Friday, July 27, 2012

New Camera!

I'm a fan of advanced point and shoot cameras, because I don't care about being burdened with carrying around different lenses.   There are three things I look for in a camera-- a big zoom for birds, burst mode for birds, and easy automatic focusing.  Of course there are other things, such as ease in changing settings, decent movie capability, etc.  My last camera was a Panasonic, and because I wasn't 100% happy with the way it focused on birds through the leaves in the trees, I decided to go back to a Canon.  Generally I make sure to check the written reviews on Amazon and other sites.  I trust those more than the professional reviews.

I waited until the model was about 1/2 dated (new one out in a few months) because there usually is about a 25% discount after a model has been out a few months.  A huge plus to this particular Canon is that it has a 35x optical zoom. Naturally, I tried out my new camera with birds. 

Although the weather is still too hot to do much outdoor photography,  I sat on our front porch at the river, rested my arms on the railing of the porch, and managed to take full advantage of the zoom.  This is by far the best photo of the red headed woodpeckers that live in our front yard (the downy woodpecker is the more common variety I see in Memphis).

Here is the "shy" summer tanager: 

This photo has the most detailed feathers of any of my bluebird photos.  That may be attributed to the large zoom, my being somewhat camouflaged by the porch, and being able to steady my arms with the porch railing.

I am looking forward to getting to learn more about the camera when the weather improves.  There is a big learning curve with any camera, but this one should be worth it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"It's Hotter than Vinyl Underwear"

Like a good part of the country, Tennessee has been in the grips of a big heat wave, combined with humidity, smog, weather warnings, etc.   For an outdoor photographer, that means  trouble.  I knew my photography would slow down over the summer, but I never suspected that it would come to a virtual halt. After all, at least once a week,  I am awake  at 6am and can get my exercise walking at the same time I am scouring the sky and landscape for ducks, herons, bison, etc. Well, dawn isn't early enough to escape the heat and humidity. I even sent away for a kick boxing DVD to use instead of walking.  (It is still in the box.)

That is my excuse for no blog posts for a month.  So I decided to try to make a weather statement!  I wanted to think about winter to add some balance to the high temperatures.  I don't have many snowy and icy photos, but I gathered the ones that I do have together, and made a slideshow.  I knew there must be a song entitled "Christmas in July", so I did a search for downloadable songs on Amazon.  I generally now buy MP3s from Amazon rather than go to ITunes.  Here is a hint:  If you are making slideshows with Windows, and not a using a Mac, then MP3s are the way to go.  I'm not even sure how to use ITunes music on a slideshow. But then, with Amazon available, I don't have to learn that, thankfully. 

I was wrong about there being *A*  song named Christmas in July.  There were many!  I listened to about ten samples of different songs entitled Christmas in July, and this one was the only one that seemed remotely appropriate, and possibly good. I took a chance and paid 89 cents to download it. Yes, it is a bit hillbilly, but you must know that a native Texan, transplanted to Tennessee, who is married to someone who likes bass fishing, must have at least some affinity for hillbilly type music, as long as it is good.  And this is good.  I need to check out more stuff by the Therapy Sisters.  After all this hot weather we all need a little therapy.