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Archive - July 2015

2015 July 28

Canon 6D Low-Light

The photo "Autumn Foliage In The Dark, Part 2" said ISO 800 and f/4.6 @ 1/80th.
It should say ISO 25600 and f/4.6 @ 1/80th. 

That photo shows considerable noise, but this was basically nighttime, without any artificial lights.  If I'd been halfway serious about this photo, I'd have used a tripod and a low ISO, even with the 6D;  but it just goes to show you can take handheld photos in the dark, in a pinch.

The 6D is still the best low-light camera on the market.  Nothing can take perfect pictures handheld in the dark, but the 6D does better than anything else before it, even the 5D Mark III (which is quite close in terms of high-ISO performance).  The new T6s is quite impressive for an APS-C camera, but it doesn't quite match the 6D.

Get one of these awesome cameras here.



A recipe that's so easy, it shouldn't even be allowed.  You could probably make this even if you don't know how to cook.  And it's so delicious.  We had this on Monday night, and it was so good that I still can't believe how easy this is to make.  There's no breading, no sauteeing.


There's a good-sized stack of photos, both film and digital, for a particular weather-related subject that ties in with midsummer.  I reckon I should get the photos posted while it's still the season.  More to follow, soon hopefully.

2015 July 23

New gallery:  Canon EOS Rebel T6S

While continuing to test out the Canon T6S, I got a picture of a nice sunset.  It was one of those that started out not-so-great, almost to the point that you'd put the camera away.  The clouds were too heavy along the horizon, so I figured it would be blocked

Then, toward the last moments of light, it suddenly transformed.   

Canon EOS Rebel T6S
Lens:  Canon EF 24-105mm IS STM

The colors are as-shot;  no adjustments other than what could be done with Picture Styles in-camera.

The T6S is a super camera.  Available as kit with 18-135 lens, or T6S body only.  It works great with the 24-105 STM.  (That lens can also be used on full-frame.)

2015 July 20

Solar Radio

New article:  Fun with a Kaito KA500 emergency radio... whose solar panel doesn't work.  In this article, you'll learn how to power almost any portable radio with a cheap aftermarket solar panel.

Also addressed:  how to avoid the dreaded "solar panel drained my car battery" problem.

Bridge Cameras

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to want to hear Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You" in the context of the Canon SX50, but darn... I miss that camera.   And this, from someone who gets bored with digital from time to time.    None of these digi-things are ever going to be film, but they are useful for what they are.

SX50 HS.  The focal-length versatility of that "portable sketchbook" is so useful, whether you shoot film or whether you just like to take pictures of random stuff.  

Another favorite is the Panasonic FZ70, which thankfully is still being produced.   I'm often tempted to go for a mirrorless compact, but for my criteria I'd rather have a Panasonic FZ, if not a Canon SX50.   One reason:  if you want a viewfinder on a mirrorless, that's a premium feature that's available only on the premium cameras.  By that time, it starts to make more sense to get a good DSLR.

The Panasonic FZ200 is actually a better camera in some ways than the 70, but there are different reasons for each.  If you want the focal length versatility, get the FZ70.  It doesn't have constant f/2.8, though, which is kind of a big deal if you shoot in low light.

Now that the FZ300 is out, I'm contemplating giving it a whirl... the 4K video is tempting.  There's also the weatherproofing, and improved AF.  The one thing they messed up is the wide-angle range;  they should have gone for something equivalent to 20 to 22mm;  instead it's 25mm.   Oh well;  the 4K is pretty significant.  I almost forgot:  the constant f/2.8 is ultra-handy, too.  This was also a major selling point for the FZ200.


I still have a roll of 400TX shot at 6400, which has been sitting for months.   Soon I think I'm going to develop that.   I should mention that the only reason I haven't been developing film is because of an electronics and radio kick I've been on lately, where I put away the developing stuff.  It wasn't digital that did this;  when I actually want to photograph something worth keeping, film is still very much the favorite choice.

Am waiting to do a whole batch of color, because I don't want to waste any chems just doing one or two rolls.  When I do B&W, I can easily do just one or two rolls;  the only thing that gets wasted a little is the fixer.  (Refresher:  How to Develop B&W Film.)

If you're going to let your liquid developer concentrates go unused for a long time, it's probably best to store them in glass, with tight seals.  The less headspace over the liquid, the better, because the air will oxidize them.

2015 July 17

Review:  Sangean WR-11 AM/FM Radio

The Mrs. also approves of this radio.

2015 July 13


The Ides, As It Were, Of Summer
Ilford HP-5 Plus 400
Speed Graphic w/ 210mm barrel lens (I think).  I would have to get back to this spot, figure out where I was standing, and see if the field of view matches the lens.  Ha!  Actually I could use a 35mm camera with about a 70 to 80mm lens, which would have about the same field of view.

Digital cameras have their virtues, but I'm getting bored with digital again.  Well, not bored, but...  I think it's almost time to bring out the clunky old mechanical cameras and show those piles of microelectronics how it's really done.

Actually, though, the original Canon Sure Shot AF camera has some microelectronics, and I might even settle for that.  (Reason: There's one sitting on the desk.)  Whichever the case may be, there will be film.

A reader has been detailing how he uses slides and slide projectors in a very elaborate presentation that sounds quite impressive.  It's not easy to convey how great a real slideshow looks, but if you have occasion to go to one, it's a good idea.  Even a fairly simple slideshow (using real slides) is pretty darned cool.  Back in the day, we took these things for granted. 

Vintage Electronics

That new article is ready.

2015 July 3rd, 4th, & 5th
Fourth of July Weekend

Festivities & Film

Have a great weekend and photograph some fireworks displays!

For those of you just getting into large format, "fireworks on film" is a special challenge.  I wouldn't say to try it if you're just starting out (sheets will get wasted), but it can be done.  If you ground-glass focus, try focusing on a distant landmark before it gets totally dark.  Then recompose on the area of the sky where the fireworks will be.  The tricky part will be seating the film holder and dealing with the darkslides, and the shutter release, when it's dark.   There is a series of steps where it's easy to forget to do any one of them, even if you were shooting at a relaxed pace. 

(This is why I usually use 35mm or 6x6 for the fireworks, and 4x5 for the landscapes.)

Obviously you'll want to have honed your skills by shooting a lot of landscapes already with the view camera.


This is sort of random, but I mention it because the scene involved cooking while listening to Moog Rock (1969) on a vintage boombox that I was testing.  (Note the fireworks on the cover of the album;  coincidence?!)  My favorite track may well be the rendition of Borodin, the title of which I somehow keep thinking of as "Polyolefin Dance and Chorus".   Not quite dyslexia, exactly.   

More about the boom box (sort of), later in the upcoming vintage electronics article.

Indian curries contain several ingredients known to have antioxidant properties, and also they're likely very good for the digestive tract.  Curry is a yet-to-be acquired taste for many North Americans, but once acquired it is something one tends to seek again.

Thursday night was Jalfrezi.  This was not a homemade curry, but if you go that route I suggest you read a couple of good books on the subject.  I haven't tried this one, but it looks good.  I know from experience this one is worth getting (though I don't think it has a jalfrezi recipe).   They have some used copies for next to nothing. 

So anyway, jalfrezi:  this stuff is amazingly good.  Get a few jars;  if you like Indian cuisine, you will probably like this a lot.  A twenty-minute meal, with minimal work besides stirring the pot.   Okay, thirty minutes if you also make Basmati rice.  It's not a Food Network show;  there's no rush.  Listen to the radio and relax a bit. 

I hope you all have a great weekend!!

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