"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Check Flight

06:48 Thursday, 17 March 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 59.61°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 1.01mph

Well, walk. Check walk.

This was the first morning where our schedule and the weather aligned to let me get a walk in with all my new "gear." I walked in the Oboz yesterday and they seemed fine. Sole is definitely firmer than my usual Merrill's.

But I wanted to walk early in the morning, when it's dark and nobody can see me looking like a dork with all my stuff strapped on. So I got up at 0530, put the 40-150mm/f2.8 lens, the power bank, two bottles of water and the heavy duty Joby Gorilla Pod on the lumbar pack. It's not full, by any means, but it's fairly substantial. I put the OM-1 with the 12-100mm/f4 lens mounted in the Cotton Carrier and stepped outside.

At first it felt like I'd made a mistake, this was too much. But half a mile into it, I began to get used to the weight and my legs felt fine. There's something going on my right side, near the illiac band; and it's probably related to my lower back. I wondered if I might be at risk of over-doing it, but pressed on.

Did our normal 2.5mi loop, pace was a little lower at 19:39/mi. We've done it as fast as 16-something. I don't anticipate maintaining a significant pace on any hike where I'm using the camera. Even around here, where I'm only shooting stuff I've seen before it's usually 24 minutes or more.

Got home, took everything off and here I am. We'll see what's sore later. The good news is that there is no pain between my shoulder blades, and the sensation on my right hip isn't painful, just like a tingling. I take that as a warning sign, so I'll pay attention to it; but the pain between my should blades would be very distracting and uncomfortable and there's none of that.

So it looks like this is a workable solution. I've also got an Osprey 22 liter Talon I'm going to try. I think that'll be my carry-on bag with the laptop, the 40-150, power bank and headphones. I'll put the OM-1 in a small Domke bag as my "personal item."

I guess this is just another sign of our "peak civilization," where we have so much crap we carry with us, we devise multiple means to carrying it. C'est la vie.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


08:25 Monday, 14 March 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 51.15°F Pressure: 1028hPa Humidity: 84% Wind: 5.75mph

Bought some new stuff. Because the meaning of life in American culture is located in the acquisition of "stuff." And since we like to think of ourselves as vigorous agents in the act of "living," we often refer to our stuff by other, more "action" terms, like "gear." So I guess I should say I've bought some new "gear."

The OM-1 camera (the digital kind, not the classic 35mm film kind) arrived on the 3rd, and I've had a chance to play with it a bit. I'm pleased with what I've seen to this point; but I'll wait until I've had some more experience with it before I go into any detail with my reaction to the camera.

Mitzi and I are heading out west next week for a little trip. I'm meeting some of my company-mates from the Naval Academy in Vegas. I haven't seen most of these guys since graduation because I haven't gone to any reunions. The guys in your company were the ones you spent the most time with in four years there; so of all your classmates, these would be the ones you knew the best. For better or worse, I suppose.

But I've never been to Vegas, so when the opportunity came up, I figured "Why not?"

Since we're going to be flying out there anyway, we're tacking on about a week of driving around out west and seeing the sights. So we'll be headed to a lot of the the usual destinations, all of which have been photographed to death, some even by me. But it's definitely a change of scenery from northeast Florida, so I'm looking forward to that. And I hope I've learned a thing or two in the dozen years since I was last there.

Well, back to gear. The OM-1 uses a new battery, because of course it does. Since I pre-ordered, I was supposed to get a "free" battery as part of a pre-order promotion. I ordered from Amazon within a couple of hours of the listing going live on Amazon. I didn't know how the "free battery" would be fulfilled, but I wasn't waiting around to find out. Well, to make a long and boring story shorter, I didn't get a "free battery," and won't. Amazon later created a separate listing for the promotion, which wasn't the listing I ordered under. OM System points to Amazon, Amazon says I can return the camera for a refund and re-order under the promotion (which I'm not even sure is still offered). Whatever. C'est la vie. I like the camera.

But, I won't have a spare battery! Not as much of a problem as you might expect, since the latest cameras will charge batteries in-camera. All I need is a power bank that can meet the USB-C PD (power delivery) standard, 27W. So, off to Amazon I go to hasten the end of civilization and buy an Anker PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh 45W w/60W PD charger (Because I couldn't find one without the charger, since both the camera and my MBP charger can do the same thing. So it goes.).

That's arrived and I've charged it. The most notable thing is it weighs 21 ounces! It's got a metal shell, which I presume may have something to do with managing heat. So, wow, pretty heavy.

