A buck

Mule deer buck

You never know what will wander into the yard.

Meanwhile it’s time to get back to work, despite the recent resurgence of problems.

This may not be such a good idea, even with a bottle of nitro brought along.

A bear

Black bear on the road to the cabin

This bear was browsing and not inclined to wander off. I inched the Nissan ever closer, taking photos along the way, until he decided the Xterra was bigger than him and galloped into the woods.

The amazing thing here is getting this post up at all, as the computer has been having fits of failure and I really can’t replace it. So I have been missing other people’s posts and comments and just ‘bearly’ managing to communicate with home as I continue working on the cabin.

Somethings going on around here

Well hurrah! The travel trailer is out and away. Should have done a video of that getting snaked through the trees, but it took three of us to manage it so there was no forth to take the pictures. Jane agrees it’s because the trees got bigger in the past couple of years, making the passage narrower. (Okay, the angles are completely the other way ’round going out from coming in. I was not looking forward to doing that job by myself!)

Where the trailer was. Now to clean up all that remaining reno debris … and continue with the reno.

The next big projects are putting an underground power line right through that area so the generator can be in the generator shed instead of on the front porch, and completely redoing the bathroom. Why? Well …

Packrat next #1.
Packrat next #2. Numbers 3 & 4 are smaller and haven’t been exposed yet.

This was all supposed to have been done by the contractor, who instead just did a bad job of paneling over the destroyed plaster board with some T&G pine. It took me 30 minutes to remove that, and looks like a solid day to take out the board and nests. It all started that fateful day years ago when I was re-roofing the place (by myself) and the Mrs. fell in the woods and broke her wrist. Took her to the hospital and by the time we got back … Well a full month’s worth of rain fell and the rear of the roof was all exposed. So after I fix the ceiling I have to fix the walls too.

Isn’t this fun?

One of the jobs involves reaching up as high as I can, the other reaching down as far as I can. It’s like a workout, only it actually accomplishes something.

Meanwhile I had another visitor at dinner last night:

Is it the original Bucky, or just some cousin of his?

My list of things to get is pretty lengthy already, so in to town tomorrow to see if any of it can be got. Artificial product shortages and price gouging will be the undoing of us this year.

Visitors

Friday was a really intense day of running around at the last minute trying to see to all details before heading out to the cabin to begin what appears to be an endless task of cleaning up after the packrat. It finished with a thunderstorm and the need to run the generator after arguing with the water pump for several hours (the usual refusing to hold its prime problem).

However I did get the SD card out of the wildlife camera and had a look at what it saw over last Winter. There wasn’t much this year: several of the shots were triggered by snowfall which no doubt kept a lot of animals away. Here’s some that came anyway:

Oct 21 2021 – before I’d left for the year. I have no idea who this is.
A moose in the night. There were a lot of moose shots, mostly nocturnal. This was the best of them.
A bear in the evening. 10 days before I came out this time. Must still be around.
Kayaker, taken Saturday the 21st. No idea who it is and the Nikon was not being very co-operative so this is the best out of seven, only 3 of which were even images.

So our Jane is coming up to take the travel trailer away. This will not only free up space in the yard, but will allow me to get at a couple of projects such as running the power line in from the generator shed and eventually putting the brick patio down. Stuff sitting all around here waiting to be used up; last year got interrupted by a detached retina and then running out of time. I barely finished the wood harvest.

Meanwhile, back to cleaning up. One of the projects is redoing the bathroom which not only suffered a lot of water damage way back when I was reroofing the place (Brenda fell and broke her wrist one day – it poured a month’s worth of rain when I took her to the hospital) but also has packrat nests above it which were not improved by the contractor’s failure to repair the ceiling properly. But hey, what’s more work for me right? Well it’s more work for me, right?

Sunshine is erratic so I will probably be using the generator more. That’s expensive electricity!

Analysis Part 2: lenses

The second subset of the Nikon replacement problem is a Duesy! The P610’s lens not only has incredible zoom range, but incredible sharpness as well. It can go from this:

Ice Bubbles (cropped close up)

To this:

Tangled Tree at full telephoto

In one go without changing lenses. There are about four new cameras available that can manage that, and two of them are Nikon’s ‘replacements’ for their P610 model. Both of these are fraught with problems, including having too much zoom – and too much price.

Honestly if I were to design a replacement for the P610 I would have made improvements like better manual focusing and a larger (not necessarily higher resolution but 20MP would be nice) sensor. Think about it: the P1000 has the equivalent of a 3000mm lens on it. Now if they were to use a 2.3 sensor (6.6 x 8.8) instead of a 1/2.3 sensor (4.55 x 6.17) that would still give 1500mm equivalent telephoto (much like the P610’s 1440mm) but double the sensor size (in square area) meaning it would be better in low-light conditions – even with more pixels on it. Oh I’d certainly also do something about that tiny, dim EVF as well. Imagine the marketing: “largest, brightest viewfinder yet!” Or something like that. Really, somewhere between the LCD panel which can’t be seen in broad daylight and the tiny EVF which I can’t see in any light there has to be a spot where there’s a way of viewing the scene properly under normal shooting conditions. It’s an electronic image; it can technically be any size and brightness you want it to be. One thousand pixels stuck in a hole 10mm across is not the answer.

