Fear of Boredom on Vacation ?

I am watching too many Van Dwelling videos on You Tube. While watching this type of video, I get worked up and excited about van dwelling on my own.

Then I stumbled on this video.

I have done my fair share of camping with a pull behind tent camper. So, I have some experience ‘camping’. Of course, this always included the wives and kids. I don’t know if this compares with ‘van dwelling’ by definition. Probably not.

I have spent a few nights backpacking. Most of those episodes where solo. Backpacking is probably closer to van dwelling as it is minimal in nature whereas the pull-behind-tent-camper is not minimal. It could be but it wasn’t in my experience.

I have this romantic notion of van dwelling, believing it to be free of distress and full of adventure. Most of the van dwelling videos I watch portray that impression. And that’s ok. I want to watch the fun stuff, the exciting stuff, the cute girls, the food, the campfires, the people.

But I can’t imagine van dwelling is all glamour all the time. Certainly there are dull moments, moments that are not fun. Certainly there are moments that are scary.

While watching the number of van dwelling videos that I do, I wonder if these people get bored. I ask, how can you get bored while van dwelling, camping in these wonderful parks and camp grounds, hiking these unique trails and taking awesome photo and video.

I think about driving to North Dakota. I outline all the places I want to see. I imagine all the awesome photos I can take, the fun I can experience. Certainly I can’t be bored on vacation. Yet, the fear of boredom on vacation sort of pulls back my enthusiasm for a North Dakota vacation, even a van dwelling life.

Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.
Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.

A New Camera?

It may be time for a new camera.

The Man of Gold gave the Nikon D600 to me in 2014. It is a fantastic camera, takes good photos, has a time lapse feature, a little on the heavy side. I’ve taken a lot of photos with it. Before the D600 came into my life I had a Nikon D70. The D70 was a great camera too, not as featured as the D600.

My first camera was a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110 mm film camera. This was in the early 1970s. There was a local Hooks Drug store where I left the film to be processed. It took weeks to return the prints. I remember using a Brownie camera at one point in my elementary youth. It exposed 120 mm film

The Man of Gold helped me buy a Minolta X-370 in 1984. It was a 35 mm film camera. Unlike cameras in today’s world, the Minolta was fully manual.

The D600 is a great camera. I have no issues with it other than its weight. Add a heavy lens to it and it weighs even more! One of my fears in the use of the D600 is the mechanical shutter. Not that the shutter is faulty but with the time lapse videos I enjoy creating, it reduces the life span of the shutter. This is most likely a misplaced fear and maybe I should start using the D600 as a time lapse camera again.

Time lapse of the Mountain peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Range overlooking Crestone, Colorado.
Nikon D600 time lapse taken on August 2, 2018 by Dave O.

Why Can’t I Go?

Go West Young Man. A bill board advertising an Eiteljorg film series. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300, July 2018.

Go West Young Man. A bill board advertising an Eiteljorg film series. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300, July 2018. Should I go?

Maybe one could explain this complexity for me?

In my youth I had a driving wonder lust. I couldn’t wait to get out and explore. It started by exploring creeks and cemeteries and the local neighborhoods I could walk or bike to. When I could drive places were no longer far away. Indiana State Parks became a favorite destination. Sometimes those trips became overnighters but they were usually long day trips.

When I first married and the kids started appearing, the wonder lust didn’t fade. Family camping, “auto hiking” (a self coined term to describe ‘driving’ to strange and new places as my wife at that point in my life didn’t care to ‘hike’ in the traditional way) and backpacking were activities I faithfully and consistently engaged in.

As the first wife left and the second wife came home with two more kids, family camping took a prominent place in our family travels. Colorado, South Dakota, Kentucky, Florida were some of the states we went to. Pricey beach vacation were also thrown into the travel itinerary.

But, as the kids grew up and left to live their own lives and as the second wife left to live her own I find myself alone and unrestricted.

Yet, I can’t seem excite the wonder lust I had in my youth.

It’s become a topic of discussion (or maybe concern) with friends and family. They don’t understand why I talk about flying or driving to far away destinations for a long weekend or a week long vacation, see  my excitement at the thought of wondering about  and listen to my ideas and list of things-to-do and then witness the scheduled dates come and go and my lack of follow through.

They say “you have nothing holding you back.”

And I don’t.

Yet I don’t go.

My scheduled work vacation this year is July 30 – August 3. It’s a typical five day work week vacation but if you add the weekends before and aft then the vacation expands into nine days.

