2014-11-21

Powershot in Podunky

I was in the market for a small camera to carry around in my purse and after a few false starts finally settled on a model.
In the past my favorite pocket camera of all time was an Olympus model that had a fantastic lens, good zoom, good macro ability and I wanted those things in my new camera. That old camera was just under 5 mega pixels but I had no issues getting 8x10 prints and even 11x14 from it so mega pixels themselves were not an overriding issue in my new purchase... new cameras now average 20 mega pixels. The biggest factor was image quality and a moderate zoom.
Where I live today does not give me much choice for models so I went out of town. (I do not believe in shopping online unless it really isn't available in my province- end of story.)
I have to admit I didn't do much research and thought I couldn't go wrong with the mighty name of Nikon...till I looked at the photos I took on that camera on my computer monitor. I was not happy about the 'look' of the images. Later on I read a review of this camera and it noted that image clarity was not a strong suit. There are many words used to describe this 'look': pixilation, grain, artifacts, blur etc and in all honesty I couldn't even use those words to describe it; it was more like the finest resolution rendered an image that looked like it has been painted with a very fine brush.
I returned it. This was a costly mistake in terms of time wasted and fuel money...London Drugs in Kamloops is an hour's drive away. It has to be said that this store is a great place to shop for computers and electronics with very knowledgeable staff so I was able to pick up a few things I needed anyway but I resolved to content myself with a camera I could buy in my own town.
Unfortunately my second purchase turned out to have a ridiculous problem: The flash unit was automatically disabled when the camera was set to operate silently! This made absolutely no sense- audible beeps are the last thing a photographer needs. The camera was a Fuji model that was rated waterproof to a certain depth; perhaps there is a need for swimmers, divers and snorkelers to hear beeps- I have no idea but had to return it for that reason. I discovered during the initial purchase that the electronics store does not stock batteries for it's cameras...nor did the big box stores. This is another issue about living in Podunk.
A Samsung model was available at the big box store but when I asked about it the clerk told me the supplier hadn't provided new stock...just a floor model. How...stupid. I ended up buying a Canon Powershot SX50 HS model and testing it out the next day and so far am very happy with the picture quality and the additional extras like the James Bond-like zoom. There is a lot of exploring to do with it yet...the literature recommends a 'fast' memory card for movies and today I was going to pick one up the electronics store but, this being a small town, a staff member put the 'OPEN' sign out 20 minutes before the store actually opened for business. This had the effect of sending me to the Big Box Store...I could have waited to buy the memory card...it was simply because of a foolish act that annoyed the consumer that the smaller shop lost a sale.

The image below represents a cropped portion of an image taken in the evening - a handheld shot of coloured pencils. I am obviously happy about the macro capability!


This pano was created with the software included on the disc that came with the camera. I take many landscape photos for the express purpose of creating a panorama manually...I tried the software out for the fun of it and with 3 very easy shots to work with. I circled the unacceptable area.






2014-07-01

Fire in Merritt

Copyright: Heidi I. Koehler

July 2nd Edit: It was the Earthwalker store, not the restaurant Starz which shares the same name as the hair salon, which was so heavily damaged in the fire. In case it's not clear in my commentary the firefighters did a tremendous job in trying to put it out.

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After a nice day fishing, planning what to do July 1st (Canada Day), and making cherry jam the day came to a close with a fire in downtown Merritt.
Evidently the local pet shop, East Indian restaurant and hair saloon are toast. The fire fighters were trying to contain it when we left at about 11:00. It had started at about 8:30pm we heard from other people.
Back of the shops on Quilchena
Police and Firefighters keeping public away

Looking East on Quilchena- thick, nasty smoke

The fire kept spurting up- most of the pets were rescued from the shop

We watched and there was simply not enough water- burning continued

The smoke was horrid- at one point police yelled at bystanders to get out of it

At least 3 shops are probably completely destroyed

July 2nd- the day after:




2014-05-09

Spring Critters

Copyright: Heidi I. Koehler

Spring is upon us and the animals of farm and field.
It's a good time to see nature when everything is lush and green...because it doesn't last long in the Thompson-Nicola. This land is quite arid and in summer time becomes almost devoid of green with the exception of the irrigated alfalfa fields and the needles of the Ponderosa pine. Bunch grass turns yellow and the sage that discretely speckled the landscape in Spring becomes glaringly obvious as the season changes.
Right now cows have their calves, deer are wandering in the pastures, marmots are peering out of their burrows and birds are looking for mates...or planning their new families in the case of lifers like geese.
I noticed with interest that the doves around here don't seem to be afraid of the ospreys...they were more nervous of me actually. Speaking of Ospreys, the usual battle for the local nests has been won yet again by the raptors...every year the geese try to take over an osprey nest and in some parts they succeed but not over the Coldwater River in Merritt. Maybe next year :)