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.

One scene seen six ways

Manual images are fine, but sometimes need some post-processing to make them just right. Or maybe not.

The original. Underexposed, moody. Or is that ‘muddy’?
Automatic equalization applied in GIMP. Better exposure, odd colours.
Auto white balance correction applied in GIMP. Most people would say this is ‘right’.
Exposure corrected using brightness and contrast controls in GIMP. This is the most accurate to life.
Getting artistic: white balance correction with colours “toned down” by ‘fading’.
When all else fails try turning the colour off. Or even if the colour is good it doesn’t hurt to see what the monochrome version looks like.

Experimenting with the Mystery Camera!

This was a nightmare of trying to get things working. To start with, there’s nothing but overcast skies here – and high winds. Then try to use a camera which not only am I unfamiliar with, but clearly some aspects of it don’t work! Like the autofocus, which I am dependent on. Its automatic settings aren’t very good either, and half of these pictures got quite a bit of rework to make them presentable. Half I left as-is. Oh and just to make things more confusing, it was set on ‘RAW’ to begin with which cost a few frames as well. I really hate having to process from RAW!

At this point I won’t tell you what the camera is.

Widest angle.
Maximum telephoto.
Marley the Model.
It was a dark and stormy morning …
Everything about this picture is wrong – except the moodiness.
This one it got right all on its own.

I need better weather and more experimentation before I discuss this device any further. So far it is not terribly impressive.

The Zen Canon G11: what’s wrong with it?

Frankly, not much.

We’re having more of our usual bad weather with lots of clouds and some snow and a glimpse of sun, the sort of thing that makes it difficult to take pictures of any kind with any camera. Still I have managed to tease a few decent shots out of this latest addition to the tool box.

Sunlight catches the trees.

But it does have some flaws. For one thing, I find I hardly ever take it off “Auto-Auto” (ISO-expsoure) setting, if that can be called a flaw. Sure I had to try out everything else, including the +/-2 EV compensation and the various colour settings and so forth. They seem somewhat superfluous on a camera the can do automatic so well.

The Standard.

What doesn’t it do well? Focus. It’s noticeably slow and inaccurate under certain circumstances such as low light (to be expected) or ‘fuzzy subject’ like a sky full of clouds. It makes mistakes, but they are ‘honest’ mistakes – not the function failures that keep cropping up on the Nikon. The only other downside is that the shutter has an obvious lag between button press and image capture. Hey, that was pretty much normal back when this camera was made. For stationary subjects it isn’t an issue, but the G11 would not be good at sports or wildlife photography.

On stage now.

In fact one area where it seems to unexpectedly shine is the “art photography” category. For one thing the image quality is a very nice film-like rendition with a wide tonal range and grain structure rather than low-resolution blurring. I do wish it had slightly higher zoom capacity, but c’est la vie. I have made several successful shots from cropping a 640 x 480 segment out of the full frame image.

You have to look close.

Speaking of my infamous image sizing (640 x 480/427), I was musing on whether I should adjust this to some other dimensions. Upon measuring the size on my ‘typical’ 15″ laptop 16:9 screen I find it’s slightly larger than a ‘standard’ 4″ x 6″ 35mm print … so I guess I’ll stick with it except in those instances where the picture requires the dimensions be altered.

Across the sky.

There may be more moments of sunlight ahead, but it’s not exactly good for getting about in even if there is. This is Winter in the Cariboo, and you have to make the best you can of it.

The Zen Canon

When you travel the path to your intended destination, do not be afraid to step off now and then and see what you may find along the way.

The Master Plan calls for the acquisition of two cameras: a replacement for the ailing Nikon P610 (currently a Canon SX70 is the front-runner for this) and a full-frame DSLR for the nominal advantages it offers (currently a Canon 5D is the front-runner for this).

However, something new has been added that wasn’t planned: a Canon PowerShot G11. This is something like the PowerShot A70 I have, only on steroids. Let’s look at the specs and see why I might want this:

10MP 1/1.7″ CCD sensor capable of ISO 80. Whoa! Stop! You’ve got me.

Optical Image Stabilization. I said you’ve got me already.

2.8″ fully articulated LCD. Yes indeedy!

28-140mm (5X) zoom lens. I’m good with that.

Optical (tunnel) viewfinder. Shut up and take my money!

The Zen Canon Street Camera
Look at all those nice dedicated controls!

While some reviews would bemoan its small, ‘low’ MP sensor and complain about the lack of techno-glitz like wireless connections and touch-screen controls, I say it’s just the sort of thing I like. So what is it good for? According to Camera Decision, not much – except for being rated as “excellent” for Street photography. And that is where it fits into the Master Plan: fulfilling a niche I didn’t even know existed (Eric L. Woods understands). I’ve never done much in this area, but here is a camera that opens up the possibilities for me. Also it was $12. No kidding. The shipping was twice that, btw. There was no battery charger with it, and the replacement for that will cost as much as the camera! I’m still ahead, though, as a quick look turns up other examples of this camera listed for ~$250. The cheapest working one I’ve found (aside from the one I bought) was $65 plus shipping.

But is it worth the, or any, money? Let’s check the first shots!

Green logging truck nipping by, as-is colour.
Same image, slight tweak to compensate for aged sensor.

Although shot under less-than-ideal conditions, the colour rendition and contrast are nice right out of the camera. As is typical with an aged CCD sensor, a bit of a tweak is required but then that makes it more than acceptable quality. The tonal range is, as expected, better than CMOS.

The Queen’s (mincemeat) Tarts.

Pretty close, indoors, slightly cropped to eliminate distractions around the subject. There is nothing to complain about in this picture. And it is “as-shot”.

Full view, full zoom to check lens sharpness.
100% selection from the above image.

Remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that I did some pixel peeping and this camera does not lose sharpness over 100% image size! It goes to grain-of-film look at 200% and drops into pixels at 400%. There is no ‘oil paint’ effect or other signs of poor resolution. It makes the Lumix ZS-60 look sick.

The impossible ISO 3200.

I like low ISO because it’s more like film. High ISO is numbers silliness. This camera has ISO 3200 which is just absurd, especially given the sensor size. And yet … The original was unviewable, but some post-processing (white balance and contrast adjustment followed by desaturation) turned out this almost good night image.

With less than a dozen pictures taken so far, I already like this camera. It is a keeper, and I can’t wait to find out what I can do with all those lovely controls. This camera is going to be fun!

I would be remiss not to mention this recent and somewhat related post from Dan James.

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.