New camera

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With a trip to Beijing coming up, and the likelihood of some serious sightseeing, I thought it might be time to indulge myself in a new camera. The big one is too big to conveniently travel with; the small one doesn’t have manual control of shutter or aperture, the slowest shutter is 1 second, and the lens cover design makes it hard to get the lens clean.

Anna had a Panasonic FZ35 and liked it, so I got one too. A bit bigger than a mini, I can still travel with it. It has some quirks: you can’t extract the battery or memory card without removing the tripod. The lens hood attachment is just plain weird. The controls are packed so tight that I found myself unintentionally mashing some of them when I just wanted to grip the camera. And the lens sticks out beyond the lens cap, so you need to remember to remove the lens cap before you power up the camera. But I can live with all of these. It has a few nice features: 18x zoom, face recognition. And the flash is positioned so that it illuminates the scene even when you are extremely close.

It has what they call extended optical zoom, up to 35x, but the picture size is proportionately smaller, and at the end of the day, you do *not* get increased magnification; you just get a smaller picture.

Last Saturday, I hiked Monument peak and Mission peak with Elmar (18.4 miles, 4500 vertical feet, first gopher snake of the season). When I got home, the new camera was waiting for me. Cool!

Jacky and I went to Edgewood on Sunday to look at wild flowers, and of course for me to try out the new camera.

I think that will be satisfactory!

This Saturday, I hiked Purisima redwoods, where I found the first garter snake of the season and a beautiful little crab spider.

 Ten eyes!

Last night I did the obligatory photo of the moon. I’ll spare you, but just mention that it wasn’t too bad.

Today, Sunday, I walked the Baylands, something like thirteen miles. Flat country, so I probably won’t log any exercise for the day. There were a few interesting things to see: lots of hummingbirds (I’ll spare you the photos), starlings collecting mud to build their nests…

 Yummy, yummy!

At Shoreline lake, the clams were squirting streams of water every now and then. Despite watching and waiting for a while, I didn’t get any fotos of a squirt, but I did get a shot of the clam’s necks sticking up out of the mud.

Further on, I found a plant infested with about ten million aphids. Enjoying the aphids were several ladybug larvae.

And enjoying the ladybugs, a spider. Ten more eyes!

There was a folded over leaf that contained a colony of thrips (yuch!), but the most interesting remaining small animal of the day was another insect, sharing a juicy plant with even more aphids.

I don’t know whether this camera will do justice to the Great Wall or the Ming tombs, but I’m certainly happy with it so far.

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