What a month, eh?

January. Oh boy. Big expenses, difficult journeys, unpleasant occurrences, and a few good things.

A devil or a deer?

The weather was just plain weird, with many days above freezing and some severely below. This included a snowstorm just before the trip to Kam to pick up the Mrs. from the airport. Fortunately I’d just spent Big Money on new tyres. This past weekend, the last of the month, featured another return to -20 which figured largely in the ‘final event’.

Small box, tiny contents, big price tag.

Happy Anniversary to Us was the highlight of the month for sure, even if it wasn’t any big celebration. I don’t like big celebrations anyway. The milestone was the important part. The whole story of ‘Us’ is an odd one, and one day I may tell it. But not today.

Inflamed sky.

There were many pictures taken as I continued to try and adapt my photography to my failing eyesight. I’ve got sort of a plan out of it, and none too soon as the Nikon has come up with a new failing of not focusing except in ‘flower’ (macro) or ‘mountain’ (distant) modes. Usually. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it hunts past ‘in focus’ and can’t get a lock. In a way it would be better if it just locked up completely, instead of continually enticing me to use its fine lens and then not being able to deliver an image.

Have a squid sandwich (bacon butty).

The ‘final event’ (I hope) of the month came on the coldest night (-20C) when my body decided it wanted a trip to the ER in an ambulance. Oh that pain again. You know how when you’re in agony and it seems like eternity is passing but it’s really just a few minutes? I hope you don’t. In fact the pain started at about 10:00 PM, the morphine didn’t touch it, and I was in the hospital before 2:00 AM. So it really was eternity. At least this time I got a good doctor (it’s a roulette game what ER doctor you get these days). There was much discussion about the possible cause, a review of the testing so far, and some question as to why things hadn’t been followed up on. Yeah, I was wondering about that too.

Squeak doesn’t object to Marley using her as a pillow. I can’t imagine why not.

At any rate, January is done and dusted. Now it’s time for February, which I hope will have more positive things in it. Or at least less bad weather? Regardless of that, I have more pictures to post and more to take and plans for many things.

Now if only something catastrophic doesn’t happen and spoil it all. Again.

That last week

Here are some monochrome images from the recent ‘Canon practise’ project.

“I’m not speaking to you.” “I’m not speaking to you either.”

Among events of last week, I got new tyres on Jojo. The old ones had really had it; I kept sliding past the driveway when trying to turn in. The issue was needing to drive to Kamloops to pick up Herself from the airport, and you can’t count on the weather/road conditions around here – except to be bad.

Just thought I’d post this.

The other option was to re-insure and gas up the truck (which would have cost about the same), but it’s rear wheel drive when 2wd and doesn’t shift in to 4 automatically. Also uses more fuel and doesn’t ride as nice. Plus, Jojo still would have needed new tyres.

This stuff.

As it was that was a good idea because it snowed the day before the trip and the roads up here were compacted ice with some more snow and melt on top. On the way back it was all melted slush and we ran out of washer fluid keeping the windshield clear. Jojo actually has a warning that comes on when it gets low. Anyway, she’s filthy now and needs a wash but … guess what? Weather is about to go cold again – and snow more. Welcome home, dear!

Not a partridge, not a pear tree.

So she’s back. This was followed the same day by a call from the eye doctor regarding my specialist appointment. Which will be in May. Good thing it’s not urgent, eh? We all know how it will end up anyway.

A very serious dog.

This past weekend we celebrated yet another wedding anniversary, in the usual style of the elderly. That is to say we stayed home, had a nice dinner, and watched a movie. The movie was the one we went to see in a theater on our first anniversary. No, it wasn’t Muybridge’s The Horse In Motion.

Even ice changes.

Now it’s time to get ready for whatever is next. Like split wood because it’s going to get cold. Also plot and plan purchases and snow clearing against more snow fall. At some point it will be Spring, but not for a few months yet.

Answering the riddle

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Practice, practice, practice!

Here I am practising with the Canon T100 and 55-250mm lens.

Big black bird (raven).
Cold sun. Taken through the window on a -34C day, but that’s okay because it’s supposed to be ‘soft’.
“Dogs and cats don’t get along.” (Marley & Squeak)
Zig-zag. I like a bit of ‘real life abstract’.
Bitty brown bird (junco).
Light, shadow, texture, pattern.

