Monday, July 27th, 2020

Visit to Syracuse (the camera saga)

 

 

Today is not July 27th, 2020. Today is December 25th, 2020. It’s the tail end of Christmas day. The truth is, I rarely post my blogs on the day they are dated. The date you see is the day that the photos are taken, not the day that I write the post. I go through my photos, reconstruct a story from memory, back-date the blog post, then upload. So why am I telling you this, now? Why, after so many years?

 

 

 

Last spring, the children and I walked down to someplace on a close by river with Claudia’s family. I brought my camera and some water kefir. Unfortunately, the water kefirβ€” an acidic, sticky liquidβ€” exploded in the backpack & drenched my wonderful delightful beloved perfect awesome superb magnificent & all those other superlatives camera. Oh, crap. My $1,400 USD camera.

 

 

 

The camera worked intermittently for a while. First, the battery died quickly. Then the optical viewfinder was stuck on half-way useless. It worked long enough to me to order another camera, to be picked up at the end of summer in Syracuse. I bought the same camera. The software and some other aspects of it had been improved, which was nice. The price had also improved up to nearly $2000 USD, which I was not so terribly happy about, but the camera would make me happy, so I didn’t bother thinking about it. I’ve wasted as much money on foolish mistakes before. This would not be a foolish mistake.

 

 

 

I loved Lightroom. Did I tell you I loved Lightroom? I like to shoot RAW file format (unprocessed data) & do all the processing myself. It’s like being in the darkroom, only one is highly unlikely to receive chemical burns unless the computer explodes. So I bought the new camera. Unfortunately, I could not import the files into Lightroom. The old version of Lightroom that I own did not support the new camera. I would have to get the new version. The new version is the typical Adobe pay-per-month program. Even if I wanted to get the new version of Lightroom, I couldn’t get it unless I installed the newest browser on my Mac. However, both of my computers are from 2012 & are not compatible with the newest OSX browser. So in order to use my camera with Lightroom, I would have to buy a new computer. But my computers work just fine!

 

 

 

After bringing the camera home, I spent about a month trying to determine which development program would be best for my needs. I settled on ON1 Camera RAW, tho I can’t say I like it nearly as much as Lightroom. Nonetheless, I didn’t have to buy a new computer. However, I did have to clean up my old catalogue, organize a few thousand old photos and figure out a new way to catalogue and organize my new photos. To make a long story short, ON1 is really quite different than Lightroom.

 

 

 

After all that, I found that the program worked incredibly slowly on my computer. So I bought a speed-em-up, clean-em-out program to streamline all the garbage on my computer. Still slow. Finally, months later, I decided to use my relatively fast laptop for photography and my relatively slow desktop for everything else. I have yet to solve the problem of my need for another external monitor and a larger desk. I hardly know how to use the new program, which I find excessively large, disorganized, and slow. But, look! Almost exactly 5 months after taking the first photographs on my new camera, I have learned how to process & export them to post on my website for your viewing pleasure. I almost hate the program. I can’t even get a good consistent watermark across photos. I have to put a different watermark on each photo, depending on its orientation and output size. I haven’t got that square yet so you’re going to have to suffer with lousy watermarks this post. I’ve already spent two days trying to get me a good watermark. It’s just so non-intuitive. It’s un-intelligent. It almost makes me want to pay a couple hundred bucks per year for Lightroom and a few more thousand for a new computer. Which I would do, for certain, if I had nothing else I needed to do with money.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Squirrel Traps! (& other things to worry about on the 6th anniversary of our wedding)

To celebrate six years of being wed, we decided to take a walk in the woods. Or perhaps we decided to take a walk in the woods & what do you know, it was our anniversary! Either way, there we were sitting down eating a snack when Martin fell asleep. Mom believes this tendency is located on the Y chromosome.

 

 

 

While he was resting, Iris invented squirrel traps. As you might suspect, squirrel traps are meant to trap squirrels. Anything meant to trap squirrels should somehow employ nuts. It is quite possible that the idea was inspired by a video that Dad sent us by Mark Rober, “Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.” Iris’s resources were a bit more limited than Mr. Rober’s. She dug a hole with a large stick, surrounded it by small sticks, placed a leaf on the bottom, and would bait the leaf at the proper time. This particular squirrel trap, just so you are aware, is not meant to physically trap a squirrel. It is meant to mentally trap their focus for a moment, distracting them from whatever they were concentrating on, enticing them into the hole to eat the nut. Then the squirrel would be free to go.

 

 

 

After much longer than you might think it would take to engineer such a trap, the work was done. Either because she figured it wouldn’t take much to distract a squirrel or because she didn’t particularly want to share her snack, Iris chose the smallest nut she could find then woke Martin for the celebratory baiting of the trap.

 

 

 

When we reached the place of the grandfather trees, Iris resumed building. First, she experimented with building tripods. She tried very hard. What she learned is that it is difficult to lean three sticks together and have them stay just so.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Akiva continued to play toss-the-spike with an iron spike that we found in an old junk pile. He had been playing it the whole way’s down the path since the junk pile. It’s played like this: toss the spike. Walk forward. Pick up the spike. Repeat. Usually, the spike lands sideways, bounces, then spins.

 

 

 

In this photograph, I have managed to capture the moment the spike landed point-down in the ground. Pine needles splash like water drops.

 

 

 

While this is going on, I play with the panorama feature on my camera. I have never used it before. Upon developing the photos, I see that, when taking a horizontal panorama, it would be a good idea to have a long depth of field. My favorite panorama captures Martin once again enjoying the activity of woodland resting.

 

 

 

Having given up on building a tripod, Iris built a common four-sided gnome house with a bark roof. She chose a nice forked stick to set off the front door so that the gnomes would know how to enter properly.

 

 

 

Finally, I took some portraits of my children. Mom says I should just take some nice photos of them now and again. Aside from the days when I take lots and lots of photos at once, I hardly seem to be taking many photos at all lately. But the woods are lovely for portraits. Here are some regular-ol’ photos of my kiddos, so’s you can go on and admire their cuteness. Or at least so I can admire their cuteness. That’s why I take photos, really: not for you: for me.