Again and again


Isle of Skye, Scotland.   © PJ Croft 2008, 2017

It’s that word again! Moana, moama, momoa, each one is occurring over and over. I can’t remember what article it was, but three days ago a rugby player, I think, was mentioned in a news item as coming from Moana in NSW. That makes the sixth, or is the seventh time in five months. Yet I’d never heard these words before this year.


Portree pano

Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland.  © PJ Croft 2008, 2017

Here’s another amazing coincidence: on Thursday I was browsing Google Earth and some of my old video and photos of Portree, on the Isle of Skye in 2008.

Last night, Friday night, a Volvo ad came on TV and shown on the GPS screen of the car was … wait for it … Portree. That astounds me. It’s an obscure little town, yet it crops up in my vision twice in two days. I’m haunted.

It was so windy on that day that although I had my video camcorder (remember those?) on a tripod, the wind blew it over. It broke a piece of plastic off the top, but was otherwise undamaged. My good friend Keith now has that camcorder (Canon HF800 Full HD) and uses it regularly for serious video shooting. He loves it.


For people like me, the separate video camcorder is a dead duck. I used to have to carry a stills camera and a camcorder, but since stills cameras started being able to record video, I only carry the one now. The video is so good that I don’t feel I’ve lost anything except the weight.

The one thing, I suppose, is that the zoom rate is a bit touchy and hard to control. Yet I can switch the lens to zoom by the focus ring (a big wide band) so it’s OK.

My camera is the Panasonic FZ1000. It’s marvellous:

  • a 1″ diagonal sensor (not as big as APS-C but much bigger than the Canon camcorder had);
  • a Leica 25-400mm zoom, either power controlled or manual as I’ve said;
  • 20Mpx stills, easily good enough for A3 sized prints;
  • 4K video in 16:9 aspect;
  • recording to SD-HC XS cards (I keep a 64GB card in there and never go anywhere near filling it);
  • a built-in stero mic of excellent quality, and a socket for an external mic;
  • built-in flash

Price? $950 approx last year. The Canon HF800 camcorder cost $1300 in 2008. There’s a new Pana FZ2500 model out now, improved in several ways, but it’s $1300.

Full camcorders still have their place. They are optimised for eye level or shoulder level shooting, and have wider range zooms, with finer control. They have variable frame rates and shutter angles, and can usually take two cards, automatically switching between the two when one is full. They also have much better mics and control of audio.

Keith says the one thing he wants is a LANC socket on the camcorder for remote control of zoom and focus from pan handles on the tripod. It’s a must-have for him.


I had another rotten night of insomnia last night – no sleep at all, despite taking my sedative anti-histamine tablets. I felt reasonably OK when I got up this morning but crashed at 11am and got about 2hrs sleep. How come I can get to sleep in the daytime, but not at night??

It occurs to me that this could severely affect any trip to the UK. At home I can crash any time, especially after breakfast, with no problems, but if I’m travelling and have to check out of hotels, and drive a hire car, that could be a real problem. I suppose one answer could be that I’d be so tired after each day’s walking and sightseeing that I wouldn’t have trouble sleeping. But this could be a deal breaker.

During the 2008 trip, there were several occasions when I was so tired after a full day of walking that I sat down on the bed in the early evening and the next thing I knew it was morning, with me still fully clothed on top of the covers. Instantly asleep. Not even aware of it.

I’ve realised my 2008 passport will have to be renewed. Better get cracking, whether I go or not.


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