Game on!

Today’s match-up is between the Mostly Yellows and the Mainly Blacks:

Team Yellow.
Team Black.
Officiating the match: Mr. Orange.
They’re on the field. Play has started!
Team Yellow celebrates its victory.

Yeah, I’m not a good sports photographer.

A butterfly

One of many that come out on the rare days the sun shines.

Old computer having even more function fits: it’s time to finish setting up the new one.

Meanwhile much work is being done on the cabin, and I actually managed to complete one part of the big project. I think.

There is still much to do.

Square on

A few ‘incidental’ photos that came about while shooting with various cameras. The common denominator here is that they all looked better cropped square.

Bear out the window. (Nikon P610)
Young Pacific wren. Blurry because it was in the dark bush of the woods. (Nikon P610)
Yellow on yellow. Blurry because the Tamron lens isn’t that sharp. (Canon T100)
Dotted butterfly. (Pentax K100D)
Bee there in the square. (Olympus E-410)
Featuring yellow today I guess. (Olympus E-410)

The good news is we’ve had more rain and the fires are taking a beating from it, although it’s smoky today. Not long ’til September and the next thing you know …

Loose ends

Time to bring you up to date on what’s been going on around here.

First of all, the picture I forgot to include in the blog about the Olympus E-410:

640×480 crop of full image.

This shows that the camera used with a good lens doesn’t have problems. You see grain, not blur. That means the Olympus lenses are where the shortcomings are with that system. Goes with this pic, btw:

Lorne’s boat using the 50mm Takumar on the E-410. It’s fine.

Second, we had a visitor on Thursday:

Mr. Otis Bear

He spent most of the day crashing around in the foliage by the creek, just beside the cabin. He was stripping off berries to eat and driving the dogs crazy. I believe it’s one of the cubs that were coming ’round here with their mama this Spring. Seems to have gone now.

Third item is that the smoke has rolled in again as of Friday. Along with a high of 97F. Fires are still bad and people are being warned to stay away from certain areas, not just the evac alert/order zones. Honestly anyone vacationing in BC right now must be certifiably insane.

Beautiful view, wasn’t it?

Fortunately I was able to do some photo work before it got like this. Can’t even breath out there now. It’s looking a bit “life crisis” for me in fact. Bad enough I have to re-arrange my camera arsenal without having to re-arrange my entire way of living.

So I forgot about ‘back button’ focusing of the Pentax, and can’t tell if something is sharp or not anyway. This is a ‘salvaged shot’.

I’m actually working on a new “Master Plan” to go with my failed eyesight. The best camera I’ve got for working with my vision right now is the Canon PowerShot G11, which not only has a purely optical finder and limited zoom range (so basically anything I can see I can shoot), but also the nice colour tones of a CCD sensor. Beyond that … well I’ll explain the equipment shift at a later date. It’s still in flux anyway.

Butterfly, taken with the Canon T100.

More to come …

Nikon nice ones

As the venerable P610 heads towards yet another 1000 pictures to its credit and while it is still (fairly) working, a few shots before both camera and photographer give up. The weather has gone vile, and I find myself looking at new equipment for no good reason. What I really want is some decent circumstances in which to use what I’ve got! But you can’t buy that. And if I buy a new camera I’ll just be all the more frustrated for not being able to use it.

Leaf me alone.

How green was my algae.

One foggy morning.

Cotton ice.

Austrian skyscraper.

The End

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.

Salmagundi Sunday

All sorts of things going on here, interfering with plans and being the plans that get interfered with. So here’s a loose assortment of images to amuse you.

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Female Pileated woodpecker in a pine tree
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Two high Canadian geese
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First butterfly of the year
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The Light in the Forest

Because¬†Jim Grey likes bridges, here is the wooden one on our cabin property. It crosses Buster Creek to access the sliver of our land on the other side. Made entirely of wood; specifically four large tree trunks spanning the creek (on top of a couple at either end to retain the banks) and decked with pressure treated 4x4s. We’ve had to replace it once since 2002. It’s pretty sturdy as an excavator and a bulldozer have been over it without consequence. I can’t get down in the currently raging creek to take a good side view right now.

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My Bridge
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Ironically it allows access to the neighbours

These next two are old film images that somehow ended up on some digital media I was going over. I’m not sure of the origins other than where they were taken and that I took them.

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Big Bend, Letchwork Park New York
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Wolf Creek, Letchworth Park New York

Random

Just some miscellaneous things in my life right now.

