Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Karen's New Camera

Karen needed a new camera.  Her Canon Powershot SX20 developed an issue after somewhere around 230,982 shots (give or take one or two).  Turn it on and it would whirr, rasp, grate, and screech as the lens extended.  Same when she zoomed in for one of her fabulous telephoto shots.  Stellers jays scolded in protest as they tried to cover their ears with their wings.  Squirrels fled to their tree-top refuges and threatened to throw spruce cones at her.  Porcupines, too.  She shot the baptism of friends children and the Pastor had to stop mid-sentence while he waited for Karen’s camera each time she zoomed in or out..  The final blow came in August.  Karen’s birthday!  I wanted to give her something special, something more romantic than a bag of lime flavored Tortilla chips.  Ah, a new camera!

Using my well-honed skill in pulling off surprises, I asked Karen what kind of camera she might like, subtly suggesting an upgrade of her Canon Powershot SX20 might be worth considering since she had already mastered the skill of turning it on.

                                                       Karen tests her new camera on muskeg vegetation.

Enter the research phase of our pre-August 19th activities.  Karen spent hours pouring over videos, reviews, analyses and camera comparisons between various models, certainly enough to earn a Masters degree, if not a PhD on the subject.  The latest version, the SX60 sounded like it would better serve as a sinker to keep your bait near a halibut.  The SX50 sounded great for shooting videos while running from a grizzly bear while shooting videos over your shoulder, but not so much so if you didn’t want to change batteries twice during the chase.  Ah, but the SX40.  Yes, the SX40.

With a decision “in hand,” off I went shopping on the internet.  Alas, I soon found that any reputable camera dealer carried the SX50 and SX60, but the SX40 — that model achieved fame back in the days before fire was invented.  Naturally!  OK, Karen, “what is the name of the outfit where you cornered the market on Charles Wysocki puzzles?”

“Oh yeah, eBay.”  And there it was.  The perfect camera, one of what were probably the only three brand new Canon Powershot SX40’s left north of Antarctica.

Now, about that time Karen began preparations for a trip to Iowa to visit her cousin, with the scheme that the two of them would drive up to Wisconsin as soon as Karen recovered from a plane trip that included a flight from Seattle to Denver via Los Angeles — only 800 extra air miles to enjoy staring at the back of the seat in front of her from a distance of approximately 3 inches — close enough to smell the perfume on the lady in the next seat forward — or was it the one in the seat in front of her?

Whichever, I checked on when the order could arrive.   Yes, the expected date of delivery was the day Karen would arrive in Iowa.  Perfect!  I placed the order as Karen and I celebrated.   We talked of the joy she would have getting acquainted with her birthday gift as she lazed on the dock at Wisconsin’s Four-Mile Lake.

As Karen headed south I began tracking the camera order.  Oh oh, all it said was the USPS had received notice there was something for them.  Days passed.  No change.  Finally, the words flashed on our computer screen.  The USPS received Karen’s camera in Brooklyn, NY, the day she and cousin Connie were driving to Wisconsin.  OK, at least Karen was coming back to Petersburg via Iowa so could pick it up on her way back.  She still could use her whirring. rasping, grating and screeching SX20 to terrorize Wisconsin’s chipmunks and jays.

Alas, Karen really did get a surprise for her birthday.  Upon returning to Iowa, she opened the box containing her dreamed of Canon Powershot SX40, and there, nestled in the packing material and grinning back at her was — a Canon Powershot SX50 — the model she had rejected because she didn’t want to be able to take videos over her shoulder of a bear chasing her and have to change batteries twice during the chase.  She knows perfectly well that you don’t run from a grizzly, you leave your husband behind to deal with it.

After much pondering and ruing and everything pensive, Karen brought the camera home.  After another week of pondering and ruing and everything pensive we decided to keep it.  If Karen didn’t like it, then I would use it and we would replace it with a Lumix or Nikon or Olympus or anything besides a Canon Powershot.

Which brings me to this blog post.  This week Karen began playing with her new treasure — her first forays with her brand new Canon Powershot SX 50.  

The test -- Does Karen's adopted red squirrel prefer the SX50, the SX20 or does it matter as long as free peanuts are included?

                                    This saucy Steller's jay agrees with the squirrel.  Peanuts trump noisy cameras.

Another test -- a hike around Man-Made-Hole, a gravel extraction site the USFS connected with an adjacent stream to form a pond complete with an inviting trail around it.

                                                                                An alder leaf over the trail.

                                                                                  And one on the pond.

                                                   A Sitka Blacktailed Deer likes the quieter camera, too.

                              Meanwhile several coho salmon in "fall" spawning colors have something else on their minds.

                                                               Crab apple leaves on the bank above the salmon.

 Bunchberry, also known as Canadian dwarf dogwood leaves lend a splash of color to a muskeg during another test.

                                                                             As do these bog cranberries.

Somehow Karen got so absorbed in shooting close-ups, she forgot about testing the camera on distance shots.  Next time.  Meanwhile, her ever skillful husband managed to reformat the camera to a square format.  Now I have to figure out how to get it back to our preferred rectangular shape.  The testing continues.

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