Flash Fail

I don’t like using a flash when I take pictures. I just don’t like the way it looks. I use it sometimes, all of the indoor Christmas decorations pics from yesterday (except the owl) had the flash on, but generally speaking I avoid it as much as possible. When I was a kid and we had our cheap little point and shoot camera I thought the flash was a requirement. When Dad bought his SLR he had a separate flash that mounted on top of the camera but I don’t really remember him using it at all. The only times I remember him using the camera were outside during the day. Specifically, our one trip to Niagara falls where he let me use the camera for a while and I realized I kinda loved it.

When my sister found the camera in Dad’s dresser the flash was there and I took it with the rest of the stuff. I never tried to use it though, until today. I knew from my million or so viewings of how-to-use-your-manual-slr videos on the youtubes that there is a shutter speed setting for using an external flash. What about the aperture though? How do I know how to set that? Back to the youtubes I go. I watched a couple of videos this morning and it made perfect sense. The flash has an ISO setting and when you set it to your current film speed it tells you what aperture to use and the approximate distance the flash will be effective.

I set up my film camera, which currently does not have any film in it, to see if I could at least get the flash to flash. The unit wouldn’t turn on so the batteries must have been dead. I found the battery door, opened it up and… The last time the batteries were changed was probably some time in the mid 80’s. They have been sitting there all of those decades and one of them leaked like crazy. I was pretty surprised that only one of them leaked, but it was enough. The terminals are all corroded and changing the batteries didn’t work. I watched still more youtubes on cleaning battery connections and I know what I need to do before I try again, I am just not entirely sure I want to bother trying. Like I said at the start, I don’t like using a flash. I might try to use it on Christmas morning, or something, but other than that? I don’t really see myself going through the trouble of setting it up. Maybe this weekend I’ll try to clean the terminals, just to see how that goes. Until then, I am not going to worry about it.

On an unrelated note, our plans for New York this weekend have been canceled. Not because of Covid-19 paranoia, but because of some back pain issues. We’re still planning to go to Bellana’s concert in Vermont on Sunday. We’ll have to see how it goes. I doubt I’ll bring a film camera there. It’ll be too dark in the room and I don’t want to use a flash.

Squee, I Say. Squee


See that? That’s a picture of my film camera using one of Dad’s camera’s lenses. I don’t have film in that camera at the moment so I didn’t shoot any pictures, but since it’s an SLR and the viewfinder actually looks through the lens (unlike rangefinders or mirrorless cameras or point and shoots) I was able to test setting the aperture, focusing, and zooming and everything seems to work fine. Focusing is tough, but it is tough with the Nikon lens too.

I haven’t tested it with Dad’s 50mm prime lens because I am afraid to. That lens is the best lens I have in the house and I don’t want to break it. I will test it at some point though, and I will test it on my digital SLR as well because it is also a Nikon and both of my Nikons have the same lens mount. I’ll have to figure out how to set the aperture though as the DSLR does that digitally and Dad’s lenses both do it manually and I am not sure how the two will work together.

This may seem like a little thing, but it’s really a “squee” worthy moment for my dumb ass.

Squee. Seriously.

The “U” Word Scares Me and My Wallet

Last night my camera scared me. I took out the memory card so I could upload the picture of my cat that I posted here last night. When I put the memory card back into the camera it errored. What was that? I took it out and put it back in… same error. I went all Nintendo on it’s skinny ass and blew on it as well as the card slot and it was fine again. I took a few pics this morning and I just uploaded them to Flickr and I put the card back in and it’s fine.

Sigh of relief.

It got me thinking though… I bought my DSLR in January 2010. That was 12 years ago. That seems like a long time for a tech gadget. A really, super long time. When should I start considering thinking about the “u” word? You know… upgrade. Realistically, I probably should have been asking myself this question five years ago (at least), but even though I know I can probably fix this problem by picking up a new memory card, I have to start thinking about what camera comes next.

I went on Nikon’s website to see what they have available these days. For DSLRs , the D5600 is marketed to advanced beginners and it costs $700 without a kit lens. The D7500 would probably be what I looked at if money wasn’t an issue, but it costs a grand for just the body.

What about mirrorless? That’s the future, right? Shouldn’t I get on the wagon before it leaves that homestead? The Z fc is clearly the coolest camera on the Earth at this time. Yes, it’s a retro inspired, hipster focused gimmick, but now that I am nutty over old manual film cameras a mirrorless camera based on an old design is right up my alley. I’ll take one to go, thank you. Except that it costs $959 without a lens, and the lens mount is different than my DSLR so I will need a new lens as well and the price with a kit lens is $1,099.95. There is also the Z50, which I think is the same guts as a Z fc, and that will be $999.95 with a lens.


