Thinking about Cameras Again

I’m still trying to decide on which camera I want to use as my photography declines.  I have been using the Olympus micro 4/3 system for a while and I like it, but I primarily moved back to it for the reduced weight while using long zoom lenses to photograph wildlife, etc.  My problem is that I am giving up on wildlife since they are on the decline around me and I don’t need to get and use long zoom lenses.

Working with the micro 4/3 sensors I have no issues with the image quality as long as I don’t want to really push the processing too much and there is sufficient light.  I tend to refer to the files, jpegs and raw files, as being “thin” when compared to larger sensor cameras.  This isn’t a problem for “snapshots”; but, I want to move beyond the conventional landscape images.

Last evening after the rains moved through I got out my Fuji X100F camera and made the above images.  I wanted to remind myself of what the straight out of camera jpeg files looked like without any additional processing.  The above were jpegs made with the Fuji standard Provia film simulation.  They have only been cropped using LR.

I really like all of the Fuji film simulations if I wish to make color images.  If I were to decide to exclusively make B&W images I might be inclined to just continue with my Olympus micro 4/3 system; but not making color images is unlikely since I am interested in photography after dark and in odd weather situations.

At the moment I am considering going into fall with both the Olympus 4/3 system cameras along with a Fujifilm system camera and then making a decision as to what is the one camera and lens that I want to concentrate on using for my more limited photography.

Don’t Detach from Reality

We are detached from reality if we assume that global climate warming and other worldly events aren’t going to impact our continued existence.  They already are.

We are but small bits of existence within a massive world of turmoil … sort of like that airplane in this picture, or a small grain of sand being tossed about by the ocean.

Like that airplane, we can exist and continue reasonably safely, but only if we study and learn and prepare.  When we fly in an airplane we are relying upon the learning of aerospace engineers and the manufacturing skills of many engineers and workers who must continue to educate themselves, as well as the government regulations and air traffic controllers to keep us safe.

We need to return to the world of science while also utilizing compassion and humility when studying the entire global situation of food, energy, climate, plight of migrants, economies, etc.

We all need to study, learn, and make reasonable choices when we vote, when we consume, and when we discuss conditions with our neighbors, etc. as we prepare to the best of our abilities to make the most of what is reasonable as we learn and adjust for the future, no matter whether it is a few days or years.

 The Future of Homewood?

I have been thinking about why we moved to Homewood and wondering about the future.  The majority of the residents moved here for the quality of the personal care that we expected to need as we continue to get older and need more and more help.  As we age we need more help for everything from maintaining the grounds and infrastructure to driving us to the grocery store and medical labs and doctors, for cooking and serving us meals, and all the way up to eventually assisting us with our personal care in assisted living or the nursing home.  We moved here since Homewood not only had all of that but it was of excellent quality, all served with most helpful and pleasant workers who were long term employees who grew to know us personally and really cared for us.  But now, some residents are wondering if it will still be here when we need it as we approach the end of life.

The pandemic, climate changes, food famines around the world, and the resulting economic pressures have placed great stress on organizations like Homewood to continue with the same level of care.  Inflation hits us all.  Over the years Homewood managed with warranted increases in our rates as they tried to cover the costs of our services.  The problem appears to be that they kept falling further behind, why is that?  The answer is very simple.  Homewood has been only increasing our rates for service and support approximately inline with the Government’s increases in Social Security payments; but that hasn’t been sufficient.

We only have to look at the increased costs in everything as well as the wages that our workers can get elsewhere to see the damage that inflation is causing.  Homewood has had to cut back in everything they buy, both quality and quantity, but now they are facing an intolerable loss of staff if they don’t make other changes quickly.  The cumulative increases in social security payments, and the rates that Homewood has passed on to the residents, have fallen way behind covering the overall inflation.

It now appears that our Social Security payments could get a larger increase next year, but we will still be way behind the curve even if Homewood increases rates inline with the Government increases.  I feel that the overall cumulative shortfall for Homewood is on the order of 25%, probably more if they want to catch-up.  They need to increase staff and wages around 25% in-order to maintain and hire the quality needed.  They also need to increase capital funding on the order of 25% just to maintain the buildings and infrastructure that we now have at the level that they were 10 years ago.  Older facilities need more and more maintenance.

