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Showing posts from September, 2012

Out in the middle of Nowhere, Florida

On a billboard sitting next to Baseline Road/State Road 35, just north of the intersection with E. Fort King Road near Ocala Florida stands this blatant monument to Canadian imperialism. A billboard with the National Flag of Canada. I don't know who this Lamar individual is, but he needs to be found and stopped. I'm surprised the local Romney-fearing Tea Party activists haven't found this and replaced it with a genuine American flag. Perhaps now that they're been alerted, they can do something to remove this from our sacred Florida and American soil.

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My next smartphone and provider

This is turning into a Weekend of Decision for me. First I'm wrestling with what kind of 35mm DSLR to move to, now it's a new smartphone and provider. I got on the new smartphone kick because I've just about had enough of the poor customer support and lousy service coming out of T-Mobile.

Saturday's latest shenanigans with T-Mobile were the last straw. In September 2011 I purchased a T-Mobile hotspot. I got this for my youngest daughter so that she could have internet connectivity at the house she'd moved into, as well as being able to carry it with her around Tallahassee. In spite of the glowing ads, service has been mediocre at best, but at least it gave her connectivity to check her email and Facebook. In late August she finally found a decent (read: affordable) wired connectivity solution in Tallahassee, so she didn't need the wireless hotspot anymore. I called T-Mobile to turn off the mobile hotspot feature only to discover that in spite of what we were t…

How much is that camera in the window?

I've been taking a break from writing through the month of September, an extended vacation to make up for all the posting I was doing while on the Big Road Trip the first two weeks in September. I even stopped thinking about camera gear (or as much as someone like me can ever stop thinking about it), trying to get some time between the events of Photokina and now to build up a bit of perspective. There's nothing worse for me than to be hit with exciting equipment introduction (as, for example, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 earlier this year), to get me all excited and in the process making a fool out of myself by professing how, right then and there, I'm going to get a copy of my very own.

So I gave it all a rest and just let it percolate in the back of my mind.

Today, as I was working through my infinite to-do list, I began to put together a series of price lists of basic camera gear, consisting of a body and one lens from Olympus (what I had before it was stolen), Nikon, and Can…

Revisiting Toronto - 8 September 2012

These photos were taken two weeks and a day ago, on Saturday, 8 September, the first full day I was in Toronto. I was guided by Matthew that day, walking around the part of the city he lives in and knows so well. It's impossible to learn where another person lives in just a day. And so I documented as much as I could, to capture a minute number of the infinite urban scenes with all its colors and textures and lighting that kept unfolding around me.

This part of the day occurred after the rainy morning and mid-day. By the early afternoon the skies had cleared into a magnificent blue, with small dense clouds moving rapidly across the sky. Sometimes you'd find a view with the clouds backing the urban landscape, and sometimes the skies were nearly clear. Regardless it was all part of the personal sensorium. I scrambled to capture those views that kept grabbing my attention, whatever and where-ever they happened to turn up.
Matthew and I ended our Saturday walk-about at Chapters b…

Photokina 2012 - Money, Money, Money

Photokina 2012 is finished, as is most of the punditry for now. There are still reviews to be written and published on the web, but for the most part I think the majority who've been paying attention learned what was necessary to begin a new cycle of gear acquisition, which is what shows like Photokina are all about: stoking gear lust.

Regardless of the brand or the camera model, one theme came through loud and clear: it's all about the money. With very few exceptions, everything introduced this year is anywhere from the very high hundreds to the mid-thousands. The one Olympus camera that I actually took a liking to, the E-PL5, is currently on pre-order for $700, body only. The "entry level" Nikon D600 (and Canon 6D) are $2,100, body only. The ridiculous Hasselblad Lunar (Loonie, Lunacy, I've read so many catty renames) is $5,000 (and up). Perpetually expensive Leica is still way too much money for me. Serious lenses from Zeiss for the various APS-C mounts and 1…

Photokina 2012 Personal Ruminations

I was at the end of the second week of my road trip when the Photokina 2012 official release floodgates really opened up. In particular came the formal announcement of the Nikon D600.

I've written twice already about the D600, going so far as to speak of it along with another rumored Nikon camera, the D400 (the followup to the Nikon D300s). One of the key rumors was the D600's price of around $1,500, body only. I was somewhat annoyed when Nikon announced the official price of $2,100, body only.

I'm not going to go through all the D600 features, as that's already been done to death all over the net. The only feature that matters to me at the moment is the price. If a $2,100 camera is considered an "entry level" camera, then I'm in the wrong dimension, probably in the wrong time. How I miss the days when 35mm reigned supreme and bodies from all manufacturers were considerably less expensive...

Yes, I know that the D700, the camera it allegedly replaces, ha…

Road Trip: End

I took two days off from posting because of the drive we had to make from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, back to Orlando. We started out from Gettysburg on Friday, stopping at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick Maryland. We stopped so that my wife could look at Lee's lost Special Order 191. it's currently at Monocacy until 31 October, at which point it returns to the Library of Congress. I left my cameras in the car because the special protocols surrounding the viewing of the document demands that the orders could not be "photographed under any circumstances."

After viewing the orders and the surrounding display we hit the road again, moving on down the expressway, avoiding downtown Washington DC, traveling through Virginia, until we finished the day traveling bu stopping in Wilson North Carolina. The next day we hit the road for the last leg, traveling over 600 miles until we were home in Orlando. I spent the day unpacking, cleaning around the house, and complete…

Road Trip, Day 13

The day was a perfect Pennsylvania early fall day. It started crisp and cool and warmed nicely as the day progressed. The sky was cloudless and blue. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to spend in the Gettysburg Military Park. We came across the first shot marker by accident. While the marker is documented, its location is not. We were coming north up Knoxlyn after having gotten onto to it accidentally. My wife saw it an instant before I did. I drove east a bit on 30, then turned off to park and walk back to photograph the marker. It was probably the high point of my day.

For the most part we drove slowly through the park, stopping to get out and observe, then photograph part of the area, then get back in and drive some more. As I said yesterday I don't know how anyone can get through the park in just 2 1/2 hours. It took us a day and a half to barely see all of it, and towards the end we began to rush as the sun really began to set.
That is going to have to do it for…

Road Trip, Day 12

Another long day, not so much from traveling as from looking at and photographing Gettysburg National Military Park. Just like Niagara, but for vastly different reasons, one must travel to Gettysburg to fully appreciate what happened there during the Battle of Gettysburg from 1 to 3 July 1863. Its immense overwhelming beauty, with the breezes moving through the trees and the constant low accompaniment of chirping crickets, forms a background to all the monuments that line the roads running through the park. Moving through the park you quickly develop the feeling that it is all hallowed ground, not just the cemetery.

The day started out innocently enough with a stop-over at an Amish store on 15 near the Susquehanna River. My wife picked up a few Amish-made items to take home. While she was doing that I was moving around and photographing some of the scenes around the store.
 With the stopover at Weaver's Farm Market, it took us about 2 1/2 hours to reach Gettysburg. It took us about…