Want versus get

We all have wants. And then there’s what we get. For instance I want to be able to always take pictures like this:

Nikon P610 showing off its abilities.

Too often these days what I get is photos like this:

Nikon P610 showing off its dysfunctions.

Same with the computer: I’d like it to work consistently, not randomly toss up hardware errors that stop me from doing whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish.

But this post is not just about technology.

I mean, I want to win the lottery. That doesn’t happen either.

I want to get the cabin renovation “finished” (an ill-defined term in this context). Yesterday that seemed to be within my grasp as I acquired the last major piece of the puzzle; the tub surround. Great! Another week of solo flying and the hard part is done. My wife can then join me and I can putter around doing all the little fiddly bits.

Except I landed in the ER last night. Again. Classic cardiac symptoms, which had abated by the time I actually got there. Hours of horrific pain and discomfort to be told by a less-than-stellar physician that it was acid reflux. Sorry, doc; I have GERD and know exactly what it feels like and this isn’t it. I’ve been in this body twice as long as you’ve been alive and know all its symptoms. Symptoms which six cardiologists and four other specialists have agreed are there, but they find the cause of. This is usually because by the time you get to the doctor the symptoms have abated, as stated above. One time they put a portable cardiac monitor on me for 24 hours. Yes, you guessed it: 24 of the most symptom-free hours of my life.

Now I have been working fairly hard for several weeks on the cabin project, and it’s probably catching up with me. All I did Monday was a bunch of errands; no heavy lifting or extended significant exertion. So naturally …

I suspect the heart symptoms are tied to the whole muscular problem. In general my muscles don’t like to behave, choosing to take random actions on their own rather than follow instructions from the brain. The heart is a muscle, as are the diaphragm and interstitials. I guess they sometimes get tired of the drudgery of regular rhythm and decide to do a free-style dance sort of thing.

Anyway I survived. Again. And today all I have to do is a few errands …

Oh dear, that’s how I got in trouble yesterday.

Well if I can keep the computer going there’s more pictures to come. If I can’t …

Plans? What are they?

Right. Had it all figured out. Monday, mow lawn before it starts raining Wednesday.

Er, starts raining Tuesday.

Uh … didn’t even get the mower started before the sunshine turned to dark clouds and the rain began – on Monday.

So much for plans.

Now for other things.

Pileated on a poll. Nikon P610.
Same spot after bird flew off. Canon T100 & 250mm.

This is the reason why I looked into longer lenses for the Canon (more on the Nikon at a later date). I had some fun looking at ‘bargain’ long lenses, reading and watching reviews. Well what do you expect from a $150 lens? Right. While the reviewers put their best faces on and try not to say anything bad … well one of the lenses bent noticeably in the middle like a wet noodle. Yeah, that’s quality build! *LOL* Some of what I looked at were mirror lenses. I had one once. Guess what? The laws of physics haven’t changed since then.

The apologetic reviews were about how you can fix the flaw in post, ’cause you know everyone is willing to spend hours correcting images that took a fraction of a second to make. Hmm. Might be easier to just draw the scene by hand on a piece of paper with a pencil.

Anyway … no new lenses. Oh and from when I started looking a week or so ago until this post the prices on every one went up about 33%. I make that 1700% annual inflation rate. You know, every time I go to the store at least $100 disappears and yet even in my feeble state I have no problem carrying the bag in.

Never mind. At least it isn’t snowing. That’s scheduled for tomorrow.

Canon 1Ds & 300mm

Could see the full moon eclipse Sunday due to clouds. This is half a moon taken with the big camera. Another reason why I want a longer Canon lens.

Leftover winter shot taken with the Olympus E410.

So it’s “play it by ear” from now on as I try to sort the many little and some not-so-little jobs of Summer into a scheduled fraught with rain.

Ready, set …

Okay today is the day! That is to say I have planned it to be. First cabin trip of 2022. Possibly.

Here’s how it’s going so far:

Got the Nissan Xterra re-insured and it was $100 less than expected. However, I couldn’t get them to start the registration on May 1 as I wanted: they claimed they couldn’t do it. They always managed to before. This time … no. But what was behind this? Well the day after I went in to the office and did this fine thing ICBC (the crown corporation that handles motor vehicle matters in this province) announced that as of May 1 you could renew on-line and registration plate stickers are no longer required. Well how nice. They could have told me that when I asked about starting it on May 1, couldn’t they? Evidently not.