Bit of a bad day here. The wind whipped through yesterday, breaking branches and bringing rain. The temperature dropped off last night so now it’s cold with ice and a touch of snow. I welcome it, as it forces a break from the arduous task of gathering wood. I have two more loads to get, maybe three, but I was at the breaking point. So Monday off, Tuesday off, Wednesday … we’ll see.

wood

The last load I brought in … well it was heavy and the Xterra was getting hot pulling the hills on a fairly cool day. Looks like it needs a new serpent. Great. Not a job I can do myself anymore.

Oh last week the respirologist called and told me to get lost. Not quite so direct, but he offered one more test for which I’d have to make a six hour (each way) drive and overnight stay in one of the worst cities on Earth – and then admitted it probably wouldn’t result in a diagnosis. In short I’ve got ever-increasing symptoms with no label to hang on them and not even a guess for treatment. I’m on my own. This has often been the case in my life; I help others, no one helps me. When they do it usually makes things worse so …

I haven’t finished all my photo projects I’ve got going because of concentrating on the wood, and now the weather is bad for a bit. Maybe later. One is done and those photos will be coming up when the timing is just right.

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I came up with a plan for restarting the cabin work next year, but it involves getting a small camper to stay in out there while I work as much as possible on the project. There are three such campers on my road, none for sale. The one I’ve found is very nice and too expensive for temporary lodgings while working. Oh well, I have until May or so.

The gasoline bill for this year’s harvest is coming all at once and it’s pretty wicked. Although compared to paying someone $200/cord for 10 cords delivered would be worse. As long as my time is worth nothing DIY is cheaper. Maybe not healthier anymore.

Might go to the city tomorrow for a couple of things. More driving. I don’t like driving anymore. I do too much of it.

Election coming up. Can’t wait for it to be over with and see which fool will be ruining our lives for the next four years. I wouldn’t trust any of them to run a yard sale, never mind a country.

I’ve read twice this week that George Eastman invented roll film. Oh well, so much for Sam Turner and the Boston Camera Company. History rewrites itself even as we live it.

I wonder if I’ll ever stop being tired.

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Return of the Kodak, Part II

With the new KLIC-5001 battery charged and installed it was time to give the ol’ P850 another test. Set the settings, put it on ‘Auto’ and … go take some pictures.

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Autumn 2019

As a ‘snapshot’ camera it’s pretty good. Far above the results the fading V1003 or W100 give. That was of course the purpose behind reanimating this camera.

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Moonshot

I like ‘Moonshot’; it looks like someone stuck that half moon in as an afterthought.

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A Butterly

Not the best rendition here as the zoom limit is 12X. Still more than the other point-and-shoot cameras I have but far below the Nikon P610 or even the Canon T100.

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Cloud Trail

A bit of an odd shot here. The cloud trail looks like its flowing up from other cloud like smoke. No doubt a meteorologist can explain this. It had to be shot into the sun because that’s how it was, so we get some lens flare. Even so it’s not a bad capture of the phenomenon.

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Midday Moon

It’s hard to see and you don’t have a time reference but … in the middle of this shot is a small white spec which is the moon out on a day when moonset was after 2:00 PM. A polarizer would have enhanced this as would a tighter zoom but that would have lost the surrounding imaging frame giving it reference.

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Blue Dot Butterfly

Here’s another butterfly. Okay, I like to take pictures of butterflies. Anyway there were many of these out at the cabin this trip, and I was trying to capture the unique wing pattern which has tiny blue dots in the black band behind the yellow fringe. You can just about see them but there again greater zoom capacity would have filled the frame and shown it better. Can’t do digital zooming here as there’s only 5MP to work with and you end up with a very blurry image.

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Logs in waiting

Here is the reason I was at the cabin and nearly killing myself Saturday: harvest of logs. It’s now gone back to raining so I won’t be able to slice these into rounds and haul them home any time soon. For reference, these logs are about 1′ in diameter (the larger ones)¬† and 12-16 feet long. In all about 3 trailer loads or about 1.5 cords.

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Dumb Bird

This bird stopped me on the way home. He was right in the middle of the road, and wouldn’t move. In fact these dumb birds (I’m not sure what they are as they don’t fit any description in the book) are a menace at this time of year as they fly into vehicles. Really must be the source of the term “bird brain” as an insult.

Anyway I now need to recover from overwork (yes, I am too old to be doing this) and wait for sunny skies to proceed with more work – and more photography.