Last Spring, just as the garden was getting into full swing with the October Iris in bloom and the roses in full bud, I had the distressing experience of losing, not just one, but two of my faithful little point-and-shoot digital cameras to lens retraction error. I don’t know what caused it, as neither had been bumped or dropped, and whether it was a speck in the air or a bit of the pervasive cottonwood poplar fluff, which had been constantly floating around or just sheer tiredness from overwork, but my sturdy little red work-horse refused to budge and when I retreated to my default option, my previous slightly dodgy model, whose erratic prima donna behaviour had prompted the later purchase of the more advanced model, it took one gasp of fresh air and immediately joined ranks, its lens also refusing to retract!As a keen photographer and chronicler of the garden, I was desperate, especially as my husband had been given a whale-watching trip voucher for that same weekend. After getting no response from the local camera shop, which was undergoing a transition of ownership, we resorted to good old Google, specifically this site: http://camerarepair.blogspot.com.au/2007/12/fixing-lens-error-on-digital-camera.html, with a sequence of progressively drastic steps to follow to resolve the problem.By the tapping stage, we had convinced the old camera (photo above) to finally close, and even though it is still dodgy, suddenly closing down mid-shoot or mid-zoom or refusing to turn on, it still worked when it wanted to, but we have had no luck with the red camera, which hasn’t budged from its adamant refusal to work! Unfortunately, to send it away for repair could cost over 200 to 300 dollars, so it is scarcely worth it for a mere point-and-shoot camera!Fortunately, we were able to borrow my daughter’s far superior and more expensive digital SLR camera (photo above) for the whale-watching, though I really did need a telescopic lens for it, and also my dodgy old camera decided that it would help me out for the special occasion, so with the combination of the two, I was still able to get a few good shoots, improved markedly with adjustment on the computer (see below!), but I really missed having the red camera with its great zoom.But now I had a dilemma with Spring marching on in all her full glory and our upcoming northern holiday to visit family, but also enjoy the Old Roses of Saumarez Heritage Garden and Red Cow Farm en route during their peak season, not to mention the future of the blog, which as you all know is heavily reliant on my photographs!!
There seemed little point in buying a third version of the same camera! These little Power Shot cameras are so portable and convenient, but their constant zooming in and out every time the camera is turned on, means that the lens has a very limited life, especially if used as much as I do!
The far better option seemed to be to save up and buy the far more expensive digital SLR camera like Caroline’s, even though it is slightly larger and requires more frequent lens changes. We resolved to research all the different models and either get my overseas daughter to purchase one duty-free on her return home for Christmas or investigate secondhand options. But what to do in the mean time?!!!
Borrowing Caroline’s camera a second time for the holiday was a possible option, though it would mean she was without her camera for two whole weeks, and even if we did that, I would need a fair bit of practice to master its focusing, so my holiday photos weren’t all a bit of a blur! Could I manage with the dodgy old camera, my mobile phone, which admittedly takes excellent photos, and the odd local borrow of friends’ cameras along the way?
I had just resolved that I could, when my darling daughter phoned to let me know I could borrow her good camera and saved the day! I gave my lucky girl the misbehaving cameras to play with in exchange!!!
It was good having the opportunity to experiment with my daughter’s Digital SLR over the fortnight and while I did still manage to get some good photos, especially macro closeups and landscapes, I really missed my zoom lens for the birds. We saw both a Tawny Frogmouth on its nest, as well as lots of parrots in the Blue Mountains, but I really needed a telephoto lens on the Digital SLR and my mobile phone wasn’t much help in these instances either! See if you can spot the Tawny Frogmouth in the first photo! It was almost impossible to find the Tawny Frogmouth with the camera, a difficult task at the best of times, due to their superb camouflage skills and ability to freeze for long periods of time, so I literally did have to point-and-shoot blindly with Caro’s Digital SLR, but I was able to take a photo and the images above show gradual enlargement on the computer. I could definitely pick the little Red-Rumped Parrots in her camera viewfinder (I would have to be blind not to detect their brilliant colours!), but my problem with them was not being able to zoom in close enough, even though I was just across a narrow waterway! The photos above (taken with Caroline’s camera) show the amount that I was able to progressively enlarge them on the computer before blurring of the image occurred.
My mobile phone wasn’t much better either! In fact, I think it was worse!!! Both images below were blurry to a certain extent. Enlarging the first mobile phone photo on the computer really wasn’t effective! Which got me thinking! I really didn’t want the inconvenience of having to constantly change lenses and there was also the possibility of blurring with the heavier camera, once the telephoto lens was on. I started veering back to my point-and-shoot models, despite their deficiencies!
We visited a camera shop en route to research the options (see Buyer’s Guide above, as well as a possible point-and-shoot camera Lumix DMC-TZ80) and discovered Bridge cameras (photo below), which fit in between Digital SLRs and Point-and-Shoot cameras. They are slightly larger and more substantial than the latter, but don’t have as much lens movement on immediately turning on, as well as having a 60X zoom! I am now saving up like mad!Mean time, I also had to consider the future directions of my blog for next year, especially in the light of a potential lack of a camera for a period! I had thought for a while about showcasing the wonderful Australian bird life, especially in our local region, and luckily, I already have a huge number of bird photographs, some of which have already appeared on this blog, so that was one option and it tied in with my idea of presenting them monthly in line with the song, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.
I also had many new photos from excursions this last year, which I can explore in more depth this coming year. I may even include one post in this section about major new developments in our Candelo Garden where appropriate.
My book posts are easy, as their photographs require scanning on the computer and I had already intended to explore my craft library this year. And for the fourth week, I was sure that I had enough photos of all the beautiful plants in my garden to revisit my monthly feature plant posts.
So, I think I am now all organized (!) and it won’t require an immediate camera purchase or as much flogging of any new camera this coming year! The final line-up is as follows:
Week 1 : Monthly Feature Plant;
Week 2 : Birds;
Week 3 : Craft Books; and
Week 4 : Places to Explore!
So, for January 2018, it’s Buddleias; Parrots and Cockatoos; Colour and Design Books; and the beautiful Murrah Lagoon!
Next Tuesday, we return to the last of my posts on Rose Types, with a look at other Modern Shrub Roses and their breeders.