I don’t want to leave Nikon-land and I don’t want to buy a used camera…


Maybe I should start looking at Fuji… those probably cost a mint too.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took around the living room just to make sure everything still works. I put a mono filter on the RAW files in honor of the gloomy camera atmosphere.

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Packing Up

Harry’s getting all of his boxes packed up and ready to go for tomorrow. The plan is for him to load up his car in the morning and anything that doesn’t fit will go into our car.

In the interest of distracting myself from the imminent return of the empty nest syndrome I am trying to figure out what to do with the camera situation. There will be rest stops and gas stations and maybe lunch in downtime Burlington and I still want to find a way to convince the love of my life to drive through Woodstock, VT and possibly the glory that is the Quechee Gorge (I think there’s zero chance of either thing) and in the current mental state I will need a camera close to me at all times. Film is a given, right? But these days film requires a digital companion. Will it be the DSLR or will it be the point and shoot? The iPhone will be there, of course, but which other camera will be there with it?

I am not going to make that call tonight, but in preparation I have put both camera’s batteries on their chargers. It also depends on how much stuff ends up in our car. If I have room for the bag I’ll take the DSLR. If not then I’ll take the point and shoot. Here’s hoping for sun and a chance to get close to Lake Champlain (pretty much zero chance of that too). Also maybe a chance to see some of the cool parts of downtown. We’re dropping Harry’s stuff off and then moving across town to meet Bellana. Lunch downtown could happen.

I’m not sure where this post is going anymore. Camera. Film Camera. Digital Camera. Yadda yadda yadda.

It’s quarter past nine in the evening and I haven’t done my walkies yet. I will do it after everyone else goes to bed, which should be any minute now.

Fails Galore

Yesterday I said I was going to do car music today before work. Did I? Of course not. Fail. Tomorrow seems unlikely because I’ll be all jazzed up to weigh in and won’t want to go out. Thursday? Maybe. We’ll see.

I said yesterday I wanted to try and take some pictures of stars. I couldn’t last night because of the clouds, but I am still thinking I might pass. I won’t be able to keep the shutter open long enough to get a really good star trail and I really don’t have the energy to learn how to stack pictures. I don’t know. Also, I live in light pollution central. It’s not as bad as a big city around here, but it’s really bad. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Last night I watched a video of a group of folks going on a photowalk together in Cambridge, MA. It wasn’t anyplace I recognized, but that’s not the point. I think that would be fun. Just get together with a few nerdy folks, pick a neighborhood and just be camera geeks together. I think the group in the video was actually a photography class, and I don’t want that. Just some friends going for a dorky walk. I wonder if I need to subtly convince Jen and Harry that they want new cameras. Insert maniacal laughter here. Heh heh heh.

I just ate some scrambled eggs for breakfast. I ate it too fast. My stomach is a little disappointed with me at the moment. I expect lots of loud, powerful burping in the near future. I really need to stop doing this to myself.

I did something completely insane this morning. I was doing my 30 minute walk, which I now call my walkies, and instead of just walking in place for half an hour, I made a small change. When the timer hit 29 minutes I… prepare to be shocked… ran in place for one minute. Me. Robert. Ran. I am still alive. I wonder if I should try two minutes tomorrow.

My insanity is reminiscent of hulkamania… It’s running wild.*

*No, I am not a wrestling fan. I dabbled when I was like 12 years old, but that’s it. I also grew up in the 80’s, so even if I had never given wrestling even a minute of my time, I’d still know what hulkamania was. You kinda couldn’t avoid it. The dude even hosted Saturday Night Live once, I mean come on. I think they even had a Saturday morning cartoon. So don’t come at me with wrestling stuff, it was a historical reference not a fake sports reference. End rant.

Holy Expensive Cameras, Batman

Wow. Like…wow.

Nikon has had about 36,000 different camera models through the years. At least. My DSLR is 12 years old and it’s not going to last forever. So today I went to their website to see how much their top of the line cameras cost.

The flagship DSLR, the D6, only costs about $6,500. Not bad. The flagship non-professional class DSLR, the D500, is a veritable steal at just $1600. Groovy.

The cheapest DSLR is the D3400 at $500. Yeah, I think my friendly D90 and I are going to stay together until it disintegrates in my hands. I’m guessing it will still take good pictures even after it crumbles to dust.

What about mirrorless models? I know nothing about mirrorless cameras so don’t ask for opinions. The cheapest is the D30 at $710. The top of the line is the Z9 at $5,500. The coolest is the Zfc because it looks like a design from the 1970’s and it only costs $960.

Bargains galor!

