Over half the photos I took at older son's graduation, presentations, and awards ceremonies came out fuzzy so I've been looking for a new point and shoot since May. After spending hours reading reviews, the one I chose was way too expensive so it had better be my point & shoot camera for the rest of my life.
I decided to go ahead and get it this week for a few reasons. My DSLR has been acting strangely since I had it repaired in March:
DSLR: "The photo is waaaaay too light. Darken it! Darken it!
Photo comes out too dark to see anything.
DSLR: "Just kidding!!!!!" :::maniacal laughter:::
I've also had lots of hand problems this year so I can't really use the DSLR much at the moment. The community theater musical is in two weeks (So soon!), and dear husband can't use the flaky DSLR to take photos.
Apparently, I've got 15 days to test it out so I got started this morning. These photos are mostly the way they came out of the camera:
It has a pet setting, which, apparently, works pretty well. I have a tendency to photograph cats to test out new cameras. Lina kept trying to look under the camera at me, and finally got up and walked around the camera.
I photograph lots of flowers so this is a good start (phlox in our front yard).
This lily turned out fine. I love the nice, bright colors!
However, the camera focused on the leaves rather than the flower, which is the problem I often have with my current point & shoot ("Large flower in the center of the photo? Let's focus on the little pebble in the upper right hand corner!").
I spent part of the morning trying out different settings. I had ten different photos of this lily.
This lily turned out well too
This is a cropped version of the previous photo. The focus is excellent.
By the way, the camera stores huge files - larger than the photo files that my DSLR stores. I start uploading photos to Typepad and then read something else for a while.
This close-up also focused well.
The camera is supposed to be good for macros and good for low-light situations. It didn't like taking close-ups on the macro setting of this white lily in the shade. Yes, it's shade, but it's NC JULY shade which means that it's still pretty bright. I tried lots of close-ups. Maybe it got bored.
It took a while to get the butterfly in focus, but it's wonderful when it works!
Bear, my favorite cat in downtown Hillsborough.
I like the vivid colors here - even in the middle of the afternoon.
The window next to the front door of the Colonial Inn. Hopefully, it will be fixed up someday.
This is my favorite. I love the light, the shadows, and the textures in this one. This photo and the previos one are the sorts of things I want to be able to capture by having a camera in my purse all the time.
The side garden - I've never had a camera that could do panorama shots before.
One of the flower beds in the back. I tried out lots of camera settings here.
The camera has some odd "paint" settings.
There are a number of these - green, red, etc. There's no "take a picture through a window" setting, though, which I would love to have. Ross's camera has that, and I haven't seen any others recently that do.
The camera does focus on the white lily in bright sunlight.
The illustration was from a manuscript of Froissart, a medieval, French, chronicle writer. We couldn't easily find the artist who painted the illustration, but the Froissart article mentioned that one of his manuscripts was illustrated by Brugeois artists of the day - from the Flemish city of Bruges. I will show the Wikimedia photo for Bruges (below), which makes me really want to go back to Europe some day.
Getting back to the Seven Deadly Sins, while I was looking for the Latin names, we ended up at the post about sloth, at The Starry Cave. The post goes into depth on sloth (socordia):
...Sloth has turned into absolute selfishness where one become a burden to ones surroundings where one’s own misery and hopelessness becomes the ominous worth of one’s sorry excuse for a life. A life where one feeds upon others goodwill and favors, where one expect the world to listen to one’s putrid lament while one is not giving anything to anyone – not even to oneself. Sloth can work as a darkened scale where one pleases others because one has renounced ones centre or that one like a beast of pestilence demands the world to attend to the suffering void of one´s painful existence. In both cases one has sacrificed ones soul to the realm of Hypnos and has taken greedily the chalice of Lethe’s waters of forgetfulness to mend ones pain and self-inflicted soul-sores. This is true sloth; a denial of love both its coming and going...
The post concludes with Edgar Allen Poe's poem, A Dream Within A Dream:
Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow- You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep- while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
Politically, I'm independent. I will, occasionally, find a politician from either party that I actually want to vote for. The rest of the time, I choose the least unacceptable of the two options, or, all too often, I hold my nose and vote.
