Tag Archives: Nikon

Shifting the goalposts (again)

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Mistake

I’ve done it again. I’ve decided to update and tweak some of the goals on my 101 things in 1001 days list.

Now before you sigh, just hang on a minute…! ūüôā

What’s the point of making goals when you’re in a certain season of life, and then being too rigid to adapt them when your circumstances change?

When I started the list late last year, I was a new housewife with all the time in the world and no real plans to head back to full-time employment. So many of the goals I chose were things I could easily achieve in those circumstances.

But life changed, as it always does, so I updated my list¬†in the hopes of making it more realistic. And now life has changed again, and I feel it’s time for a fresh take on things once¬†again.

At this stage of our lives it looks like I’ll have to keep working outside the home for the foreseeable future. So if this 101 things list is going to be of any use at all, it has to fit in with my ‘new normal’. I really don’t see the point in having a list of goals that just depress me because I doubt I’ll ever get to them this side of retirement…

So without further justification, here are the specific goals I’ve reworked (along with reasons for the changes, as though I owe you any!) ūüėȬ†I’ll post my complete new list separately.

Goals that are changing

Goal #4: Exercise at least 30 min/day, 3 days/week, 3 weeks/month ‚ÄstThis is the first goal to change.¬†Why are we not surprised? I had a wonderful time exercising daily¬†when I was at home, but my new schedule allows for much less routine. Although I’m still aiming to get in a decent amount of exercise, I’ve removed it from this particular list. The replacement goal is: Knit something colourful :mrgreen:

Goal #7: Volunteer at an animal shelter ‚Äď I’ve tweaked this one to Volunteer at or donate to an animal shelter, since I may not have much time to volunteer, but if I can help by donating then I will look for ways to do that instead.

Goal #10: Go on 10 motorcycle rides ‚Äď I’ve reduced this down to 3 rides, because Ninja’s bike is getting a little long in the tooth, so we’re trying to preserve it and stretch out the time between services and such. A pity, but that’s life eh? At least one of these three is already done ūüôā

Goal #14: Read one passage per week from my German Bible ‚Äď It’s difficult enough keeping up with my daily readings in my English Bible (for Goal #3), so sadly this one will have to go. I’ve replaced it with: Work through the Love Dare again. For those of you who don’t know, the Love Dare is a book for strengthening marriages, linked to the lovely¬†movie Fireproof.

Goal #15: Make an origami animal ‚Äď Of all the brainless goals, I wonder how this one made the list! Instead, here’s something I really want to to: Get a pretty girly camera bag. I can’t very well pitch up at special events in heels and a backpack!

Goal #17: Paint 10 artworks on canvas ‚Äď Ten is a hefty number for someone with my new time constraints. I’ve changed this to Paint 5 artworks on canvas. In fact, I recently finished one (a gift for my parents), which I hope to post about soon.

Goal #25: Work through my entire ‚ÄėTeach yourself Hindi‚Äô textbook ‚Äď It’s a realy shame that my language goals are some of the first to fall away (I recall my brother, also an avid language learner, warning me about this when I first added language goals to my list…). Instead of this goal, I’ve added: Design room themes/colour schemes for my future home.

Goal #38:¬†Visit 10 different museums and/or monuments ‚Äď Can we make this 5? Please? At the current pace of our lives, Ninja and I are unlikely to fit in even that many visits before September 2015 (when this list ends).

Goal #41: Take photos of the same item in 101 different locations ‚Äď Oh, this one never got off the ground! I started it and then it¬†just¬†faded out of the way… But because photography is still an overall goal of mine, I’ve replaced it with a similar but much-more-likely-to-be-achieved¬†goal: Take 101 different photos of my new pet rats!

Goal #47: Get my passport ‚Äď To go where, exactly? I don’t anticpate that we’ll have the means to travel outside our country at any point in the remaining¬†751 days of this challenge, so this goal is just wasting space on my list ūüė¶ Instead, the new Goal #47 is: Do a punk photoshoot, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, preferably with my bro ūüôā

Goal #53: Photograph a landscape from the same location, capturing all four seasons ‚Äď I was reluctant to change this one because it’s still something I’d really like to do, but¬†I don’t have much regular¬†access to¬†inspiring and seasonally changing landscapes at this point in time, so I know my pics would just disappoint me coz they’d fall short of the images in my mind. Maybe one day if we have our own garden, Lord willing… For now though, this has become: Get some rat-themed merchandise. You know. As in, ‘been there, done that, got the rat, got the T-shirt’? ūüėÄ

Goal #55: Go skinny dipping ‚Äď Considering the fact that I can’t even recall the last time I had access to a pool or swam at all, I don’t even know why this is still on my list! Of course I can always still do this, but you’d be the last to know… ūüėČ So, the fun and sensible replacement for this one is: Get 10 more hat badges. Remember my cool hat from this post? It still has plenty free space on it.

