Re-learning curve: Canon PowerShot G11

What re-learning curve?!

Despite a lack of co-operation from the weather and increasing pressure to do things other than photography I managed to fire off a few shots with the G11. To my delight it is still easy to use even with my failing eyesight. For one thing it has an optical viewfinder which remains bright (unlike the Nikon P610’s dimming EVF) even if partially obstructed by the lens barrel at wide focal lengths. Oh yes, the camera has limitations in that department, but few in any other! The CCD sensor renders great tonal range, the ISO goes down to 80, the lens is sharp enough for general purposes, and the exposure is correct (although I prefer -1/3 EV setting).

As the saying goes, the proof is in the photos!

A beautiful day at the lake. We’ll be seeing fewer of these as Autumn rolls in. At least the fire smoke is mostly gone now.
Lakeweed. Nice detail for a point-n-shoot camera!
The great tonal range of the CCD sensor translates into a wide array of gray tones when desaturated!
This particular type of camera is best at taking pictures of objects. Dogs are objects. If you object to dogs, get a cat.
Here: one standard-issue cat, in box, with accessory toys.
If you’re willing to put a little effort into it, the G11 is capable of artistic shots as well.

I am so keeping this camera! Best $12 I ever spent! I could probably get pictures out of it without eyesight.

Speaking of which, I see the doctor again on Thursday. I look forward to mentioning the continued pain, blurriness, spots, and weariness. I don’t look forward to hearing what he has to say because I have a pretty good idea what that will be.

Canada Day: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Clouds made of smoke.

Canada Day, 2021.

First the good news; one of the missing cats, Hannibal, has returned! I happened to look out the window and there he was sitting on the deck. Appears to be none the worse for his four day adventure, except for an insistence on going out again. That’s not happening, big furry cat.

The bad news; wild fires have broken out all around, thanks to the thunderstorms last night. The air smells of smoke, the sky looks of smoke, and the nearest one is at the next lake over – just five kilometers away.

As seen from above.

This satellite view taken at about 4:30 PM Wednesday off Zoom Earth shows the cloud formations from the two largest fires. The one on the left you can follow the smoke trail down to the Lytton fire, and the one on the right leads down to the Kamloops fire. The shadow on the right is caused be the density of the smoke clouds, and the look white because if reflecting the sun back to the satellite. From beneath they are dark and grey-brown.

Raven lamenting.

The ugly part is that we don’t have much to celebrate in Canada this year. The revelation of the horror that was the residential schools has justifiably put a damper on all the good news, even the advances made against the pandemic. For those who don’t know, these “residential schools” were authorized by the government and operated largely by the Catholic church. For over 100 years, right up into the 1990s, they essentially kidnapped native children and abused them in some delusional effort to integrate them into mainstream society. What they really did was damage and often kill them. Then they tossed them into unmarked graves like so much garbage. The concept alone is appalling and horrific. The way they carried it out is akin to the Holocaust. Really. That this happened under what should have been the watchful eye of a supposed modern-day democracy rather than some ancient civilization or evil dictatorship only emphasizes how horrible it was. I don’t know where we go from here, but the road will be long and difficult.

As always, I concentrate on the little things I have some control over. Slowly work progresses, and I try not to think about the fact it may all burn down soon.

I am tired, I am weary, I am sad.

How hot was it?

We are currently experiencing a historically unprecedented heatwave here in BC. Records are being set daily, including Lytton giving Canada a new all-time high of 49.5C/121F. Here at the cabin we’ve hit 41, which is the hottest it’s ever been here. The heat is supposed to break tomorrow, with thunderstorms. This brings up another problem: lightning. We already have two large, out-of-control wildfires burning not too far away. The smoke cast a haze in the air here this morning. Welcome to Hell.

In fact I’ve only been able to work a couple of hours in the morning before it gets too hot to do anything. I’ve not been going out unless absolutely necessary, and we don’t even let the dogs stay out for long. It’s a case of “just get through this”.

Some bad news: two of our cats have gone missing and the outlook for them is not good. There is water and prey out there if they can find it, but …

MIA: Hannibal, aka Puff-puff.
MIA: Boots, aka Twinkle-toes.

Few photos being taken, due to the heat. But here are a few.

Queen of the Hill (look close).
Robin on the nest.
New flower. I don’t know what it is; never seen one before.
Robin’s egg blue. I quite like this pic.

Beyond the immediate area many things are happening. BC’s state of emergency will finally be lifted July 1, and many rules relaxed including mandatory mask requirements. I will wait until my 2nd shot (on Friday) has had time to take effect before I doff the N95. Unless I have to keep wearing it against wildfire smoke. *sigh* I’m used to that.

What a week.

Where was I? Wednesday. Well it doesn’t matter. The week continued to be awful. Temperatures didn’t quite hit -40, the point where Fahrenheit and Celsius meet, but they came close. It has been so relentlessly cold that there have been problems.

