Two times three is six

A Brief Update.

This has been a terrible week all around. Look at the news, if you dare.  On a personal level it has been day after day of “just get through today”. As dismal as it’s been there were a few small victories, and some of the losses not as devastating as they might have been. The weather has made it excessively unpleasant as it continues to precipitate in various forms depending on whether the temperature is above or below freezing. Ice everywhere. Dangerous conditions. Wednesday morning saw the main (and only) highway through town shut at both ends due to accidents, one of which was fatal.

The good part is that I don’t have to go anywhere. The bad part is I can’t go anywhere; the last window of opportunity to get wood closed up as the sunshine vanished from the end-of-the-week forecast. Since it’s been cold we’ve been burning more wood and I’ve been splitting it when I can. Could have done with that one last row in the shed, but it’s not going to happen now.

I had words with the gov’t rep and since he was not the youngster looking to make points that started the mess we were able to come to an agreement. It will still cost me money, but not as much as it could have. And I have a couple of years in which to comply. Good, because this is not weather for working in.

October is almost over. November … well the start of the second American Civil War looms. No matter which way the election goes there will be violence as a result. Extremism has replaced rational thinking, and popular opinion has taken the place of facts. Welcome to the new world disorder. It’s like the imagined secret cabal that controls everything set out with a goal to make changes without making improvements and only causing damage. Wait a minute! Does that me Mark Zuckerberg is running the world? Or is Farcebook just a mirror of the unreality around us? (Their site has gone completely bonkers on me, never staying stable in its interface for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m not even trying to use it anymore.)

As I said there has been no sun and there is no promise of it really. The idea of buying the Canon 5D has vanished with the money to do so and the fact the price got jacked up again. Follow the Zen.

Anyway, here are some pictures. Two each from the Canon, the Nikon, and the Lumix(!). These images have just been sitting around on their respective SD cards for awhile because there’s no way of taking decent photos in the dross outside.

Ice droplets. (Canon T100)
Count the ravens. (Canon T100)
Pattern on cloth. (Lumix ZS60)
Marley dog. (Lumix ZS60)
Disease is everywhere. (Nikon P610)
Snow is everywhere. (Nikon P610)

Migration

It was a magical moment.

I was out walking the dogs around the yard, and carrying the Canon with the 55-250mm lens in case I saw a bird in a tree or similar.

Suddenly I heard the sounds. I started shooting. In a few minutes they were gone. If I’d had the Nikon I could have got closer views, but that’s fate.

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There’s no selecting here; these are the shots as I fired them off while tracking the birds across the dull gray sky. The artistry is in the chaotic patterns they make in their purposeful journey. The one shot through the trees is surreal, as it looks like the birds were superimposed on the branches. The whole experience was a little surreal, to tell the truth. I’ve never seen such a mass migration pattern before, and probably never will again.

Oh yes; they’re snow geese, over 300 of them, making their way to the Great White North for the Summer.

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1:1 segment from the first picture

 

The best laid plans

For some time now I have been lamenting about the lack of an affordable ‘normal’ focal length lens for my Canon APS-C DSLR. They have a 24mm, a 40mm, and a 50mm in the under $200 price range, but a 30mm-35mm choice is missing from the lineup. To get something that works out to ‘normal’ for this camera (crop factor 1.6, making 32mm roughly equivalent to 50mm on a 135 camera) you have to spend a lot of money. The Sigma 30mm seems to be the best choice at $629 +tax.

The question is; would I really use it enough to justify the purchase? In the past I’ve shot a huge number of pictures with normal focal length lenses, so I probably would. But “probably” isn’t “absolutely”.

Fortunately I have a way of testing the hypothesis: a 35mm Super Takumar M42 that adapts easily to the T100. Okay, I’ll put it on and shoot a dozen or so images to see if I’d really use this particular focal length now (I know I shoot mostly in the telephoto range, hence the hesitancy to make the purchase). What I’m looking for is how often the ‘normal’ field of view would suit my purposes.

The downside of this particular lens (aside from the lack of aperture coupling and autofocus) is that the thorium in the glass has turned it yellow. On the left we have Duncan as he appears through the yellow haze, on the right the necessary white balance correction to restore at least semi-accurate colour (yes the snow really does reflect blue).

Unfortunately trying to slog through a foot of snow isn’t easy, which limited my area of picture-taking. This was confounded by the interesting way the low-angle light illuminated the surroundings: my body was unable to wander far, but my mind had no trouble being distracted from the task at hand and going off in its own direction.

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Cropped – which I shouldn’t have done
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Hard to resist shadow patterns
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Oh look – now we’re on the moon
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The sun set

Oh well. Maybe the next time the sun shines around here I’ll remember what I’m trying to do and take uncropped, straightforward shots that will actually have some bearing on evaluating the usefulness of the particular focal length. :p

Of course the arrival of the Lumix camera is also interfering with this test, but mainly it’s weather and shooting opportunities that keep me from completing projects. In fact of four I started some time ago, I only managed to finish one. At least I won’t be running out of things to do.