July 11, 2009

Good Deal on Nikon Lens, Flash

I've had my eye on the Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED VRII lens for awhile now. While I'd really like the Nikkor 80-400, $1,700 or so vs $599 is a huge difference. The 70-300 would give me a 35mm equivalent of 105-450mm on my Nikon D300, a substantial stretch from my present 18-200 (35mm equivalent > 27-300mm)  glass, and great for wildlife photos. Today on my road trip I checked out the Future Shop in Medicine Hat and got a great deal.

I was also interested in getting a dedicated flash, the SB-600. I ended up walking out of the store with the 70-300 lens, the SB-600 flash, and a SB-400 demo flash thrown in for free! Plus no 5% PST in Alberta, so all told I saved over $200 compared to what the lens and two flash units would have cost me  back in BC.

Can't wait to start "shooting" birds and other wildlife with the longer lens, and learning how to use Nikon's Creative Lighting System.

Posted by Paul at 09:13 PM

July 09, 2009

Found Old Driving Tapes

Found my old driving cassettes in the garage today: Led Zep, Stones, Floyd, Dylan, Tom Petty, Bad Company, Iron Butterfly, Golden Earring, Eric Clapton, Police, Pat Benatar, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Heart, The Band, Dire Straits, Springsteen, Beatles, ZZ Top, Def Leppard, Phil Collins, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, Huey Lewis, Eurythmics, Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Bryan Adams, etc.

What? No Guess Who? April Wine? Lighthouse? Streetheart? Jeez, there must be another CanCon box hidden in some corner somewhere....

I haven't played these tapes in 20+ years. Assuming they still run, and don't disintegrate in the player, I should have a good road trip this summer.

Posted by Paul at 02:04 PM

July 08, 2009

Testing Windows Live Writer

I'm testing Windows Live Writer with my Movable Type blog.

So far so good.

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Let's try adding a photo with a drop shadow.

Having trouble getting Live Writer to upload the photo.

Hm, if I can't easily upload photos, Live Writer will be useless.

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Well, I uploaded the photo using the MT Web interface, and then pasted the code into the "Source" window in Live Writer, and that worked. There I am, getting ready to carve a sockeye into steaks.

OK, still working on getting photo upload to work.

Let's try again with a Deer Lake mallard.

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Yay! It's working. I had to log in to my 1&1 account with FileZilla to get my FTP settings figured out, but it's OK now.

And here's WLW from my notebook computer, OK?

OK!

Posted by Paul at 09:35 PM

July 07, 2009

Updated Nikon D300 Firmware

I'm still exploring the capabilities of my Nikon D300 DSLR little by little though I've had it for nearly a year. Lots of menu items to tinker with, settings to try.

I was cruising Nikon's website awhile back, updating some of the software that came with the camera, and was a bit surprised to find a firmware update for the camera. Then on second thought it made perfect sense -- digital cameras are to a great extent computers with dedicated processors and software programs.

The update provided a number of potential improvements, and I finally got around to installing it today. I had a moment of trepidation fooling with "the guts" of this expensive machine, but then again, I've updated BIOSes on computers that cost just as much. There were two files to update, and one worked fine, but the camera didn't want to recognize the other one. I finally got it to load by deleting the second file, leaving only the one choice on the CF card.

So I now have version 1.10 of both "A" and "B" firmware files on board.

If you have a DSLR, it might be an idea to check your maker's website for similar updates.

Posted by Paul at 09:28 PM

July 05, 2009

Bugs, Mink on Deer Lake Canoeing Afternoon

We got the canoe out for an afternoon on Burnaby's Deer Lake. It was a great day and we did three or four circuits of the small lake, often stopping in the lily pads to check out the wildlife. We saw lots of dragonflies, damselflies, moths, fish, waterfowl, and even a young mink bopping along the shore.

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Metrotown towers to the southwest.

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A flotilla of Canada Geese.

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A dead stickleback?

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Sure looks like a mink -- I had to severely crop this photo taken from a distance with my teeny Canon SD780IS - wish I'd had my S5IS or my DSLR!

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Posted by Paul at 08:58 PM

July 01, 2009

Canada Day at Queen's Park, New Westminster

This year we attended Canada Day festivities at Queen's Park in neighbouring New Westminster. That's where an aunt lives, so we decided to try her 'hood. It was a great location -- bandstand surrounded by trees and greenery, and great acts.

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The crowd taking in the entertainment.

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The bandstand.

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The Blue Meanies put on a rockin' good show.

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Celebratory balloons.

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Power outage in New Westminster.

The only negative to the day was a blown transformer on the street that my aunt lives on, which knocked the power out for a good part of the day. I did not know that New Westminster has its own power company!

Posted by Paul at 08:32 PM