OK, I just had to do it
I took a picture with my cellphone and then immediately followed it up with the Canon.
I still can’t believe the difference
So here we have a side by side comparison. You can somewhat see what I hoped to demonstrate in the small pictures on the blog. You need to click them to download the full size picture, then click that to get the full effect. Talk about poles apart from one another
I used my cellphone for the first picture just like I’ve done for quite a while now. Nice picture, but still a bit fuzzy around the edges.
The next two pictures came from the new Canon.
Notice the sharpness of the light over the freeway in the center of the frame. Heck, the whole thing looks better!
And then I saw the moon and knew I had to try this I zoomed in as far as I could and took the picture. Then I cropped out just the moon itself. Notice the detail in the craters. It would have come out better had a very fine layer of clouds not softened the image
Yeah, I think I like it
I ain’t gonna sugar coat it. The cellphone pictures surprised me with their quality and I consider them pretty darn good for a cellphone. But they don’t hold a candle to a proper camera.
My Sanyo lasted for over two years, but the particles of something unknown between the lens elements finally did it in. It would have cost much more to fix it than it would cost to buy a new camera.
I looked at quite a few and though I’m on a lean budget, the new models of my old Sanyo appear to have drawn some criticism. Minor things like “lens error” cropping up shortly outside of the 90 day warranty that would cost more to fix… Well, you get the idea. I don’t think so. Thanks anyway.
One of the things I dearly missed on digital cameras I’ve had since my first one has been a real optical viewfinder. Shooting in burst mode, you have no idea where the subject will appear when the exposures finish because the screen has gone black. Likewise, some lighting conditions can cause the screen to become unreadable.
I already have a supply of rechargeable AA batteries and I insist that my digital camera run on these. They’re everywhere if you need one. They’re cheap. They’re dependable. I refuse to buy one of the cameras out there that take some weird, proprietary battery pack. I just know it would end up biting me in the @$$.
I also have a few different SD memory cards. Some of the cameras out there take other types. I really don’t want to have to worry about buying more memory cards.
I finally decided on the Canon PowerShot A1000 IS.
I might be eating cup of noodles for a while, but I don’t think I’ll mind too much
So how do the pictures look? Here ya go
And here you go – the beast as seen on Canon’s product web page. It comes in several colors, but they only had grey in stock and I didn’t mind. Of course, taking 4MB pictures will tend to fill up the included 32MB card in a hurry, but like I said I already have cards.
I really like that it only takes about one second from the time you hit the power button until you can take a picture. The old Sanyo took a good five or six seconds and if you get caught unaware by a surprise opportunity for a great picture this could lead to a tragic loss of the shot.
So without further ado, I present for your evaluation the first picture from my new camera to go public
Yes, I took it by sticking the camera out the driver’s window while going down the road. Yes, I was smart enough to keep the strap around my wrist :P: I had to rotate it to get it level and crop it to get it square again, but I can still only describe it as FREAKING HUGE Of course, you have to click on the picture to see that full size version
Check out the full size version of all three pictures. Go ahead, as long as you have a high speed connection. Once the picture is displayed after you’ve clicked on it, click it again to see it truly full size. I really can’t believe the detail and contrast. Shadows cast by clouds in the humid air below them show clearly whereas the cellphone could not capture them.
And now for the last pic of the day. You’ve seen similar scenes looking west on Smoke Ranch, but not this rich in detail
I can’t wait until I have the chance to give this camera a real workout
Today was not a day I sat idle in my apartment. I didn’t sequester myself while trying to hide or deal with the change of moving and of missing someone. I got out and took care of business
Rent & Utilities: Paid – all $750 of it
With business out of the way, I decided to see if I could get rained on and feel some cool air that didn’t come from an air conditioner. Air cooled by Nature. Air with humidity!
