Tag Archives: Waynesville

Printer Update

Waynesville, North Carolina

In my Computer Update post I noted that the one remaining item (and unexpected expense) from my recent computer conversion was the decision to replace my aging printer.  This past weekend I received and set up my new printer – a Canon Pixma Pro 100.  It has a lot going for it – most notably the price.  With a $200 rebate the net cost to me was under $200, and it came with $50 worth of free paper.  And I sold my old iMac to Gazelle for $150, so the out of pocket cost is practically $0!  Of course I immediately reinvested some of that savings in a second set of ink, but at $125 for the new printer instead of $900 for ink for my old printer, it was an expense that is far more easily digested.

Waynesville, North Carolina

Some would say that it was foolish to get rid of a functioning printer just because I didn’t want to spend the money on consumables.  In some respects those comments would be correct, and that was something I seriously considered in weighing my decision.  The cost of said consumables was substantial, especially for a printer that got only occasional use.  Every time I turned that thing on, it had to go through a long startup and cleaning cycle, and it felt like I was replacing an ink cartridge (at $75 each!) every time.  Certainly the cost of ink is less per drop (or milliliter or however one chooses to measure ink cost) for a larger printer than a small printer.  And the cost of roll paper is less than the cost of sheets.  Regardless of those factors, it was hard to ignore the low initial and operating costs of the smaller printer.  That, combined with a smaller footprint in my office, the promise of improved technology and a newer generation ink set made it a no-brainer.

Waynesville, North Carolina
Waynesville, North Carolina

The negatives are few, but include the fact that this printer uses die inks instead of pigment inks.  Die inks are traditionally thought of as being less archival than pigment inks – they might only last 100 years…gasp!  But pigment inks are generally thought of as being more prone to clogging than die inks, and for a printer that doesn’t see daily use, that was somewhat important to me.  Importantly, color accuracy is similar between the two ink types as long as they are set up properly, and I think I’ve just about got that nailed.

Waynesville, North Carolina

The ability to use the Soft Proof function in Lightroom has been a welcome addition and has been leading to more accurate results without wasting a lot of paper.  Since I wasn’t able to print from my computer when it was impersonating a Mac I never had a chance to use Soft Proofing.  But now that I can use it from Windows, that improvement alone was worth the cost and effort of the change.

Waynesville, North Carolina

The fact of the matter is that my needs have changed since I bought the large printer.  I rarely need to print anything larger than 13×19, and more often than not I would need to print larger than the old printer could print and would have to send the file to an outside print lab anyway.  I have a couple of excellent choices for outside printing, so as long as I know I have an accurate file I have no problem sending the file to someone else to print.  The smaller printer gives me a “good enough” proof for those purposes.  For my own use, I have a lot less wall space now than I used to have, so I don’t do as much printing for my own use.  Most of what I print for myself is for décor purposes, and printed on wood, canvas or metal.  So I’m sending that work out anyway.

Waynesville, North Carolina

Probably the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get rid of the old printer.  No one wanted it, for the same reasons I didn’t want it.  I could take it to the county recycling center, but it weighed 120 pounds and wasn’t something that Kathy & I were going to move ourselves.  I could have asked the kids to help me but decided against it.  As it turns out I called one of the “Junk Hauling” companies, and two guys and a truck came on Saturday morning and hauled it away for under $100.  It probably made our neighbors curious but was well worth the cost.  Done and gone!

Waynesville, North Carolina

So there you have it.  I think the transition can be called a success, and I am still way ahead of that $3,000 bill that I would have had with a new Mac.  And I didn’t have to buy all those dongles!

Sharing

Church Street Craft Festival in Waynesville, North Carolina
Sharing

“A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.”

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31, January 1, 1788

Photo and quotation are unrelated.  I recently finished reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton and have been reading some of his writings.

Miscellaneous Randomness

Wisteria Hysteria Waynesville, North Carolina
Wisteria Hysteria
Waynesville, North Carolina

Trying to get better at just posting pictures when I don’t have a lot of words.  Whew….!

Some random photos from around Western NC a few weekends ago.