So what’s the score? One out of every seven pictures shot was ‘acceptable’. Not very good, but an improvement over the Nikon’s one out of ten. The reasons for the improved performance are several: the Canon has a larger, brighter viewfinder which is easier for me to see through (although I still mis-framed shots); its autofocus is faster and more dependable (although again I missed shots because the focus points are little black dots and my eyes have their own ‘little black dots’ built-in); the zoom is a mechanical ring, not motor-driven that sometimes locks up as the Nikon does; the sensor is larger, higher resolution, and not failing; the lens isn’t loose and wobbly.

I miss the Nikon’s excellent (actually better than the Canon’s) lens resolution and its extreme zoom range, though. But it is nice to know the camera isn’t going to just fail randomly as its worn-out predecessor does. The battery lasts longer too. I’ve had the T100 for three years now and bought it to replace the P610, but it was hard to give up a camera that so perfectly fit my shooting needs. Now those needs have changed and I have no choice (many of the shots missed with the Nikon were due to my just not being able to see what I was doing with it).

Next step is to put the fixed focal length ‘prime’ 50mm on it and shoot some more, although I dislike having that limitation. I also need a much longer than 250mm lens for my usual wildlife photography, but that will have to wait for now. (It’s been waiting for three years, what’s a little longer?)

Footnote: it was -40 Thursday morning, but it’s headed for above freezing next week. This weird weather continues to complicate things.

What’s all this, then?

It’s been an interesting week here in the Cariboo. High temperatures around -15C (5F) and significant snow, along with gusty winds to make both those factors ‘more interesting’. I’ve been burning a lot of wood.

What?! Snow?!

Needless to say I haven’t done much; just waiting out the weather. It’s been too cold to take many pictures – the camera actually freezes up (low Wednesday night was -20C). It’s not unusual to have these conditions here, but in January not November!

Marley doesn’t like this.

Funny thing: Amazon sent me a message saying they didn’t know when they could ship my order. This was odd because I hadn’t ordered anything. Checked the info and … the order date was December 9, 2021! Nearly a year old and they just got around to saying they didn’t know when it would ship? I didn’t even remember making it, or why I made it (for a lens case; probably doesn’t matter anymore as evidently I don’t really need it). I cancelled the order. I mean that’s just ridiculous! They should have some sort of automatic cancellation if an order can’t be filled in, say, 30 days.

Cold and snow and wind.

My friend Wally called, said he was coming up this weekend to finish closing up his cabin. I laughed and suggested he didn’t try, what with the weather and all. They certainly aren’t ploughing the road out there! You know what? After agreeing it wasn’t worth it he turned around and came up anyway. I’m not sure, but I think he’s frozen to death somewhere along Wilcox Road. Perhaps I should notify the RCMP, but on the other hand there’s nothing they could do about it either. The last time one of my foolish friends went out there when they shouldn’t have I chased after them in the Xterra – until I couldn’t go any further. They had plunged on into the depths of the snow-filled forest – and suffered for it (although they didn’t die). Why do people persist in going forward when they can see the road is blocked? (That’s metaphorical as well as literal.)

Looks pretty when the sun shines.

Anyway it is now warming up so … time to split more wood in preparation for the next cold spell.

Here’s a boring video of me actually doing something: Clearing Snow

Oh yes: I forgot to make my bi-annual anti-DST rant so … Well just look up any of the past posts relevant to the time change. They are all still valid.

Another boring lens test post

Okay, I bought a Canon 50mm f1.8 EF lens. I would not have done so if a 40% off the lowest regular price around sale had not come up. I especially would not have done so if I’d known about the unexpected $250 in vet bills that came up afterwards or the unexpected $186 in other expenses or the price of gasoline going back over $2 per litre. Let’s face it; if we could see the future we’d all win the lottery.

But it seems every Canon owner has one of these lenses so … why not me? Just how good is it anyway?

50mm on the 1Ds.
40mm on the 1Ds.

