May the fourth

I’m not a big Star Wars fan but …

That’s not a moon.

Slowly getting ready to head out to the cabin at last. Much to do, including getting my arm jabbed (also at last). I’m told the road is in deplorable condition, which is not surprising.

By the light of the super pink moon

Thanks to overdoing it, I was up after midnight on Monday (technically Tuesday, then) when the moon was full. Supposedly a ‘super’ moon and the ‘pink’ moon, but really the moon is the moon, whether April or June.

So I took some pictures with the Canon 1Ds. ISO 1250, 8 second exposure, f1.4 (except on the direct moon image where I stopped down to f16) with the 50mm Super Takumar. Post-processing to reduce exposure as it was all a bit bright (the 1Ds screen is useless for previewing images) and unsharp masking to enhance detail. And of course reducing to “Internet size”.

Looks like daylight, doesn’t it? The white blobs in the sky are stars.
See? Stars.
Tree and stars.
Stars and tree.
Stars and bare branches.
That ol’ devil moon.

There are three things that would make this a better nighttime camera: 1). higher ISO ability; 2). higher resolution sensor; 3). better LCD screen for previewing. All of these are available on more modern cameras, but at 10X what I paid for this one!

I don’t like getting up in the middle of the night so I’m not likely to do more star pics for now. Unless I find I am up at night anyway. Still waiting for the road to be clear enough to get to the cabin so I can try this camera on some landscape shots. On the whole I like it, but it’s not a “first choice” device. Great with set-up shots and the manual lenses, though.

1 Dark sky

Further night experiments with the Canon 1 Dark sky. (Okay, you see what I did there.)

Changes from the last experiment including switching to the 50mm f1.4 Super Takumar lens and reducing exposure time to 10 seconds from 30. Note that you can tell if your exposure time is too long by looking at the stars in the picture close up: they will be elongated by the motion of the planet if the shutter is open too long. As a rule 20 seconds is the maximum to avoid this, but it depends on where you are and what you are trying to achieve. I found the star traces were about 3X as long as they were wide, hence cutting the exposure time to 1/3.

Although an interesting look, this image shows that the moon is a lot brighter than the stars.
I question the value of getting up at 11:00 PM to make photos like this.
It’s easier to do this in Winter around here, when the sun sets by 6:00 PM.
Despite very good noise reduction, some of the ‘stars’ are still actually noise.
This one I’m sure you’ll recognize.
The two moons of my world.

One of the hindrances of this experiment is the small (64MB) CF card I have: half a dozen pictures and the card is full! I’m shooting at Hi-res JPEG of course because I’m after pinpoints of light. I hate to think what RAW would allow me. Probably three pics. Fortunately the 8GB CF card I ordered has arrived, which will allow me to take more shots all at once with varied settings to see what ones work best. Providing I can convince myself to get up in the dark again.

Spring tries

The weather here keeps shifting between seasons, often in the same day.

More of that white stuff.

Nevertheless, the seasonal birds are trying to come in. I spotted Canada geese flying north as well as a couple of snow geese. Plus this little fellow has returned:

Varied thrush.

The skies can be dramatic at times.

Boiling clouds.

And sometimes serene:

Eagles into the sunset.

And sometimes fluffy:

Cotton clouds.

Meanwhile I wait. For better weather, for clear road to the cabin, for vaccine inoculation, and for the arrival of my latest photo equipment acquisition.

And because these pictures were all taken with the Nikon P610 (best choice for when you’re trying to get bird pictures), another picture of the moon:

Mandatory moon.

As March winds down

It seems everywhere I look on WordPress these days there is a resurgence of complaints about what they are doing. Some people have apparently lost the Classic Editor entirely, while others are struggling with some bastardized version which is nearly as bad as the Blockhead Editor abomination. I guess they really don’t want us around anymore. Someone should mention to them that killing your customers is not a good business plan.

They aren’t alone at this: several places I do business with have been changing their rules in an effort to … what? Cope with easing COVID restrictions? Or just drive people crazy? The recycle center has now twice sent little notes of disapproval for using “the wrong bag” on returnables. The first time it was for the same type of bag I’d been using for nearly a year. The second it was for using exactly the type of bag they said I now have to use. If you want people to recycle, you make it easy for them to do so. Not more difficult than filling out the tax forms (and boy has that been a nightmare this year for everyone).