Goal #66: Send a message in a bottle ‚Äď Again, the impracticality of this goal is just¬†overwhelming all of a sudden. I’d have to (a)¬†get to the sea and (b) get far enough out to sea to drop the bottle and avoid it just washing straight¬†back to the sand at my feet. Plus, um… isn’t it kinda like deliberate water pollution? Far be it from me! Instead, I aim to Take part in a colour run. Perfect. I’ll go for air pollution instead.

Goal #72: Clear out all my junk ‚Äď Now what on earth is a mundane goal like you doing on a¬†fancy list like this?! In its place, how about I¬†Do a 30×30 Challenge (30 minutes of physical activity for 30 days)? At least, it looks achievable on paper.

Goal #73: Find the perfect fitting pair of jeans ‚Äď There isn’t just¬†one; there are many. There’s the slinky new pair I buy each time¬†I drop a dress size (OK, that’s only happened once¬†in the last two years); there’s the comfy old pair that I can wear around the house; and there’s the stretchy accommodating pair for when PMS or overindulgence have added some nasty bulk. So to take the focus off me, I’ll replace that goal with this one:¬†Get a zoom lens for my camera.

Goal #85: Make my own outfit ‚Äď Who?! What?! When?! Where?! Why?! How?! Instead, I hope Ninja and I can Revisit our wedding venue. Awwww ūüôā

Goal #86: Finish writing my book ‚Äď Once upon a time, in a life far away, I dreamt of writing a marriage book to help Christian newlyweds. But the warp speed of life since then has seen almost¬†all my friends married long before I finished half the chapters. I think it’s time to bury this goal for good. Yet I’ve always wanted to publish something I’ve written, so I think I’ll try to Publish my best poems instead.

Goal #96: Learn the basics of self-defence ‚Äď Meh. Not going to happen any time soon, and it’s not particularly measurable or motivating either. Instead, I’d like to Enjoy another spa day with my best friend.

And finally, Goal #101: Start planning an overseas trip ‚Äď This just seems too far away now to even be on this list. Ninja and I do hope to have the privilege of travelling overseas together one day, but the more practical goal of getting a home of our own ranks higher on the list. But since this goal list is also meant to inspire, I’ll just tweak this one to: Brainstorm an overseas trip.

Now I’m freshly¬†motivated to reach for 101¬†goals that I stand a chance of achieving ūüôā

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A tog in training

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Tog as in photog. As in photographer. Okay, okay, never mind… ūüôā

Here are some of the practice pics I’ve been snapping lately as I bond with my beastie!

Meringue with strawberries and cream

I can’t take credit for the cooking on this one: my mom treated¬†me to¬†this¬†meringue with strawberries and cream when I visited her the other day. Yum, I love my mom! ūüôā

Aloe

Aloe

Classic South African flora: a flowering aloe plant.

Robin

Robin

This wild Cape robin-chat has ‘trained’ my parents to feed him whenever he¬†sings at their kitchen door… and he does this about seven times a day! Adorable free pet ūüôā

New fur for Flea

New fur for Flea

And speaking of pets, here’s our fuzzbutt Flea. Can you see how her fur has grown back pitch black in that patch under her arm?

The sweetest face

The sweetest face

I also have a bit of amazing news to share: I’ve been asked to extend my current¬†contract of office work until the end of the year, instead of wrapping up in August.

This offer from my boss¬†came as a major blessing and a big relief to Ninja and I, as it means I’ll be getting a few extra salaries this year above what we’d planned for… which of course also means that our budget will quickly recover from the knock it took with my camera. The Lord has been so generous to¬†provide this ‘safety net’ ‚Äď and all that after I’d taken the leap of faith to get my camera!

Anyway, that’s all from me for today. Hope it’s sunny where you are :mrgreen:

Bringing home Beastie

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I know. I owe you an update on the major leap of faith I made a few days ago. It’s just been such a crazy week, wow! Nevertheless, I am SUPERBLY happy with my ‘rash’ decision to get this camera :mrgreen:

No regrets! Here’s a little of the unboxing…

Unpacking the beastie

Unpacking the beastie

Although I bought this beautiful camera with the old Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D prime lens (all they had in stock at the time), I had to exchange it the next day for the newer Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8 G lens (and boy am I glad I did!).

Nikon D7100 unboxing

Nikon D7100 unboxing

The new 50mm G lens is far quiter, focuses faster and can focus closer, too.¬†The lens¬†is a bit heavier than the old 50mm D, but it’s the superior choice.

Speaking of weight, the whole camera plus lens¬†is¬†wayyyy heavier than my old Fujifilm prosumer… but I’m already adapting to the way the D7100 feels in my hands. I like the solid build and the fact that the weight helps to steady the camera for handheld shots.

Here it is: brand spanking new ūüėČ (I hope that’s not just a South African expression, or you might be wondering what I’m talking about!)

