Winter lingers

Well we had a spell of days where the highs were above freezing and lows below, which coats everything with fresh ice daily. Now it’s cold again, but not the frozen brass monkey cold it was. In fact the air is frozen fog, which I have discovered is impossible to reproduce on camera (so far). It is weird to look out at “white air”. Nevertheless, some images want posting.

Frosted bird seed.

Spiky spikes.

Crowned king & queen of ice.

Ghost branches.

That last one I couldn’t reproduce if I wanted to. It is serendipitous in its generation, as the camera failed to fix focus on the right spot and for some reason this eerie, x-ray like image came out instead.

These were all taken with my Nikon. There are plenty more coming up, and even more than that being discarded as it continues to mis-focus without producing intriguing phantom shots like the one above.

Other than that, our store shelves are bare, the disease is ravaging the population, idiots abound, and my wife is still trapped in England. The most frustrating part is the sheer lack of predictability to any aspect of life these days.

Oh and the highway crew plowed huge chunks of icy snow into my driveway. It’s zero Fahrenheit, and I’ve got to figure out some way of moving them so I can go out tomorrow.

Life is not fun.

The photographer as a kind of musician

It doesn’t matter how good your instrument is if you don’t know how to play it.

It doesn’t matter how good your camera is if you don’t know how to use it.

High-priced, complex equipment with lots of ‘features’ will not overcome a lack of photographic knowledge just the same as a tin-eared rock star wannabe can’t get a song out of a Gibson Les Paul. If the player has the talent though, a Silvertone will sing for him.

Here’s me playing my ol’ Sears Silvertone, as it were. I make no apologies about the boast.

Eyes in the dark.

 

Dendrite.

 

Black-capped chickadee-dee-dee.

 

Last drops.

 

Another galaxy.

 

The reason I love this camera.

Pictures taken with the Nikon P610; the camera I keep coming back to despite its ailments. I think manufacturers should be really embarrassed that their much-more-expensive ‘professional’ DSLRs can’t do any better than this low-dollar, ten-year-old ‘bridge’ camera.

No good photos

It’s warmed up: we’re no longer in the polar death grip.

I split some wood: necessary but wearing.

Canceled Thursday’s dentist appointment: between feeling generally awful and the increased COVID risk, not worth it.

Snowing today: I’ll have to clear the driveway again before going anywhere.

Everything on hold: war is long periods of boredom between short periods of excitement.

Nothing good to take pictures of: took pictures anyway.

Icicles one.

Icicles two, colour.

Icicles two, monochrome.

Fine details.

Sagging door. (You have to look and think.)

Ice ghost.

All pictures taken with the reluctant Nikon P610. I don’t like any of them.

I had a lot more to say, but have decided against saying it.

Zur hölle mit alles.

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.

Seeing out the year

While most people are engaged in reviewing the past year and reiterating how awful it was or trying to pretend it really wasn’t that awful, I’m going to be different as usual and just go forward with some more new pictures instead. (And my late brother the English major would give me an award for constructing such a wonderfully awful run-on sentence as that one.)

The camera is, of course, the new-to-me “Zen Canon” PowerShot G11. Truly a fine quality device which I’m still ‘experimenting’ with. I would have taken more street shots when I went to town Tuesday, but it was all of -10˚C and also totally overcast – so no good for taking pictures or even being outside. Instead I had to sneak some shots in whenever I could to come up with the latest batch.

Lens testing. Wide-angle and close up, full automatic. The result is excellent.

A couple of the resident ravens.

Glacé. This is a segment of a shot which contains many potential images. I liked this bit best.

This camera looks and works like an old but automatic 35mm rangefinder. It has lots of controls on it, most of which I’ve tried and now ignore. For functioning on ‘automatic’ the G11 is second-to-none. I rarely even flip the LCD out and make use of that, much less dive into the menus and change settings. It’s like … using a film camera. So are the results.

It’s all about colour tonal range: CCD sensors!

Although not ideally suited to such extreme photography, the G11 performs well in skilled hands.

And away we go!

As you can see the G11 does a fine job as an ‘artistic’ camera, even though that’s not why I bought it. This is what the infamous ZS-60 was supposed to be capable of. Aside from the extreme difference in zoom capacity, the Canon is absolutely superior in every way to the Panasonic. Never mind the difference in price. The bargain PowerShot makes up for the waste-of-money Lumix. I’ll just pretend the prices were the other way around; that would make the cameras fit their costs. (For those who can’t follow my convoluted reasoning, I paid $12 for the used Canon PowerShot G11 and $300 for the brand new Panasonic Lumix ZS-60. In terms of performance the value is completely the other way around.)

Footnote: there is an optional ‘lens adapter’ for these cameras which twists on around the lens once you remove the protective base ring. It is a tube that sticks out and has a 58mm thread in front of the extended lens. To it you can affix filters or ‘accessory’ wide-tele lenses. The cheapest one I’ve located so far is 3X the price I paid for the camera. I don’t really think it would add much to the functionality so I won’t bother with the expense. Besides those add-on-to-the-front lenses don’t work very well, since the base lens was never designed to have the extra element stuck in front of it. A thin filter is one thing; a thick chunk of glass is quite another.

Always darkest

We’ve actually been picking up minutes of daylight now that the Earth is moving away from the Winter Solstice. You’re forgiven if you haven noticed. Around here it’s a tad hard to, what with the clouds and the mountains. Our sunrise is actually 45 minutes after the official time and sunset about half an hour before, thanks to the topography.

Anyway, some more shots done with the G11. In B&W. Not shot in B&W, as I tried that and didn’t like it. Most digital cameras don’t do a good job in monochrome.

This is not a nighttime camera.

Ice is everywhere.

Really everywhere.

Snow is everywhere else.

Lonely junco.

Jet’s go! (Heavily modified.)

Let’s play

While all our governments are spending like drunken sailors in order to mitigate the economic damage they did by not clamping down on a disease outbreak until it became pandemic (because they didn’t want to hurt the economy) …

Let’s pretend money grows on trees and no one is ever going to have to make up the trillions of dollars flowing like molasses in winter while people can’t pay their bills …

So what if future generations have taxes that they’ll never get out from under, at least the rich will still be rich and no one will be taking any of their ill-gotten, economy-strangling hoarded billions from them …

Anyway, here’s some pictures of ice. I don’t know what the connection is: you work it out.