For one thing, the logging trucks were having trouble. Very cold, dense air messes with a diesel’s ability to produce full horsepower. I shan’t bother with the engineering lecture, just suffice to say they were struggling with their loads. I crawled into town behind a couple of them that couldn’t make any speed. Some of them gave up and limped home. Repeated running in these conditions can cause damage, in fact. It’s hard enough on gas engines, worse on diesels.

A running logging truck.

Or electric motors. Jojo now has a dashboard full of warning lights ablaze, the least of which is reporting that the tire pressures are all well below minimum thanks to the cold shrinking the air inside them. That can be fixed with warmer air and a compressor. I’m more worried about the “!” light and the engine symbol being lit. I suppose I’ll have to try a code scan and see what turns up. Not certain it will work on the hybrid, though; that probably requires a special scanner especially as you’re not supposed to start the engine when scanning and Jojo starts when she wants to.

Toyota wisely is not jumping on the “All-Electric” bandwagon. They recognize that some people live in places where battery power alone is not sufficient. People like me. Turning on Jojo just two days after the last run in this arctic cold reveals her main battery depleted significantly just because of the temperature drop. Now imagine if the only power source to draw from was that. Oh it might be fine while the weather was above zero (Fahrenheit – it’s a better scale. Accept that as fact and move on.) Or if you could plug it in like the newer designs and pre-charge/warm it. Or if you didn’t have far to go; there are no electrics now that would make it from here to Kamloops and back on a single charge, and that’s in Summer. Of course as a battery ages its performance will fall off even more. This is a matter of physics, and there’s no getting around it. The horrible fact is that fossil fuels have high energy density and can be easily transfered in large quantities in a short time. Try shoving the equivalent amount of electrical power through wires that fast and you’ll have a cord glowing like a stove element. BTW, that’s energy wasted; the faster the charge rate the more energy goes to heat instead of work.

Glistening ice.

Along with this fun we have the arrival of the lens adapter I’ve been waiting for since early January. Too bad it’s A). broken and B). not the right thing. You can add C). not worth trying to return and D). a waste of money I didn’t need to lose. I’ve ordered a different one, new, from a different place. But really I’m not spending more on the Mystery Camera as the results have been too disappointing.

The message is snow.

The bookcases showed up. What bookcases? Oh we got some that our Jane found for free and then the ladies worked out how to get them transported from there to here. For once it’s actually something we can use, as having got some of the cabin stuff out of the house there’s room for these to be put up and loaded with books which currently occupy cardboard boxes. We’ve lived here eleven years and haven’t finished unpacking yet. I kid you not. Shows how much we don’t really need that stuff, eh? Oh I have to assemble these bookcases. Fine. I like a project. They’re used and there are no instructions, but that isn’t much of an issue for me. I just hope they’re complete.

One medium-size dog, one extra-large size cat.

What else? Well not many pictures being taken in this miserable cold. Not much of anything going on. No vaccines, although they told us the doses will be four times as many next week. Big deal. Zero multiplied by any number is still zero. Prince Charmless is now trying to beg them from India. How anyone can be such an absolute failure as he is I don’t know. Perhaps he’s a graduate of Trump University, with a Mistress’s degree in Drama.

Blurry at infinity.

One last thing. Today’s pictures were taken with the Mystery Camera. You can probably see the blurriness to the images and the spots on the sensor, but I fixed most of the exposure faults and colour inaccuracies. Not a camera I want to invest more in, which is a shame because were it a good edition it would be quite nice. I think this one was used on an archaeological dig. As a shovel.

I bought myself a toy.

Snow on Sunday

Friday it snowed 6″. I cleared the driveway and split some wood because it’s going to get arctic cold. Saturday it snowed 4″. I cleared the driveway and split some wood because it’s going to get arctic cold. Sunday it’s not supposed to be snowing … but it is. Monday I have to go for a hearing exam, and the high temperature is expected to be 1F. Which will be warmer than Wednesday that they guess will be -11F. For a high.

Did I mention they hacked a chunk out of my arm Thursday for the biopsy? I’m sure they were supposed to use a scalpel, not a scimitar. Kind of lingering pain that makes using the arm difficult. But I only have to use it for … clearing the driveway and splitting wood.

Gosh I’m having so much fun. Let’s look at some pictures.

Did somebody order some wood? (Canon G11)
Bald spot mountain. (Canon G11)
Frosted (bird) flakes. (Mystery Camera)
I found something! (Mystery Camera)
How much is that kitty in the window? (Olympus E410)
Yellow line. (Olympus E410)

I am still waiting on a piece of equipment ordered over a month ago now. I guess I’ll have to report it as missing in action. Zero progress on the plan or any thought of doing more photography with the upcoming freeze-your-battery weather.

Oh and BC still has no vaccine. Thanks, Justâne.

PowerShot powered up

Having received the replacement battery charger for my Canon PowerShot G11 it is now back in operation. A quick review of the tool kit here shows six cameras ‘in use’ and another six put away, including the Kodak P850 which had developed erratic operation. The ‘Mystery Camera’ still has this problem and may be relegated to inactive duty, but there’s still a chance for it – if the sensor swabs ever arrive.

