Around here

Is everybody happy? Anybody? Yes? Well let me just spoil that for you.

This past week here has been full of nasty incidents. Some of them were dangerous, like having wildfires at both ends of our road albeit on two different days. The first one messed up an appointment to look at a house for a friend.

Line of traffic stopped by wildfire.

Turned around, went home, rescheduled. Then that turned out to be a waste because the house that looked so good in the listing pictures was some nice renovations hung on a pile of junk. We’re talking about one of the area’s famous (infamous) bring-it-in-on-a-truck builds so popular in the 1970s when people were slapping up “Summer homes” all over the place. Almost none were done correctly, and they’ve gotten worse over the years. Poor foundations (this one was concrete pillars and pressure treated wood – okay for a shed but not a house), bad joins with additions (two in this case), lack of insulation … et cetera. This house had brand new floors throughout – and they never bothered to level things up first so almost every room was joined via “toe stubber” level differences. I’d show some pictures, but that is unethical under the circumstances.

What else? Well I got raging sick for some unknown reason and lost two days to that. No idea why, except that it wasn’t the dreaded COVID-19. As to that I still haven’t got an appointment for a jab, despite being registered. I have this weird sense I somehow got passed over.

I was going to the cabin for a recky on Thursday, but Lorne & a buddy went out Tuesday – and got stuck on the road. Three times. I had mentioned the distinct possibility that the short road would be full of compacted snow banks as sun doesn’t get through the trees much along it. This was in fact the case. I would have seen the snow, backed out and gone home. They tried to push through. Two 4×4 full-size trucks are still no match for the frozen masses we get here. They did eventually make it in, and warned me not to come. Like I didn’t know?

So there’s nothing to do but wait, which is quite the usual pastime around here. I got some work done on clearing out the shed I have to finish:

Less junk, but not enough less.

Believe me; you couldn’t see that much floor before.

Shopping has become problematic as the stores keep not having what I need. Some of it is essential, just not in stock. Some is not essential, but still not in stock. Buying things has become rather hit-or-miss.

One good thing: Jojo got a bath.

Incidentally, our COVID numbers continue to be outrageous. But not as bad as Ontario. Oh for vaccine! If only Truedope hadn’t spent millions on nothing. But hey, his latest budget … well what do you expect from an idiot who thinks budgets balance themselves?

I’m going to put the Nissan on the road again, although there’s no hurry. I need to fix the trailer too, and then get the materials to finish that shed and get it off the list of things to do. I hope.

Spring is trying.

Oh and the hospital sent me a nice note saying I’m on the surgical waiting list. Which could be up to 50 weeks. Gosh, two more and it would be a year. It will probably become emergency surgery before they get it done. Just weeks ago the government was bragging that they’d cleared 90% of the backlog. I guess that was just another lie.

Anyway I did do some photo experiments and a few pictures around the place, but nothing really interesting. Obviously haven’t been able to take the big camera out for some scenery shots, though.

Oh there’s snow in the forecast for Sunday. It figures.

 

If only it were Springtime

Of course 19°C (66°F) is pretty Spring-like, but watching the satellite picture says there’s still snow out at the lake. The forecast says no lows below freezing now, so perhaps another week …

In the meantime I have started working around here as there are a few things to deal with. That’s why I moved 600 lbs. of stored papers out of one shed and into another; so I can get at other stuff and perhaps make enough room to complete the modifications the local Mafia, er government, wants to a shed that has been standing for years without incident. I am and engineer you know. Bureaucrats need to prove they have power over everyone, though.

Papers away! (G11)

All that off to one side, I tried out the Canon 1Ds on some night shots and need to do some tweaks before I take more. First of all, the 64MB CF card is horrible for hi-res as it only holds <10 pictures. Can’t do much experimenting with that. Second, the camera’s maximum ISO of 1250 is real but pretty low for star shots. That can’t be helped, so either I take ‘trace’ shots (30 second exposures are about 3X too long to prevent this) or do lots of enhancing post-shoot. I need to try it with the 50mm f1.4 lens I was using the 35mm f2 because that’s what was on it when I woke up in the night and decided to try. It’s one more stop of exposure anyway. I can see where a real ISO of 3200-6400 would be of great use here, but the camera hasn’t got it. At least it does a good job at the speed it has, and the ‘noise reduction’ (second image method) is more effective than with any other camera I have. The biggest problem is that it’s not really dark until 10:00 PM now, so night photos interfere with my sleeping habits.

