Photography Decisions for Vacation


Yesterday, I packed up the rest of the choices I’d made for the photographic gear I want to take on our trip.  It was a really hard, but choices had to be made.

My first decision was the bag size.  I have back packs and over-the-shoulder bags of varying sizes, along with a sling bag.  I decided on an over-the-shoulder bag, which is roomy, but not large, and is now carrying the following:

  • Nikon V3
  • 1 Nikon 70-300mm
  • 1 Nikon 10-110mm
  • 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm
  • 1 Nikon 10mm
  • 1 Nikon 18.5mm
  • 1 Nikon 32mm
  • Olympus OM-1n
  • Olympus Zuiko 50mm
  • Olympus Zuiko 35-70mm Close Focus
  • 49mm yellow, orange, and UV filters
  • 55mm ND filters

The OM system and the Nikon 1 system were chosen because they are small and lightweight, but deliver good quality.

I am also bringing 12 rolls of 35mm film, in black and white, and in color, ranging in speed.  It’s still a toss-up between the XA4 and the Trip 35, but I am inclined to take the XA4 as it is more diverse, smaller, and has a covered lens.  No medium format camera made it to the final mix.  I may bring a tripod.   I am also packing some art supplies and my Kindle.  Some knitting, too.  Headphones.  Chrome Book.  Plugs and cords and a power strip.  Yeah, stuff.  Clothes, shoes, and a toothbrush!


Traveling Light, and the Laptop Adventure

In about 5 days we leave for a 2-week road trip throughout the American Southwest.  We leave California and head to Flagstaff, AZ, for a few days, then on to Four Corners in Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park.  Then, a stopover in Colorado Springs.  From there, we will be in Laramie, Wyoming about 4 days, to explore as well as to visit the University of Wyoming and Fort Laramie as there is family history related to Fort Laramie in particular.  After that, on to the Teton National Park and Yellowstone, home of beautiful mountains and hot springs and geysers like Old Faithful.  Then, Salt Lake City, Utah, and St. George, Utah, and finally, home.

There will be four adults, two of whom are photographers.  We take up space.  Then there is the need for technology, too.  Not to mention knitting and drawing and reading (thank goodness for the Kindle!).  Space needs to be considered very, very seriously.  I’ve narrowed it down:  I am going to take only my Nikon V3 and its small lenses – I can pack them up quite tidily.  I am also going to bring the Olympus OM-1n and its 50mm and 35-70mm lenses, the latter of which has a close-focus element.  I also want a point-and-shoot film camera, which will be either the Trip 35 or the XA4 – possibly the latter as it is more versatile and has a wider lens, having close-up and 28mm capacities.  I will also tuck a medium format folder in amongst the camera selection, and maybe a tripod, though I seldom use them.

And then . . . there is the laptop.  It pays to have a serious IT guy in the house.  He restored the laptop to Windows 8.1 by doing some research and installing it as a bare-bones system.  I need to still install Lightroom and such on it – but I’ve decided I am not going to spend the time on it between now and the day of our departure.  I will bring my Chrome Book and use Pixlr and Polarr for post processing, and use an external 1.5 TB mini hard drive as storage.  This should do.  I would prefer to bring the laptop – thank goodness I have a genius of a husband! – but don’t want the time hassles at the moment.

Film is another decision which needs to be made.  I have JCH B&W in the OM-1n at the present, and a yellow filter as I want to try my hand at b&w landscape and nature photography (and maybe some street).  The 120 film decision can be either Kodak or Fuji . . . I chose the Perkeo as it has an automatic film stop that works, and with Kodak not having numbers dark enough to read through a red window, it’s important when choosing cameras and film.

By choosing the V3, I am going to give myself an opportunity to master some of its features that I have not yet done.  I want to try long exposures with it, to smooth out waterfalls or just the rivers we will cross.  I may need to bring a bushing for the Perkeo if I want to use it for landscape and a tripod . . . but that may be more than I want to think about!  The OM-1n should be fine as it is, and the point-and-shoots are fine in the hand.  The Chrome Book and affiliated software will be another learning curve, and it should be fun.  Polarr seems to leave a signature on all the images, but it might be it can be removed.  I haven’t had time to fidget with it too much, but like what I see.  Pixlr is like Photoshop, and some of its key features should work well in conjunction with Polarr.

So, the technology and camera questions have been sorted.  Now I have to do the bills and begin putting things in the suitcase, tech bag, and camera bag.  So much to do!  So little time!

Traveling Light with Photography

I am finding myself in a bit of a dilemma.

My laptop took a bit of a dump, and I really don’t feel like messing around with it.  However, it is a very important piece of equipment when traveling and taking digital photos – I need to store my images somewhere.  Basically, it is a system running Windows 8.1, and when I fired it up a couple of weeks ago, it wouldn’t start properly.  Eventually I managed to roll back the system to Windows 8.0.  Upgrades to 8.1 failed multiple times, so now I have a laptop that I really don’t feel I can rely on to deliver.