Meanwhile no luck at securing a Canon 5D or SX60/70. Sometimes you gotta run what you brung, so here’s some pictures from the G11:

Cat-wrapping paper.
Raven overhead. I literally bent over backward for this shot.
Cranes.
Wild dogs foraging in the snow.
Up on the roof.
I’m walkin’, yes indeed!

I have not done as much ‘street photography’ with this camera as I had intended due to the fact that every time I need to go to town the weather is heavily gray and very cold so I just want to get the trip over with as quickly as possible. It has to get better someday, right?

Sunday Surprises

Today we’ll test a brand new theory that sitting down for a few minutes in a comfortable chair can rest your legs.

Testing the theory.

That comes from an old Monty Python skit. I don’t know where that chair (actually looks like the end piece of a sectional) came from but I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it after spotting it sitting incongruously beside the road. Probably fell off someone’s truck. I hope it was on the way to the dump and not something lost that was meant to be kept.
Saturday was amazingly free of precipitation so I went out to the cabin to get more wood. Wasted time dragging a fir out of the forest, then dropped a dead 80′ lodgepole pine which will fill the trailer twice. I now feel like I’ve been run over by a steamroller. Yes, I know; they haven’t been steam powered for a century. Still …

Laneway to the cabin.

Awoke Sunday morning to no Internet and 2 inches of snow. This is the first time the forecast has been right in weeks I think. Figures it would be right this way. I have nothing in plans for today so …

Snow is suddenly everywhere.

One of the things I was thinking of writing/doing as a photo project was about cameras and how they fit with what you do. Specifically around Camera Decision and how their evaluations are something to be taken with a grain of salt. Up pops Eric L. Woods in my feed with a similar commentary. Gotta love that man’s style and humour. I may do the other things anyway as there is always the personal aspect to be considered – and the revelation of my ‘master plan’.
I’m writing this post differently to see if it works any better. Probably it won’t, but what is is. If it fails it just further points out the mistake WordPress has made with their editor switch.

She dreams of the great outdoors.

The fine details

There are times when colour distracts from the image. When the subject is about shape, form, texture, lines – this is when monochrome works better. Here I present three images shot in colour and desaturated to black & white. These are “100%” views; cropped out of the full-size rendering not shrunk to fit. In fact I’ve gone with 2X the size I normally post in order to make the details more evident. On the other hand there’s only three pictures whereas usually I post six or eight. A bit of a ‘step up’ from my usual “professional snapshot” grade pictures.

The camera used is the amazing Nikon P610.

DSCN2218B

DSCN2213

DSCN2211

EXR con and pro

A few more experiments with my ‘new’ Fujica F80 EXR. Let’s get right to the bad parts.

Cons:

There aren’t many. The body is a bit slick to hold on to and there’s no really good place to put your left hand. The mode control dial would be better placed on the top, and it’s a bit flimsy. The LCD screen is, as with all of them, difficult to see in bright daylight. The start-up is a bit sluggish (wait for the red light to stop flashing). The zoom control is not good for small changes. There is no adjustment for contrast or colour saturation (other than choosing a film simulation).

Um … that’s about it. Shall we add that the different film simulations for colour don’t have a huge variation between them? How about that it’s not a good low-light (night) camera? Not really issues. It does tend to underexpose in certain circumstances, but again not to the severity that causes problems – about -1/3 stop. Most everything else I’ve tried on it has worked well.

Pros:

Small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. Works well under average conditions, and even under some trying ones. If you were just going to use this for normal snapshots it would be a killer camera. Definitely up to and beyond the abilities of the venerable Kodak V1003, with a bit better automatic function, and far easier to get up and running than the Lumix ZS60.

So let’s look at some results.

DSCF1053
You go ahead; I’ll just wait here

Snapshot of Marley being lazy. Colour rendition is perfect (standard setting), of course it helps to have a mass of gray house to get the exposure right. All cameras want us to only take pictures of flat, 18% reflective gray surfaces you know.

DSCF1033
Raven flying

Slight underexposure, a little low on contrast, but good colour rendition. The CCD sensor provides excellent tonal range under most conditions.

Exposure corrected by +1/3 stop, and there’s nothing wrong with colour or contrast.

But just how good of a picture can we make with this camera? Let’s see:

bootsB&W
Boots being cute in B&W

This was done in B&W, not cropped (I actually bothered to frame & compose) just resized for the Internet (the original is 2816 x 2112 pixels), shot with flash in auto EXR mode. The monochrome setting is a little low on contrast, as are the colour offerings. This may be due to the age of the sensor. Here’s the original before I removed some rubbish and tweaked the contrast:

boots1

Now there are a lot more settings to try on this, including many menu adjustments. The menu is fairly sensible and easy to access, as are the other controls. The EXR function has four settings itself: auto, hi-definition, hi-dynamic, and hi-ISO/lo-noise. I’m looking forward to shooting with every combination I can figure out, before I settle down to what settings work best for me. It is already an amazingly competent camera, and convenient to carry too.

It’s a keeper.