That is enough time to drive to Colorado and take a few photos, is it not? Enough time to do almost everything I planned to do, that I listed on my detailed itinerary I created months ago where I listed mileage and routes and campgrounds and National Parks and towns and mountains I wanted to visit and climb.

Yet, I’m on the verge of pulling the plug and canceling those vacation days and continue life by working through that week as normal.

Ugh.

I hope I still go.

As a post script, in June 2015, I did take a week’s vacation to Colorado. It was a great time of hiking and sight seeing and driving to strange and new places.

If you look close you can my little red 2000 Honda Civic EX. And next to the Civic is the 3 Corners at Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Photo taken by Dave O, June 2015.

If you look close you can my little red 2000 Honda Civic EX. And next to the Civic is the 3 Corners at Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Photo taken by Dave O, June 2015.

 

 

 

Two Observations About My 2018 July Fourth

Two observed elements of 2018’s Fourth of July.

First, it was probably the most productive Fourth of July in recent memory. After an impromptu breakfast of donuts with Nikki and Joi, I was able to :

Install a new light switch to the new halogen lights in the basement. I cut the original circuit I wired in a few months ago. I didn’t like the way that project turned out and so decided to wire a dedicated switch to those lights instead of piggy backing on the primary basement light. I was able to cut holes in the ceiling to fish the new wire, connected the switch and then cover up the holes and apply the first (of many) layers of drywall mud. Usually, a task as such would take days but I was able to cut it done in a couple of hours.

Build four painting frames. I bought the 1×2 furring strips the days leading up to the Fourth in anticipation of actually cutting, glueing and screwing the frames. I worked in the super heated porch (ambient air of 88°F). I listened to a few sermons and worked until I built the four frames, three 48″ x 36″ frames and one 32″ x 30″ frame. Now, I have six frames ready to stretch canvas over and prime for my next painting project. I calculated the cost of these frames at approximately $8 each.

Painted. I bought fresh paint in the days prior to the Fourth. One gallon was a custom color from Lowes and the other gallons and quarts were from the Island of Mis Tints. I painted on the current project for about an hours, listening to sermons.

Walked to Walmart. Not actually the most exciting thing to do but I wanted to buy a new tripod for the Nikon W300. It is a twelve minute walk to the Walmart from the house. I bought a cheap ($13) tripod and two dvd’s to add to the collection, some cheese and sausage for a low carb dinner. Back at home, I made the dinner and watched a movie. Later, there was a major intestinal episode that I reasoned was from the breakfast donuts and not the dinner of sausage and cheese. Chapped my ass, in case you wanted to know.

The second observation is that I now hate neighborhood fireworks. I don’t understand why neighbors believe it is within their ‘right’ to light off fireworks which sound like a war is starting. Especially near midnight and after. It is so annoying and keeps one up when sleep is necessary due to a scheduled work shift in the morning.

On a side note, since the conversation is about fireworks, I have noticed that one person in particular always has a long, detailed, drawn out story to tell.  In this example a statement regarding fireworks is spoken prompting this person to tell an extruded and elongated story (probably highly exaggerated) starting the moment, sometimes even before the originating statement is even finished. This person most likely doesn’t even listen to what was said but hears a keyword and his own memory wheels spring into action and out comes an expanding story that can take many sub arcs. Really annoying.

I would like finish this post with a time lapse movie taken with the Nikon W300 on the Fourth. However, since the free WordPress plan doesn’t allow for embedded videos, I concluded with a simple W300 photo.

Nikon W300 photo of leaves. Taken in Portrait mode to blur the foreground.

Nikon W300 photo of leaves. Taken in Portrait mode to blur the foreground. Taken on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at South East Way park in Indianapolis.I pro

I probably should upgrade?

The Wrong Wall Has No Purpose

In my youth … meaning the early days of my first marriage and the entirety of my second marriage … I had purpose.

That purpose was to provide shelter, food, disposable spending money, education, vehicles, life and medical insurance, recreation, vacations, entertainment and a host of other needs, necessities and wants and desires for my wives and kids.

I worked hard. I worked hard when employed by others and when I tried to start my own business. I worked hard around the house to keep it well maintained and functional. I learned new skills so I could avoid paying contractors.

I also worked hard to stay in shape both physically and mentally. Although it is debatable if I succeeded.

I worked hard during those stretches of my life because there was purpose … to keep the family healthy, happy and provided for.

