Landscape trial

Camera Decision says the Canon 1Ds is no good for landscape photography. Their complaints are a lack of live view and low resolution sensor. Naturally I had to give it a try.

Snow-topped mountains.
Across the lake.
The next point over.
Sunset.

These were all taken with the 40mm EF lens, which is fairly sharp but not as good as the old Takumars.

What I found: There’s dirt on the sensor again! Yes, a higher resolution sensor would enhance landscape scenes and a live view LCD would be helpful for framing/composing. I would not call it a failure, though.

I intend to try some more shots, using the 50mm Super Takumar, when I can get to it. Once again the weather is about to turn on me and I’ve got about one more good day which I will use up getting a little work done around here.

Finally back to the cabin

What with one thing and another (especially weather) it has taken me quite some time to get back out in the woods and pick up where I left off rather suddenly last fall.

Yes that’s snow.

Not only was there still snow in the dark shadows and along the road edge, but the road itself was like a lunar surface – after a heavy artillery barrage. The first 4 kilometers could best be described as “shredded”. After that … well they were grading the one section known for staying flat, hard, and smooth so I guess that explains it. No one told them they’re supposed to do the bumpy bits.

Think of it as ready-to-slice firewood.

Although not actually blocking my route, there are plenty of trees down. Again. Some of it will be fine firewood, other bits are just in the way. The notorious “new path” between the two routes is blocked again, as it is every year. Eventually there will be no trees left on that triangle of land.

Dock? Not any more.

Although the lake was not as high this year as last, it has done some damage. As of my arrival the wind was too choppy to put the water line out (I have no desire to be knocked over by a wave and drowned, or even just doused). Perhaps I can get to that tomorrow. When it’s supposed to snow. Spring? Not ’round here, mate!

Mr. & Mrs. Goldeneye (it’s a kind of waterfowl).

I brought along only two cameras this time: the venerable (if cantankerous) Nikon P610 and the Canon 1Ds (to try it out on landscape shots). The weather is cloudy so I didn’t get any beautiful snow-capped mountain pictures on the way in. Besides I forgot my concocted CF card reader so I can’t off-load from the Canon. I also forgot the micro SD adapter so I can’t check the video from my new toy:

New & cheap action/dashcam.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Other than snow, I mean. I have a huge amount of work to do all over the place here. Again. But at least nothing got destroyed over the Winter.

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.

This was unexpected

It snowed Sunday night.

The second day of Spring, 2021.

Enough to make the birds complain on Monday morning.

Dark-eyed junco complaining from the top of a snow-covered pine tree.

And to cause some trouble for humans as well:

Right down my road. Everyone was okay.

I got a notice about test results which told me my doctor had the results. How does that help, exactly?

Latest image from Mars shows ice on the red planet. (Not really.)

Wednesday they are shutting off our power all day for “equipment upgrades”. I’m an engineer; I will simply tie in the generator and keep going. I don’t know what everyone else is expected to do.

Pileated woodpecker inspecting a power pole.

I think I have succeeded in advancing my Master Plan, which was really unexpected.

Me & my Nikon P610, which took all these pictures.

More news as it develops.

As good as can be

It snowed Sunday night, after being 8°C that day. Then it warmed up and melted off again. This has been one weird Winter!

Anyway it was nice and sunny so I got out and walked around with the dogs and the Pentax K100DS a little bit. I wanted to see if I’d managed to polish the 18-55mm Pentax-DA lens sufficiently for use, and how well I’d manage a bit of activity. Oh, I have got the autofocus working off the ‘back (OK) button’ – but not from the shutter release. I don’t really like the back button focusing method; seems unnatural to a long-time photographer.

Here are the results. In some cases I had to do some post-processing to correct exposure errors it still makes, but over-all the camera is usable now.

The new snow.
Puddle remnant.
Marley being incredibly silly.
100% crop of 18mm shot. Fairly sharp.
50% crop of 55mm shot. The gossamer is blurred by wind.
100% crop of 55mm shot.

I don’t think any further cleaning will improve the lens any: it is what it is. I need to take some more “general” shots to see how it handles medium and distant focusing. On the whole, usable but of course not as good as the Super Takumar manual lenses. One nice thing about this camera is that it automatically adjusts for the yellowed 35mm lens, making the two an ideal combination.

Although it’s a nice camera to use, I probably won’t use it much except in instances where I want to employ one of the old lenses like the Hanimex 80-200mm zoom. I might try the old Soligor on it as well, but that is one heavy monster lens and it doesn’t have manual stop-down so it’s either full aperture or I’ll have to wedge the pin.

What do you see?

Recently fellow photographer Robin Hogreve posted about how and why he shoots RAW format, which led me to comment on how his pictures look on my computer as opposed to his. This is an issue in the digital age; it’s no longer just a matter of what does a particular person’s eyes see, but what does their viewing screen present them with. Herewith I post four versions of one picture which tackles the difficult business of getting a snow image “right” (by which I mean looking as true to reality as possible).

Original, unprocessed JPEG image shot with the Nikon.
White balance automatically corrected in GIMP.
Brightness +20, contrast +10 to compensate for poor light exposure.
Cyan saturation turned down 100 because snow isn’t blue.

The final image is as close to what the scene actually looked like as I could get. It makes a difference which order the steps are applied too, as the computer uses the image content to judge how to make certain adjustments. Usually a white balance correction should be the first step, as colour temperature varies a lot in Winter.

Now artistically you might want the scene to look blue or darker or lower contrast in order to convey the mood of the time. But really the snow only looks blue around here in bright sun when it reflects our very blue skies (full of UV due to thin atmosphere at this elevation). That doesn’t mean you want it to look that way, though.

The question here is: which one looks best to you?

It would be interesting to look at these on several computers side by side and have several viewers judge the results. Art is in the eye of the beholder, but given the medium here we have to wonder if we’re getting across to the beholder what the creator intended.

By the way that’s a highway truck “winging back” the snow on the road shoulders with a “belly blade” and possibly dropping some sand as well to increase traction. It’s been a very nasty Winter, and it continues: just yesterday we got four more inches (10 cm) of the white stuff.

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.

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.

Snow on Sunday

Friday it snowed 6″. I cleared the driveway and split some wood because it’s going to get arctic cold. Saturday it snowed 4″. I cleared the driveway and split some wood because it’s going to get arctic cold. Sunday it’s not supposed to be snowing … but it is. Monday I have to go for a hearing exam, and the high temperature is expected to be 1F. Which will be warmer than Wednesday that they guess will be -11F. For a high.

Did I mention they hacked a chunk out of my arm Thursday for the biopsy? I’m sure they were supposed to use a scalpel, not a scimitar. Kind of lingering pain that makes using the arm difficult. But I only have to use it for … clearing the driveway and splitting wood.

Gosh I’m having so much fun. Let’s look at some pictures.

Did somebody order some wood? (Canon G11)
Bald spot mountain. (Canon G11)
Frosted (bird) flakes. (Mystery Camera)
I found something! (Mystery Camera)
How much is that kitty in the window? (Olympus E410)
Yellow line. (Olympus E410)

I am still waiting on a piece of equipment ordered over a month ago now. I guess I’ll have to report it as missing in action. Zero progress on the plan or any thought of doing more photography with the upcoming freeze-your-battery weather.

Oh and BC still has no vaccine. Thanks, Justâne.