Sunday, January 22, 2017

A New Camera For The Appalachian Trail ... And Everywhere Else

This week I received my new rugged camera that I will take on the Appalachian Trail (AT).  This camera replaces the Nikon Coolpix AW100 that I've owned since March 2012.  I really liked the AW100 and took it everywhere.  Unfortunately, off the Galapagos Islands, the camera screen went dead.

When I returned home I planned to replace the camera with the newer model (the AW130) but, after reading a few comments, found out that the dead screen problem still existed in the newer models.  This was disappointing.  I decided to go for the newer version of the camera that came it second to the AW100 when I did my previous search.  The Olympus Stylus TG-4 had good reviews and hit most of my criteria (I list those criteria in the AW100 post linked above).

Olympus Stylus TG-4
In fact, the TG-4 actually meets one more criteria than the  AW100 does - the capability of taking RAW format pictures.  The one thing that convinced me to purchase the AW100 before was the 5x zoom vs the TG-4 4x zoom.  As I mentioned in the linked post, zoom and tough cameras are not always compatible.  We'll see if i miss the extra zoomability.

I like the TG-4's auto Panorama mode which creates the panoramas in the camera without the need for external software.  This simplifies things a lot.  I do love me a good panorama and the tools provided should allow me to take better ones.

The Microscope mode (referred to as macro mode on most other cameras) is great.  The TG-4 has more options that make taking close up pictures even better including focus stacking that increases the depth of field of macro pictures.  Like panoramas, close up macro pictures are another favorite form for me.  Looking forward to experimenting with the new modes.

The Underwater modes are also more versatile than the AW100 including an High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode for underwater photographs (there is an HDR mode for above water pictures as well).  Not sure when I will get to try these new underwater modes out.  Who knows, it may be in a swimming hole along the AT.

Talking about the AT, travel weight for the camera is comparable to the AW100.  The camera, charger/data cable, and extra batteries come in at 13.6 oz (386 grams)  only a smidge (2 grams) heavier.  The TG-4 is heavier than the AW100 but the charger/data cable is much lighter.

The camera also has GPS and even Wi-Fi.  I will be taking my full size GPS so will probably not use the GPS function to conserve battery power.  The Wi-Fi, which allows transfer of pictures directly to my tablet without cables may or may not be used.  I think a direct cable transfer may be quicker and, at times, easier.

All in all,  the new camera has a lot going for it and I can't wait to really experiment with it.  Tomorrow may be that first day as I hope to take a walk and I almost always find something interesting to photograph on my walks.

Friday, January 20, 2017

That Bloated Disgusting Feeling

I spent the morning watching the presidential inauguration.  In the process I ate an entire bag of Chocolate Creme Oreos.  By the end of the bag I felt bloated and disgusting ... which frankly matches my opinion of our glorious leader.

Chocolate Creme Oreo
Chocolate Creme Oreos - so yummy ... so bloat inducing.
I think the next four years will be a disaster for our nation.  I can't see anything good coming out of this.  But to be honest, for once,  I hope I am proven wrong.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Too Much Quantity, Not Enough Quality

I didn't post lat night and I will not be posting everyday going forward.  While I am capable of posting everyday I noticed that with the quantity of posts, the quality either went down or, at best, did not improve.  I think I will shift a bit, be a bit more discerning about what I post, and hopefully the quality will improve.

I do have a couple posts that will be put together and posted over the next couple of days but after that I suspect posting will be less frequent.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Olde Timey Emoji

While I was cleaning out the den closet I came across a sheet of stickers.  They probably came from some calendar I bought ages ago.  They say things like Dentist, School, and To Do and they have pictures of birthday cakes and party hats.  When I saw them all I could think was they looked like prehistoric emojis.

Olde Timey Emoji
Prehistoric emoji sticker sheet.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ice Storm ?!?

Well, the worst was supposed to be today and all we got were a few tenths of an inch of ice.  I have to say I was disappointed.  I was hoping to take pictures of an icy winter wonderland but it remained above freezing most of the day and any ice we had melted away by noon.
Ice Storm ?!?
The little ice we got ... sad little icicles on our deck.
The 'storm" unnecessarily canceled a doctor's appointment I had this morning and school was out so the Wife had a long weekend.  The rain we got stopped me from walking so I did as I said I would and straightened up the tornado room.

Tomorrow morning may be another story since it will go below freezing overnight but the rain has stopped so any ice accumulation will be minimal.  Having said this, the Wife is getting another ice day off tomorrow so someone benefitted from the little ice we got.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I Got That Minimalist Feeling

The closet in our den/computer room was a mess.  I've been thinking about cleaning it out for a while.  I always seem to get the itch to organize this time of year (for example).  The kick in the pants this year I got was when I was riding the trainer in the basement.

When I ride the trainer I watch Netflix.  This ride was powered by a documentary call "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things".  The movie talks about simplifying your life by getting rid of junk you don't use or need.  The philosophy fits right in with my hiking/camping philosophy: carry only what is needed not what you think you will need.  So, while I waited for the ice storm to kick in I spent four or five hours pulling everything out of the den closet.

I ended up tossing a crap-ton of CDs, DVDs, and, gasp, floppy disks into the recycle bin along with tons of paper, old magazines, AAA travel books and maps, and just about every type of cable known to man.  It's amazing how empty the closet is now.  Nothing I threw away will be missed since I'm pretty sure some of the things I tossed had not been touched in over five years.

Tomorrow the ice storm starts in earnest.  Going out is pretty much out of the question so, until the electricity goes out, I think I will start tackling the tornado room (a room that is combination workroom, camping/hiking equipment storage room, and room to hide in from unwelcome tornadoes).  Not sure when ...if ... I will tackle the furnace/storage room.   We'll have to see the next time the weather turns bad.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Entering The Ice Age

We will be entering an ice storm warning tomorrow morning which continues through early Tuesday.  We are getting ready to hunker down in our cave for a couple days as the ice accumulates.  They are talking anywhere between a quarter and three quarters inches (6 to 19 mm) of ice when it's all over.

Shadows on the Cave Wall
With an ice storm, I'll be happy casting shadows on the cave wall.
With over a half inch of ice, power lines start snapping so it will be interesting to see if the power stays up over the next forty-eight hours or so.