Tag Archives: general nonsense

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!


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.


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

One Thing Leads to Another

Pan-American Bridge over the Panama Canal

People in our neighborhood have gotten used to the fact that we’re gone a lot.  When we first moved here it was because we worked all day and often traveled on the weekends.  Recently we’ve been off on one adventure or another.  A couple of our neighbors say they can tell when we’re home because our window shades are open.  I guess that’s a reliable indicator, although I’ve thought about leaving them open just to fool ’em!  It is nice to have someone keeping an eye on things, although that has its limits.

Ready for Shuffleboard
Ship’s Lines in Aruba

One of the most asked questions when we talk to our neighbors is “where are you off to next?” When we got back from our recent trip to Ohio and Virginia we didn’t have anything on the books.  But within a few weeks of our return we got to planning, and we now have (I think) 5 trips in various stages of planning.  Kathy says she has finally found her calling – planning vacations!  For us!

Hazy sunshine in Puerto Vallarta
Hats for sale in Puerto Vallarta

One day we were sitting on our porch talking about our upcoming plans and I said, ” you know, when we were younger, one thing would lead to another and we’d end up with a baby.  Now, one thing leads to another and we end up with a vacation!  Life is good!

Huatulco Mexico

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.

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.

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

UPDATE 9/3/18: I either didn’t spell it out well enough or people aren’t reading what I wrote, but you actually have to sign up to get emails!  The link is on the left hand side of the page if you are on a computer or at the bottom of the page if you are on a mobile device.  A comment doesn’t do it.  I didn’t think it was that hard! 😉

As I’ve mentioned previously, stopped posting my blog to Facebook.  I’ve had several people who used to follow my blog from Facebook ask me how to be notified of new posts.  Many people use Feedly, The Old Reader or some other service, but many do not or don’t know how.  I finally got around to doing something about it and have added a “GET NOTIFIED OF NEW POSTS” section to the left side menu of my blog, just below the lists of My Links and My Photo Friends.

I won’t use your email for any nefarious purposes, but if you are interested in being notified of new posts instead of remembering to check, this is another way to do it!

The Road Beckons

Tuscan countryside near La Foce, Italy

Kathy & I have been capitalizing on our newly won freedom from cubicle confinement & PTO allocation and are ready to set off on our next adventure.  Nothing as dramatic as Italy this time – a quick visit to family and friends in Ohio with a stop or two along the way.  Some time in Shenandoah National Park, down the Skyline Drive & Blue Ridge Parkway before returning home to do laundry. 😉  No telling what might happen after that!

Expect postcards and photos along the way!

Over And Out

Left It Like I Found It

Kathy & I finished up and walked away from work this past Friday.  After 40 years – banking for me and accounting for her – we decided that our time was more valuable than making more money and that we were ready to move on.

I keep waiting for that “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?” moment, but so far I’m amazed at how right it feels.  Of course we’ve just come off what would ordinarily have been a 3-day weekend, so maybe it will seem more “real” today.  But then we leave for Italy in just 4 days so there won’t be a lot of time to sit around and think about it.  Perhaps when we return home.