Locked Up Frog Level North Carolina
Locked Up
Frog Level North Carolina
63 Asheville, North Carolina
63
Asheville, North Carolina
Craft Creates...Shadows? Grove Arcade, Asheville, North Carolina
Craft Creates…Shadows? Grove Arcade, Asheville, North Carolina
Wall Street but not That Wall Street Asheville, North Carolina
Wall Street but not That Wall Street
Asheville, North Carolina

A Weekend In Waynesville

Pumpkin Patch at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina
Pumpkin Patch at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina

This past weekend, Kathy & I made one of our periodic visits to Waynesville, North Carolina.  Waynesville is our favorite mountain town to visit for a weekend, because it is easy to get to, there is a nice little motel right in town that we like to stay at, and there are a number of excellent hometown restaurants that we enjoy checking in at.

Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina
Vine covered bench in Waynesville, North Carolina
Vine covered bench in Waynesville, North Carolina
Dew-covered webs, Waynesville, North Carolina
Dew-covered webs, Waynesville, North Carolina

As it turned out, Saturday was supposed to be a craft fair, where they close Main Street for the day and fill it with vendors and craftspeople. Unfortunately this year’s show was a bit of a washout, although I understand the craft vendors did very well in spite of the rain, but the food vendors didn’t fare as well because no one wanted to eat standing in the rain.  Can’t blame them!

Abandoned chair on the sidewalk in Waynesville, North Carolina
Abandoned chair on the sidewalk in Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina

I did manage to take some photos around town, and on Sunday we drove to Asheville for the afternoon.  That will be the subject of another post, because I have a completely different set of photos.  So for now, here is a little taste of fall from Waynesville, North Carolina, courtesy of me!

Pictures of people taking pictures, Waynesville, North Carolina
Pictures of people taking pictures, Waynesville, North Carolina

A Matter of Perspective

Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Pixie Forest
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Pixie Forest

A group of co-workers and I often go out to lunch on Fridays. This past Friday we had a little larger group than usual, and while we were waiting for the elevator, one of the guys said, “gee, we may need to take a bus.” And I replied, “maybe we need to call an Uber.” The resulting exchange went something like this (paraphrased):

Me: We could call an Uber and have them bring a van.

40-Something Somewhat Tech Aware Guy: Have you used Uber?

50-Something Less Than Open Minded Guy: What the hell’s an Uber?

Me: I’ve used Uber several times, it’s great. Works well. You just pull up the app, it tells you where the nearest car is, tell it where you want to go and they come.

40-Something Privacy Sensitive Guy: How do you pay them? Do they have your credit card information?

60-Something Fox News Addict: Don’t you worry about getting kidnapped or murdered? What kind of background check do they do?

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Elevator stops at another floor.

My "Favorite" Wall, Waynesville, North Carolina
My “Favorite” Wall, Waynesville, North Carolina

30-Something Hipster Guy gets on, someone we know. He hears the conversation and asks, “you guys talking about Uber? I work for them, good way to earn some extra money.”

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

We went on and took two cars. 50-Something Less Than Open Minded Guy wanted to drive because he doesn’t like to ride (also a Control Freak?) and 60-Something Fox News Addict drove (needed to get a Rush fix on the way).

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

That 30-second elevator conversation reminded me of how different our impressions of something can differ depending on our perspective. Our recent conversation about cameras is another example of how where we come from can impact our impression of something, our point of view and our opinion.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

A Weekend with the Olympus OMD EM1

Belly dancing demonstration at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
Belly dancing demonstration at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina

Kathy & I recently decided to take a long weekend to Waynesville, North Carolina, and I decided that it would be an excellent opportunity to try out the second of the two cameras that I have been wanting to try. While I wasn’t (and still am not) looking to replace my Canon gear, I have been wanting to try a few of the “state of the art” mirrorless cameras. I decided a while ago that of all the cameras to choose from, I was most likely to choose between the Fuji XT1 and the Olympus OMD EM1.

Belly dancing demonstration at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
Belly dancing demonstration at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
The Frog Level Philharmonic performs at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
The Frog Level Philharmonic performs at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
The Frog Level Philharmonic performs at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
The Frog Level Philharmonic performs at the 13th Annual Whole Bloomin Thing Festival in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina

Back in January I rented a Fuji XT1 from Lensrentals and tried it out over a weekend in Charlotte. I wrote about the experience in a couple of posts, here and here. So for the weekend in Waynesville I decided to rent the other camera, an Olympus OMD EM1. Yes, I know the punctuation isn’t quite correct, but it’s too hard to get that alphabet soup arranged correctly!

