I’m flattered

Fairy dragonfly 85

Fairy dragonfly, Malaysia © PJ Croft 1986, 2015

Well, this is very nice. I read a US blog called The Online Photographer, written by Mike Johnston, every day, and yesterday I added a comment in a discussion about blogging and diaries. I mentioned this, my blog, and how it’s my diary, really, stemming from a desire to write, and especially to leave some footprint of my life for posterity. We all need to feel we’ve had an influence on the world, however small.

I’m very flattered to discover that Mike has reproduced some of my rather long comment in his blog, along with one of my humorous images, and expanded on the theme of keeping diaries and lists, which I do. He linked to my blog in his entry.

The result is:

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My blog stats, Monday 30 November 2015

Wow, I’m famous. It’s my 15 minutes, Andy. I’m sure it’s temporary but I’m happy. Maybe I’d better lift my standards and try to improve my writings, but as I said, I’m just compelled to write about all the major or minor things I encounter from day to day. I must admit I’m something of a ranter, but that comes from living alone with no-one to rant to. Sorry.

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Kew’ell (Harry Kewell is a famous Aussie soccer player) Denpasar, Bali © PJ Croft 2010, 2015

Perhaps I’d better write a bit more on the theme of photography. I’m at that delicious stage of being two weeks out from a trip to Bali and considering what gear to take.

Years ago, when I was slimmer and lighter and had a strong shoulder, I had it all worked out. I took a Nikon F801, maybe the Nikon FE2 as well, 28mm, 35mm, 55mm Micro, 70-150mm E and 200mm Micro lenses, all Nikkors. Perhaps even the 300mm f4 IF-ED in its separate container. Plus an SB40 flash, various rings and filters, and at least a dozen rolls of 36 exp. Kodachrome 64. The reason for carrying the second body was to have an alternative film type loaded, perhaps Ektachrome for its different colour rendition, or Kodachrome 25 for its super fine grain. ISO 25! We learnt to brace elbows to body and slowly breath out when squeezing the shutter.

Then I added the Olympus OM2 SP, Zuiko 28mm, Tamron 75-150 Adaptall, and one of the Olympus flashes, either the T20 or T32. Add in the cords and the back to back adapters to make the Nikkor 200mm Micro fit on the OM2 with its superior flash system, and I was weighted down as if I were going to be shot and dumped in the harbour 😉 Boy, that was a load, and I didn’t necessarily carry all of it at once, but I did most of it. Crazy, but this is the way I worked in those days. There wasn’t much alternative.

How different things are now. How much lighter are cameras and lenses. How great are the alternatives we have now.

The simplest solution is to take just one camera, but it’s a camera that can do virtually all that the above combination could do, arguably with higher quality as well.

The camera I’m thinking of is my Panasonic FZ1000. It’s a 1″ diagonal 20M pixel sensor with a 24mm to 400mm f2.8-f4 lens permanently attached. It’s not the pinnacle of lens design but it carries Leica’s imprint and it’s pretty darn good, at least as good as those film era lenses.

The camera has a built in flash, admittedly of limited coverage, but by shooting at ISOs in the range of 800 – 3200, way beyond what film could ever do, flash isn’t so important any more. I’ve come to prefer natural lighting most of the time, although I loved Nikon’s ‘Matrix Balanced Fill Flash’ on the F801. It worked well at adding that little bit of extra sparkle to the eyes and highlights, without being overpowering. I can’t seem to achieve the same thing these days.

The Panasonic also shoots miraculous 4K Ultra Hi-Def video as well. How good is that?! It has a macro mode, of course, although you need to be careful of lens shadowing if you want to use the flash, as you often do for closeups.

So there it is, an entire bag of equipment in one camera. No need to take anything else. Wunderbar. Need a different colour rendition, like choosing a different film? Just dial a different mode.

But, but, … I can’t leave my other goodies at home, can I? I have the Sony RX10 with its legendary Zeiss 24-200mm f2.8 lens, giving noticeably sharper pictures. It also shoots lovely 1080 50p HD video. That’s still high definition, still great stuff.

Then I have my Olympus OM-D E-M1 with its marvellous image stabilisation, beautiful sensor, and HD video too. Add on the Panasonic 28-84mm (eq.) as my walk around camera, and take along my Olympus M.Zuiko 150-600 (eq.) lens that’s smaller and lighter than the Nikon 75-150mm and the Tamron 70-150mm were in the 1980s, yet reaches further at higher quality.

