Slow Times

Being mid-summer, and high season for vacationers, I tend to hold back a little bit on kayaking and hiking, especially when there’s a long weekend, like the one we just had. It really doesn’t get all that busy up here, but even if I see one, or two other people, or groups, while I’m out exploring, it does take a bit of the edge off my enjoyment of the quiet wilderness.

I’ve been trying to do another kayaking exploration for the last two days, but things were just not coming together. I got up at 4:30am both on Tuesday morning, and Wednesday morning, in preparation to do some kayaking. However, on Tuesday morning I found that the battery in my truck was almost dead. The truck started really slow, and I knew if I took it out, and parked it somewhere, it would likely not start again. I do carry an extra battery in the truck with me now, just for those occasions, but I hadn’t charged the second battery for a while, and I wasn’t sure that it was fully charged either, so I put the kibosh on that outing.

I charged the main battery in the truck through Tuesday, so it would have been ready to go on Wednesday morning, but I wasn’t convinced that I could trust it, until I had more time to investigate the problem. I now feel that it’s just a case of not using the truck enough, and using it for short trips. There’s not enough time for the alternator to keep the battery charged up, and I have had some problems with current leakage, when the truck is shut off, so these two things will kill the battery, if the truck is left sitting for longer periods.

Anyway, this is my excuse for not being out and about for the last couple of days. Also, there is some humid weather moving in now, and I’m not, at all, a fan of humidity in the summer, so that will impact my activity level somewhat too. I can’t complain though, because it has been quite nice this summer so far.

During my down time on the long weekend, I did make a decision that will affect my blog, and I’ll go through that in this post, since I have nothing else to post right now.

I decided, after much thought, to change the camera setup that I’m using right now. I’m getting tired of carrying two, or three, cameras around with me, everywhere I go, just so that I’ll have both video, and still picture capability. I have been using my Olympus SP800UZ for video, and my Canon SX120IS for still pictures. This is a bit of a pain, and I’m not, at all, happy with the performance of the Olympus camera.

So, I’ve been looking for a camera that can perform all the functions that I require, both video, still, and a respectable zoom distance, all in one camera. Too much to ask? Well maybe, but I do believe that I’ve found a camera that will, not only do everything I want, but will do it much better than I thought possible. Keep in mind also, that I’m neither willing, nor able, to spend a lot of money on these types of things.

I spent almost $400. on that Olympus camera, when I purchased it new, in 2011. Clearly it was not worth that much, and I don’t intend to make that mistake again. For less than half of that price, I have now purchased another Canon camera, since I’ve been very impressed with this SX120IS that I picked up on ebay for only $26. On the way to me is a Canon PowerShot SX40HS, which I’ve researched tirelessly for a number of days now.

Of course, I did look for this camera on ebay first, but the best deal I found on it was at Henry’s online camera store, and I figured that it would be best to buy it from a real camera store, rather than an unknown ebay seller. This is not a new model, it’s used, but it has all the features I wanted, and it comes highly recommended by all the reviews by both users, and websites.

Since this camera has been around for a while, there are lots of reviews to read, unlike a new product, which could have a lot of hype, but no substance. Of course, you are always going to find some who will not like any particular product but, like I said, I did lots of research, and there is a lot of information out there on this camera, so I feel pretty confident that it will work very well for what I need.

The Canon SX40 is a ‘bridge’ camera, meaning that it is intended to bridge the gap between point and shoot cameras, and dSLR cameras, which are much more expensive to buy, especially when it comes to lenses. Basically, a ‘bridge’ camera is a poor man’s dSLR, but that’s not to say that it will not do a nice job. After seeing many images, and videos produced by the Canon PowerShot SX40HS, I’m pretty impressed with its capabilities.

Just as a side note, I can’t believe how many people there are out there that ‘identify’ with inanimate objects, and take any kind of criticism as a personal attack on their very being. This happens in many, many ways in the human mind, not only with things. It happens with religion, it happens with jobs, or status, it even happens with nationality. It’s all part of the Insanity of Humanity.

Anyway, it is what it is, and I’m not out to change it, I’m just pointing it out, because the first step in changing this kind of behavior is to realize it’s happening.

So, getting back to my camera changes, I should have this Canon PowerShot SX40HS by early next week, at which time you will probably notice some better quality videos, and pictures on my blog. It will be much easier for me to have only one camera to carry on my trips and outings when it arrives. I have my Olympus SP800UZ up for sale, but I will be keeping my Canon SX120IS, since I’ve been very happy with its performance. It will be my pocket camera, when I go walking, since this newer camera is too big for my pocket.

So, in conclusion, here are the two cameras that I will be using, from now on;

 

The Canon PowerShot SX120IS

 

For more information; http://tinyurl.com/mzwntdy

1183156814_1862631080_o

 

The Canon PowerShot SX40HS

 

For more information; http://tinyurl.com/kqxko5b

canon_powershot_sx40_hs

Researching this camera, I came across some information that can increase the performance of most Canon cameras, called CHDK, or Canon Hacker’s Development Kit.

This is a software program, that is installed on the SD card, not the camera, so it does not change anything in the camera’s firmware. It runs from the SD card, and bypasses the camera’s firmware, to open up many new functions that these camera’s are capable of. I’ve installed it on the Canon PowerShot SX120IS that I already have, and it works amazingly well.

I will be installing this on the Canon PowerShot SX40HS, when it arrives. There is a lot of information on this software, in case anyone out there is interested.
http://tinyurl.com/2lovop

There are also many videos on YouTube, showing how to install this software, and also showing the results, and what it can do. Just do a search on YouTube for CHDK.

So, there ya go, this is what I’ve been doing these last few days. I have a number of options I’m considering for my next outing, but they all have dependencies on weather conditions, so I’m keeping a close eye on that. Stay tuned for more action.

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