I should probably add the fact that for some unknown reason, I have fallen into an “artsy” mood tonight. This means my writing might just differ a wee bit from what most people have seen in the past Possible causal factors include the three hours of sleep last night, the overdose of Diet Rock Star, the stress from the last week at work, or the release of the stress and worry about my ability to pay my bills – especially my car’s registration! Of course, the music selections for blogging tonight could have something to do with it, too:
Hilary Duff – Fly
There’s probably more, but that’s a good start
With that out of the way, on to the pictures and stuff
I can’t fault the landscaping of the “patio” or whatever you want to call it. I find it classy and fitting for the location
I present you with the ticket which served as my place in line at the DMV. Note the number – G549. Note also the time at which this ticket was issued – 1:27 PM. A computerized voice announces your number when your time has come to finally do what you’ve come to do and your ticket number flashes on a board along with the desk number you’ve been assigned. As I entered the Hall of Eternal Waiting, I heard a number announced – G420. I might add that it took 20 minutes in line just to have G549 assigned.
Have you ever seen Beetlejuice? you know – the movie with Michael Keaton and the dead people? Remember that part where he has to wait in a small room with a witch doctor after the sand worm on Saturn ate him? Go here for the video and skip to 1:47 in the clip. That shows about how I felt right then. No, I didn’t steal someone else’s ticket, but the thought did cross my mind for a few milliseconds. Kind of like Data contemplating the Borg Queen’s offer in Star Trek First Contact. But I digress…
The computer finally summoned me to desk nine at about 1448 hours – an hour and twenty-one minutes later. Total time to this point: one hour and forty-one minutes. I exited the place of Demented Maniacal Villains (DMV) at about 1515 hours. Total time in that place: one hour and forty-eight minutes.
Sure, the agent who helped me demonstrated good cheer, a sense of humor, and real empathy, but after an hour and forty-eight minutes, I wouldn’t mind never having to return
Having left the Place of Suffering with my bank account holding considerably less money, I headed west on the 215 beltway. Looking into the distance, my plan of heading home suddenly changed – the storm on the mountain called to me, bade me to come up to the thin air and cool dampness.
Ninety-two degrees. I’ve somehow become accustomed to this. It has become normal. The memories of San Diego beach weather may have faded somewhat, but they still live on. I may have come to consider Las Vegas weather to be normal, but that still does not make it the greatest I’ve known.
I speed closer to the storm on the mountain. I worry that I might not make it in time to feel the rain.
I cannot see the mountain top, but that which obscures it holds the promise of salvation from the oppressive grip of the desert heat and desiccation.
Someone indeed painted the sky with clouds today. And what an artist! Puffy here, wispy there, never the same from place to place.
I can recall a time long ago, many years ago, when eighty six degrees marked the high temperature on a warm day in Poway, California. I find the fact that this now feels cool somewhat dispiriting. I continued on…
Indeed, the joshua trees and shrubs thirst for rain as do the arid soil and the animals. They guard their moisture well for they know not when to expect more.
Only the hearty survivors carve out a niche in this climate and few of those can thrive and grow like those joshua trees. Their size belies the difficulty of their existence and the time they take to become so large.
The flora and fauna of this region may have adapted to the desert climate, but I suspect they welcome the temporary cooling shade of the clouds as I do.
Climbing higher with the road, I feel my ears begin to pop as I pass five thousand feet elevation above sea level. Trevor continues to carry me on with not a hint of protest.
Nearing the mountain, I can clearly see the precipitation meeting the topology. I only hope I arrive in time to experience that myself.
Sixty-three degrees. A common temperature in San Diego, especially near the coast, I considered this normal and perfect for shorts and flip-flops. Amazing what four years in the desert can change.
I made it! The heavy rain has passed, but the sprinkles remain. I hold my hand outstretched through the open driver’s window to enjoy the feeling of water meeting skin.
The rain has also released the scent from the pine and fir tree forest. A hint of vanilla from the ponderosas mingles with the fresh scent from the fir trees which remind me of the smell a Christmas tree brings into a home. Somewhere someone has started a fire in their home’s fireplace – I smell the telltale smoke lingering on the breeze.
And just look at what I see up on the higher elevations – new snow! May has nearly passed and June arrives on Monday, but on this Saturday I’m treated to the sight of new snow so near to Las Vegas!
These are just three of my favorite things – Mountain air, rain, and Trevor.