As an old fart experiencing an accelerating degree of decrepitude, I've had some discomfort of late carrying a camera of any weight on my usual shoulder sling. I develop a knot and pain between my shoulder blades that becomes pretty distracting after about half an hour with the camera on my shoulder. I suspect that if I were to actually do the fitness regime I always "plan" to embark upon, that might improve. As it happens, I'm somewhat cronked. My right shoe wears much faster than my left one, I have pain in my lower right back, and now in my right hip. Yeah, I know, "Bitch, bitch, bitch." But something's not right on the right.

I still plan to do some hiking out west, with my camera and a couple of decent lenses. So I needed a solution that didn't involve an asymmetric load distribution. I've tried carrying a camera on my right shoulder (putting the torque on the opposite side of my back), but it's just awkward. I do it occasionally when the pain between my should blades gets to be too much. After a bit of googling, I found the Cotton Carrier CCS G3. It's a chest harness with a sternum plate that has an anchor point for a twist and lock adapter you screw into the tripod socket on your camera or lens shoe.

It's not a fashion piece, to be sure. And there's a lot of strap management to deal with. I've worn it around the house and I think it'll do the job. I'm going to take it out on a walk later today or tomorrow and see how it goes. I'm a little worried that it'll just transfer the pain to my lower back, but we'll see. I put the OM-1 with my largest lens (the 100-400mm zoom) on it, and it's comfortable. I rotate the lens tripod foot because putting the adapter on it really pushes the lens out away from your body, to say nothing of shoving the camera up to your chin. So I keep it on the camera. The lens isn't so heavy that I worry about putting too much strain on the body/lens mount connection. It's a metal body, and the whole shebang can be secured by another strap over the lens to reduce motion. In any event, I'm not bringing the 100-400mm lens out west.

I am bringing my 12-100mm/f4 as the standard lens, and that's kind of substantial too. The camera and lens together are just a bit over 42 ounces. That would have been untenable on a sling for a hike of any length. I carried it that way on one of my 3-mile walks around the neighborhood, and it's pretty brutal at the end. (So much so, that I've never done it again.) I could probably do the whole trip with the 12-100mm, but I suspect that at some point I'd be wishing I'd have brought something longer than 200mm effective focal length, or wider than 24mm (that wasn't my phone). (I do hope to get a Milky Way shot, but I suspect that might not happen. Not sure Mitzi's keen on being in the desert at night.)

So I'm going to bring the 40-150mm/f2.8, which weighs just a hair under 28 ounces, the 2x teleconverter (just in case) and the 8mm/f1.8 fisheye. So I need something to carry those lenses, the power bank and some water. More googling.

I settled on a "lumbar pack," (which sounds so much cooler than a "fanny pack") from Mountain Smith. I got the Day, I could have probably gone with the Tour. The Day is huge, but it will not fit a 13" Macbook Pro. (Which I wouldn't bring on a hike, but I might have used the pack as my carry-on bag.) Another jungle of straps and elastic cords, though they do include a couple of elastic keepers for the waist belt; also not a fashion statement.

I normally wear Merrill "hiking" shoes, and I've worn both those with Vibram™ soles, and Merrill's soles. Vibram™ doesn't wear significantly better, and my feet hurt in both of them after a while. So I've got a pair of 11.5 Oboz Sypes inbound tomorrow. Also bought some new socks. May get an insole insert too, but we're running out of time with departure next week. My feet would probably be best served by losing 30 pounds, but I don't see that happening in time for the trip.

Mitzi thinks we're not going to be doing that much hiking, but we did quite a bit when we were in Colorado, and in northern California and in the Finger Lakes, so I'm not sure what's up with that. And we will be spending two weeks at Cayuga Lake this summer, so I expect to get some more good use from all this later as well.

In any event, I've bought a bunch of stuff for my gear. Stuff-wise, I think I'm "geared-up" for this little trip.

Life Goes On

04:54 Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 50.31°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 4.61mph

I was catching up on a bunch of unread blog posts in NetNewsWire, which is such a good feature of a feed reader. A lot of great stuff that I'd missed, but it was all still waiting for me.

Anyway, I read this post from Mike Warot and wanted to mention something about it.

There's only one aspect of the post that I wish to mention. Mike talks about visiting webcams in Ukraine to determine for himself what the situation was on the date he reviewed them. He hasn't subsequently updated the post, so I don't know what a current review would reveal.

One of the things I found kind of surprising in both The German War, and the documentary, Berlin Diary of a Metropolis, is that life goes on, even at war.

I can't say why I found it surprising. I guess I'd expected that everyone would have been fleeing, the city would have been empty. But people are weird. Many, perhaps most, don't leave. Maybe they don't feel they have anywhere to go, maybe they feel defiantly that it's their city, their home. I don't know. But even with the Russians just kilometers outside the city, people went to the movies.