Nighttime is little light time. (1Ds)

Many other things are going on around here right now, some of it rather stressful. Vaccine? Nope. Surgery? Ha! Our hospitals are full-up with COVID patients (cases are out of control and the government isn’t even trying to stop the spread now) so that’s not happening. I need to get equipment ready for this year too (including fixing the trailer), and … well just all sorts of things.

In storage. (G11)

I had fun doing the IR photos and still have some more experiments to conduct with the 1Ds but they will have to wait for now. I have even toyed with the idea of selling it and everything else I’ve got to go for a 5D, but I suspect my equipment wouldn’t bring enough to cover the cost. C’est la vie photographique!

Ghost plane. (P610)

I’m still using the Nikon P610 a lot, and it is still malfunctioning. But it hasn’t quit completely. Yet. Which is good because I can’t afford to replace it. I still want to shoot more with the G11 and now that the weather is better I should be able to. Previously every time I’d go to town it was so miserable and cold that taking pictures was right off the list.

Waiting for …

… many things. Better weather, consultation with a doctor, shopping trip, and shipments.

But not Godot.

While I’m waiting I tested the Nikon P610’s focus failure, which I noticed is most pronounced close-up and with the lens pointing down. The lens is actually loose in its barrel, and you can feel it (and sometimes hear it) shift around. So I pointed it down and took a close-up of a wild rose stalk, and then gently pushed the loose section back to the camera to ‘take up the slack’. What I found was that the autofocus said it was correct at either point, but the actual focal point was off by about 10mm (at a distance of roughly half a meter). This doesn’t explain why it sometimes fails to focus on more distant objects, except in as much as the internal wear may cause some random slack then as well. I’ll have to devise an experiment to check that. Although there isn’t anything that can be done about it.

Anyway, here’s the best picture from that test. It shows again why I like that camera!

Some alien creature, perhaps?

That’s a 640×480 crop out of the full size 4608×3456 image. At the focal point it’s very sharp indeed! Not bad for a $400 ‘bridge’ camera, eh? It will cost me over $700 to replace this ailing imager, so I’m not keen on it quitting altogether. True, the EVF is practically impossible to see at times and the exposure is no longer accurate across all conditions. Yes, the pictures always need a slight contrast improvement because the sensor has aged and doesn’t produce ‘snappy’ results. Okay, once in a while it jams completely and has to be shut down and restarted. But as long as I can coax the images I want out of it I will keep using it.

Some other recent examples:

Raven hiding in a tree, says “you can’t see me!”

The Lone Pine. Growing in a roadside ditch all by itself.

Weathered dog. (Duncan came in with snow and hail on his back.)

A robin wondering where Spring is.

And so it goes.

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.

Happy New Year!

First robin of Spring.

Today is New Year’s Day!

You don’t think it started in January, did you? That’s the eleventh month of the year. As in: Sept (seven), Oct (eight), Nov (nine), Dec (ten) et cetera. In fact New Year’s was March 20th (+/-) until the middle of the 18th century. More or less. On the Gregorian calendar. Pretty much. Except Great Britain didn’t change up as early as the USA did, so you have some interesting birth dates in genealogy of that time and area. Never mind the ten days that went missing. The Y2K thing was never really an issue. Trust me.

Oh yes, “Gregorian”. Pope Gregory XIII ‘fixed’ the Julian calendar (named for Julius Caesar; ever heard of him, Brutus? When it’s too hot in July, blame him) with a little help from Omar Khayyam. It’s probably called something different these days, like “modern calendar” (HA!), because we can’t have religious influences in our secular dealings. That’s why B.C. (Before Christ) has become B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and A.D. (Anno Domini – year of the lord) is now C.E. (Common Era). Of course it’s only common if you ignore the Persian calendar, Mayan calendar, Chinese Calendar, Jewish Calendar … et cetera.

In fact it makes more sense to start the year on the Spring Equinox than arbitrarily on the first of January. Hey, the Winter Solstice would be a more sensible turning point. But our calendar is hopelessly misaligned with reality, which explains a lot about civilization.

It’s the Daylight Saving Time cock-up on steroids.

The flowers that bloom in the Spring

Tra-la!

Not around here, of course; we’re still under 10″ of hard-packed snow with below freezing overnight and highs barely above.

The Spring in this case was 1978. The film was Kodachrome 64. The camera … I’ve no idea. Let’s see how many images I can correctly identify.

forgetme
Forget-me-not

forsythia
Forsythia

lovelies
Love-lies-bleeding

magnolia
Magnolia

periwink
Periwinkle

trillium
Trillium

That’s the last of these old photos. I have some others I haven’t work out how to scan yet, as they’re ‘special’. There may be some more lurking in the boxes around here, but there are so many boxes!