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Awash in Everything Yellow

Posted on October 17th, 2017

Dave!On Saturday I went in to work and was amazed at how beautiful the leaves were as I made my way down the street. I was so enchanted that I pulled over to take a photo... only to find out that my phone was dead. The next day I forgot my phone. Then yesterday I didn't go into the office.

Today I finally remembered... even though it's not nearly as pretty now that half the leaves have fallen off...

XXX

Now I am bummed that I didn't charge my phone a bit then immediately go back for a photo on Saturday. A beautiful moment that now only exists in my memories.

Speaking of memories... soon enough, THIS is what the same street will look like...

XXX

   
=shudder=

   

   

Money, and What I Did With It

Posted on October 12th, 2017

Dave!Thanks to some unexpected cash that came into my life last couple months, I was able to pay off a bill, buy new socks, up my monthly donation to Doctors Without Borders, make some donations for animal rescue efforts in hurricane-ravaged Houston... and pay for another batch of old photos to be scanned. The last time I could afford to do this was five years ago, so it was a nice to be able to treat myself to something senselessly expensive and cool like this.

All of the photos I have left for scanning are photo negatives, so I don't really review anything. I just send them in and hope for the best.

This batch ended up being pretty special.

There were photos of my parent's wedding I hadn't seen before. Amazing photos of my mom when she was very young. Fascinating photos of my grandparent's life from a bygone era. And, of course, lots of photos of me and my brother growing up.

Also interesting? A trip to San Francisco by my mom's parents to visit my parents, assumably just before I was born in 1965(?)...

San Francisco circa 1965: Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco circa 1965: Lombard Street

San Francisco circa 1965: Cable Car

San Francisco circa 1965: Chinatown

   
One trend I noticed was oodles and oodles of plaid. My brother and I were drenched in it for half a decade...

Death by Plaid

   
Another photo trend was me on vehicles.

How many people can say that their first car WAS A FIRE TRUCK?!? ME! I CAN TOTALLY SAY THAT! Just look at me! All chill as fuck while cruising down the sidewalk in my sweet ride! Acting like I don't care and all the world is my bitch. SO BAD-ASS!

Lil' Dave in his fire truck

Holy shit! My second car was a Corvette... WITH WORKING HORN!

Lil' Dave in his Corvette

Here's where things started going downhill. Apparently my third car was a wagon...

Lil' Dave in his wagon

   

There are hundreds more photos waiting for me to look through them, so I'm sure "Throwback Thursday" will be a trend for a while here. Or not. Guess it depends how boring my life is next week.

   

RANDOM COW WEDNESDAY!

Posted on October 11th, 2017

Dave!This will all make sense tomorrow.

Maybe.


Random Cow on Wednesday

   
Okay... probably not. But still... it's a random cow. That's pretty cool, right?

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Sony a9

Posted on April 19th, 2017

Dave!Photography is a hobby I absolutely love... but rarely have time to pursue.

Indeed, it seems the only time I get to delve into serious photography is when I'm on vacation. The rest of the time I'm shooting stuff with my iPhone because it's always on me and oh so handy. The iPhone also produces fairly good images, which makes it infinitely more appealing for snapshots than having to drag the Sony a7S Mark II out of my camera bag.

I mean, seriously... this was shot years ago with my iPhone 4...

Wenatchee River Fall Colors

Yes, you read that right... an iPhone 4. Which can't even touch what images you can get out of the iPhone 7s that's out right now.

And, yet... I'm not going to get shots like this from an iPhone...

Hwange Giraffe

Which is why I continue to invest in camera gear. Sure it sits in my closet most of the year, but those times I actually get to shoot with it? Magic.

Because I mostly only shoot on vacation, it's my travels that drive my photography purchases. I know I'm going to be shooting scenery in Vietnam, so I buy a new lens for that. I know I'm going to be going on safari night-drives in Zimbabwe, so I buy a new camera body for that. And so on. And so on.

Photography is an expensive hobby to have.

And today Sony announced the next evolution in their professional mirrorless camera line... the a9...

Needless to say, I'm in love.

Not only does the a9 have some astounding new features that I'll actually use... it also addresses some of the shortcomings of the a7 models that were so frustrating. Like dual media slots. And touch-screen operation. And a LAN port with FTP. And a battery that's worth a shit.

And while I rarely shoot video, the 4K footage (down sampled from 6K!) is pretty amazing...

It's pretty much a dream camera... though I'm sure they'll be coming out with an a9S sometime down the line that will add even more honey to the pot.

