Sunday, October 4, 2015

New (to me) camera


That’s one of the little back swimming otters that entertained us in Glacier Bay last spring.  If you zoom in and look closely, or maybe not even all that closely, you will see little squiggly lines in the image that kind of look like tiny worms wriggling around on the water.  My trusty Canon Digital Rebel that is likely now 20+ years old evidently didn’t survive the years that it has spent on the boat.  I hardly ever use it anymore so it has been staying on the boat and apparently the damp environment has done some damage to the CCD which is the image sensor that serves the function of film in a digital world.  Of course I didn’t know that until we were in Alaska taking telephoto images of wildlife and by then it was too late to do anything about it.  Well, now I’ve done something about it.

I figured I could salvage some value out of all the Canon accessories and software that I have invested in my existing Digital Rebel by simply buying a newer version of the same camera.  I found a 40D EOS on eBay that included a 55-250 stabilized Canon lens as well as a battery pack and was able to buy it for under $250.  Considering that would be well over $1000 worth of camera if bought new I thought I did very well.  Yesterday we ran up to Regina in the rain and picked it up from the terrorist that runs our UPS Store.  Earlier this week Marlan picked up another Canon Digital Rebel body only for which I paid the whopping sum of $20.  So I think we are now well equipped for next spring’s return engagement with Alaska. 

All my old lenses will work equally well with either of the new bodies but I don’t think any of them were stabilized so that’s a major improvement with the new camera.  Of course I don’t actually have any of that equipment with me because I didn’t know that this project was even in the offing when we left Buchanan close to 2 months ago now.  My old batteries and chargers are also compatible with the new cameras.  Its been pissing rain down here for 3 days now so I don’t have great conditions to try the new camera out but I did take this soggy image earlier today.


This next one is from an evening last week, taken with my little digital Elph. 


I bought a couple of digital Elphs several years ago now and they take such good images and are so easy to keep by my side that I just stopped using the digital Rebel but most days in Alaska I found that I missed the Rebel at least once during the day.

I didn’t actually PLAN to buy 2 digital Elphs.  I bought the first one before going up to Grande Prairie to do a project for Neufeld Petroleum.  One of the first days we were up there I put some laundry into the washer in the camp laundromat.  When I came back 20 or 30 minutes later one of the roughnecks who was there doing his laundry asked me if “that” was my washer.  When I responded that it was he told me that my little camera had turned its flash on when the machine filled up with water and kept it on through the early stages of the wash cycle.  He said it was actually pretty impressive how long it stayed alive.  They were some modern kind of washer that locks the door during the cycle so, despite their best efforts to save the camera, none of the guys there had been able to prevent the death of my (brand new) Elph.  I immediately replaced that camera with an identical one which gave me redundant batteries and chargers. A few years later I bought the exact same model off eBay so that I could keep one with me all the time and another one on the boat.

The two big Case quadtracks were sitting on some neighbouring land near where I was watching the harvest for my client.  I continue to be astonished at how quickly farmers are regressing to high tillage.  Degelman has something they call a “pro-till” which is simply a tandem disk with a fancy name.  They must have been giving the damn things away in Corn Flakes boxes judging by the number of them I’m seeing in the field and on the road this fall.  How quick we forget what it means to farm in the Palliser Triangle.  A few wet years are just that, a few wet years.  The fundamentals of dryland farming have not changed just because the last few years have been wet. 

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