Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Good Quote

Sunset at Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

He said, “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

I came across this quote several years ago in a shop in Bryson City, NC.  It might even be the same shop where I found the frog, I don’t remember.

The Gift Rock

The Gift Rock

The road to our neighborhood leads past a shopping center before ending at a traffic circle.  The entrance to our neighborhood as well as a fitness center feeds from the traffic circle.

The Traffic Circle with Rock

About once a month, an inattentive truck driver misses the entrance to the Wal-Mart, doesn’t notice the “No Trucks” sign and ends up in the traffic circle.  The traffic circle was not meant to accommodate semi trucks, but that doesn’t seem to deter the drivers.  What they should do at that point is back up the 100 or so yards and turn into the Wal-Mart entrance, and sometimes they do.  But more often than not overconfidence prevails and they try to swing their rig around the circle.  When that happens, they invariably snag one of the boulders that was placed around the circle specifically to deter such activity.  The rocks usually end up right at the curb, but sometimes they get drug out into the road.

The Traffic Circle with Rock

This most recent time, someone helpfully placed construction tape around the rock as a warning to drivers.  Then someone came along and added some Christmas bows.  The rock is too heavy to move, so it will sit there until someone hires a contractor to move it back.  In the mean time, we have a Gift Rock!

Where the trucks are supposed to go!

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

The first trash day after Christmas is always interesting, sometimes to see who got what, and sometimes to see who got how much!  It looks like someone had a good haul this year.

I hope no one pays much attention to our recycling bin, as it is usually full of empty wine bottles.  You can always tell when ours goes into the truck by all the crashing glass! 😉

The Morning After (Christmas)

Foggy walk around the neighborhood on a winter morning

I woke up this morning, looked out the window and said “oooh, fog!” and not just in my head! 😉

While many of my neighbors (at least those who were awake) were planted in front of the tube with the Weather Channel telling them about the awful weather somewhere they aren’t, I went out and made photos.  I’m finding that it is quite interesting what you come across when you have a camera with you.  And I’m working on having a camera with me more often.

More Messin’

Historic Pump Station at Lake Mattamuskeet, NC

Kathy & I are visiting friends in Eastern NC this week, and I am trying out this Leica D-Lux 7 that I rented.  The more time I spend with the camera the more used to it I get, and it is overall pretty comfortable to use.  A few observations so far:

– Just because it is a non-interchangeable lens does not make it impervious to sensor dust.  Dust is quite evident in solid skies at f-stops smaller than f11.

– I’ve been very happy with the files, and pleasantly surprised to find that Lightroom handles the processing of RAW files very well.  In fact, this is the first time that I have consistently imported a bunch of files, added the Adobe Camera Natural Profile, hit the Auto Exposure button and didn’t need to touch them further, other than straightening horizons or cropping slightly.

– While the camera is very light to tote around, it is well built and feels like a “serious” camera in my hands.

– I like having all of the manual controls this camera has – exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed and auto/manual focus are all mechanical.

– The menus are no worse than any other unfamiliar digital camera, and seem like something that would be easy to navigate with a bit more time.

Fishing Boats at Swan Quarter, NC

I’ve got a few more days to mess around with this camera before I box it up and send it back.  I’ve come to no conclusions or purchase decisions yet.  Frankly I’m seriously considering renting the latest Fuji body, which coincidentally is about the same price as this Leica, to see if upgrading my body that uses all of my existing lenses would make a better choice.  We’ll see!

Boats on Far Creek in Englehard, NC
Given Up
Stylin’
Wright Brothers Memorial (with lens flair!)
Promises
Bird Skeleton
M R Ducks
Posts
Tied Up
Porch Swing

Messin’ Around

Mayfly Meetup

Once in a while I get an itch to try out a new camera, just for fun.  Fortunately it is easy to rent cameras and lenses to satisfy that urge.

Held Captive
Construction Project

I’ve always owned some kind of compact, point & shoot camera as a supplement to my main camera gear, and although I’ve taken a lot of good pictures with them, I’ve never been completely happy with the compromises required of the smaller sensors and compact lenses.  My first-ever digital camera was a Canon Powershot G5, which I still have.  I’ve also owned the G9 and G12 plus a Fuji X10.  I currently have an Olympus TG5, which I bought because it is shock resistant and supposedly waterproof, although I have yet to actually that feature!

Gated

As camera technology advances, I’ve had it in my mind that, at some point, the quality of compact cameras might possibly advance to where the results from a small point & shoot camera could – in theory at least – be good enough to be a realistic “only camera.”  We’re not there yet, but we keep edging closer.  I just hope the camera manufacturers don’t give up on the idea before cell phone cameras take over completely!

Empty Lot

My definition of the ideal “only camera” would be one with a compact and lightweight body, a large (4/3 or larger) sensor and a high quality 24-70 equivalent lens.  There are a handful of cameras that meet the size and sensor requirements, but most of them have fixed lenses.  The B&H website shows 21 “advanced compact” point & shoot cameras with 4/3 or larger sensors, but when the box for “zoom lens” is checked, there are only 5, although realistically there are only 3, since two of them are older versions of current cameras.  The choices are: Leica D-Lux 7,  Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III.  The Leica and Panasonic are essentially the same camera, with the red Leica badge costing a mere $300 (after a $100 rebate on the Panasonic).

Sprinkler Beams

Since it was just for fun, I opted to rent the Leica, because what the heck and why not?  The box came via FedEx on Thursday and I took it out for a little spin on this morning’s walk.  I shot all of these photos in RAW, imported them to Lightroom with the Adobe “Camera Natural v2” profile, hit the “Auto” button and tweaked the white balance.  That’s it.  Pretty impressive so far.

Circles

We’re off on a little road trip to the NC coast this coming week (boy it’s nice to be able to travel during the week!) and plan to use the Leica as my only camera, so I’ll have a chance to put it through the paces.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post a few more shots from the road, and will have more photos and a summary of my impressions once we return home. TGIF!

Trash Day