Friday, August 26, 2011

Giving In


I like getting the most out of the least. I don't like being told I cant do something and that I "must do this" to "be successful in that". I have taken beautiful, clear astrophotographs with a very minimalist CMOS Cam, that shouldn't have been so capable. I tweaked and tuned a "too heavy" Jet Ski that normally ran 57 that it would run 62 MPH...full throttle, for hours...winning some tough races in the process, much to the surprise of a few competitors. I have also taken some wonderful photographs over the years, with the often looked down on, "consumer grade"...compact camera.

The compact camera has come so far, so fast, that it is mind boggling how capable they have become. I have told many, many people to enjoy, get to know and use their little compact digital cameras and not worry about the fancy, "cool looking" DSLR's that have that fashionable shutter release sound that just "sounds so professional". In fact, I believe that 90 percent of people dont NEED a DSLR...90 percent of the time.  Big, heavy, non-portable glass anchors...I laugh in your general direction!!!

I bought a damn DSLR.

The 10 percent of the time that most of us need a DSLR...and I need a DSLR, is portrait work. Sure you can take a good portrait with a compact camera. But what you cannot do, is obtain the shallow depth of field that throws the foreground and background out of focus immediately in front of and behind your subject. Thats it! The only thing I cannot do with my compact camera. THE ONLY THING!!

I tried every trick I knew...using macro modes to trick my camera...skewing the aperture and tweaking settings...shooting at the maximum telephoto range of the simply is not doable.

So, I bought a damn DSLR.

I needed to do some real portraiture work and after borrowing a friends simple Nikon D40x to shoot a few simple, "one light setup" portraits, I simply gave in. I just could not get the portrait of my daughter above (Taken with the D40x) with a compact camera.

I decided it was time to buy a damn DSLR, so I set about finding a reasonably priced, quality camera. Now, I am used to the 200-300 dollar price range of high quality "prosumer" compact digital cameras. Well, I was in for some sticker shock. (remember..."getting the most out of the least")

To make a long story very short, after reading a ton of serious reviews, pouring over hundreds of test photos and shopping the internet for the best possible price...I picked up the rather "old" (introduced 2+ years ago) Canon EOS Rebel XS for 399.00 dollars, shipped and with no tax. It was a factory (Canon) refurbished camera from Adorama. I was still not happy I had to spend so much for a camera! (It is less than half the price of any current DSLR capable of the same image quality)

It is a beautiful and very capable camera that will surely find a place in my photographic a portrait camera. As I get used to it and get comfortable with its operation, I will be sure to post a few portrait shots to show off its capabilities. But, I will still be taking my Lumix ZS1 with me the other 90 percent of the time!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roll Me Away

                                                       2009 Kawasaki Super Sherpa                                                         

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit, I stole the above title from Bob Seger and the closing line from the old Kawasaki ads/slogan!   

I have been both busy and lazy over the past two months.

I took 30 days of vacation in the month of July, during which I stayed quite busy with home maintenance and know, the things that need to be done before the rainy winter arrives. I spent two weeks trying to get some family camping in and in short, we were rained out!! I enjoyed time off with my family regardless. Before I knew it, I was back to work. During my vacation I admit, I never even thought about posting on my blog!

I have continued to ride my bike to/from work etc., have enjoyed some photography and have purchased and listened to a few vinyl LP's from several local garage sales!

Before my vacation was over, I had found yet another item to catch my interest and imagination. After talking with a friend of mine for some time, about the merits of using a motorcycle to discover some of the rugged terrain and back country that I normally backpack, I decided to buy a "Dual Sport" motorcycle. ("Enduro" for you older folks!) I wanted to be able to ride to the back country and then ride INTO the back country, all on the same bike!

So I bought a nice little Kawasaki 250.  Officially, a Kawasaki KL250G Super Sherpa. I wanted something affordable, reliable and simple. This motorcycle is just that. I picked it up recently in Kaiser, OR from a nice couple that had put a mere 200 miles on the bike. It looks nearly new and is still not properly broken in.

Its been a while since I have ridden a motorcycle off road, and I am looking forward to throwing it around on some trails. Next spring (or maybe this fall) will bring a few camping trips, transportation courtesy of the Super Sherpa! It will be a nice break going from being my own "Sherpa", to using the Super Sherpa to lug my gear around!

I have motored around the streets in and around my neighborhood and it is a blast to ride. Saturday will bring my first venture onto some trails and dirt so that I can get a feel for the bike and see how it handles off-road. (As well as how I handle has been many years since I have played in the dirt on a motorcycle!)

Let the good times roll!