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Friday, 04 September 2020


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I've dreamed of photographing so many times.
Oddly, I went straight from film cameras to iPhone, not digital cameras in between.

I do sometimes have problems with the camera, but then I often photograph the most beautiful light and things, and regret I don't have the pictures when I wake up.

Eolake Stobblehouse

I've said this before but maybe not on here. Not just an infinity stop! Why not be able to tell the camera, "Set up for hyperfocal distance at f5.6 and LOCK focus." Since the focus ring is drive-by-wire anyway, that should be doable. I have an Oly 17 mm/f1.8 that is suited to hyperfocal work except the distance scale is not usable and it's too easy to knock it out of focus by rubbing a shirt sleeve on the focus ring.

Also, why not be able to set a specific DOF, say 40 cm. The camera's computer knows everything anyway, seems like small things to ask. May only matter to a handful of users, but we're well into fringe features these days.

This post reads heavy with nostalgia. Was that intentional? Were you really that much happier in the past than you are now? Was the equipment really that much better or more enjoyable? That can be a slippery slope. For example, are you inviting us to compare the TOP of old with the TOP of today? I hope not, because it's clearly not the same. But different does not necessarily mean worse, today can never be the same as yesterday, and we are never exactly the same people. TOP's future is up to you. I just hope you're spending more time looking forward than in the rear-view mirror.

"...Beware decision overload. When pushed for a decision, take extra time...

With one major exception. Make your voting decisions now. Immediately upon receipt of a mail ballot, mark those decisions on it and return it. Preferably to a lock box, if available. If no mail ballotting is possible for you, appear in person on the first date early voting is available, mark your choices and submit the ballot.

There's been plenty of time to ponder these decisions. Waste no more on them.

"...Anybody know what's up with this? The door to my barn is infested with daddy longlegs..."

Check the web. 😀

Since going mirrorless with Fujifilm, I too have lifted my camera for a split second shot to find it asleep. It is frustrating, but now after a couple of years, I have trained myself to hit the shutter release half way every minute or so. It has become so second nature that when I go out with my DSLR, I find myself needlessly doing it with that body too.

Re: Wake-up time: My Nikon D70 (bought in 2004 and used intensively for a full decade) was so fast to turn on that I could flick the On-off switch as I raised the camera to my eye, and it would be ready as fast as I was. Have you considered this approach ?? The On-off switch is located in the same place on a Fuji, so it’s easy to locate and flick by feel...

...The other thing I miss: The infinity stop...

I still have several Nikon manual focus lenses purchased in the early '80s. They all have a hard-stop at infinity and this makes them very useful when shooting astrolandscapes or anything else in the dark. I would never get rid of these lenses.

Okay...this is completely off the subject. Actually off ALL the subjects here. But...

Mike, when you were speaking about the Leica M6 you said, "It was never "off" and it never had to be woken up."

Is the word "woken" the correct word? I'm serious. I've seen "woken" used in numerous articles and books yet I've always used the word "awaken" instead. As in "the camera never needed to be awakened".

"Woken" sounds off center to me. Kind of a goofy word. But maybe I should rethink the subject.

It's not really important. Just curious. I'm ignorant of lots of stuff so I ask off topic questions.

[Well, actually, "woken" is the proper participle for the past perfect tense, so it should be used with "had," e.g. "She had woken at six so she was tired now." "Had" in my sentence just makes it past tense, to indicate that I don't have the Leica any more. Perhaps that was what misled me to used "woken," that and the fact that "the camera never needed to be awakened" sounds overly formal and a little starchy.

Bottom line with grammar for me is, does it create ambiguity or misunderstanding, or is it clear? If the latter, then it's okay. --Mike]

I had a dream two or three nights ago about cameras. I was near friends who were in the back of a pickup. A guy passing by remarked on the telephoto zoom a friend was using, so I talked to the stranger.

Interestingly, or not, the friend in the dream is a real friend. Also we talked about going to an airshow where the spectators will have to view the show from a field where cars normally park for the show. Social distancing. Because the crowd will be so far away, my friend said it is a good excuse to purchase a 150-600mm zoom he wants.

I have been dreaming intensely in recent weeks. But none of my dreams are photography-related. They are more likely to feel like science fiction tourism. Last night I had to figure out how to sing in a major third from the song being sung in order to communicate with the path forward below my feet. Vivid and strange. Worthy of Ursula LeGuin or Madeline L'Engle.

I wanted to shoot a timelapse of the Milky Way on my Nikon D5200, when visiting my friend who lives in the desert. My 18-35 kit lens doesn't have an infinity stop and struggles to focus at night, so he lent me his 24mm f2.8 manual-focus Nikkor. Result!

Funny you mention Phil Davis, a used 2nd edition of BTZS is (hopefully) making its way to me now.