Thankfully, I was born into a family that had the same mind set and so I worked in the ‘family’ business for most of my career. It was great work and paid well. I believe I paid my dues and made a living to provide for my family.

Now that the family has grown and left, including the wives, the ‘family’ business sold to my younger brother and others (I was not part of the selected few) I find the nest empty and the career tainted and wonder what purpose there is now.

Other than paying student loans and marital debt there could be no purpose.

I enjoy the job I have now, even though it is with the ‘family business’ that others (including my younger brother) own. The actual work, the actual coding of web sites and development of web applications and collateral material to help the company create revenue is what I enjoy although I don’t necessarily enjoy some of the culture and few of the people.

Yesterday I started a short story about an older man who finds his ladder is against the wrong wall, a wall that he already painted. With his wife and her (maybe) lover cat calling him about the fact he already painted that wall, he day dreams about a life he didn’t pursue due to societal norms and parental expectations, he falls. During his recovery, he elects to stop working at his job (which had become torturous) and pursues the dream he had left on the shelf to conform to other’s expectations.

It could be an interesting story if I develop it and if I work at it.

But most likely I won’t. Or I will let it die a quick slow death.

Ah … such is a man without purpose.

A contrast in life and death. Photo taken by Dave O on June 29, 2018 about 7:05 am from Indianapolis Indiana.

A contrast in life and death. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300 on June 29, 2018 about 7:05 am from Indianapolis Indiana.

Continuing the Saga of the W300

I continue the exploration of the Nikon W300 by downloading the firmware update, experimenting with some of the ‘after-the-photo-is-taken’ effect the little camera offers and the remote photography feature.

I have never updated a camera firmware. After registering the W300 with Nikon I was sent an email saying the new W300 had a firmware update. I downloaded the file from the Nikon site, saved it to the memory card and scrolled to the firmware selection in the setting menu.

The camera promptly displayed a “battery exhausted” message. The firmware was not updated.

The “battery exhausted” message encouraged me to buy two spare batteries and a spare battery charger for $90 from www.adorama.com.

Before I dropped the spare batteries and charger into my Adorama shopping cart, I researched the pros and cons of batteries offered by other vendors such as Anton Bauer which I remember from my worthless days as a corporate video producer and Green Extreme of which I have no familiarity with.

Of course, third-party battery vendors offer their wares at prices lower than genuine Nikon batteries. However, after reading this declaration by Nikon I spent the extra dollars on honest Nikon batteries.

I shared my Nikon W300 buying experience with a photographer friend, who also is a Nikon enthusiast, over a dinner of sirloin, rice and potatoes with Mashcraft IPA of which I did not count the calories.

He was impressed with the compact little orange Nikon. He asked why I bought it when the D600 was within reach for any photo opportunity.

I answered with the usual defense of technical specifications, relating the sixteen megapixel, 5x zoom, waterproof casing and SnapBridge app that wowed me into the purchase.

However, my honest answer was that I wanted a compact point and shoot camera, in addition to the D600, for when (if) I take my 2018 Epic Colorado road trip.

We spent the remaining dinner time talking about Colorado and photography in Colorado.

Sky Photo taken about 7:15 pm on June 26 from Greenwood Indiana.

Sky photo taken with the Nikon W300 about 7:15 pm on June 26 from Greenwood Indiana.

Later, at home, I plugged the camera into the wall via the supplied Nikon charger. Once the battery was fully charged the firmware was updated.

The Second Day of W300

I kept my calories in check with a Slimfast breakfast and lunch and a barbecue and mac cheese dinner. I didn’t count calories but kept my intake in check.

That is good.


Nikon W300

It fun to have a new creative toy. Especially a camera.

Alas, there are different degrees of happy. And that is no different with the Nikon W300. At the moment, my W300 happy isn’t too overwhelmingly happy. I thought I would over flow with W300 happy but that hasn’t happen.

I’m not disappointed in the camera as it is doing every thing Nikon says it can do. But my expectations were somewhat elevated due to the retail price and my experience with Nikon.

I confess that I expected a D600 compacted into the W300 with the extra water proof and shockproof shroud. Add into the expectation the SnapBridge app and my elation was complete.

Yet, the initial letdown and slight disappointment is simmering.

