River at dawn 1a

Paris 2008. (C) PJ Croft 2016

Writing this at 3am, another night where sleep just won’t come. Dammit, insomnia is a real problem for me now. I never used to have trouble, but something’s changed. It’s part of getting older I think.

I was so sleepy earlier that I went to bed at 9.45pm, having trouble keeping my eyes open. But I lay there for two hours and sleep just wouldn’t come. Bah!


I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday morning (Monday) and was all set with a list of things I needed to talk about, but when I arrived at 8.55am for a 9am appointment, I found I’d been switched to another doctor. I then had to wait until 9.40am before I got in. We discussed various things and then he said this is only a 15 minute appointment so we’d have to finish. Grrrr. I wasn’t finished. So I made another appointment to see my usual GP, the lovely Tandi, but the earliest I can get in is Thursday next week! This is bad. I have things I need to sort out before I go to Bali (two weeks today) but I have to wait another 10 days, when I had already waited 9 days for this appointment. I’ve been thinking that this medical centre is too often booked out, but you build a relationship with a doctor and I don’t want to have to start again with someone I don’t know and who doesn’t know me. Problem.


I read an interesting fact recently: with portable GPS units, they show the car’s exact speed with much greater accuracy than the car’s speedo. This usually shows that the car’s reading is about 3-5Km/h higher than the real speed. It’s done deliberately so that the speedo won’t mislead you into exceeding the speed limits.

But with  car makers’ built-in GPS units, they don’t show the accurate satellite reading that portable ones do. Apparently this is so that the driver is not conflicted as to which one to believe.

If I ever buy a car, I do not want to pay for a built-in GPS. The above is one reason. Another reason is that they charge like wounded bulls for software and map updates, which are unique to the car maker, so can’t be got elsewhere. Another is that the GPS is built into the centre of the dash, forcing you to look left and down. I have my GPS in the bottom right corner of the windscreen, just off my line of vision, meaning I hardly have to move my eyes to see it. I can also use my right hand to make settings, so I don’t have to look and reach left to change a centre dash mounted unit.


Another interesting fact: (uh oh, senior’s moment! I can’t remember what I was going to write.)

Oh yeah, now I remember: A few days ago I mentioned a very nice watch that’s an LCD display, so that it can be reconfigured and changed to display all sorts of useful information, like your pulse rate, for example. It’s a TAG Heuer and costs about $1500 in Australia.

All these images are the same watch, just different LCD displays. The hands and the date window and so on are not real, just images on the LCD display.

I said it’ll be superseded in short order, so whaddaya do, buy the next model at another $1500?

Well, apparently the company say that if you buy it, and a new model comes out, you’ll be able to exchange your old model for one of their mechanical models at no cost if you buy the new electronic LCD model. Obviously they recognise the problem I was talking about.

By the way, I thought up the idea of an LCD display watch that can be changed to have different faces about 5 years ago. It was triggered by Apple’s boast that their Retina LCD displays have pixels so fine that they can’t be seen, giving incredibly sharp images. One of my mates will verify that, as he got so enthused by my idea that he started making enquiries as to whether someone would adopt my idea. I should have patented my idea!


I feel a big load has been lifted from my shoulders. A long standing dispute seems to have been resolved. I wish the person had spoken earlier. It would have saved two years of awful stress and anger that has been badly affecting me. I hope we can get back to some normality soon, although it will be hard to forget what’s happened.


St Eustache 1

St Eustache cathedral, Paris 2008. (C) PJ Croft 2016

Another interesting fact: photographic equipment prices are cheaper in Australia than both the USA and the UK!

There was a review of a Sigma 35mm lens the other day on my favourite US photo blog and they pointed us to the B&H New York web site where the price of this lens is US$799. B&H is one of the biggest photo retailers in the world.

Just for interest, I searched for local prices and stap me, Gerry Gibbs Camera House ‘just down the road’ here in Perth, has the lens for AUD$799 too.

The US$799 price translates to AUD$1141.42 at A$1 = US$0.70c ! Or to put it another way, an American could buy from this Perth retailer for US$559.30. Take off the 10% GST for export and it comes down further, to US$503.37. Plus post and packing, of course. Compared with US$799 plus p&p. This is remarkable.

Another thing I found today is that a Sigma SD1 camera body, which when first released about three years ago cost US$8,000 approx. (to widespread ridicule) is being sold from Sigma Australia’s web site now at A$1249, with free postage.

Yet all the other Aussie web sellers are still advertising it at around A$1800. Sigma seems to have dropped the price, and the local sellers haven’t caught up. It’s also on the B&H New York web site at US$1,799. So it looks like a bargain is to be had. I suspect Sigma is trying to sell off all their stock, either because they’ve dropped it from their range, or there’s a new model coming.

No, I don’t need another camera. I did a count recently and I’ve got 15 cameras, film and digital. Why not? It’s fun! I choose one according to my whim of the day.

But this Sigma SD1 Merrill is a bit special. It uses the Foveon sensor, where the red, green and blue layers of the sensor are transparent and stacked on top of each other. Each layer has 15 million receptor sites and Sigma says that makes it a 45Mega-pixel camera. They’re not wrong. Thing is, the pictures from this type of sensor, unique to this maker Sigma, are very special, having unique qualities. Many people rave about them and the samples Sigma provide certainly bear out their claims. Incredibly sharp, and with a special tonality and colour quality.

As you can tell, I’ve got the hots. Sigma also makes some of the sharpest lenses this side of Leica lenses, the standard setters. But Leica lenses cost in the $thousands, whereas the Sigma range are around $800-$900 usually for quality very close to Leica’s.

The Sigma camera uses its own mount, of course, so if you buy the body, you have to buy SIGMA lenses to go with it. No choice. But it’s a nice choice.

I don’t need another camera!



Jindalee beach 2014. Olympus 75-300mm lens at 300mm. (C) PJ Croft 2016