Friday, November 12, 2010

so mama, don't take my kodachrome away

Despite Paul Simon's plea, the kodachrome is long gone. I haven't seen a film cassette in years. And if I did shoot some film, I wouldn't know where to get it processed.

In dollar terms, my biggest sailing acquisition this off season will be a new, waterproof digital camera. I've pretty much settled on a new Pentax Optio W90 camera. I've researched a lot of the "outdoors adventure" cameras and this one always seems to come out near the top.
Right now I'm looking at a package deal where you can get the orange camera (I prefer the bright color, makes it easier to find) plus a remote, waterproof shutter control button for about $230. You can find the deal here. I'll probably wait a while to see if the price drops during the holiday season.

Not only are the reviews of this camera generally very good, my experience with an earlier version - the Pentax Optio W20 - has been great. I've been carrying the W20 on Spartina since it was launched. I can't begin to count the cruises, day sails, rainstorms and batches of salt spray this camera has endured.
But beginning in early October the camera started eating batteries for breakfast. A fully charged battery would last maybe six or eight images, then die. But I can't complain. It has worked well for years. It has been dropped, kicked, soaked and dunked. And somewhere in there some wires got crossed. To fix them, I'm sure, would cost about the same as a new camera.

If Bruce and I are on a cruise together we'll bring two cameras. One will be his very nice digital slr Canon camera (I can't tell you the specific model, but it is very nice) and the Pentax Optio W20. When I'm sailing by myself, I bring just the waterproof camera. (With single-handed sailing I'm too busy to worry about keeping an slr dry.)
Having just the digital waterproof point and shoot on board is not a problem. They take, in my experience, very nice photographs. Here are a few from this past spring's walkabout solo sail.

Above is a foggy morning on Mouse Harbor. That is great detail in the grey morning light.

And check out the rich evening light while anchored near Island Creeks just off of Mouse Harbor.

Both highlights and shadow detail hold up great.

And this is where it makes a big difference - on a windy day sailing into the waves near Judith Island. Salt spray flying. Not a problem for the Pentax camera. So I figure I got my money's worth out of this one camera. It is time to get a new, updated version.


From today's New York Times story about the crippled cruise ship off the coast of San Diego....

"A few passengers said they saw some kind of canned meat product, but Carnival Cruise Lines officials insisted that while Spam was delivered to the ship, it was never served."

You would have thought they were feeding the passengers rat poison.

We take SPAM on every cruise. If it is the two of us, we take the tins of spam. If I'm on a solo cruise, I'll take the foil packet single-serving spam. On the Skeeter Beater Bruce fixed Kung Pao spam and it was great. And I've grilled spam with peppers and sweet onions (below) on solo trips. It is inexpensive. It stays good and fresh in the package. If the fish aren't biting and the fresh meats are gone, spam is a pretty good way to go. I'm not sure where spam got its bad reputation, but it is ok in my book. So I'm sorry the folks had a rough cruise with the Carnival lines, but there are worse things in life than spam.



Baydog said...

Steve: Spam is the noblest of canned meats. Screw anyone who speaks negatively of it. It was an important part of my childhood and I will defend it to the end! See:

EyeInHand said...

Sometimes I still miss film. Can't bear to get rid of my darkroom equipment, though mostly for sentimental reasons.

I'm on my second Canon DSLR, soon to be third, and have had surprisingly good results too from a waterproof Lumix I take where the big one can't go or would be inconvenient.

I'm sure you've looked at them all, and no reason to change from what works (your pictures speak for themselves), but I've been happy with the Lumix if you need another recommendation. It's currently $260 (in orange) at Amazon.

The remote sounds pretty handy, though.

doryman said...

Oh, Baydog! Steve, I have to tell you if weren't for the Spam you'd be my hero. Well, ok you're still my hero.
Canned meats suck! Fresh fish!!!

I'll have to warn you, Barry and everyone to not fall for the marketing hype for the Sanyo Xacti. I thought that would make a good sports camera because it's waterproof and a video camera too. Images are marginal however.

Back to the old Canon.

Steve said...

from oysters to spam I think we are on the same page.

that camera came in a close second, though I can't remember why. I might revisit the topic.

I'm all for fresh fish, but sometimes they don't cooperate. You gotta eat something. As for the camera, I'll post a link that reviewed them all.

Good to hear from you guys.


Bill said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the camera. I couldn't decide what to ask for for Christmas - now I think I'll go with that camera package. Looks just right for the boat!

Unknown said...

I noticed your gps in a photo, I have the same one. You also mentioned your MAC, which I also use at home, so what do you use to upload charts etc to your GPS? My directions for the gps only mention MS products and I understood that there is not a cable for attaching to a MAC.

Steve said...

That is my old gps. I've since upgraded to a new one, a Garmin eTrex Venture HC. But it has the same issue with macs. Right now I don't have the blue charts, I just use the base maps that came with the device. Simple maps without a lot of detail. The new gps has a usb cable that connects to the mac, but software is limited.
With the new gps I use the Garmin Roadtrip software, which does work on a mac.
I've heard there are a lot of sites out there where you can create waypoints using google earth and import, via a mac, into the gps. But I haven't explored that yet - maybe this winter.
As far as connecting the old gps to a mac, I did that using a USB 2.0 to 9 Pin RS232 Serial Convert Adapter. It cost just a few bucks and worked fine.