Anyway with the P1000 and P950 dismissed, the other two new camera options are the Canon SX70 and the Panasonic FZ80. The latter has a touch screen I dislike and the the former is about 2 times the money. Both have their other flaws as well. You’re not getting me to part with hundreds of dollars for a camera that falls short of my needs, no matter how many cup holders it has. What is the point of buying any camera that is, to put it bluntly, unsuitable?

So let’s look at my existing cameras and lenses instead. They also fall far short of my needs, but the money has already been spent.

Canon 75-300mm EF. Good thing I only paid $50 for it.

This one is obviously soft. On top of that, 300mm is short for bird photography and in no way close to the Nikon’s telescope-like abilities (even after the crop factor of 1.6). I could buy another of these lenses for about $150, but would it be any sharper? Maybe, but it certainly wouldn’t be any longer. There is an IS version as well which might help some with blur, but that one is $600+. If spending that kind of money I might as well get the Canon SX70 and have the truly long zoom range (65X), even if the finder is not as bright.

Canon 55-250mm EF-S. Sharper, but not longer.

Focal length is the main issue here. It has got IS and does a good job, but even with the crop factor it’s only 400mm equivalent and that’s 1000mm shy of what the Nikon can do. Add a 2X lens extender you say? Forget it: that’s reduced resolution, more money spent, and 800mm still isn’t 1440mm. Again better to buy an entire new super zoom camera.

Olympus 55-150mm.

This is not as good as it looks. Mainly because it’s a cropped segment of the full image (at 100%) and because I was maybe 15 feet away from that bird. On the Olympus, 150mm is equal to 300mm for a full-frame camera because the 4/3 size sensor has a 2X crop factor. There is a longer zoom available for it, with maximum 300mm which is like 600mm. That might just about do it – for $400+ and the hassle of importing it from Japan. The Panasonic FZ80 is about the same money without the import issues and has longer range. What’s more, the E410 is an out-of-date camera with a fairly ‘low’ resolution of 10MP (making cropping problematic at times) and the lenses are not really, shall we say, ‘Nikon-sharp’. It’s a pity because there are things I like about this camera. If only Olympus hadn’t fallen for the bean-counters’ insistence on mirrorless designs they might today be building a modern 4/3 DSLR that would be worth buying.

If you’ve read enough of my posts you know I have a few ‘classic’ long range zooms from the film camera era as well. You also know that they are very large and very heavy – and not all that sharp. Probably the best of them is the Hanimex which is a Pentax K mount, meaning it only fits on my Pentax K100Ds – which has the lowest resolution sensor of all my cameras. None of these old lenses are a practical solution.

What is, then? Well, maybe this:

Not a drawing.

What on Earth is that? Me playing around with things: a totally different genre/shooting style that owes nothing to my wildlife photography but is far easier to achieve within budget (as in it costs nothing).

Not sure I like the prospect of no more long telephoto shooting.

No, I definitely do not like that prospect.

Loose ends

Time to bring you up to date on what’s been going on around here.

First of all, the picture I forgot to include in the blog about the Olympus E-410:

640×480 crop of full image.

This shows that the camera used with a good lens doesn’t have problems. You see grain, not blur. That means the Olympus lenses are where the shortcomings are with that system. Goes with this pic, btw:

Lorne’s boat using the 50mm Takumar on the E-410. It’s fine.

Second, we had a visitor on Thursday:

Mr. Otis Bear

He spent most of the day crashing around in the foliage by the creek, just beside the cabin. He was stripping off berries to eat and driving the dogs crazy. I believe it’s one of the cubs that were coming ’round here with their mama this Spring. Seems to have gone now.

Third item is that the smoke has rolled in again as of Friday. Along with a high of 97F. Fires are still bad and people are being warned to stay away from certain areas, not just the evac alert/order zones. Honestly anyone vacationing in BC right now must be certifiably insane.

Beautiful view, wasn’t it?

Fortunately I was able to do some photo work before it got like this. Can’t even breath out there now. It’s looking a bit “life crisis” for me in fact. Bad enough I have to re-arrange my camera arsenal without having to re-arrange my entire way of living.

So I forgot about ‘back button’ focusing of the Pentax, and can’t tell if something is sharp or not anyway. This is a ‘salvaged shot’.

I’m actually working on a new “Master Plan” to go with my failed eyesight. The best camera I’ve got for working with my vision right now is the Canon PowerShot G11, which not only has a purely optical finder and limited zoom range (so basically anything I can see I can shoot), but also the nice colour tones of a CCD sensor. Beyond that … well I’ll explain the equipment shift at a later date. It’s still in flux anyway.

Butterfly, taken with the Canon T100.

More to come …

The Last Picture?

While taking photos of hummingbirds at the feeder I suddenly lost vision in my right eye. The symptoms are that of a detached retina. Today begins the hunt to see if anything can be done about it: the longer the wait the lower the chance for restoration.

My vision has been getting worse over the years. It was never all that good, but at least serviceable. It’s bad enough I’m going deaf, do I have to be blind as well?

This could be the event that forces major changes of life. I’m not looking forward to it. Even dealing with the logistics of getting examined is tricky. Writing this blog entry has been a struggle too; I never realized how much I depend on my right eye and the automatic depth perception it imparts.

Female Rufous hummingbird.