The last few months, I have to hold my nose to read the paper. I've been following politics since I was in junior high school back in the 1970's. The current crop of NC Republican state legislators is... how to put it politely... crazy? whacko? totally off the map?
I really am independent. I'll read something thoughtful and well-written from either side. I may not agree with it, but even an essay I don't agree with can start me thinking or help me to clarify my opposing view.
For instance, from what I've read in the papers, the Republicans haven't even tried to come up with a public justification for keeping college students from voting. The proposed law says that, if college students register to vote at college, their parents can no longer claim them as dependents on their state income tax.
They've provided no reasoning behind the bill.
Of course, I'm sure the underlying reason is to make it more difficult for college students, who are usually more liberal, to vote. However, even going by Republican partisan politics, this is a stupid move. They're not only giving the Republican party an even worse reputation among those students, they're angering their parents who could be Democrats or Republicans - or really irritated independents.
When daughter and older son were both little, back in the mid-1990's, our small voting location in eastern Durham, NC was on the national news. It was a major election, and we only had one working voting machine. The lines went on for hours, and they closed the voting late at night to give everyone a chance to vote. I stood in line with two small children for hours because I've always considered thoughtful voting to be extremely important. Now, they want to make that more difficult for my kids when they're finally old enough to vote?
A prominent NC Republican is quoted in the article explaining the changes: "What they’re trying to do is help us rebuild the state’s economy. They feel they have a very limited amount of time to make the kind of reforms they want to make and put them in place before they get picked apart."
The Republicans keep mentioning the economy, but so many of the changes don't have any economic value. Here are some quoted from the article [Sarcastic comments in brackets are mine.]:
Marriage: Couples would have to wait two years rather than one to divorce. They would have to take courses on communications skills and conflict resolution and – if they have children – courses on the impact of divorce on children. [Economics? No. Busybody-ness.]
Helmets: Anyone 18 years or older could ride a motorcycle without a helmet if the driver meets certain requirements, including having had a motorcycle license for more than a year. [Why is this necessary?]
Charter schools: Teachers would not have to have a college degree to teach core subjects. Criminal background checks and teacher certification would be optional. [Churches do background checks for Sunday School teachers who only teach for an hour a week, but teachers who are responsible for children for a large part of the week don't need to be checked. Why?]
Teacher tenure: Tenure in public schools would be replaced with contracts for one, two, three or four years. [The state is not going to retain the best teachers by taking away job protections and reducing salaries. That is basic economic logic.]
Indecent exposure: Women could be sent to prison for going topless in public in legislation to amend the state’s indecent exposure law by including "the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast" in the definition of "private parts." [Because NC is overrun with rampaging female breasts.][Really - if NC was overrun in that way, wouldn't it help the economy?!]
School bus speed: School buses could go as fast as 55 mph. Under current law, 45 mph is the top legal speed for buses with children aboard, and 55 mph for school activity buses. Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, says slow buses are “a hazard.” [Only if the other drivers are bad drivers who shouldn't be on the road.]
I could make this blog post really long and look for more examples (they're not difficult to find), but I'll try to keep it short(er). The Democrats, the last time they were in power in NC, passed a number of bills that I thought were more controversial than they had support for. I don't remember which bills in particular, but I remembered saying that, if they kept doing this, there would be a backlash.
There is, and it's a bad one. I'm amazed at how many stupid bills the Republicans have come up with this time around.
The Republicans may get some short-term gain from their politics and policies, but they're not looking to the long term. They're alienating numerous groups and making themselves look intolerable to the upcoming generations. Younger son just started really paying attention to politics in the last few years, and he has no respect for the current Republican politicians.
The greatest danger in the short term, however, is that independent voters, like myself, who used to vote for Republicans some of the time, will not only stop voting for them (I didn't find any worth voting for last November (and I tried!) so I voted straight ticket Democrat for the first time ever), but will actively work against the Republicans, which I plan to do at the next election.