So Saturday I went in to town on a little pre-check drive and to get gasoline. Hmm. Started out with 1/3 of a tank full, spent $75, and still didn’t fill it up. Thanks, Justin. Otherwise everything seems to be working. I even fired up the chainsaw to make sure it works too: no telling how many trees are down along the way.

I also took off the ‘dirt collectors’ by the rear tires:

Dirt collectors: useless pieces of plastic.
Plastic removed.
Sprayed on some Fluid Film (as close as I get to painting things these days).

Now … we’ll see how it goes. If there’s mounds of snow/ice blocking the road I’ll turn around and come back. There’s always later.

Whingeday

Right: I’m skipping the bit about spending $250 on a 97ยข surgical mask. (Okay, it was actually a trip to the dentist – who evidently is making up for lost time and income.) Let’s go right to cameras because they’re more fun.

IH BC170 firetruck (early 1960s) taken with the Fuji, which works when I don’t screw up the controls I can’t see.

The best/worst suggested solution so far to my continuing low-eyesight shooting problem: buy a Pentax 645D. Why yes; I bet a medium format DSLR has a really big, bright viewfinder that would work well. I can’t get past that $2,000+ no-lens price tag, though. Pretty sure a long focal length lens would be problematic as well, even with 41 MP to crop from.

Now let’s veer off course a bit so I can complain about how bad cameras are at video. Sure, I don’t do video. But in the interests of all the people who do I had to take a look at how well it’s being handled these days. I actually have two cameras which are acclaimed for their video abilities: the Lumix ZS60 (which actually can do 4k) and the Sony a6000. In reality they both suck at video. Why? Number One Problem would be “controls in the wrong place”. Believe it or not, when it comes to ‘push the red button’ videography the old Nikon wins again, and it’s not even HD. After reading and watching a lot of people’s reviews of various cameras they use for video I can’t help feeling that it’s the ultimate case of equipment designed to make money not produce results. For one thing, external microphone jacks are missing on most of them. The built-in mikes have built-in problems that can’t be gotten away from by any simple means, other than taking the mike off camera. Also there is far too much reliance on LCD viewing rather than a decent viewfinder, and guess what; many people are finding it hard to see what’s happening when they shoot in broad daylight. Well colour me not surprised. Other frequent complaints include that the mikes pick up more camera noise than sound, and that the focusing swiftness leave much to be desired.

Manufacturers might try listening to photographers, you know. I don’t do video and even I could design a camera that would be better at it than what’s out there now. This is because no matter how good, the video is always an add-on afterthought rather than a goal to achieve from the start. As it is you have to spend some serious money to get anything that’s good at it, far more than you spend to get decent stills (we’re not talking about smart phonetography* here of course). That means you end up buying a lot of ‘features’ you never use. Does that sound familiar? So I now have much empathy for videographers as it seems they are suffering from the same lack of attention from camera makers that still photographers have to put up with. That is fundamentally wrong in every way.

You know, no one ever gives me anything for free. Except a bad time of course. Gee, do you think any of those companies has read my ranting and determined I’d be a poor risk for product evaluation? Nah, they’re not that smart. Obviously it’s simply that they never see anything I write. Lucky bastards, eh?

Well now next week the ice should be off the lake and the snow off the road so I can go take a ‘first look’ at the cabin for this year. I will license the Nissan and check it out, fill it with too expensive gasoline, and give it my best shot. Ooh that’s going to be another $1,000 expense right there.

My camera plan for the trip is to charge up all my Canons: the G11, T100, and 1Ds. That’s probably a mistake because the Fuji and the Nikon are better suited to handling all the conditions I might encounter, but we’ll see. As with everything else, subject to change without notice.

*New word: phonetography; taking pictures or video with a smart phone. Registered Trademark and sole copyright are mine. If you use it, you owe me $1.

 

Work to do

Spring is trying to creep in here. Yesterday was well above freezing, this morning was well below. Snow is almost all gone in the yard, but certainly not out at the lake! In fact the lakes all around are still quite frozen over.