So while there is still no chance of even getting on the waiting list for the vaccine we don’t have enough of and I’m still waiting on test results that will tell me what direction my health goes in next (odds are it will be ‘downhill’), I present a few images made now that I can get about a bit again. Providing I don’t slip on the ice or WP doesn’t shut down the only usable editor they’ve got on me, I’ll keep snapping away in the hopes it will brighten someone’s day.

Three friends. (G11, cropped from full image taken at maximum telephoto.)
Rare photo of Marley not being a silly goofball dog. (Pentax K100DS.)
Bark unlike a dog. (Pentax K100DS.)
Glowing cloud. (Pentax K100DS.)
Duncan in a noble pose. (Pentax K100DS.)
A sliver of moon. (Pentax K100DS.)

Incidentally, I’ve discover the Pentax’s kit lens does not focus properly at distance. It is pretty small change between 7′ (2m) and infinity, and with age it has become too sloppy to be correct. The only way around this shortcoming is to either focus manually (which is difficult for me) or use a small aperture to compensate with depth-of-field (which is less than ideal too).

Anyway, having sorted out that camera as much as possible I have switched back to the Olympus E410 for my walk-a-rounds. It has the longer zoom on it (150mm max – equal to 300mm) in case I spot a bird. I find much of my photography is done telephoto so why fight it? Still wish I could get the longer zoom for this camera, but that is not yet to be.

Art at the end of February

When life hands you rubbish, make art. Some slob tossed this in the driveway. (Pentax K100DS)

Well this has been a week. A week of weak. I’ve had several days in a row where just being alive has been a major effort. No answers to that problem either, as the last ‘diagnosis’ (guess) turned out wrong like all the others. If it’s a new disease, will they name it after me? What a way to achieve immortality!

A “long log” truck; single span of about 40 feet. These are destined for log home construction. (Nikon P610)

Sometime in the future I should be getting an appointment with another specialist, regarding my hearing. I doubt there will be a resolution to that either, other than my sinking into a world of endless noise and no sound. It’s weird because I can hear all sorts of sound, even very soft ones, and sometimes ordinary sound is way too loud. The dogs barking can be downright painful. It’s just that over top of it all there is the constant noise(s) of tinnitus. It is not fun.

Another shot of Bleak Tree. (Pentax K100DS)

Quite a lot has been going on in the world around me that is just dumbfounding, to say the least. I’m not going to rant on about it because others have already managed that quite well. Suffice to say what I take away from the whole situation is an ever-stronger desire to not be a part of it.

You know why. (Nikon P610)

Of all the things I’d like to gain right now, mostly I’d like to have my ‘vacation’ room. Isn’t that silly? It’s supposed to be “tropical themed” so I can go in there and pretend I’m on a desert island somewhere. With sounds from the south pacific, including waves and ukuleles. I lack the logistical ability to do anything about it at the moment, from the finances to the actual physical strength to bring it about. But with all this crap going on everywhere I find what I really, really want is a room I can retreat to and shut the door on the rest of the world. I’m old; I’m not supposed to be a soldier anymore.

If you know photography or astronomy you know what’s wrong with this picture. (Pentax K100DS)

Today’s images are a mixture of artistic shots out of various cameras. I still enjoy doing that, when I’m able to get out and take pictures. Believe me, using the cameras you have is more rewarding than adding to the collection. But there are still one or two others I would like to have …

I’m outta here! Black-capped chickadee taking off. (Canon T100)

Finally, a couple of notes about WordPress itself: one, it seems to have slowed down immensely including handling image uploading/viewing – along with my no longer being able to access notices from my “front page” as it were; I have to go into “Reader” or “My Site” to see what they are about.

And two, I get a lot of likes for my simple efforts and I do appreciate that. What’s more, I almost always go to the person’s site to have a look at what they do. It doesn’t always work out, though, because my eyesight isn’t that compatible with some of the formats chosen by others to present their work. That’s a long-winded way of saying I can’t see gray print on a black background, for example. I’m sure it looks nice, I just can’t see it. Hence the very simple layout of my own blog.

Now if the weather will co-operate perhaps I can do some more photos.

This will be boring

Monday. -15F/-26C. Went for hearing test. No problem found. Nice, except it doesn’t deal with the tinnitus issue. I was kind of expecting this “null result”.

Tuesday. -30F/-34C. Not going to do anything. That lasted 15 minutes, until I had to go into town to get the neighbour’s grocery pick-up because their vehicle wouldn’t start. I was not expecting that.

Weather forecast says more of the same, maybe a little less brutal, for the next week. Egad.