That's one thing I appreciate about the focus clutch on the Fujinon 23mm f1.4 - snap it back, throw the dial over to infinity and clunk. *SNAP* Done.

Actually, I believe the correct grammatical form is, "woked up real good".

Power off settings for the xh1 page 202 of owners manual. Menu>Setup>Power Management.

Getting weight off, relatively easy, keeping it off not as easy. I imagine you know all about this.

Yes, I agree that a lack of infinity stop is a PITA.

Another thing that really bothers me is that the manual focus on most AF lenses these days is pretty poor and unreliable. Particularly on my Nikon Z6 with it's standard 24-70 f4. That combo basically never quite hits the mark and if you wait for a few moments it bumps the lens out of focus. Crazy.

And Nikon had the opportunity to make the only mirrorless camera with decent manual focus for manual lenses and they didn't bother. They could have allowed you to focus their own MF lenses wide open but didn't. It would have made the Z to F adapter a little more expensive, but many of us would have gladly paid the price I would think.

Off topic once removed: that should be "use" not "used" in your comment on Dogman's comment.
(Sorry for the pedantry but in a comment commenting on correct vocabulary... oh never mind!).

Using my camera manually! This is something I want to do more of. I have an old “OM” lens, a 70-150 zoom, that I’d use on occasion to photograph birds at the feeder. Optically it’s not very good, but it’s what I have and requires manual focus. And then too, setting exposure manually appeals to me. The only thing is I’m getting old and that slows me down. No, actually I am slow!
Though it’s been a while, but I was having camera dreams too! Mostly being in a situation where great pictures could be taken, but not knowing where my camera was. Locations were always colorful, huge clouds, and many times by the water. And I couldn’t find my camera. Always the feeling that I left it somewhere and lost it forever! Strange!

Infinity stop! Yes. Yes. Yes.
That, and accurate (or nearly) focusing scales. With my old OM-1 I can nail focus, even now, with my tired, 71 year old left eye.(Right handed but left eyed.) Not so with the EM10, no matter where the diopter is set. Have to fiddle with magnified view. So...I've found myself with a small, light weight camera that has to be focused as carefully as any 4X5! How silly.

To answer three of your talking points:
When Kodachrome processing was coming to an end, I loaded up an outdated roll of Kodachrome 200 and went to the town I grew up in. There's a small Victorian church hall on the corner of the square.

I had been in this hall many times as a boy, and knew the layout well. But great changes were being made. The main hall was little changed, but the tiny narrow kitchen, store cupboards and single lavatory at the end I remembered were all gone; replaced by male and female toilets, a great big kitchen, and strangest of all, stairs to an upstairs level that had not existed before.

It was like one of those dreams where you say, "It was like my house, but it wasn't my house".

I'm in a similar position regarding weight loss. My target is to get down to a nice "round" figure of 90 kilos. : ] I have another 8 kilos (17.6 lbs) to go, I reckon. I was nearly 119 kilos at one time; 261 lbs, at 5'10".

Regarding the infinity stop, I had a similar problem recently. A Spitfire was due to fly over my local hospital, with THANK U NHS painted on the underside of the wing. I found out about it 4 minutes before it was due.

I put my longest zoom on the camera and nipped into my front garden. With no infinity stop, I focused on trees across the road, 180 feet away. It was close enough, and just in time.

It came over at about 1,000 feet, maybe doing 300 mph, and I got it. The focus was near enough that the AF didn't have to go far to lock on.

I found out later it was a Mk XI Spitfire, built for the dangerous art of reconnaissance photography, with no armour and no guns it was as light and fast as possible. The cameras used 5" wide roll film; anyone out there know the name of this format?

Your other points? Sorry Mike, I got nothing...

"Turns out that we tend to have a limited capacity for making important decisions under stressful circumstances"

I think you're right!
I had to move under tight time pressure, between countries, in 2000. And I had already decided to let my past go as much as possible. And at the last moment I decided to throw out my old negatives!
(I had scans of the most important ones, but there could have been more.)

I've taken quite a few spontaneous shots of planes flying overhead, more so now that I have been visiting a dog park right next to a small regional airport. I've had the most success in quickly achieving proper focus on the planes, within seconds of having been focused on a nearby dog, by first aiming my camera at distant trees or buildings near the horizon and locking focus, and then swinging it the rest of the way up to the plane to fire off a few shots.

[I do that kind of thing often, but unfortunately the trees in my backyard are just too close for it to work. --Mike]

My years using film SLRs had too many missed or movement blurred shots because I had neglected to wind on the film advance.Seems a simple enough thing to remember but sometimes the shooting situation created a forgetful moment.If my digital camera turns off, jabbing the on button takes very little time.

Mike wrote, "Know what I miss? A camera that's always on."