  • SnapBridge automatically ports a low resolution copy to the iPhone. I suppose this is ok as the low resolution photo is good for texting, email, and social media. Yet, I expected the full resolution. So, it appears, when viewing on the iPhone, that iPhone photos are superior to the Nikon photos.
  • There is a method to port the full resolution photos to the iPhone but that process is not automatic and it involves Wi-Fi. Seems complicated.
  • I have not found a method to import full resolution 4K video from the W300 to the iPhone then to the Mac desktop. I can import from the W300 to the iPhone but not to the desktop. Very strange.
  • The Time Lapse movie is limited to ten seconds. That seems too short. The D600 can time lapse for hours. The W300 time lapse captures a series of frames for a specific time frame depending on the setting, from Cityscape (10 minutes) to Star Trails (150 minutes). Regardless, the result is a ten second time lapse movie.

Of course, as with any new and expensive electronic toy, it takes a while to fully discover the depth of complexity and I’ve only had the W300 for 48 hours so I still have much to explore.

Max, the neighbor's puppy.

Max, the neighbor’s puppy. Photo taken by Dave O with the new Nikon W300. Exposure compensation set to +1 for this photo.

 

Nikon W300

So … after fusing over the Nikon W300 for many days, debating internally if I should buy it, holding it in my hand at the local Best Buy then walking away, driving to a discount electronics store 33 miles away in hopes of a cheaper price (they didn’t even stock the camera), I finally laid the cash on the counter in front of a disconnected Best Buy cashier and walked home (actually drove home) with camera in box.

Of course, the budget will take a five hundred dollar hit for a new camera and memory card and some will wonder why I need a new camera when the Nikon D600 is a perfect camera in many ways.

The point and shoot W300 is what I was looking for with all the features listed on the Nikon web site that will satisfy my desires and needs.

In the store, the camera box was trapped inside a huge plastic container the cashier had to open. The 128 gig ultra fast HD memory card was also in its own huge plastic container. Store security in effect yet there was no Best Buy employee to help me in my selection. Although I was already focused on the W300 it would have been pleasant to, at least, browse other cameras at the suggestion of a Best Buy camera expert.

That didn’t happen.

The Nikon W300 box. Photo taken by the iPhone.

The Nikon W300 box. Photo taken by the iPhone.

At home, the unboxing was a huge disappointment. The contents rattled inside the cardboard and the box looked like it had been opened before my purchase. The padded bag the camera was wrapped in wasn’t taped as if some had already handled my new W300.

I would not have bought the camera had I been able to actually hold the box in hand at the store, fearing the contents had been carelessly handled or actually opened and used before.

At first glance, I was happy with the thick paperback manual resting inside the box until I realized the manual was really a 20 page quick start-up guide printed in every language known to man.

Referencing a manual online,  I learned the time-lapse feature, which was the primary selling point for me, is limited to only 10 seconds. This was a huge let down and I battled a rush of buyer’s remorse at the lost of five bills for a camera that couldn’t perform as expected or advertised.

Of course, the battery was dead on arrival and it took over two hours to charge. When fully charged, it was time to leave for Sunday evening obligations and I couldn’t explore the wonders of my new toy. But not before I paired the W300 with the iPhone via a new Snap Talk application downloaded from the App Store.

 

The actual Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. The color looks red in this photo and in reality but the Nikon believes it is orange and if the light is just right it does look like orange.

The actual Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. The color looks red in this photo and in reality but the Nikon believes it is orange and if the light is just right it does look like orange. Photo taken by an iPhone.

Even with the dismal unboxing and initial misgiving, I am looking forward to using the W300 in future photographic exploits. In hand, the W300 is a solid camera and as a Nikon loyalist, the W300 will look good on the shelf if it turns into one of my impulse buys that I later wish I had researched better.

Please note, minimal calories were burned in pursuit of the Nikon W300.

 

 

Kodachrome

If I could choose between opening up the photo app on the iPhone or clicking the shutter of a compact point & shoot camera, I would choose the compact point & shoot camera.

I’ve taken hordes of photos with the iPhone. The photo quality is good. The instant gratification is additive. I enjoy swiping through the photo horde when I’m bored.

So, there is really nothing wrong with the iPhone photo app.

Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. Photo downloaded from the Nikon web site on June 22, 2018.

Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. Photo downloaded from the Nikon web site on June 22, 2018.

Yet, I want a compact point and shoot camera. Like this Nikon W300.

In my experience, it is rather annoying and somewhat difficult to call up the photo app on the phone. And, it’s not too quick, especially when you are driving and a photo opportunity has presented itself in traffic.