Oh it’s too cold to take pictures, and not just because only a moron would take their gloves off in these temperatures. But here are some “leftovers” to look at.

Somebody is going Jeeping.
Snowflakes, the hard way.
Snowflakes, the hard way.
Snowflakes the easy way.
Flock away!
Ice cold moon.

Still no lens adapter, after more than a month. Apparently after it was handed over to Canada Post, they lost it. Or else it was stolen by a gang of International Lens Adapter Thieves. After all, it’s worth almost $10.

We still have no vaccine either. That’s worth a lot more, it seems.

That old devil snow

As I write this the temperature is just on the freezing mark and what is known as “mixed precipitation” is falling outside. On top of the 2″ of snow we got last night, which is on the 2″ of compressed ice pack underneath. Outdoors is dangerous right now.

When it snows it snows.
Underneath it all.

I’m waiting for things to arrive via post, but they are not due until next week at the earliest. At this time of year it could be much later.

It Came In The Mail.
The moon drips ice.

In the mean time there’s nothing for me to do. Except wait and get through each day as best I can.

This dog waits too.
I’m out of here!

Pictures taken with Kodak P850, Canon T100, Nikon P610, and Fuji F80.

Picture 3000

This is image #3000 on the latest SD card in my ailing Nikon P610. Yes, we’ve had yet more snow. The forecast is basically “guess and see” as the weather changes quickly these days.

DSCN3000

We wait and see about everything now, from weather to auctions to vaccines to … whatever.

Some random thoughts:

Black Friday sales have become a mockery of themselves just as the original sales were a mockery of (U.S.) Thanksgiving. It was bad enough that holiday has been corrupted by commercial (and to some extent political) exploitation. No longer is the famous parade about floats and balloons and bands; it’s about advertising and only advertising. And now the post-celebration sales orgy has turned into another pale ghost of what it was, with the “bargains” being no different than the typical reduced prices found at other times of the year. 60% off? Not likely. Get used to regular prices printed in red ink, descriptive non-sale tags like “great value”, and the ever-popular (with retailers) hiked-by-30%-then-reduced-by-10% ploy.

Upon the roof.

Our Prime Moron who bought 70 million+ doses of vaccine now tells us Canada can’t manufacture any and there probably won’t be enough for everyone or any time soon. What happened, Dustbin? Cheque for the bribe bounce? Something fishy about this sudden about-face on the availability and distribution of a vital prophylactic. I don’t know why I don’t trust him. Maybe it’s the four ethics violations he has to his discredit.

Look all around.

The real value in the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting 30,000 is that it proves anyone can play the game as long as the rules don’t keep changing. A stable government, no matter what kind, is one whose policies you can survive. How well remains open to question, but history tells us the worst thing for any country is to be run by someone who is demonstrably mentally incompetent. A highly unstable moron makes for the worst leader in the world ever.

Exponential growth.

Some people think being asked to wear a mask to help ensure the health of others is some sort of infringement on their rights and freedoms. Check the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights: nothing in either about not having to follow regulations. If you think this is an indication of a totalitarian government, you have no idea what that means. Fail to comply here and you get a fine or possibly jail time. If it truly were a “totalitarian” government you’d be shot dead and dumped in a garbage can with the rest of the rubbish. Truly. There are actually governments in this world today that operate like that. Be glad you have no idea of what hardship really is. Think self isolation is imprisonment? Try a “tiger cage”, whiner.

The world is like this.

The USA has achieved 4% infection rate: higher than any other country on Earth by a factor of 5.

Ontario has passed legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Because stupidity is even more rampant than COVID-19. Sandford Fleming spins in his grave.

I still have not succeeded in getting a Canon 5D. Perhaps I never will. I’ll live, just the same.

All we have to do is sit and wait.

We had some more snow

They put out a snowfall warning of a possible 10 cm on Friday. It was issued when there was already 7 cm on the ground so a pretty safe bet. On Saturday I cleared the driveway because, you’ll laugh, it was going to go above freezing for highs on the weekend. But that’s okay because (hold on to your sides) more snow is expected Monday! Another (wait for it) 10 cm. This to be followed by highs above freezing then … Do you see what’s going on here? It would be hilarious if we didn’t have to cope with it.

Anyway, some pictures from the snowfall.

Snow on the rose. (Kodak P850)
Snow on everything. (Kodak P850)
Help! The moon’s stuck in a tree! (Nikon P610)
Marley says she’s had enough snow. (Nikon P610)