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Dahlia

July 25, 2013 Leave a comment

dahlia

I got a new camera two nights ago. It’s been a long wait. I first read about it in March 2011. It was great, but had some defects. And it’s expensive. So I waited. Two years later, this past March, in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Augusta and the Masters, I figured this might be the right time to buy it. No way was I going to lug my Nikon DSLR around, both because it’s heavy and because it has become unreliable. It has a habit of deciding that the memory card is unreadable. I reformat, get a few shots, then a renewed error message. The camera is nine years old. Clearly the time has come to replace it. With a new Nikon, I could use all my lenses. But still I wasn’t going to drag the new Nikon around the golf course. Time for that camera I had put off buying two years ago. And when I looked it up, I saw that the price had dropped $400. Plus, it was available. No two month wait.

Why such a price drop? The answer, of course, is that the updated version had just come out. No availability yet in the US, but I could order it and get on the waiting list–at the old price. The defects, of both hardware and software, had been fixed. It was perfect. Lightweight, fantastic fixed lens, takes incredible photos. But I couldn’t have it in time for our trip, so I put off ordering it.

Seven weeks ago, I finally did order it, and Tuesday it came. I couldn’t wait to get home. Yes, there was the huge backlog of blog posts to write, and Tuesday would be my first free evening for blogging in many days. But the camera won out.

Except, it had a crucial defect. One of its best features was supposed to be the dual optical/electronic viewfinder with the simple way to switch between the two. In retro style–retro style being one of the camera’s charms–the switch to the side of the lens that traditionally would be the timer was the toggle between the two viewfinder modes. But as often as I switched it, I couldn’t get out of electronic mode. Boy was I disappointed.

First thing yesterday morning, I called Fuji’s help desk to see what my options were. Send it to them for repair under warranty, paying shipping no less, or see if Amazon would want it back, which presumably would have led to another 1-2 month wait for a replacement. Disheartening. The guy asked if I had tried something, which of course I had–I’m no idiot–but to humor him, I tried again. And suddenly the switch worked! I’m still wary. Will it keep working? I don’t know. But it works for now.

All I need is some time to try out the camera’s many features, time that will take me away from Ron’s View, time I took earlier this evening. You can see one result above. More to come.

Categories: Photography

Still Down

July 25, 2013 Leave a comment

skagitbridge

[Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times]

A week ago, in my post Down But Not Out, I offered some of the reasons for my worst month of blogging (by far) in the almost five years of Ron’s View. I then intended to provide one more post, but it didn’t happen.

And then we had a weekend typical of why blogging has been on hold most of the month. Friday we packed up and headed north to Oak Harbor, on Whidbey Island. Gail had a sharp deadline for being there, in time for the rehearsal of a wedding she would be performing the next day. This meant we dare not risk taking the ferry over to Clinton on the south side of the island. Instead we drove north on I-5, the dullest stretch of road imaginable (though it did mean that we got to cross the newly opened bridge over the Skagit River in Mt. Vernon, the one that collapsed two months ago), then west to Fidalgo Island, over to the magnificent Deception Pass Bridge that connects Fidalgo to Whidbey on Whidbey’s north end, and down to Oak Harbor (home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island). Just over 90 miles to Oak Harbor’s Candlewood Suites.

A short break, and then on to the wedding rehearsal and post-rehearsal dinner. No blogging that night. I admit, Saturday morning was free, but hey, that meant I could watch as dramatic a stage of the Tour de France as I can remember, the final day in the Alps, culminating in the climb up Annecy Semnoz. And after that, round three of the Open golf championship in Muirfield. It ended just in time for us to get to the wedding.

Wedding, reception, and south the length of the island to the ferry. Saturday late afternoon. No chance, I imagined, that there would be ferry traffic. Boy was I ever wrong. An hour and a half wait, which we got to share with what must have been a dozen vans filled with cyclists who had just competed in Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage. I hadn’t heard of Ragnar before. I know about it now. Click the link and find out for yourself.

ragnar

Long though the wait was, the ride across the sound to Mukilteo was beautiful, with mountain and water views and perfect weather. We were home by 7:00. A night of blogging! No, I just wasn’t up to it. And Sunday morning, well, we had to watch the final round of the Open. Phil! The subject of another post. And the final stage of the Tour. Paris at night! The first nighttime finish, celebrating 100 Tours, and magnificent it was.

No sooner had the Tour ended than we hit the road again, 45 miles south to Orting for wedding number two of the weekend. One of Gail’s cousins lives in Orting, and we’d been down to her house, but not the extra 2 miles to the center of town, and the two hundred yards more that brings you to the south end, with as magnificent a view of Mt. Rainier, looming less than 30 miles away, as I’ve ever had. When we arrived at 2:15, there was still some marine air around and all you could see was the bottom 2/3 or so, with the huge base. Two hours later, in utterly clear skies, the mountain rose in its full majesty, so much more dramatic than up here in Seattle.

Sunday evening is peak blogging time for me, but not this past Sunday. We were home around 8:00, with no energy. And no time Monday to make up for it, because Monday I attended the annual basketball game and barbecue of the summer program I run. Tuesday was new camera night (subject of another post), last night the weekly pizza dinner with my summer program. I tell you, this month just isn’t meant for blogging. Which is too bad, because I have no shortage of topics. Sorry.

Categories: Life, Travel