to eliminate some overhead power lines that intruded. It changes the composition from the original, but it still ‘works’.

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Gossamer wings

There are many of these little helicopter bugs hovering around right now. I hope they are eating all the mosquitoes! I took several different shots of them, and liked this one the best.

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Devil’s flower

As in; I had a devil of a time getting this photo. The Nikon had fits trying to focus on this, without even any wind blowing. I changed zoom length, switched between normal and close-up AF, shot about three frames, and did not shoot about eight with ‘false’ focus lock. The camera is having problems.

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Bumble bee happy

Again multiple shots, this was the best, and it’s not very good. In all I took fourteen images on this jaunt (a simple “once around the yard”), only seven of which are any good at all. That’s a 50 percent failure rate. Most of the time it was the camera not focusing or saying it was in focus but the image was blurred afterwards. I rely on autofocus because my eyesight isn’t that good, and yet many times I could see the green ‘in focus’ square showing on what was a very obviously blurred image so I didn’t press the button.

But that’s not the worst of it. The ol’ Nikon developed a new problem on this shoot: at one point it failed to zoom. The controls just did nothing and I had to turn it off and on again. It’s bad enough the sensor contrast is going down, the EVF is getting dim, the focus lock is nearly random, and the battery doesn’t last long anymore. If it won’t zoom … well that’s the best thing about the camera; the incredible range and sharpness of the lens. Yes it’s several years old and has taken thousands of pictures. That doesn’t make me feel any better about it failing. Quite the opposite in fact.

There’s nothing else like it available now. The replacement versions are “over-the-top” in design and price. Especially price. When the P610 quits my photography will change as I adapt to using the Canon T100 for everything. I’d better get practicing with it I guess.