The quality is almost identical to the 40mm ‘pancake’, and indeed it’s not much bigger. For general shooting, both are ‘good’ but neither are ‘excellent’. In fact not only does the classic Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 utterly destroy them in sharpness, the venerable Nikon P610 is also noticeably better (when it actually manages to get a correct focus lock, which is rare these days). This is the sort of thing that makes me want to try a Nikon DSLR.

Now let’s see the two lenses on the crop sensor Canon T100 (from the same place):

40mm on the T100 – about 64mm equivalent.
50mm on the T100 – about 80mm equivalent.

(You may notice the T100 overexposes and the colours are not as rich.)

How is the 50mm for really close-up sharpness?

On the T100 – notice focus did not lock in the right place.
Segment of 100% image at the sharpest area.

Of course these were taken wide-open to give it the toughest test. Again, it’s good but not excellent. Frankly I expect better from Canon. Oh I get it: you’re supposed to spend the big money and buy their top quality lenses instead of spending reasonable amounts and getting mediocre results. That’s another shoot-yourself-in-the-foot strategy from Canon, which goes with their no-third-party-RF-series-lenses announcement. They don’t seem to get the idea of “brand = reputation” and that people will accept lower quality from ‘off-brand’ makes at lower prices but won’t accept lower quality from ‘name brand’ makes at any price. (I have seen this failed marketing strategy before, as in when certain car makers introduced junky low-priced cars to ‘compete’ with the import makes when all they wanted was to get people into showrooms and talk them into higher priced, higher profit vehicles.)

So it’s not the best lens, but can you take a good picture with it?

Evening sky with the 50mm on the 1Ds. No adjustments other than sizing.
Fuzzy seeds with the 50mm on the T100. Cropped and sharpened.

Yes, I guess so. Although it seems to work better on the 1Ds (full frame) than on the T100 (crop sensor). The ‘medium’ focal length afforded by the 1.6 factor on the APS-C camera puts the lens in a range I don’t normally use. Frankly it’s a little disappointing over-all, like every purchase I’ve made lately.

Anyway … Once this holiday weekend is over it’s on with the wood harvest (a couple more loads at most) and then close up the cabin for the season.

Marley finds lens testing boring.

Problems: 610

There are so many problems in my life right now that not only am I unable to keep track of them I can’t keep on top or ahead of them. Problems, problems everywhere and not a drop to drink. See? I can’t even find humour now. Well when a $3 box of cereal costs $7 and 5 lbs. of potatoes is $6 and … well that’s just part of it.

Even Duncan dog has problems.

For the sake of your sanity if not mine, let’s just look at one problem: my Nikon P610. It’s still my main ‘go to’ camera, but it is going. Lately the zoom has begun stopping/starting instead of running smoothly. One day the whole thing locked up with no response from any control, including turning it off. I had to remove the battery to ‘reboot’ it. It has become unreliable. Regrettably it is also irreplaceable.

Camera says this shot is 3 stops overexposed.
Camera says this shot is correct.

Yes I realize that is a snow scene and thus needs more exposure (I’ve only been doing this 50+ years so don’t mind me). It’s just that in addition to needing every shot tweaked on contrast it has now begun to habitually underexpose everything, regardless of reflectivity.

Nice effect but not what I was shooting.

I have other cameras, but none of them can do what the Nikon could. Namely this:

The moon in its tower.

So there’s that to contend with, alongside worsening eyesight. I know: I’ve been told to go see the doctor but I already know the results of such a visit because he told me the last time; there’s nothing can be done.

At least the dog got out.

All things considered, I hardly notice the toe I broke last week. Yes, really. Trying to walk on this nightmare of ice that is renewed daily … well see what trouble Duncan got himself into? Yeah, like that.

Something good happening for a change would be nice. About as likely as a chocolate tea kettle, but nice.

We interrupt our regular post to bring you the following snowstorm

So … “up to two inches” they said. Yeah? Tell it to the dog:

Difficult going.
No need to dream of a white Christmas; it’s guaranteed.
This vehicle has 9.5″ of ground clearance. Really.
Let’s have some colour!

Thus my day is planned for me: spend a couple of hours clearing a foot of snow from the driveway just in case I have to go somewhere this week. I’m not planning on going anywhere, but you never know what might happen.

Like a sudden snowstorm.