There are two problems, however.

First of all, Sony's lack of longer lenses makes the sport and wildlife features kind of moot. Yes, they're going to release a G-series 100-400mm for $2,500 in July... and that will definitely help... but that's all there is. That's the most reach you'll get out of Sony. Sure you can add a $550 extender to double that, but it's a less than ideal scenario for serious sport and wildlife shooters. Not a deal-breaker from my shooting perspective, but until the big glass arrives, the market for the true potential of the a9's capabilities is waiting.

A far bigger problem for me, however is the price.

All $4,500 of it.

Now, don't get me wrong, the specs on this beast of a camera are better than what you can get out of cameras from Canon and Nikon that are far more expensive. I absolutely acknowledge that. But $4,500 for something I'm not going to use very often is a tough thing to justify.

And yet...

I think back to many of the trips I've taken, and I would have killed for this camera. I think forward to the Antarctica trip I'm going to be taking in December, and I know the a9 coupled with the 100-400mm lens would be put to very good use. Heck, in many ways, it's the best possible camera I could take. And given all the money I've had to scrimp and save to even get to Antarctica, isn't that worth the investment?

I dunno.

Maybe I rent one. Or buy the camera and rent the lens. And then sell the camera when I get back if I find I'm not using it as much as I'd like. There are options. All of them expensive.

But maybe.

I guess we'll see how broke I am by the time I've finished paying for my upcoming vacation.

   

It’s a Holiday…

Posted on February 20th, 2017

Dave!...or something. The reason I know this is that there was nobody at work when I showed up.

Oh well. Seems as good as time as any to say don't forget to wipe.


Toilet Paper Roll

   

   

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Florals

Posted on May 25th, 2016

Dave!It's expensive keeping up with the Joneseses.

My neighbors have been stepping up their gardening game lately and the neighborhood is awash with flowers.

Except for me. My irises have all died off, the spice tub has gone to seed, the pots of roses are done, the dogwood is back to leaves-only, and the planters are pretty much finished. I got nuthin'.

Which necessitated my pulling out the spice garden (which I would never use anyway) and a pot of dead stems so I could plant petunias... on sale at Home Depot 6/$6...

Flower Garden

The spices got their revenge, however, as my hands smelled like rosemary(?) for the rest of the day.

That helped a bit, but my yard still looked a bit bare, so I decided to go for a hanging basket. It's nice, I guess, but I didn't notice the plastic pot was cracked when I got it (FOR TWENTY-SIX FRICKIN' DOLLARS!) so I'm sure it will be falling through the bottom any day now...

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

My back yard, on the other hand, is just now starting to bloom. The previous owner has all kinds of roses and stuff in the back flower bed, which is pretty sweet...

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

I wish I could have swapped the front and back of my home... it would have been a lot cheaper than having to buy a bunch of new pretty junk.

   

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Posted on May 10th, 2016

Dave!The minute I heard that Sony was releasing a professional-grade 24-70mm lens, I was intrigued.

For oh so many reasons, this is the perfect lens for general photography, but the biggest reason is that it fills a gaping hole in my lens line-up.

Which is currently like this...

  • Sony 10-18mm f/4 Zoom (with OSS).
  • <<< Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. >>>
  • Sony 70-200mm f/4 Zoom (with OSS).
  • Sony 35mm f/2.8 Prime.
  • Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro Prime (with OSS).

See? It's a perfect fit! And the lens sounds too good to be true...

  • Stunning sharpness.
  • Quick focusing system.
  • Consistent f/2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range.
  • Sealed to resist dust and moisture.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

Of course, it actually is too good to be true when you consider the following...

  • It is huge. Rendering the whole purpose of owning a compact mirrorless camera moot.
  • It is heavy. Seriously heavy at 2-lbs.
  • There is no Optical SteadyShot (OSS) in-lens.
  • It is unfathomably expensive at $2,200.

And yet...

This is the lens I need. Once it's on my camera, I can use it for 90% of my photography. For quick trips, it could very well be the only lens I take with me.

Of course, needing something and being about to afford it are two very different things. So I ended up selling some gear (including my amazing Sony A7s camera) to get it.

Totally worth it.

Yes, the size and weight are a bit of a bummer. But you can't have a feature-set like this without trade-offs. A few quick test-shots have confirmed that it is definitely fast and exceedingly sharp (bordering on what you get from a prime lens)...

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

I'm sure I'll have more to say when I've had a chance to really put it through its paces. But, for now? Amazing, amazing glass.

   

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