All posts by Tom Dills

Word of the Day

John Hippley gardens and public park in Columbiana, Ohio

I was looking at the National Hurricane Center website this morning and saw a tropical disturbance in the gulf referred to as a “gyre.”  I’d not seen that term before so I had to look it up:

“In oceanography, a gyre is any large system of circulating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Gyres are caused by the Coriolis effect; planetary vorticity along with horizontal and vertical friction, determine the circulation patterns from the wind stress curl.”

Wow…science and vocabulary in one lesson!

Thoughts on All These New Cameras

Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

I don’t usually talk about gear any more, but the recent new camera announcements from Canon and Nikon, and more recently Fuji, Panasonic and Sigma have gotten me thinking about cameras.  Not to buy a new one, I promise!  Just thoughts on what cameras we buy and why we buy them.

When the so-called mirrorless cameras came out, the whole idea – at least in my mind – was the ability to have a high-quality camera in a size that was smaller and much lighter than all of the full-size gear we had been hauling around.  Small and very capable cameras from Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji and others paved the way for a lot of folks to “downsize” to a camera and lenses that had excellent image quality without having to haul around a bag of bricks.  For myself, unloading 30+ pounds of Canon gear and replacing it with the smaller and lighter Fuji gear was a welcome change.  No longer did I have to carry my camera equipment in a suitcase that weighed more than my clothes!  I specifically remember checking into a hotel one time and having the bellman pull my Think Tank Airport Monstrosity out of the trunk with a “what the heck is in this thing…library books?” question.  Ah, not exactly!

Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Inevitably, some companies started working toward the idea of the “full frame mirrorless” cameras.  After a slow start, Sony has become a major player in a field.  I know a number of folks that have converted to Sony cameras, but it always interests me that those cameras and lenses are as big and heavy as the cameras they replaced!  Canon and Nikon have recently introduced their own versions of these “full frame mirrorless” cameras, but they are nearly as large as my old 5D and lenses.  What happened to smaller and lighter?

Ever since I traded in my medium format Mamiya 7 film camera for my first 5D, I hoped that some day there would be a digital equivalent of that Mamiya camera.  Fuji just announced a camera that comes very close, but at $4500 for the body it is out of my price range, and it is huge!  Nothing like the Mamiya 7, 3 lenses and a box of 5 rolls of film that I was able to put in a fanny pack.  Airport Monstrosity 2.0 here we come!

I’m really happy with my decision to move to the smaller APS-C Fuji cameras and lenses.  Right now my “ancient” X-T1 is still better than I am, and while I may eventually succumb to the siren song of a newer model, the stuff that I have suits my needs just fine.  It is interesting to watch where all the technology is headed, but watching from the sidelines is a pretty comfortable place to be!

Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

For fun, here is a link to a size comparison on Camerasize.com.

A Thing For Train Stations

Train Station in Pulaski, Virginia

It’s not exactly an obsession, but one of the things I look for when we travel (other than lighthouses and covered bridges) is train stations.  They are generally very easy to spot, as their architecture tends to be quite unique.  They are usually, but not always, located next to railroad tracks.  Sometimes they are still active passenger depots, but more often than not have been converted to offices, civic centers or meeting halls.  I’ve seen some that are police stations, city halls and even restaurants.  Most heartbreaking for me is when I see one in disrepair.  It takes a lot of money to keep these places up, but they are an important part of history and I love to see them being used and maintained.

Train station in Dublin, Virginia
Train station in Dublin, Virginia
Train station in Roncevert, West Virginia
Train station in Roncevert, West Virginia
Train station in Roncevert, West Virginia
Train station in Roncevert, West Virginia
Train station in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Train station in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Train station in Sugarcreek, Ohio