What a difference fifty-three minutes can make! Only fifty-three minutes elapsed between the time the photograph above showing ninety-two degrees was captured and when this picture was made. Fifty-three minutes to drop forty-seven degrees. And that included stopping for soda and snacks! Such an incredible change. I sweat on the desert floor to keep cool whereas I shiver up here to keep warm. The dusty calefaction below sucks the moisture from my body without delay, but the saturated chill up here causes my breath to condense.
Such a rare sight where I live now and where I have lived before, the rain water on the ground reflects an image of what lies above it.
I do my best to appreciate the sensations around me at any given moment, especially when they reach extremes. I can savor the seething, melting heat of summer and truly enjoy it at times. We all only get one shot at life and while we will encounter extremes, I feel few ever take the chance to soak them up. I kept my hand outside the driver’s window up on top of the mountain to feel the numbing bite of the cold soaking into my skin.
Moderation still rules when partaking of extremes. Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia, and in extreme cases frostbite can result from ignoring moderation. You don’t always get the benefit of moderation around here when it comes to outside temperature, so you must use some common sense. Consider it similar to alcohol – a glass of wine won’t hurt anything, but drinking a whole bottle of whiskey will likely land you in the emergency room.
The Mojave has no thermostat accessible to we mere mortals, thus we broil for months on end. Yes, we have air conditioning to cool our homes and businesses, but it just doesn’t feel the same. It feels artificial. Manufactured. Harsh. Forced. It smells of nothing. It looks no different.
By contrast, the chilled air of the high mountains in the shade of storm clouds feels organic. Natural. Soft if still somewhat biting. Free. It carries wonderful scents which stimulate the mind and memories. It looks completely different from the rocky wasteland of the desert.
I revel in the embrace of the wintry breeze, the aroma of sodden forest, the delectable sting of small rain drops meeting my face, the sight of the rock faces as they stand freshly dusted with a light blanket of snow.
Puddles and saturated ground stretch out in every direction. Frowned upon by concerned citizens in the desert when caused by carelessness due to the scarcity of this essential resource, Nature has distributed water liberally today on the mountain.
The weather vane and anemometer atop this weather station gather sterile scientific data about the dynamic environment in Kyle Canyon.
From its perch on the mountain, this automated, solar powered weather station transmits its collected observations to the National Weather Service. Fools such as myself can find this data on their web page. We use this information to tell ourselves what the weather up on Mt. Charleston does at any given time. We usually compare this information with our local observations and express envy during the warm season for anyone who might have the luck or intelligence to escape our situation and head up there instead of staying here.
At first glance, the raindrops on Trevor’s hood almost appear to resemble beads of sweat. Of course Trevor doesn’t sweat, but I still laughed to myself.
I just have to show her off in this picture. Cardinal Red Metallic paint contrasts so well against the green of the foliage and the brown of the earth, yet it still seems to fit in. And of course, she just looks darn good. Classic even.
Back down on the desert floor, we can see another island of rain on a distant mountain. Sights such as this still stir something in me as they look so unnatural and yet so natural at the same time. Random blessings of life sustaining water deposited in small spots and trails across vast expanses, bringing relief. Yet at the same time most of the area goes without.
Finally back home, I set the parking brake and prepare to leave Trevor under the cover of the awning. I take one last look at the outside temperature. Ninety-five degrees. Only one hour and twenty-two minutes since the picture of Trevor and the trees. Only eighty-two minutes since I felt the caress of a cool mountain breeze, I step out of my car and back into the embrace of the summer warmth.
You might recognize this picture from above – the picture with the caption about the shadow on the joshua trees. I adjusted a few things to make a somewhat mundane and very terrestrial scene appear alien. I think it expresses the contrasts so commonly found in this region. A short trip can seem to take you to a different world
I hope you have enjoyed this post and the slightly different feel I sought to bring to it.
Have a wonderful day
I’m off to bed, finally
Here’s one from my parking lot at work
Landscaping around Las Vegas has to be “drought resistant” and conserve water. These two plants do that nicely.
I noticed something when I got out of my car yesterday – the rosemary was much more fragrant than usual. I don’t know why, but it was. You couldn’t help but notice it.
Also, what would the reaction in the media and by politicians be?
