Saturday, January 15, 2011

This Is Only a Test

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Click this link for more of my work.

I am experimenting with Blogger. My head is reeling. Hardly know my name.

A little bit of knowledge is a verrrrrrry dangerous thing. Furthermore, children should not be allowed to play with sharp objects.

And, yes, the photo was previously posted. So, sue me! Sorry, a little on edge. No matter how many times this infernal post goes up, try to ignore it.  

Honest, this phase won't last long. I only do this sort of thing on rare occasion and once I recover I stay away from sharp objects for a very long time.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Eat When You Can Run?

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If you ever consider getting a Shetland Sheepdog and do any research, some of the things you learn may give you pause. One is the issue of grooming. The Sheltie coat is thick with quite an undercoat. The other drawback is that Shelties (as they are often called) are extremely high energy dogs. You can either have a well-exercised dog and enjoy the relationship, or a dog who doesn't get exercised and drives you absolutely bonkers.

Galen is a fairly typical Shetland Sheepdog. Very thick coat and, unfortunately, we are not responsible groomers. Shame on us. Fortunately, the grooming hassle with Shelties is offset, in my opinion, by the unusual habit they have of bathing themselves. As a result, they stay surprisingly clean. In the exercise department, however, there are no mitigating factors. Too many hours without some sort of play and this pup is a madman. Furthermore, like most dogs of his breed, he has a bark that will make your ears bleed. Believe me, when he gets nutty, there is no peace. With some exercise, he is extremely well-behaved. Without his workouts, there is misery afoot.

Galen has a good appetite; but, with a choice between eating and running, it's no contest.  He is of the opinion that while food can always wait, one should never pass up an opportunity to get outside and run. We make it a point to see that our pup get gets some exercise every day. Although the Husband has carried the brunt of that workload for weeks, I am beginning to be able to pick up a bit of the slack. It is a joy to watch our energetic pup flying around his little domain.

You can see some more photos of Galen enjoying life, Sheltie style, at these links 6510 and 6528. The links will take you to two more action shots.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SanDisk and Shelties

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A belated but sincere "Thank you" to all who offered me information and the encouragement to switch to the SanDisk Extreme cards. I appreciate the responses to that long ago post. I finally got around to buying two of the Extreme cards and I am a happy shopper. Sure enough, the faster cards are not going to eliminate my yen for that 1D MarkII, but the superior performance of the Extreme cards somewhat eases the itch.

Truthfully, I couldn't manage a 1D now if one appeared on the dining room table. I am nowhere close to getting my reflexes up to speed, much less my arm and hand strength. But, I am relishing the improvement in those departments. I do enjoy the challenge of action photography.

When photographing a madly running Galen (or Lightning, as we call him occasionally), I genuinely appreciate any improvement in emptying that buffer. The upgrade in speed produced a slight twinge of pain in the wallet; nevertheless, I can't imagine now returning to my trusty old Ultra II's for action photography. Heck, who knows? I may end up with Extreme 1V's before you know it. Ouch, I think I felt that twinge again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Foggy Sunday Afternoon

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Saturday, The Husband, Galen, and I went to Cub Lake for a walk. Well, it turns out that much of the surrounding paths and grassy areas are now part of the lake. Thanks to large puddles blocking the way, the walkways were fit for strolling only if you were wearing mud boots. I wasn't. We didn't. Instead, we meandered about in the areas up above the lake and across the road. We came home satisfied enough for the afternoon, but wondering where we were going to take our family walks while the Cub Lake recreation areas dries out.

We decided, Sunday morning, that the places to check were the Equestrian Center and Town Campground. Both are at considerably higher levels than Cub Lake, and we felt confident that we would find paths dry enough for comfortable walking. By noon, the fog had rolled in, and the 40 degree temperature was long gone. By the time we finished lunch and got on our way, the outdoor thermometer had dropped to 28 degrees and was still falling. Additionally, the fog had obliterated from sight all our outbuildings, as well as the houses across the way, and a family walk was no longer quite so appealing. Still, it seemed like a good day to at least enjoy a drive around the valley. We haven't lived here nearly long enough to feel ho-hum about the scenery—fog or no fog.