No Luck

I did the lunch time thrift shop trip today. No dice. The Salvation Army store in Salem, NH had nothing. The Goodwill store in Salem, NH had a couple of really cheap point and shoots from the ’70’s and nothing else.

Maybe I’ll go back to combing ebay. Maybe I’ll wait a week and try the thrifties again. Maybe I’ll drive up to Manchester, NH this weekend and try there. Who can say, really.

Goodwill had some nice looking record players though. Something to think about. It also had a single electric guitar that was little more than a toy. Interestingly, there was a set of bells (xylophone) for $80. Very similar to what Harry was playing in high school. I thought about it for a second, then returned my focus to the task at hand.

No luck today. Better luck next time.

Lunch Break Flake

I had two ideas for things to do on my lunch break today. I am not going to do either one.

  • Thrift shopping for manual film SLRs on the cheap
    • The Salvation Army store in Salem, NH is apparently only open M-F 10am to 5pm meaning I will never be able to get there unless it’s on my lunch break
  • Take one of the cameras (probably the digital) out into the woods behind the house to check out a couple of huge fallen trees. Nature photography, babie. Yeah!
    • I think the main reason I am not outside right now is ticks. I would have to put on longer, heavier socks and maybe boots and shit like that and I just don’t wanna.

Instead of doing those two things I am sitting at my desk typing this here message to you, the universe.

I’m actually struggling with lunch today. I don’t know what I want. For the first time since before the surgery I am kinda tired of the handful of mini-meals I’ve been eating. I wasn’t in the mood for any of the usual suspects. Chicken, Tuna, Eggs… nothing. I made myself 3.9 ounces of chicken salad but I really don’t want it. I am just eating it to get the protein.

What do I want? Who am I?

Unrelated note: I read that CVS takes 7-10 days to develop your film and return it to you. Today is day 11 since I dropped off the first roll. One YouTube video on beginning film photography said it takes two weeks. Is the YouTube video more accurate than the store? Stay tuned and find out. Or, CVS can just give me my friggin’ pics.

ADDENDUM: Screw it, I thought. I am going to check out that spot in the woods. I grabbed my camera and opened up the bulkhead (which is right next to my desk), and saw that our next door neighbor was hitting golf balls into the woods, as he sometimes does. Shit. A 10 minute photo-op is not worth getting beaned in the noggin’ with a golf ball. Maybe tomorrow. Ticks be damned.

Tuesday July 5, 2022

The long weekend is over. It was nice, even though July 4th is now meaningless. Mostly Jen and I just hung out, but I also visited mom a few times and bought some clothes that fit (for now) and took a shit load of pictures on both Dad’s camera and my camera. We also went for a random drive to enjoy the nice weather yesterday. It was a pretty good weekend.

And now it’s over. We have a couple of contractors coming today to give estimates on fixing a potentially huge issue in the new bathroom. We’re pretty much guaranteed to lose the shower in there, which makes me sad. It is a walk in shower and I always wanted a walk in shower. Unfortunately there is a leak somewhere and there is evidence that the wall behind the shower stall is rotting so… buhbye walk in shower. Not sure what we’ll do with the space once it’s cleaned up. A linen closet? Maybe?

As for everything else. I did not get a chance to work on any music last night. I’ve been so hung up on the photography stuff lately that I haven’t been thinking music much at all. Time to find a middle ground where I can obsess over both topics. Music needs to be written, guitars need to be played, thrift stores need to be combed for inexpensive old film SLR cameras. Lizardfish needs to reunite. I sent a chat to the band yesterday saying if we don’t practice soon I am going to die. Here’s hoping they can save my life.

Okay. Get to work.

Last Day

Two days off for the holiday, then one day working at home, then two days off for the weekend. All day yesterday I was convinced it was Sunday. I had to keep reminding myself it was only Saturday. You’d think today would feel like a happy bonus then, but it just feels like The End.

Two days ago I finally got around to watching The Worlds End. You know, the third Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright movie (did I misspell any of those names? Sorry). I don’t know why I waited so long. I was laughing my tail off. I think I woke up the house a couple of times. Last night I celebrated the funny by watching Hot Fuzz, but it was too late at night and I couldn’t finish due to need for sleep. Still, sick funny. I love all three of their movies.

I got a pedal board for christmas but all of my pedals are at Mike’s house. If we practice today I’ll bring them all home so I can Velcro the bejeezus out of them and set up my new board. It’s going to be strange to have everything in the correct position waiting for me to plug in and stomp on them each time we practice. Strange but good.

I need to take the car out for an oil change today. Maybe I’ll bring the camera and the new lens along and test drive it out at some of the usual spots in town. Sounds like a good idea, even though the sun will be covered with clouds all day.

Happy Sunday, everyone.