Random photos from downtown Marion, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Marion, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Marion, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Marion, North Carolina

Whenever the time comes to replace my current camera system, I know that my two priorities are going to be image quality and handling. The 5D Mark III checks all the boxes for image quality, and after 12+ years of using Canon DSLRs the handling and layout of the menus is second nature to me. My only real reason for giving that up would be to find comparable image quality and good handling in a camera that is smaller and lighter. I can get used to just about any menu system given enough time, so I’m not too concerned about that.

Random photos from downtown Marion, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Marion, North Carolina
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Laurel Knob Overlook
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Laurel Knob Overlook

My impression from the Fuji was that I really liked the files. I felt like the image quality was very good, and that it would likely be a suitable replacement for the full sized DSLR. My only real objection was that the camera felt too small for my hands, and I never felt like I had a secure and comfortable grip on it. That could probably be solved with one of the accessory grips sold by Fuji and others, but I didn’t get a chance to include that in my rental. Since January, Fuji has also come out with a larger “pro” level lens that might give me something more substantial to hang on to.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Being a firm believer in Murphy’s Law, I had had a feeling that when I tried the Olympus I would really like how the camera handled but that I wouldn’t like the files as much. But I’ve been a fan of the more square aspect ratio of the 4/3 cameras since my 6×7 medium format days, so I knew that would be a plus.  From the moment I opened the box, assembled the camera and lens and held it in my hands, I had the feeling that “this is it.” In fact, the entire weekend I was daydreaming about how I could get the Canon gear boxed up and sent off to trade it all in on the Olympus and a supply of lenses. I really liked the way it handled, and other than the 30 minutes I spent trying to figure out how to get the lens out of Manual Focus mode (little did I realize that the Olympus 12-40 has a “push-pull” clutch mechanism to change between auto and manual focus) and the well-documented frustration with the menu hierarchy, it was a breeze to use.

Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pounding Mill Overlook
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pounding Mill Overlook
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pounding Mill Overlook
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pounding Mill Overlook

As luck would have it, I came home from a nice relaxing long weekend into a hectic week so my time to evaluate the files immediately was quite limited. I boxed up the camera and sent it back to Lensrentals, and downloaded the files to my computer. I snuck a quick peek at a few of the photos before heading off to bed, and was astonished to find that my initial impression was “yuck!” I even told Kathy – who had been patiently listening to me sing the praises of the Olympus all weekend – that my initial reaction was “leave your credit card in your wallet.” She was as surprised to hear it as I was to say it.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway

I’ve now had a chance to spend some quality time with the files in Lightroom, and my impression has improved significantly. I’m going to try to tread very carefully here, because (a) I’m only trying to describe my experience and am not trying to write a comprehensive review, (b) I know a lot of people whose photography and opinions I respect who use the Olympus, and I’m not trying to question anyone else’s opinion, and (c ) I am by no means a qualified camera tester.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

In general I don’t find the image quality to be bad or anything, but my impression is that the files do not have the contrast, sharpness and color rendition that I get from my Canon cameras and that I saw in the Fuji files. They seem to be a little noisier than the Fuji files and I don’t feel that they have the dynamic range of the Canon or Fuji files. I suspect that this is due to the smaller sensor as much as anything. They seemed to require a little more sharpening and noise reduction than the Canon and Fuji files, and don’t seem to respond as well to large adjustments.

Storm clouds over Mount Mitchell, Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Storm clouds over Mount Mitchell, Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina

Admittedly I have not spent nearly as much time with either the Fuji or the Olympus files as I have with my Canon files, and I have processed a lot of Canon files over the years. I may have “gotten lucky” with the Fuji files, and given more time I might find the key to the Olympus files. But based on my limited experience with both of them if I had to make a choice I would probably have to choose the Fuji over the Olympus at this point in time. I would just need to find a solution to the lack of a grip, which I think would be pretty easy to accomplish.

Storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina

I’ll undoubtedly have more to say on the subject over the next week or two, and I will certainly post some additional photos and commentary as I get to them. I might actually bring myself to make a purchase at some point in the near future. But we have a big trip coming up in June and there is no compelling reason to rock the boat. Kathy & I will be taking our first-ever trip to Colorado in June, and I’m planning to go with the tried and true Canon kit. I know it well, am confident that it will give me the results I want, and other than schlepping it through the airports we will be doing most of our travel by car, so the size and weight will not be as big of a factor.