I'm reading My War Gone By, I Miss It So, by Anthony Loyd about his experiences in Bosnia. It began in Sarajevo in 1993, after the city had already been wracked by war. People still lived there. Still had to go to the market. You risked death from a random mortar round landing in front of your house, or sniper fire as you made your way to wherever you needed to go. But life went on, punctuated by death I suppose.

So I would say that looking at webcams, expecting to see some evidence of anxiety or preparation for invasion, is likely futile. Unless or until someone is actually shooting at you, or rounding you up and putting you in a concentration camp, life goes on.

I would also say, sadly, it is perhaps useful and instructive to read twentieth century accounts of cities at war, or with active insurgencies.

Probably some useful and practical tips that may come in handy here in America, sooner than we think.

Like a Lion?

05:14 Tuesday, 1 March 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 53.87°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 80% Wind: 9.22mph

The March of time. Well, 2022 anyway.

In a world that seems to be growing more insane by the day, I found this piece in The Paris Review worthwhile. It resonated because I'm in the process of reconstructing my relationship to photography, more specifically, photographs.

For nearly all of the twenty-some years I've been taking digital photographs, I seldom deleted any. I lost many due to technical accidents. I did delete those that were just photographic accidents, though I did hang onto the happy accidents, where something went technically wrong (Perhaps less threatening than "I made a mistake."), but I liked the result. Yet, for the most part, I just kept them.

Going through some of the, far fewer in number, pictures my mom had at her apartment last summer got me thinking about my images. What the hell are my kids going to do with these? (Because, you know, I was thinking, What the hell am I going to do with these?)

So, as has been mentioned here previously, I have been going through deleting images from my iCloud library. Ironically, all of those images still exist on one or more of several external hard drives I've moved them around on over the years, all at their native resolution. At some point, I was worried about storage and bandwidth and I exported nearly all of my Aperture library to 3MP jpegs to upload to iCloud. Later I changed to 5MP. Now, I just don't care. I still have plenty of storage in the cloud. I downsize images I post here, just because why be absurd?

Anyway, I've deleted about 17K images so far, and I'm still over 100K. A strategy has been slowly emerging. I skip over events and trips, and go through the daily shots I used to take back when I was single and walking Bodhi, always with a camera. Still tens of thousands of those to go through. For events, I go through those and decide if it's a memory that might be meaningful to the people in the picture, or to my kids. I've made one pass through one event like that so far. It looks like it may take several. Eventually, I hope to reduce the event down to some reasonable number, perhaps no more than 50, maybe fewer. Some of those events I'll turn into printed books, the inexpensive kind, and send them to the people involved. If they want the "originals," no problem. (Don't start asking yourself about what an "original" is when it comes to digital photography. It's a fuzzy notion.)

Anyway, the article resonated because I had been thinking about what I was trying to do, hanging onto these images. It gets all very Buddhist at some point. Attachment and the transient nature of all phenomena and all that.

Of course, this now bleeds over into my relationship with the camera. What am I doing when I'm taking (not "making") these pictures? A strategy seems to be emerging here as well. If I like an image, I'll share it. Here, Twitter or Flickr. Then, I'll probably delete it from the cloud. Once it's on the internet, is it ever truly "gone?" Maybe. Eventually. Some day. But it doesn't need to live in my cloud, where it demands at least some amount of my attention; and eventually, the attention of my kids.

Figure I need to make it easier for them.

I'm not a professional, I'm not an artiste, I'm a hobbyist. Nobody's going to stumble on one of my old hard drives and think they've found another Vivian Maier. Make it easy for the kids.

Eventually, I've got to do the same thing with the Marmot and the archived Groundhog Day. There may be things in there I'd like the kids to remember, or read for the first time probably. But most of it is just stuff that should vanish into the void. Time's Shadow and all that.

In other, related, news, Amazon says I should be getting my new OM Digital Systems OM-1 camera next week. I confess, I haven't really thought about exploring what my relationship with cameras is. I need another one like I need a hole in my head, but here we are. I'll probably sell my OM-D E-M1 Mk2 to KEH.COM. It's a nice camera, but I've got the original E-M1, which I bought when it was released, along with the E-M1x and the E-M1 Mk3. I have some sort of sentimental attachment to the E-M1, even though I never felt as connected to it as I did the E-M5, which I also bought at release and later sold to KEH. Ended up buying a used one from KEH just to feel that experience again. Still takes nice pics. I don't know. I feel like I'm at the threshold of changing my relationship with cameras too.

We'll see.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Good luck to all of us.