Not that I take many photos while in traffic. I actually take none. But I want to. There are some scenes that pass by which would be worthy of a quick photo.

Recently, I followed a rusted truck with a set of ‘balls’ hanging from his trailer hitch. Although the sight was odd and very strange and I wonder why a person would drag a scrotum from a trailer hitch, a photo could solidify the sight for future ridicule.

An available compact point & shoot camera would be the perfect solution. I could grab the camera and point and shoot when a scene appears.

I am a Nikon loyalist but price points are a concern. The Nikon A10 retails for about $90 and the W300 is on the high side at $390. I will probably never use the water proof feature of the W300 but I want a bit more video power than the A10 offers.

Why do I want more video power?

idk.

Maybe I’m just in the mood for a new camera. I have a Nikon D600 is a great camera in every capacity. Although it is too heavy at times.

From the Nikon web site the W300 has most of the features the Nikon D600 has, yet it weighs about ten pounds less.

  • Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof adventure camera with extra capabilities
  • Stunning high resolution photos, 4K Ultra HD videos, Time-lapse videos, Superlapse videos and music montages
  • 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with telephoto power and Hybrid VR image stabilization
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, eCompass, altimeter, depth gauge and more

I have an interested in time-lapse which the W300 features. And it appears W300 photos  will magically appear on the iPhone via bluetooth. So, Nikon photos will become iPhone photos.

Does anyone remember the lyric from Paul Simon’s song, Kodachrome

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Bus Riding Downtown

On Saturday, June 9, 2018, I rode an Indy Go bus from the south side of the city to downtown.

I know that most people would say “so”, “big deal”, “who cares”. But, for me, it was some what of a personal milestone. I never ridden an Indy Go bus as an adult. And, I only rode on the city bus once or twice as a teenager.

Of course, during college I rode the campus bus but I’m not counting that.

So what was my experience.

  • There is a lot of waiting. Waiting at the stop to ride the bus downtown. Waiting at the Transit Center downtown to ride home. If I had driven my 2000 Honda Civic, there would be no waiting, unless it was waiting in traffic.
  • It’s not a smooth ride. Indianapolis streets are the worst. Pot holes every where. Joe Hogsett (the mayor of Indianapolis) hasn’t done a great job repairing city streets, in my opinion.
  • The people. An entire mix. Black, white, Indian, old (me), young. We all sat in silence during the bumpy ride.

Why did I ride the Indy Go bus downtown?

Well, other than wanting the experience of waiting for and riding the bus, I wanted to take photos at the 2018 Indy Pride Festival.

Not that I’m gay. I’m as straight as they come. But, I wanted to take photos at the parade, show support, etc. I even bumped into my second ex-wife.

And, I could walk around downtown for a few miles and burn some calories.

I knew the festival would be a colorful event. And the ambient light was good for photos. I walked through the crowd and took over 384 photos. Some are great photos, most are mediocre, some are my usual creepy shots. Most everyone I encountered was happy to pose for me (G-rated poses).

I had a lunch at a restaurant on Mass Ave (Bru Burger) and drank two beers. So, my 9 day streak of no beer calories came to end at the Bru Burger. I have no idea what the calorie count of the juicy cheese burger with fried egg and french fries was

Self Portrait from the 2018 Indy Pride Festival (look in the sunglasses).

Self Portrait from the 2018 Indy Pride Festival (look in the sunglasses).

.

After the parade, I burned lunch and beer calories by walking with the crowd to Military Park were the festival was gathering. However, a nasty storm was blowing in and the officials evacuated the park. I had not enter the festival grounds when they declared the evacuation but was directed toward the IUPUI campus.. I found shelter under a tree in front of the Heron Art School building.

One person walking by suggested I find shelter in the building instead of under the tree.  A sensible man would. But I stayed under the tree. Maybe a lightening strike would cure me of this depression?

When there was a break in the storm, I walked to an easy-up tent that was still standing and stood underneath it for a few minutes. When it was apparent the storm had passed, I walked through the empty and soaked festival grounds and back to the Transit Center.

I waited over 40 minutes for the bus for the ride home. My shoes were soaked from the storm.

I pulled the string for the bus to stop where I wanted to get off. I parked my 2000 Honda Civic near the bus stop so I drove home in my still-soaked shoes and wasted my of the remainder of the day.

If I take the bus downtown for a future photo opportunity, I could walk to the bus stop. It’s about a mile from the house and would help in the calorie burning effort.