Category Archives: General

This is where descriptions of the site, who we are and so on are.

I wish I had only taken one or two cameras on our trip

Two posts ago I put up one talking about taking a ton of camera gear with me on our current long extended trip.  I wish I had not done it.  If I had it to do over again I would take – 1.  Cell phone of course.  It is always with you.  2.  Compact pocket camera with long zoom.  About the same quality as a good cell phone but with the ability to optically zoom.  3.  Digital changeable lens camera.  4.  Changeable lens film camera.  And if I was flying somewhere out of the USA I would leave the film camera at home.

Nikon D750 with 50mm f1.4

Why?  The number one most important rule in taking good photos or video is to know your camera.  Lots of cameras means you never really get really familiar with them.  This is really true of digital cameras, but also a bit true of film ones.  Today even good smartphone cameras have many many options.  It seems like every year more are added and they become more complicated.  And my compact Sony pocket zoom has so many menu options that it is almost impossible to understand them all.  On the other hand I have found Nikon DSLR cameras easier to figure out.  And my D750 full frame digital is pretty simple if you are using raw.

Nikon D750 with 50mm f1.4 Nikkor

What lead me to write this post was today when I was using my Olympus OM2n film SLR that I have owned for 38 years.  I was in a public place and my dog was with me on a leash.  I loaded up a roll of expired Ektachrome I had been saving for some Montana shots.  The OM2n film loading is tricky.  You need to make sure the film is loaded securely or you can think your film is going through when you cock the wind lever and it is slipping over the sprockets.  I have leaned by past bitter experience that you need to look at the rewind winder when you cock the shutter to see that it moves a bit.  If it does not the film is not moving.  Today the rewind winder did not move.  So I just opened the back and sure enough, loose film.  Now with lots of leader out I got it loaded fine.  Then when leaving the left side of my Peak strap came loose.  The little black flexible string had fit through the break in the circle holder on the Olympus camera.  Fortunately I caught the problem before my almost 40 year old camera was broken from falling.

If you use only one or two cameras then this sort of problems become rare.  You know what to look for.  Before the days of cell phone cameras I would say that you should only have one camera with you, but today you almost always have the cell phone one with.

The Analog Counter Revolution Continues

Digital information technology has changed the World in the last 50 years.  Much of this change is beneficial and here to stay.  I have embraced advances in digital for decades, but now when almost everyone predicted that photography, movies, music, newspapers, magazines, and books and much more would go digital there is an analog counter revolution happening as you read this post.

This week I realized that the analog counter revolution is here to stay and going to get bigger.  I got fed up with trying to read the news on digital and started getting the newspaper delivered again every day.  This is after a two year break of getting almost all of my news via TV & Internet.  I live in a big city and we have a good local paper.  When I stopped getting the paper newspaper two years ago I kept getting their digital version.  I finally realized that it is just not as enjoyable to get your news digitally compared to print.  Why, because it is organized, you don’t have a light box staring you in the face, and you just pick it up and read it without worrying about charging the batteries, anywhere.  Plus source shopping from 100,000 outlets is just a brain pain and your head spins after 12 youtube videos of people shouting at each other or complaining about Trump or Clinton or immigrants or 50 other current topics.


The fact is that unless you are the President you don’t need to know about every news story in the World.  You only need to know about the news that affects you.  If there is some time left over you can look at some special interest news items.  That said digital news is very good for looking up special interest pieces or specialty news like dog news, or audio news, or news on the planet Pluto.  So for me the best thing is to mix analog and digital.  Does this mean that newspapers will get as big again and as powerful as 50 years ago, no.  But it likely means that a lot more people than I are not happy with digital only.

Lately I have started buying records again, vinyl records.  I bought a new phono cartridge and bought several LP’s from eBay.  As in getting the news, digital music is great, but I missed the other benefits of buying analog records.  Some of those benefits are, an album that is organized by someone other than me, usually beautiful covers, lots of times words to the songs on the inside envelope, I own it no monthly fees, oh and it sounds better.  If you have a good turntable and cartridge a vinyl record has more information in it than either on line or CD’s.  It helps to have good speakers too.  In speakers size matters.  Bigger ones are usually better.  Sure you have to clean the records and be careful with them, but many of my 40+ year old records sound better than CD’s of the same music or high quality on line.  For me, and I have older ears, it is very easy to tell the difference between vinyl, CD, and on line music.  The difference is hard to describe but easy to hear.  I am not alone in this opinion as vinyl record sales last year I believe totaled to more money than downloads.


I have no intention of only listening to vinyl.  I like digital music if the quality is good and I don’t have to be bombarded with ads.  I have an Apple Music and Pandora subscription to listen to ad free music at home or in the car.  But when I want to sit down and enjoy some music I think I am going to mostly go vinyl.

I have never switched to reading books on digital except for things like wikipedia.  If I want to read something I just buy it.  When I finish I sell it on Amazon.

I have written a number of blog posts about analog vs digital photography.  To me these are two different art forms.  Of course they are close substitutes for each other so they get compared a lot.  But when you shoot film the structure of the image is just not the same as a digital image.  You can clearly see this if you enlarge the photos enough.  And of course with film you have to scan the image if you don’t print it.  That means you are once removed from the initial image and the result is it just looks different.  Most images in my opinion look better from film than digital.  However, photos of children, pets, friends, and action are just so much easier to do with digital that most people should stick with that method.  But for pictures of things and in many instances people (street photography) just comes out way better using film.  Kodak, Fuji, and other film makers have spent a lot of time getting the result to come out well.  Again last year my best photos mostly came from film shots.  And I took way more pictures digital than film.  On the other hand I have never taken super 8 movies, which are coming back.  I shoot most of my video on either my smart phone or DSLR.  I am not going to change that.

On the other hand I find movies shot with film and not digital to be much more pleasing to view.  I can easily tell the difference and I would expect that the movie business is going to go back to more film and less digital.  There are ways using software to make digital look more like film.  In some cases when this is not done I find the resulting product almost unwatchable.  Netflix original movies being a case in point.

The other really strong advantage of personal film photos is that there is so much really good gear still at great prices.  Good digital lenses for a DSLR can run over $1,000.  Many good lenses for film cameras can be bought for under $100.  Improving your skills with new digital gear is very expensive when you start buying news lenses and bodies.  If you buy right older lenses can work on newer digital bodies.

So to sum up, the digital counter revolution is upon us and I suspect this will continue as people realize that not everything new is better than everything old.

The Balloon Festival At Albuquerque Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List

First off, the only good way to see this event is by using an RV.  The main balloon event is the mass ascension and that happens starting just after dawn.  This is very early to get up if you are staying in a hotel.  The second event is the glow which happens close to dusk.  Again, better to be a short shuttle bus away to your rig than try to fight the traffic to get back to your hotel.

Morning mass ascension
Morning mass ascension

I also recommend you stay at the on site park grounds in your RV.  You can book a tour through people like Escapees, FMCA, Adventure RV tours, or just make reservations.  If you do not like generator noise book into the areas with power to them.  The other big advantage to staying on site is you can take the free shuttle bus.  There is very heavy traffic getting to the events and the shuttle bus means you don’g have to fight the traffic.

This balloon is huge.  About 80-100 ft high.
This balloon is huge. About 80-100 ft high.

You want to book for the entire festival as some days the balloon show does not take place.  Winds are too high, it rains, and so on.  For us the mass ascension the first days we the best.  The last day they did not even have it as the winds were too high.

Somehow these guys always stuck together.
Somehow these guys always stuck together.

I do recommend you go to the balloon museum.  It is really well put together and very interesting.

So put this event on your bucket list and go.  Book early.

Life In The Slower Lane

After several decades of life in the faster lane it feels good to try letting others pass.  I did not decide to do or try this it just happened.  Now it feels normal to not always push to be first.  Instead of focusing on getting there the process or journey becomes part of the enjoyment if you are in the slower lane.  At least that is how it seems to me.  RVing, enjoying simpler things, pets, taking pictures, and reflecting on how all this fits together is part of giving up the rat race.

manzanita b + dog
Frazier on the beach in Oregon.

Life in the slower lane is not spending a lot of time with a “bucket list”.  Sky diving is likely not going to add as much to your enjoyment of life as spending time trying to get to know someone or working a little on a hobby you love.

Try driving a little slower.  You save gas, it is safer, you enjoy the trip more.

I remember my father saying one time, “I used to get headaches all the time, I have not had one since I retired”.  I used to get headaches nearly every day.  As I have reduced my stress, work, and moved to the slower lane, my headaches have become fewer as the process proceeds.

San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo

I volunteer at the Zoo.  I help people find things and assist them if they need a cart to pick them up or fall.  This is very relaxing.  Sometimes hard work, but no pressure.

Since I try and relate things in this blog to RVs I want to include that RVing tends to be a very relaxing lifestyle.  Not that there are not stress inducing events such as breakdowns or traffic jams, but if you are not in a hurry breakdowns just take some time to put things right.  And for the most part you can avoid traffic jams.  RVing also is quite cheap.  Not needing a lot of money tends to reduce stress.  Of course you can add stress to the RV lifestyle by trading motorhomes every year or so.  That way they cost you a fortune and you never really learn about them and how they work before you have a new one with different idiosyncrasies.  

playing with grandkids
playing with grandkids

My advice, next time you feel stress relax and slow down.


What Is This Blog For?

This blog is for my writing about subjects that interest me and I know something about.  These subjects may include RVing, investments, photography, travel, audio, and gadgets.  I am writing it purely for my enjoyment.  I am hoping that some of the information I have rummaging around in my head will be useful to you, and also that any readers may want to comment with their thoughts.

cc pic