I know that there would be a loud uproar, at least from some, if Homewood were to increase the rates sufficient to continue as we expected when we moved here, but they may have no choice.  The problem was never caused by them so we would really be amiss if we blame them.  What choice do we resident’s have other than to suffer from poorer and less care, or pay much higher rates?  The only choice that I can see is for Homewood to address and solve this problem. If they don’t, they will see vacancies rise, staff leave, and even residents who can afford it will also likely leave and thus compound the problem.

Just praying for a solution isn’t going to solve our problems, but I trust (so far) that Homewood will manage their facilities in a prudent and sound way and provide us with the personal care that we anticipated when we moved here.  In the meanwhile, I’m hoping that the residents understand the magnitude of our problems and that they also make the necessary sacrifices to help and raise their voices to those who can best solve the problem.

Aging Camera Lover

Old creaky knees that don’t like it when I get down low to the ground, and then have to get back up.

Old eyes that have both had cataract surgery long ago, and have uncorrectable conditions, and need bifocals to see best.

Old hands that ache with arthritis and fingers that sometimes lock up and won’t bend.

Old back that long ago had surgery and contains rods and screws and that no longer bends as it used to and no longer likes spending hours in front of a computer screen while working on images.

Aging can have an impact on what cameras we use.  Primarily I have lately been using two identical Olympus E-M5 Mark III cameras, but I still have the Fuji X100F and a Ricoh GR III and the TG-6 cameras.  I used the GR III to make the above images as I was debating with myself whether to sell the X100F and/or the GR III cameras.  The GR III is a nice pocket camera (easy to carry) and works nice for up close images that are becoming more and more likely for me due to more time spent sitting and lack of other things to photograph.

But, should we give into the physical changes of aging or should we keep pushing to try new things, new toys, new cameras, new techniques, new styles?

It/They Will Fall

I got down in Plum Creek and looked under the tree and I wasn’t surprised to see that a good bit of the soil and roots have been eroded away by the water.  The tree is next to the bridge and dog park.  It is a tall, big, heavy tree that will eventually come down.  Depending on the direction it falls, it could easily destroy either the bridge or the dog park.

It is hard to see how far back the erosion goes since it is dark under there.  It might be a worthwhile project to walk in the creek with a strong flashlight and a long measuring rod and survey how badly all of the trees along the creek have been eroded.

It will definitely be a major expense to repair the damages caused by future floods, high winds, and worse erosion which will come.  That future might be closer than some realize.

PS, I have stopped walking on many of our paths or near trees on windy days since so many of the trees are dying and coming down on windy days.

Just Use Less

Hanover, PA  April 2017

In Hanover Germany they are getting serious about cutting energy consumption:  reducing winter thermostat settings, cold showers, darker buildings, etc.  Click here and read about it.

We should think about some of the same cuts here in Hanover, PA, USA for many reasons.  The sooner we start reducing our energy consumption the less we will need to cut it in the future due to the combination of resources and the rising earth temperature.  It would also reduce our personal electric and gas bills right now.  There is no better way to save energy, to reduce climate heating, or to save money than just using less of everything.

Acceptance of Actuality

As I look for different things to photograph I do look for good colors.  It isn’t easy this time of the year but it is occasionally possible to find some.

As Beth Kempton wrote:  “As a monk told me over green tea, with a gentle smile on his face: Living is suffering. Getting sick is suffering. Growing old is suffering. Dying is suffering. We cannot avoid any of these things. When we try to resist them, we just compound the suffering and delay our ability to respond. If, instead, you can embrace the actuality of what is going on, then you can flow with life. People think Zen is all about calmness and tranquility and living in some blissed-out state of good vibes. But actually it’s about how you face your challenges: unhappiness, loneliness, worry, difficult emotions. It’s about learning to deal with what life throws at you, and acceptance of actuality is central to that.”

On His Knees

On his knees for Homewood at Plum Creek.  A volunteer repainting the handicap crossing signs that were badly in need of painting.  I cringed when I thought about how many of these he was painting and how many times he had to get up and down while painting each.