Camera Test? Cat Test?

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Ramblings

A handheld movie of Bickie showing off for the camera may be seen at this link.  I didn’t want to post it directly here because I have no editor to make the size of the window smaller; it would take up the whole page.

This was taken with my new J4 and the kit lens (10-30mm).

Nikon J4

Posted: March 15, 2015 in Ramblings

It’s been a dramatic and annoying week chez Pick regarding cameras.  I “ultimately” (note the quotes) decided on a Pentax K-S2 DSLR.  It’s weather-resistant, works with a remote, has a built-in flash, and can take lenses to give me good zoom.  Spent the afternoon playing with it, lugging it around, and realized that I do not have the patience to deal with a honking monster camera like that.

So, what did I do?  Took it back to the store and exchanged it for a giant point-and-shoot!  (The salesguy recommended it to me.)  Honestly, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.  I got the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000, which is a bigger (but lighter weight) camera, with only a 16x zoom.  Spent an hour playing around with it and finally admitted my folly.

Therefore, there were 2-3 more days of web research – focusing specifically on small cameras – and narrowed it down to three Nikon interchangeables, the J4, the S2, and the AW1.  The AW1 had been on my radar for a long time – it’s the fully immersible, shockproof, freezeproof and all that.  But it’s also pretty heavy.  This was a camera I’d played with several times at the camera store.  It’s still at a pretty high price, but also, gets a lot of iffy reviews for water leakage/Nikon not honoring the warranty.  So it went on the back burner.

Between the J4 and the S2 there were very few differences.  The J4 had been released in a gorgeous juicy orange color, and the S2 in a bright, bright yellow.  Those of you who know me well know that I’ll always pick a colored item over a white, black, or silver.  However, although the J4 is a slightly more advanced camera, nobody had the orange in stock any more, not even Nikon.  So I discovered that Target sells the white model, and we went to take a look.

Imagine my surprise when we saw the Target sign saying “$150 off”!  I snapped it up and have been happily playing with it all weekend.

Now, lest some pedantic photographer point this out, let me state that this is not a water-resistant camera.  It also doesn’t seem to work with a remote – though I was misled by the Nikon live chat rep that morning, who said it would work.  I’ve got an email in to Nikon customer support to confirm.

Right now the only lens I’ve got is the 10-30mm, which is not a zoom lens, but there are some longer lenses in my pre-France future.

Taken with the "Miniature" filter on.  Unretouched.

Taken with the “Miniature” filter on. Unretouched.


Posted: March 8, 2015 in Ramblings

The weather sealing is probably my least-important criterion.  I could always take my phone with me for rainy day shots, though my phone camera is nothing special.

Also, if you find a camera that works with a Windows Phone app, that would solve the remote problem.  I’ve poked thru the Windows store by searching on the major camera manufacturers but didn’t find anything.  Thanks.

Camera Woes Again

Posted: March 8, 2015 in Ramblings

I want a weather-resistant (because it’s Seattle), compact (for travel), remote-capable (because I shake too much without a tripod and remote) point-and-shoot.  If you ever stumble across one, please let me know.  I haven’t been able to find a way to narrow this down.  Different manufacturers use different terms for weather-resistant (weatherproof, waterproof, weather-sealed, and so on); many of them are usable with an iOS or Android phone as a remote (and you all know I don’t use those things).  There is no Windows Phone app for any cameras that are weather-resistant.  It’s a tough call!  I’ve been browsing manufacturer sites as well as store sites and can’t really find a way to narrow this down.

I do not mind a 100% waterproof camera but I really only want something that won’t be corrupted if I’m out in the neighborhood taking pics and it begins to rain.

There are quite a few weather-resistant DSLRs (too big, too great of a learning curve for me).

There are a few DSLR-sized point-and-shoots that take remotes (too big).

There are plenty of waterproof point-and-shoots but they don’t have remote capability.

Thanks for keeping your eyes open for me.

My Sony Cybershot HX50V.  This one's for sale.

My Sony Cybershot HX50V. This one’s for sale.

Purchased this camera in 6/14 and took it on quite a few vacations.  I’m selling it, with original box and all accessories plus the pleather jacket case, for $198 total (shipped in the US).  It is still $298 at Amazon (including the jacket case).  Please contact me if you are interested.  Has a 30x zoom and uses SD cards.  It’s a good camera, but my least-favorite of all the ones in the house, and the proceeds will go towards this mythical waterproof, remote-controlled point-and-shoot, if I ever find one.