Erosion.

Lots of work needs doing around the house, and it will be interesting to see if I can manage any of it – and how. I have not come through the Winter well. Then there is all the work waiting out at the cabin. Likewise many a large question mark hangs over that. It will be at least May before I can even try to go out there as the snow likes to hang about in deep drifts on dark corners of the road.

But the first step is get ready for the return of The Wife. This involves baking cookies. We should at least have cookies.

Soft chocolate chip.

After all, she will be experiencing extreme time change (8 hours off) plus two days with essentially no sleep because the flight is so messed up. Not good for people our age. She will definitely deserve a cookie after that. So will I.

 

Eye see

Vision impaired.

Things:

1). I do not like the chromebook. Mostly due to the fact the OS does not handle certain functions well, like file handling. The ‘sliders’ for scrolling vanish when not being used, a very bad thing for me. The keyboard is too small and so is the screen @ 11″. I have not found one single thing that it does better than a real computer, and most things it barely manages to do as well. Meanwhile my ‘real’ computer continues to throw random faults.

2). Eyesight isn’t getting better, which is not surprising. Basically it’s like having eye strain within two hours of getting up. Useless and annoying. At its best the right eye isn’t much good. Sort of like the chromebook.

3). Inflation about gives me a heart attack every time I go to the store. Politicians have decided to give us a one-time gasoline rebate check. It amounts to about one tank full in Jojo at current prices. Fortunately I do not have to drive to work every day like most people. What the hell are they going to do? Quit working? Quit eating? No indication anyone is going to try and tackle the underlying problem. Instead our Fearful Leader, Prince Harming, is looking to consolidate his position as Absolute Ruler through an illegal deal made with the opposition. Whether through bribery or blackmail I don’t know, but this one is something to protest about (unlike the emergency act use).

4). My wife has made arrangements to come home. Whether or not they will happen is another thing. So far the itinerary changed within hours of her buying the tickets, and the flight plan itself is a nightmare of no sleep for her for about two days. She says she will never use West Jet again.

5). I find myself following fewer and fewer social media sites, including but not limited to photography ones. Why? Because I can’t see the pictures and can’t afford the equipment. I think my own postings may end when I run out of the ‘backlog’ because not only do I have trouble shooting but I can’t trust the computer to process an image or keep it.

6). Spring is trying desperately to arrive. The compacted snow is melting and there are robins in the yard. Unfortunately overnight lows are still below freezing and we keep getting fresh precipitation that turns to ice. I have had the first call from a ‘lake neighbour’ wondering if it’s possible to get out there soon. No, it’s not. I went up to the city the other day (for the meds I can’t get in town) and the two larger lakes along the way are still clearly frozen from shore to shore. March is awfully early to expect otherwise.

I think I’ll make some cookies, before they raise the price of the ingredients. Again.

What lies ahead?

No, this is not going to be a political post.

It’s Friday afternoon as I write this, and there’s been more weather than I like to see. All sorts of precipitation and temperatures dropping below then rising above freezing. Lather, rinse, repeat. Which leads to the forecast (guess) of tomorrow being sunny and clear and thus another potential day to get another load of firewood in. If it actually happens. The forecasts (guesses) are notoriously inaccurate of late.

When I drove out Monday the road was so bad I thought everything was going to come apart at the molecular level. The trailer has suffered some damage, in fact. So has my body. The drive is rougher than the work. Since then it has rained and frozen and thawed more, meaning the road has likely been demolished more. I only need five more loads to fill the woodshed. The future forecast has once again gone from “sunny all week” to “nothin’ but snowfall”. November will be here soon, and the weather doesn’t get any better when it arrives. Furthermore the Xterra’s licensing expires then and I am loathe to pay for additional time when I won’t be using the rest of the Winter. It just doesn’t make sense.

As far as photography goes, the conditions of late are pretty far from ideal or even acceptable for taking pictures. I have a few “stored up” and the odd shot around the yard, but no real effort is forthcoming any time soon. I have concocted an “Equipment Advancement Plan” which may or may not be possible to implement. We’ll have to wait and see.

Things would be much easier if we could predict the future. Even if only the weather for the next day.

What lies ahead? (Lumix ZS60)