So, the dilemma.  Do I invest in a new laptop?  Should I take a chance on the Windows 8.0 system?  Do I take an old and very slow one for the trip, and hope for the best?  Or, is there some way, using my Chrome Book and the Cloud, or an external HD, to back up my SD cards?

I need to back up my SD cards – I take too many pictures.  Buying oodles of SD cards seems rather dumb, and potentially expensive.

I have small external HD I used on my questionable laptop . . . . so this afternoon, when I get home from work, I plan to take a camera, take some pictures – maybe a lot of them – and connect it to the Chrome Book.   The external HD will be in the other USB port.  And then let’s see how the transfer works out.  I might be able to use a USB flash drive instead – and it will be smaller in size than the external HD.

I expect it may be horribly slow.  And, I will not be too happy.

Another option is to use a cloud-based storage system, but I need to find out about that one.

And I also need to look at one of our old laptops from 1732.  Considering we are leaving in 10 days, I better get my ass in gear.

It’s in the News, and Now It’s Time to Walk

Okay, a bit of a rant, but a timely one as well.

In the news, women are losing rights in all directions, especially in health care choices.  Now, women in power who are being told to shut up, or sneered at by men, or talked over by men, or being “mansplained” to, are making the news.  We have Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren being interrupted or censured by members of the Congress for talking too much.  Harris was labeled “hysterical” while a male counterpart was not, even though both were asking serious questions by someone on the news.  Veronicka Hubeny was mansplaned by Jim Holt until he was finally interrupted by a woman, Marilee Talkington, spoke up out of the audience, “Let her speak!”

Women are to be seen and not heard, as we are not very important.

I guess.

Two months ago, one of our dogs was having issues with an ear and a hotspot.  We went to our normal vet.  While we have gotten good treatment there, I have honestly never liked any of the male vets there.  The one woman vet left shortly after she got there, ostensibly for a move, but I wonder now if she left because of the testosterone.  She was great.  Why?  She explained, she talked, and she took time.  However, when with all the male vets, I am loomed over and interrupted.  This last one made it obvious he really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about any of my concerns.  Finally, he failed to address the initial reason I brought our dog in after the ear was cleared up.  He was some tall, thin guy, standing over me, and, talking through me, interrupting my questions and explaining.

Gosh, I am so stupid!  I am lucky I can put one foot in front of the other without toppling over!

I sat there, pretty pissed, but keeping my nasty mouth shut.  My thoughts, as I listened to the expert, were he just was going to ignore the problem until it got so bad we came back, and he could make more money.

And things did get worse.  And worse.  And then better for a bit.  And finally bad enough we made the choice of finding a new vet.  Just by chance, we chose a practice closer to our home, and where all the vets are women.

We went, we were listened to, we had things explained to us about current treatment, and what may be necessary in the future if our dog has serious allergy problems.

Our questions were answered.

We were treated with respect.

We were assumed to be intelligent.

Our dog was not just a cash machine to pay for the Maserati.

What men, and many doctors and other professionals fail to realize is that anyone I go to is MY EMPLOYEE.  I am hiring them for their expertise.  Got it?  You can be fired.  My money will go elsewhere, and while I doubt you will miss me, trust me, I won’t miss you and your attitude.


10 Years of Photography

Taken in 2003 at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium with an Olympus C3000Z

I have been digging through my archives of photography and am surprised to see I have been doing it for 10 years.  I didn’t even think about this until I saw I had been on Flickr since 2007.  That time has gone by so fast!

I picked up the photography habit with a friend, who later loaned me his Nikon D70 for nearly a year.  Until then, I had simple point-and-shoot digital cameras, and complete fiascos with film cameras (back before digital) as I had no idea how to take pictures.  I figured a good camera was all I needed.  Not true!  I have a lot of pictures of the backsides of deer which are evidence of my lack of knowledge on how to get a good picture.  I like to think I have improved since then!

The only formal education I ever had – in a classroom, for a grade – was in 2003 when I was laid off from a job.  I took a film photography class that summer, and it was an eye-opener.  I used a film camera my husband had from high school, a 50mm lens, and access to a darkroom at the local community college to develop and print black and white film.  I loved it – and hated it.  Most important, it taught me a lot about photography, though I really didn’t grasp the relationship between iso-f/stop-exposure until I had the ability to do endless experiments with a good digital camera (the D70) which allowed for exploration into those factors.  By exploring those, I have learned I prefer f/stops for my main image control, as DOF is, to me, an extremely important photography element.  Only when the light shifts do I change time and iso as priorities.

Photography is an art, but it is still not my go-to preference.  But, when I look back, I can see what I do enjoy about it.  Memories of times past, seeing how people change over the years (like my husband!), and just how lucky I was to get some pictures, and how much I’ve learned.  Because I am such a gotta-be-doing-something-with-my-hands person, the darkroom – the film darkroom – was a great place.  The digital darkroom is not my favorite place because you sit and play at the computer.  Still, I appreciate it – there is a lot which can be done easily in the digital darkroom (digital dungeon?) which is not so easily done in the physical darkroom.