In my hands a camera that is always on is a camera that always has a dead battery. I often pick up a camera that has been unused for days, weeks or months and find that the on/off selector is "on".

Having to occasionally (often? always?) cycle the power switch to get power to the works is the better solution. For me.

Three things.
1. Dreams. You dream in a language. The language of symbols, expressed through generic images. It's universal, culturally neutral and even applies to dogs. Cameras - devices for capturing the past. Holding on to the ephemeral. Between that and the regret of the long past pool table decision, it's not much of a leap to imagine that you're nostalic... (ah, but it's for you to connect the dots).

2. Pool table setup. They just picked it up and moved it?? Lucky there wasn't a Stradivarius sitting around with some dust on it. They might just have likely popped it into the washing machine. To be fair, you don't know what you don't know.

3. Joke. There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who need closure.

Nostalic: Definition - like nostalgic. Except the 'g' isn't just silent, it's invisible.
Where's my editor?

Shoot. I turn to the comments hoping somebody had an answer to the daddy longlegs question, and so far it's only about grammar. A camera awakening does sound odd.

NEVER dream of cameras or picture taking.

I bought one of these a year or so ago, on Amazon: "FOMI Premium All Gel Orthopedic Seat Cushion Pad for Car, Office Chair, Wheelchair, or Home. Pressure Sore Relief. Ultimate Gel Comfort, Prevents Sweaty Bottom, Durable, Portable" However, I was tempted by one that labelled itself the "Bony Ass" cushion.

It's not just weight loss. Sarcopenia becomes a factor as you get older.

XT-1 also takes its time to become "woke."

There's an operational concept in the military about "getting inside the other guy's decision time". It's basically self-explanatory. If you can make adequate decisions and take action before the other guy can react, and can continue to do so consistently, then you've seized the initiative and the other guy basically becomes a stumble-bum. You win.

"Do you dream about photographing? I do, all the time."

Now that you mention it, no. \;~)> I've been a dream worker for many years, so I write down my dreams. One often common theme is working on a computer to help other(s) by doing what they need, and/or showing them how to do it.

One subset of that theme is dreams where the subject is processing of photo images. I don't recall any dreams where I am taking photos, but do recall having at least several working on them in post.

Daddy Longlegs: They are just fed up of being quarantined. They want to get out! (Perhaps it is the area of the barn with light coming in from cracks, so insects get attracted to this area, which they eat? Or perhaps they get dew drops from cracks on the door?)

I'm not a spider expert, Mike, but I've seen similar behavior at my apartment with a few different types of spiders. My own theory is that there is a temperature differential on the door (warmer in cool weather, cooler in warmer) and it gets fresh air while being a bit protected by being inset. Several spider species mate during late summer into autumn, so a semi-protected space would make sense to set up shop for awhile.

Thanks, Mike.

And now I'll get off my tangent.

Early in my impoverished college days I yearned for a Nikon F2S. In a dream one night I was shooting with an F2S and still remember in the dream, metering with the opposing red arrows. A couple of years later I had a lucrative summer job and bought a used F2S before my fourth year of college. It came in handy documenting projects for classes and a student magazine published a few of my photos on campus life.

When I was in college back in the mid 1970's I would work for Sears doing deliveries during Christmas break to pick up some extra cash. We would deliver anything large that most people could not move themselves. One time we had to move a new slate pool table to the second floor of an old home in Detroit. It took about six guys to get it up the stairs. This was one of the most terrifying things I have ever had to do and I was working with experienced movers. If it slipped we could have been badly hurt or killed. That was my only experience doing this and I don't ever want to repeat it.

My camera dreams usually involve running out of film, not having film in the camera, having the wrong film in the camera, always negative stuff. I wake up tired.

Spiders like to eat, and their meals like to fly through doors making doorways attractive spots for webs.
I suspect the door in question gets warm earlier in the day, giving the spiders and their meals a head start on the day’s activities.

Same thing for windows where millions of years of evolution makes it seem like you should be able to fly right through that glass in spite of a few hundred years of no you can’t fly through glass. Of course for the spiders that’s a win win.

[But Opiliones don't spin webs. --Mike]

"The other thing I miss: The infinity stop."

It's then obvious that you seldom used long lenses, or zooms. Lenses are subject to expansion and contraction with temperature changes.

Some older lenses, such as the Olympus OM 300/4.5, have a hard stop, but it's not always perfect infinity. At some temps, the lens may focus past infinity.

Some zoom makers acknowledged this on the lenses, showing a range for infinity focus.

Perhaps only for AF lenses?

"I need to develop a new habit, of waking up the camera before expecting it to shoot."

My first DSLR, a Canon 300D, led me to train myself to touch the shutter button first thing as I grabbed the camera. By the time it was at eye level, it was on.

