Category Archives: Random Thoughts

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

Riding The Bus

I wish I could remember his name, but our driver was very proud of his bus.

Kathy & I took the bus into town yesterday to have lunch with a friend.  It was a good way to get there and not have to pay for parking, the price of which borders on extortion.  We’re very glad we don’t have to pay for parking any more!

We’re fortunate that there is a bus stop conveniently located just outside our neighborhood.  The stop serves 3 different routes, two of which go directly downtown, and a ride is only $2.20 each way.  In another year or so we’ll be able to buy a monthly unlimited pass for $44.00 or a 10-ride pass for $9.35.  Not a bad deal!

The bus stop is a 10-minute walk from our house, which is about as far away from the bus stop as you can get in our neighborhood.  While we were waiting for the bus, one of our neighbors drove by, saw us, turned around and came back to ask us if “everything was OK.”  We assured her that everything was fine, that we were just waiting for the bus to go downtown.

It was nice of her to stop and ask, and I know I’m probably missing the point, but I just thought it was interesting that seeing someone waiting for the bus seemed like there might be a problem.

I didn’t take a camera with me, so I’ve used a picture of a bus from Italy.  It’s one that we also rode, just to a much more interesting destination (sorry Bob!). 🙂

Cheaper Than Moving to Arizona

Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Here in the southeast US, winter takes two forms.  The first is “the leaves are gone and it’s cold,” and the second is “OH !@#$%.” This coming weekend appears to be “OH !@#$%” and it isn’t even officially winter yet!  The forecast is calling for 8-12″ of snow and low temperatures in the 20s.  We’ll see, but it looks like the confidence is pretty high.  Yikes.

One of the things that Kathy & I have been talking about for this winter is what temperature to set the thermostat at.  Now that we’re home every day we don’t want to leave it set at 65 degrees like we did when we worked.  But we don’t want to keep it set too high, as we’d like to keep from blowing the gas bill out of the proverbial water.  So ‘what to do’ has been the question.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I have found myself somewhat more sensitive to the cold this year (yes, I know that it hasn’t gotten cold yet!).  While my philosophy has always been to make sure I am wearing adequate clothing before turning up the heat, I’ve been finding it necessary to resist turning it too high this year.

At one point I told Kathy – jokingly – that maybe we should think about moving to Arizona.  But at some point yesterday we decided that even if the gas bill doubled – which it won’t – it would still be cheaper than moving to Arizona!  Although I will admit to looking at cruises leaving this weekend to see if we could escape to the Caribbean!  But we opted to tough it out here at home, and turn up the thermostat if we need to.

Flooding in Venice

St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy

I was just corresponding with a friend about the recent flooding in Venice, Italy.  There had been some flooding in the spring but of course it was gone before we got there.  They had put up temporary elevated walkways in the spring but even those are under water now.  Glad we didn’t need to deal with that then!

I’ve attached a photo I pulled from the news and combined it with one of mine.  You can see the tops of the trash cans in the flood photo, but the tables and chairs are under water (assuming they didn’t take them in).

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!

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State Archives of Siena in the Piccolomini Palace in Siena, Italy

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