I’m talking about this little gem:
Uh huh. Yeah. I think we’d be looking at something just a bit different from the media and the ruling class. I’d be willing to bet my Steyr M95 that Sarah Brady and the Violence Policy Center would be foaming at the mouth right about now. Dianne Feinstein, Henry Waxman, and Carolyn McCarthy would pontificate for the cameras.
But not this time. It was government officials this time.
I know the reactor wasn’t in any danger. You’d need a lot more firepower than what these guys had to dent a reactor. I also happen to think that this is a pretty decent place to put a police shooting range – away from civilians and secured. My problem is that people were in danger and aside from an “oops” and an investigation into which officers fired those rounds, it’s going to go away. This investigation needs to look just a bit higher up the chain of command in my ever so humble opinion and it needs to look into how this could have happened in the first place.
Target ranges are places of strict rules for a reason. All muzzles are either pointed up or downrange. Even when you open the gun case – if the gun is pointing the wrong way in the case you close the case, turn it around, and open it again. Actions are open and magazines out when anyone is downrange. And you make darn sure that if a round goes over the impact berm it won’t hit anything valuable. Like a nuclear power plant.
Police and military operators (and yes, some civilian organizations) have “shoot houses” where you go inside and shoot in any direction. The walls are bullet proof. The Navy has some of these that are open on top, but they’re far enough away from anything that a stray round over the wall (while still being punishable) won’t cause harm to anything. Like a nuclear power plant.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this one, but think about this again – what would happen if it were your or me who fired those shots?
Found at Gun Rights 4 US
The aircraft you see being shot down are unmanned QF-4 drones. They’ve been modified for unmanned flight so that missiles can be properly tested and pilots can gain proficiency.
This has to be one of the best videos of its type I’ve ever seen
I’ve been keeping an eye on Obama’s choice for the United States Supreme Court, but haven’t said anything. I’ve just sat back and watched, trying to figure out what’s what here.
After much observation I’ve come to the conclusion that Sotomayor is not the right person for this job.
Here’s one of the things that lead me to that conclusion:
The other thing that this has cemented in my mind is that the Obama administration either really doesn’t get it or doesn’t care. You see, when it comes to Supreme Court justices, the words are all that matter. Remember Bill Clinton and “that depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” – anyone?
This isn’t just law we’re dealing with, but interpreting the Constitution and communicating precisely what is meant. Poor word choices can have adverse consequences on a national scale.
This is by far not the only reason I don’t support Sotomayor for the slot on the Supreme Court, but it’s a big one.
I’ve gotten pretty good at snapping pictures with my cellphone while driving It ain’t easy to get a picture of a car behind and to the left of you when you’re about to turn left onto the freeway. And you’re driving stick shift
Yes, safety does come first – I’d rather lose my phone on the road than crash, so I’m always prepared to abort the operation if needed
I had to get a picture of this truck – the flames just rule!
I also thought this would be an interesting comparison with the Jeep from yesterday since both were driven by girls
From the Washington Examiner:
Go and read the whole thing. Then decide if this is the government you want.
I can only barely begin to find the words to express my disgust at this. Government exists to protect the rights of the people. It does not exist for the purpose of enriching political party members. That’s known as corruption. This reminds me of what I would expect in a two bit banana republic with a military junta or other strong man dictator in power. This is not the United States of America I know and love.
The funny thing about banana republics, military juntas, strong man dictatorships, and corrupt politicians is that they usually don’t last all that long. Sure there have been exceptions, but over all what usually seems to happen is that either the people become disaffected and take up arms, the military becomes disaffected and takes up arms, or someone ambitious finds a way to topple the ruling regime. Occasionally someone with a conscience will do something to bring wrongs into the light. The point is that these governments don’t last.
The last criminal act that would rise to this level that I can think of was Watergate. Remember Woodward and Bernstein? Anyone remember who “Deep Throat” turned out to be? That’s right – “Deep Throat” was a Secret Service agent. His conscience guided him to make Watergate public via Woodward and Bernstein which lead to Richard M. Nixon becoming the first and only individual to resign from the office of President of the United States of America.
Found over at Mike Vanderboegh’s Sipsey Street Irregulars
From the You’ve Got to be FOXTROTTING Kidding Me files, we have this new piece from Voodoo Warrior:
Go read the whole thing.
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