"My favorite Easter joke is that one with the chocolate bunny saying "my butt hurts," which makes me laugh every year like clockwork."

Us too! It's a magnet on the fridge.

I am 38 years old and still have the "going to school naked" and "you are a class short of graduating " dreams.

Regarding your continued fitness program, my son just sent me this recently: https://www.pedalpc.com/ The maker has been using one for 10 years now (which is a lot of pedaling!). You could get your work done, get fit and reduce your electric bill all at the same time. Win, win, win. :)

"I'm always having to wake it up with a half shutter press, and it takes long enough to be an annoyance. " Indeed. This was my biggest complaint about micro-4/3 cameras and their relatives, and is why I no longer own one.

It's as bad as cameras that refuse to shoot until they've acquired focus. Sounds fussy, I know. I explained it to my friend, a NRA rifle instructor, so: "Ken, it's like a weapon. When I want it to fire, I want it to fire NOW, not when it's done waking up and thinking about it."

I have frequently frustration dreams (nightmares?) involving a lot of different situations, and occasionally cameras. You know, you left the camera in a locker somewhere, and you can almost remember where, but the basketball game is about to start and you're supposed to be taking photos, but the locker numbers are discontinuous...etc.

I once had a real-life situation that was something like a frustration dream, while standing on a street corner in Washington, DC. I had a Sony RX-100 (an early version) in my jacket pocket, and as I was waiting for a light to change (IIRC) a bus suddenly lurched to a stop across the street and people began fleeing the bus. A moment later, I noticed fire literally dripping off the back of the bus, and in another couple of minutes, the whole back of the bus was in flames. Another couple of minutes, a fire truck arrived and put out the fire. As I was walking away, it occurred to me that I had a CAMERA in my pocket, and I'd never touched it. I actually (really) have had dreams about that moment, and I never take a photo in my dreams, either.

I think all the Fuji X series cameras are like that. My X-E3 is ridiculous when trying to wake from sleep. It;s quicker to turn it off and on again. I'm used to my Nikon dslrs that wake promptly with a half-press on the shutter button, the Fujis need a full press and a memo in advance.

Comment on Patrick Dodds’ comment on your comment on Dogman’s comment: Eh?

When I searched on the phrase “Daddy Longlegs congregate” I learned that Opiliones gather/cluster in large numbers to repel and confuse predators. Gathering in large groups multiplies their unpalatable smell (?) and makes them appear bigger. When disturbed, they either scatter in all directions or undulate and move as one mass to alarm their predators. Based on the creepy YouTube videos I saw, this odd behavior would certainly get me to back off and could also result in weird dreams.

Mike, are you sure you have Opiliones and not Pholcidae? Both are colloquially called "daddy longlegs." If it's Pholcidae, you have an opportunity to see some really interesting maternal behavior. I first saw this when I'd captured an individual with an unusually large abdomen to photograph. A day later, it looked like her head had grown a bunch of tumors, but in fact, she had laid an egg mass and she was holding the eggs, held together with silk, with her mouth. Here's a photo. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-jxZjfjcgH3UDVZVWUzMWZUU3M/view?usp=sharing

I recently purchased Dante’s Inferno in Modern English as recommended by a friend of mine as we are always discussing philosophy.


The first night I read 1/3 of the book.
My dream that night was hellacious (no pun intended).
I was in a large 1 story burning building withe many rooms. In all rooms but one there were many people frantically running around who were in the early stages of being on fire. Some who’s hair was ablaze, some with hand ablaze, some with clothing on fire. All were in deep despair as I was but I was not on fire. I was frantically running from room to room trying to save people by suffocating the fires for each of them. There was only one room not effected by the fire and within bar top tables filled with middle aged men and women with cold drinks in front of them and the room was deathly quiet. No one was speaking. I would from time to time run into that room and yell for help but would only receive blank looks from all. I would explain the state of my desperation to no avail. Before my wife woke me up I was again trying to get help for those suffering. At this point I was on me knees pleading and begging for help again and being looked at with a blank sole less stares.

When my wife shook me from my sleep she asked if I was ok because I was whimpering. I told her I was fine and must have been dreaming.

I have not picked up the book since.

Most likely the daddy long legs are hanging around the door for food and moisture. They are both predators and scavengers and a door is a great place to find prey and already dead things.

And because doors (esp. barn doors do not seal well, chances are high that a little rain gets in. Assuming the door is made of planks, the space between the planks and the braces holding the planks together probably has a high humidity.

I never have my digital cameras set to auto sleep for this reason. If I want the camera off, I switch it off. If I want it on, I switch it on. If the switch got left on and ran down the battery, I carry spares for that. Fuji and Nikon cameras make this operation easy by having the on/off switch around the shutter release. I also like Fuji's X-Pro series cameras because I can look through the viewfinder without turning the camera on.

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