A quiet breakfast at City Bakery in Waynesville, North Carolina
A quiet breakfast at City Bakery in Waynesville, North Carolina

If you were hoping for a little bias confirmation bias, sorry for the disappointment. 😉

Lists, Goals & Plans

Fall Color in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
Fall Color in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina

Kathy and I love to travel, of course, and while we aren’t the “world travelers” that some have made us out to be, we’ve seen our share of the world and we spend a lot of time talking about what kind of travel we want to do. We have our lists of places we “should” go, and all of those have varying levels of interest and priority. And of course there are places that we would love to go but probably never will. Some of our favorite memories are from places where most people would never bother to go. Of all the places we’ve been, a trip to Kentucky a few years ago still comes to mind as one of our favorite experiences. Who’da thunk?

Dogwood in fall colors, Waynesville, North Carolina
Dogwood in fall colors, Waynesville, North Carolina

Like a lot of things, what we do and what we enjoy has to come from within. We need to be able to take the time to figure out what means the most to us. What are our priorities, rather than a heavily cliché-ed “bucket list” developed by some magazine publisher to sell more advertising. Who we are and how we feel is a product of our own existence and our own experiences. Comfort level has a lot to do with what we are willing to try. Not everyone has that voice that tells us to step out of our comfort zones. But for those of us who do, we definitely need to listen.

Fall Color in Waynesville, North Carolina
Fall Color in Waynesville, North Carolina
Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North
Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina

Like a lot of people, I’m often tempted by the idea of “if I knew then what I know now.” But I try to keep a lid on those thoughts, because ultimately I didn’t know then what I know now, and my entire life’s experience ultimately contributes to where and who I am today. I can’t change the past, so the best approach for me is to look ahead, because that’s the only thing I have any degree of influence on – to make the best of what I have and who I am.

Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina
Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina

In many ways, this idea of comfort zone has parallels with the way we see the world. For those of us who are observers, we see things that other people don’t see, and sometimes others see things we don’t see. And we travel the same way. When I first started doing photography seriously I would sometimes get up in the middle of dinner, afraid that I was going to “miss” sunset. I’ve since learned that I’m always missing something, and that helps me reconcile the idea that I’m not going to get to “do” everything.

Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina
Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina

Kathy & I are very close to the point where we can decide to walk away from our corporate lives. Quite often we find ourselves feeling that that day can’t come soon enough. There are other days when things seem to go along fairly well and it feels like collecting a few more paychecks won’t be all that difficult. The difficult thing is going to be determining when the right time might be to call it quits. We have established many checkpoints that will tell we’re on the path. Some of those we have met, many we’re close on, but a few major ones have yet to be realized. But we have a plan and hope that when the time comes we’ll have the guts to say, “NOW.”

Pumpkin Patch at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina
Pumpkin Patch at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina

For me, my primary goal for what I want to do in retirement is to stay retired!   If I end up doing some kind of work I’d like it to be for personal satisfaction rather than to pay the bills. The good thing is that there are a lot of rewarding things we can do that don’t cost an enormous amount of money. While they may not check other peoples’ boxes for fulfillment, they might be just fine if that was the alternative.

Fall Color in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina
Fall Color in Historic Frog Level, North Carolina

 We’ve never paid a lot of attention to the “if money were no object” scenarios because it was always our intention for that not to be an issue. Not that we expect to never have to think about money, but the idea all along has been to have provided for a level of financial security that would allow us to continue living the life we have become comfortable with. And if that doesn’t work out, I suspect we’ll figure out how to travel and buy wine with whatever we do have! So for now, we hope to hold on to the jobs we’ve got for as long as we can, and every paycheck is a victory of sorts. Murphy’s Law would suggest that as soon as we decide for one of us to stay home, the remaining job we’d be counting on would go away.

Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina
Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina

For a lot of people, their biggest fear with retirement is that they won’t have anything to do. That is the thing that I worry about the least! Whenever we decide to walk out of that corporate world, I know that there is a whole lot of world out there to explore. And while I don’t have a chance of ever seeing it all, Kathy & I both plan to make a point of enjoying whatever we do see as much as we possibly can. That doesn’t take a list, and it doesn’t take a lot of planning, but I think it is a pretty good goal.

Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina
Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, North Carolina

Good Words

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

One of the many non-photography blogs I follow is Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker.  I found these quotes especially appropriate given some of our recent discussions.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” —Malcolm S. Forbes

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

“Focus is often a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.” —John Carmack

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Stop trying to impress others with the things that you own and begin inspiring them by the way that you live.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

“Money is a poor indicator of success.” —Joshua Becker

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina