Austin bound

Meet Me @SXSWI head out early in the morning to journey to this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, TX tomorrow through Tuesday (flying back Wednesday). One way to describe it is to say that it’s a giant, five-day-long group hug for the builders of the web. This is my third trip to this conference.

You can follow me around on

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse I

My best shot on a night of fighting with the clouds.

Update: View my whole set from the evening on Flickr.

The photo above was my first shot posted of the event and that got it picked up on a couple of eclipse stories (1, 2) on Yahoo! News. It was viewed over 3,000 times during the course of the evening and is now over 4,000 total views, by far my most ever.

My new camera

This post is only about a month late. I didn’t feel like writing though. So shoot me.

The aformentioned camera conundrum was resolved in mid-December when, after spending what seemed like a couple of hours in Best Buy going through every menu and setting on the camera, I brought home an Olympus Stylus 770 SW.

I feel guardedly positive about the purchase. “Mr. Though shalt buy Canon” brought home an Olympus and I’m not used to the UI or the handling quite yet. One thing that’s taking getting used to is the lens being up in the corner of the body. I’ve taken several pictures that contain a fat-finger corner vignette.

Manatee on my leftIt has performed very well on its first couple of kayak adventures–to Turkey Creek in Palm Bay during Christmas week and up and down the Ichetucknee River on New Year’s Eve.

I love the sturdy feel. The handling is good even with my big, thick-fingered hands, but I sometimes find myself pushing the wrong button due to unfamiliarity. The screen is good enough to shoot with in broad daylight which is good because there is no optical viewfinder.

I haven’t tried the panorama feature yet because I just got an Olympus xD card last week (a gift). I don’t like that Olympus makes you buy their memory cards in order to unlock features. I wish is used SD memory instead just because the world doesn’t need so many memory card types.

I wondered today, when I read the Olympus announcement of the Stylus 1030 SW, whether I should have waited. I like the look of the Canon-ish mode dial. 10 megapixels (vs. 7) and the more versatile zoom specs might come in handy too. This isn’t my first experience with this, I think I bought my Digital Rebel not long before the Rebel XT came out.

My new camera

This post is only about a month late. I didn’t feel like writing though. So shoot me.

The aformentioned camera conundrum was resolved in mid-December when, after spending what seemed like a couple of hours in Best Buy going through every menu and setting on the camera, I brought home an Olympus Stylus 770 SW.

I feel guardedly positive about the purchase. “Mr. Though shalt buy Canon” brought home an Olympus and I’m not used to the UI or the handling quite yet. One thing that’s taking getting used to is the lens being up in the corner of the body. I’ve taken several pictures that contain a fat-finger corner vignette.

Manatee on my leftIt has performed very well on its first couple of kayak adventures–to Turkey Creek in Palm Bay during Christmas week and up and down the Ichetucknee River on New Year’s Eve.

I love the sturdy feel. The handling is good even with my big, thick-fingered hands, but I sometimes find myself pushing the wrong button due to unfamiliarity. The screen is good enough to shoot with in broad daylight which is good because there is no optical viewfinder.

I haven’t tried the panorama feature yet because I just got an Olympus xD card last week (a gift). I don’t like that Olympus makes you buy their memory cards in order to unlock features. I wish is used SD memory instead just because the world doesn’t need so many memory card types.

I wondered today, when I read the Olympus announcement of the Stylus 1030 SW, whether I should have waited. I like the look of the Canon-ish mode dial. 10 megapixels (vs. 7) and the more versatile zoom specs might come in handy too. This isn’t my first experience with this, I think I bought my Digital Rebel not long before the Rebel XT came out.

Happy Holidays 2007

Here are some links to stories and photo sets from my adventures of 2007:

Keep checking back. I might not be done yet.

Another camera conundrum

It’s been two years since I last bought a camera so I guess it’s once again time to hem and haw about my equipment and making changes to the toolkit. One major consideration is that a lot of my more interesting recent work has been from the seat of the kayak I bought over the summer. My rig for that work has been the venerable Canon G1 in its Aquapac bag. The G1 still takes great pictures, but the system has some deficiencies:

  • The camera seems to take forever to start up, at least compared to the instantaneousness of more recent models. It’s also so slow that I’m sure shots have been missed.
  • The camera’s autofocus doesn’t work through the Aquapac bag so I have to use the camera in “Pan Focus” mode which limits you to wide angle focal length.
  • Handling the camera in the bag is cumbersome.

So here’s what I’m considering:

  • Buy a waterproof camera. Specifically, buy an Olympus Stylus 770 SW. The cons of that choice are that it’s not a Canon (and I instinctively know how Canons work) and it uses xD memory cards and I’ve always been critical of the need for that card format (and I have big SD cards already). The big pro is that it wouldn’t require a waterproof case for kayaking, tubing, wet bike rides, etc. The shockproof feature would allow it to replace the G1 as the bike camera too. Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape took one on an Amazon expedition and recommended it afterward.
  • Buy a Canon SD850 IS and the accompanying waterproof housing. My guru Derrick uses an earlier-generation version of this rig with outstanding results. The big pro is that it’s a Canon so I already know how to use it. It would also replace the SD450 as my pocket/belt camera that I take everywhere (as might the Olympus). I don’t know if it would replace the G1 on bike rides though, maybe. I’m a little leary of proper care of housing 0-rings.
  • Buy a Canon A720 IS and keep using the Aquapac bag. Canon lists a housing for this camera on its site too, but it is apparently not yet available as of this writing. I wonder about the autofocus performance inside the Aquapac. I’d hate to waste the 6x zoom by having to use pan focus mode.

I think a reconnaissance trip to Best Buy just may be in order.

Like last time, I may do nothing and just be suffering from what Dad would call “money burning a hole in my pocket.”