Dyeing Results

Posted: March 1, 2015 in Ramblings
What I was trying to achieve (except from pink to blue).

What I was trying to achieve (except from pink to blue).

What I got.

What I got.  Taken in direct sunlight (except for the one at far left).

Dyeing Experiment

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Ramblings

It’s been a while since I tried something new.  There were 8 skeins of Jojoland Consonance (undyed) lying around here for the last few years, unwanted by any customers or Ravelers, so I decided to try making a gradient, sometimes called a color bridge – a range of skeins that begins with a deep color and fades before fading into a different color.

I started with two identical pots filled with the same amount of water and citric acid.  Into these pots I put a lot of dye:  more than would usually be used for one skein.  In the first pot:  1 teaspoon Brilliant Blue and 1/4 teaspoon Hot Fuchsia; in the second pot, the reverse.  My goal was to have a set of eight skeins that started with the deep bluish-purple (we’ll call it the Blue) and faded down to a hint of bluish-purple before passing to a hint of pinkish-purple all the way up to a vivid, intense pinkish-purple (we’ll call this the Pink).

Step 1:  soak 1 skein in each pot for 60 minutes, then microwave the two pots (at the same time) for 12 minutes on full power.

Step 2:  remove both skeins at the same time and let them cool.

Step 3:  when the pot liquid had cooled to room temperature, add 8 ounces of water and 1 skein to each pot.

Repeat from step 1.

So, theoretically, with each skein, more dye would be taken up, and eventually I would have two pots with a slight haze of color in them for the ‘center’ of the color bridge.  Theoretically.  Of course it did not turn out so neatly.

I did make two mistakes that could have been controlled.  One is that I failed to pre-wash the skeins.  As a result of skin oils, or machine oils from spinning, or something, a few of these skeins have pale patches in them.  The only one that came out a true solid is the deepest of the Blue.

The other mistake is that the colors I chose do not exhaust at the same rate.  This is something I already knew from years of working with these colors, but didn’t consider it because this color path was so glorious.  The Brilliant Blue dye always takes up faster than the Hot Fuchsia.  This means that my first two Blue skeins are bluish-purple, but the third and fourth are sort of pale orchid, because there wasn’t any blue left in the pot.  It also means that my first skein of Pink actually turned out more of a plum than I wanted.  That skein took up all the Brilliant Blue from the Pink pot and left nothing but pure Hot Fuchsia for the remaining three skeins.

The theory was sound, but the color choices are what really screwed it up.  I am going to order some cheaper yarn in smaller skeins and try again with a different “color bridge,” maybe, uh, caramel to mint, or something totally random like that.

When these skeins are all dry, I’ll post a picture of them here, but right now, all of them are still wet.

Midlife Crises

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Ramblings

Back in my late 30s, I decided that after age 40, I’d stop coloring my hair.  (Prior to this, except during my pregnancy, I had been pretty manic about changing haircolor, sometimes going very extreme, on a fairly regular basis.)  My reason was that there are a lot of older women around – women with, shall we say, “aged faces” – who dye their hair to a dark color and look wrong as a result.  I didn’t want to be one of them.

From age 40 to 51 I adhered to that rule.  My only fall from grace was a light dusting of blonde highlights in the fall of 2013, but they were almost unnoticeable, so that doesn’t count.

But for some reason, last month I suddenly had a very strong urge not just to color my hair, but to go fairly extreme again.  After waffling for a while, I decided to do one last haircolor hurrah, and be done with it.  Tonight this extravaganza took place, thanks to Andrea at the Regis salon in Sammamish (she’s been my on-and-off stylist for about 8 years).

First step:  coloring the hair red-violet, except for the places where the color streaks would be; those were bleached out at the same time.

Second step:  applying the color for the streaks.

Third step:  cut and blow-dry.  (Normally I let my hair air-dry, so this very smooth look is not something that’s likely to reoccur.)

Here are the results.  I absolutely love how this turned out.  I’m sure at least one reader is going to think of the ‘circus pony’ analogy, but I don’t care!

Side view, resting phase.

Side view, resting phase.

Back view.

Back view.

Here you can see how Andrea did the color streaks underneath an upper layer of the violet red, so the colors would peek through but not be blatant.

Here you can see how Andrea did the color streaks underneath an upper layer of the violet red, so the colors would peek through but not be blatant.