I’ve also just bought a Rokinon 9mm fisheye lens for the Olympus. Ideal for inside temples and very crowded places. Can’t leave that behind, can I?

Perhaps I should also take one of the tiny Olympus m4/3 PL-2 or PL-3 bodies for pocketability in a restaurant at night when I don’t want to take a big camera?

My mind also keeps coming back to my Pentax K-5 with its bigger APS-C sized sensor. Whenever I go back over my shots from late 2010 and 2011, I marvel at the quality. They really stand out for low noise and sharpness, even with my relatively low end Pentax zooms, the 24-80mm (eq.) and the 75-300mm (eq.). Perhaps I should revert to that? It’s one of my absolute favourite cameras. Maybe I should buy the latest K-3 II for even better quality? There’s just be time.

Aaaaarrrrgh. See what I mean? My head says, “Only take ONE camera!” My heart says, “Oh go on, you could take two and several of those lovely lenses in a small bag. You can do it. Go on.”

At this stage I think it’s going to be the Panasonic FZ1000 and the E-M1 with 9mm, Pana 14-42mm (28-84mm eq.) and the Olympus 75-300mm (150-600mm eq.) lenses. The FZ1000 will be the walk around camera, the camera you take when you simply can’t leave the room without one. The OM-D E-M1 with its three lenses will be the tripod camera in the shoulder bag for the sunrises and scenics. Oh yeah, I’ll be taking the tripod as well, the Slik Travel model with a Manfrotto small geared head for video work.

Ha. Who am I kidding. I’ll probably leave most of this gear in the room most of the time. I don’t have the strength or energy that I used to have to carry a heavy bag. That’s why the Pana FZ1000 will do almost everything I want to do.

Two weeks to go to decide. I love this 🙂

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Sanur sunrise Pentax K-5 © PJ Croft 2010,2015

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My friend Alan stayed here last night on his way back to Margaret River from Cadoux and the harvesting. He helps out on his brothers’ farms each season.

We had dinner at the Dôme cafe across the road, sitting outside overlooking the lakes with all the wild water birds, flapping their wings and settling down for the night under the trees. Marvellous. It’s great to be able to step outside my door, walk 100m down the street and there we are. This is a very pleasant area. A bit windy, but nice.

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Now to take out the travel insurance for my trip. I’ve heard a guy from the Insurance Council talking on radio about whether we’d be covered for delays caused by the Lombok volcanic ash. He was squirming around the subject, trying to avoid saying outright “No”, but that’s what he was meaning. I think we’d have to assume that we wouldn’t be covered if the flights were delayed.

I don’t think I’m bothered by this. Garuda seems to fly regardless, and even if I were delayed leaving Bali, I don’t think I’d mind another night or two there, as long as I had a hotel room. At $25 – $40 a night, it’s not too scary.

Going up is a different matter, as a no-show means you forfeit the room cost for the night. Too bad, I guess.

More important is that my medical history means the loading on my policy bumps it up from about $127 for a normal person to $405 for me. Too bad, can’t be helped. I just have to count it in the cost of the trip.

Which reminds me, that after a bit of a horror period in 2012 and 2013, I’ve gone two years in a row without a visit to any hospital! Chalk it up, Boris. Let’s hope it stays this way.

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4 comments on “I’m flattered

  1. Martin says:

    Re travel insurance, check with your insurance company, but most will insure you for unforeseen events, but won’t insure you for a known / existing event.

    I recently went through the same exercise – and the insurance companies typically indicate they will not cover you for any delays caused by any existing ash cloud, as it is not an unforeseen event.

    With only two weeks until your travel, I don’t believe any delays due to an ash cloud would be unforeseen, so you probably won’t be covered.

  2. Pete says:

    Thanks Martin. Yes, that’s the impression I got from the radio interview with the Insurance Council guy. It was amazing the lengths he went to to avoid saying it explicitly, though.

    • Martin says:

      and BTW, I was one of the many regulars at “The Online Photographer” who visited your blog because Mike featured your comment 😉

  3. Pete says:

    Thanks Martin. The views have tapered off now, as I’d expect, but it was nice to attract you and others. I’ll try to lift my writing standard. I’m going to Bali for the Xmas and New Year period so I’ll be blogging and posting pictures from there for a few weeks. That should make it more interesting.

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