For the first time in weeks, I grabbed a camera for the short drive. Just like "the old days."  The notion of photographing in fog was tempting for me, Sunday, and I needed to do a good test drive on that 40D and 24-105 that had taken a nosedive. Why not? So it was too cold for wimpy me to spend much time outside. And what if there would be no twisting into contortions to take photos out the window. (Uh uh. Not on my permission list yet.) It would be fun just to look—and perhaps manage a photo or two.

Well, you can imagine how long my resolve lasted. Because I had taken the precaution to bundle up as though headed for the North Pole, I survived popping out of the car several times angling for oaks-in-fog shots.  It was a fun drive. By the time we got home, I was looking forward to some time in front of the fireplace; but, I thawed out quickly. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Canon Tough

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I take reasonably good care of my cameras, but I most certainly don't baby them. They sit about the house, ready for action, and seldom see the inside of a camera bag. If we are going farther than a day trip, then I pack both the 50D and the now backup 40D along with extra lenses, flash, filters, extra batteries, battery chargers, tripod—the whole kit and kaboodle. Camera bags are the only sane way to go in those cases. Otherwise, you would find one or both cameras on a table or shelf close to the action. In the case of day trips, the camera is in my lap if I'm the passenger; and, if I'm driving,the passenger seat holds one (or both) cameras. You can see that I loathe digging in a camera bag when the impulse to press the shutter strikes.

Conversely, I don't treat my cameras roughly. I handle them with some thought, almost never change lenses outside the house or car, and it takes a quite compelling scene for me to use a DSLR in extremely windy and dusty conditions. All this means that I never really wear out a camera. My sadly outdated original Canon Rebel is in excellent condition.

Still, my 40D is strangely accident prone. When the camera and the 24-105mmL lens were only a few months old, The Husband and I were walking alongside a two-lane road in the mountains of Colorado. Naturally, I was absorbed in the scenery around me. Naturally for me, unfortunately, that meant that I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been to where my feet were. We were walking on uneven terrain that was at a slant anyway and I hit a patch of loose gravel. Before I knew what was happening I went down on the pavement, camera first. Eventually, I was grateful to find that the lens hood took the brunt of the blow—for the camera that is. I ended none the worse for wear—other than wounded pride—and the camera functioned beautifully the remainder of the trip. 

Late yesterday evening, I grabbed the 40D—that's where the 24-105mm lens was attached—and headed for the back door to see if I could catch some of the rich coral and lavender in the sky. To the west, the sunset wasn't anything to write home about. The clouds in the east, however, were a different matter. Quickly, I stepped outside and failed to give much attention to Galen who, of course, dashed out with me. "Whoopee! Outside! Playtime!", he thought. The pup sprang up, caught his foot in the camera strap that dangled down and Crash! Yet again, the 40D hit the concrete. It was a horrible sight. I saw the lens hood smack the patio surface, bounce, then it was the camera's turn. Shplat! With a thud the whole thing finally settled in a heap. 

Now, I really love having a second camera. Mostly, it's that lens-changing thing and I learned once that I don't want to be without a backup camera. Unfortunately, I can't brush off the cost of a new DSLR and a replacement L lens. My heart was right there on the concrete beside the camera gear. I scooped it up—the camera that is. (Who remembers rules about bending from the waist in a situation like that?)  Nothing obvious in the way of serious damage. A sizable ding on the body and some rather nasty battle scars on the lens hood, but the camera seemed to focus, the zoom functioned, and when I tried multiple buttons everything seemed to be in working order. Of course, I will do further testing of the battered gear today to make sure everything works, but I am reasonably assured that I got lucky.

Thanks Canon for making an affordable DSLR that will take some body slams and continue to do the job. Now, if you could help me learn to watch where my feet are and keep my camera strap out of puppy range....