Out the box

Out the box

The funny thing about the beastie is that Ninja is more intimidated by it than I am! His hands are bigger and stronger than mine¬†so from that perspective he’s fine, but the¬†plethora of dials, buttons and screens make him nervous. Tee hee hee ūüôā

Here’s a pic of the D7100, with the 50mm G lens attached, taken by my Fujifilm FinePix:

A not-so-great shot of a fantastic camera

A not-so-great shot of a fantastic camera

And here’s a pic of my faithful little¬†FinePix, taken by the D7100:

My old camera

Look at that gorgeous bokeh (blurred background)! The 50mm f/1.8¬†G is famous for this, as well as being beautifully sharp as most primes are. I am very impressed with the results (and so far I’m only shooting in¬†JPEG because I don’t have time to process my RAW files, but I can imagine the RAW will be even lovelier).

Anyway, I’d love to spend hours going into more detail here, but there are plenty chores calling my name this evening…

Will be back soon!

Zest

Cannot believe I did that…

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A couple of weeks ago I left you hanging at the end of my last dream¬†camera post¬†regarding the possible¬†cons¬†to choosing the new¬†Nikon D7100 as my first DSLR camera… but this is not that post.

The beastie

You see… I did something totally¬†crazy and out of character¬†today.¬†Despite the sensible budgetary advice of my dad and mom playing in my head,¬†despite¬†my initial¬†good intentions of waiting for the¬†‘right‘ time, despite my long-standing notion that anything worth having must be earned through long hard toil…¬†I just went and straight up bought the D7100.

Yup. I just bought the D7100. Today. Just like that.

Whoooohoooo!!!

I still cannot believe I did that!!! *cue hysterical laughter*¬†ūüôā It’s just not¬†like me at all!¬†ūüėÄ

It’s hands down the most expensive item I’ve ever¬†paid for. And I don’t part with my money easily. Ninja had to¬†patiently¬†convince me that buying it now or buying it in a few months’ time would not really make a huge difference in terms of saving ‚Äď either way, we’re going to have to do a lot of careful saving and frugal living this year!

Perhaps the main¬†reason I’m still a bit gobsmacked by my own behaviour is that I don’t actually have the camera yet. So¬†reality hasn’t hit home yet.¬†They’ll only¬†be delivering it tomorrow evening, so¬†part of me will only be convinced it’s real¬†when I finally physically own the machine. But it’s a done deal: the beastie is mine ūüôā

I am so humbled and blessed and excited and surprised! It felt as though¬†it¬†happened so quickly,¬†yet it wasn’t a rash decision.¬†I have been researching this for months already. I have been pushing my current little Fujifilm¬†superzoom camera to its limits to prepare¬†for this. I¬†have¬†been watching so many vids and reading so many articles on the various functions of this camera. So when I first handled¬†the D7100¬†in the shops today¬†it no longer¬†intimidated me; I flicked through the buttons and menus as if I knew them by heart.

When I handled it today, I¬†realised two things at once. One,¬†this is by far the biggest and scariest purchase of my short life. And two,¬†it won’t be wasted on me.

Some people have warned that the D7100 is ‘overkill’ for newbies and ‘wasted’ on beginners, but that’s only if you’re happy to stay stuck in the beginner mindset. I want to be challenged and I want to excel. I know I have tons to learn, but I’m keen. And I’m not competing against anyone other than myself.¬†I don’t have aspirations for professional photography, but I also don’t want to be stuck with entry-level dinky toys forever ūüėČ The D7100 is my middle ground, and Lord willing it will be with me for many years to come.

When¬†Ninja and I¬†prayed about the purchase beforehand, I found myself praying for a balance of wisdom and the courage to live a little. I’ve always been Ms √úberCautious with money; I hate credit cards and¬†debt (thankfully those didn’t feature in this purchase) and I shy away from large luxuries. But¬†today, with Ninja’s counsel,¬†I realised¬†that risky spending can¬†have its place.

Sometimes in life¬†‚Äď only a very few times ‚Äď Nike is right, and we should just do it.

Yet I still cannot believe that I did!

Nikon D7100: I am adrenaline

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At last I have a chance to blog about my dream camera, as I’ve been¬†meaning to do for ages :mrgreen:

Here it is: the Nikon D7100.

Nikon D7100

Nikon D7100

Previews, reviews and¬†specs for this beautiful APS-C DSLR¬†are all over the web, so I’ll try not to¬†bore you with¬†too much¬†tech talk…¬†it’s just that I get so excited about it now that I finally understand all this stuff, haha!¬†So be prepared for a lengthy post ūüėõ Here are¬†the top reasons I chose this camera…

Perhaps surprisingly, the 24.1 million effective pixels are not the main drawcard for this camera. The fact that Nikon has removed the anti-aliasing filter or¬†optical low-pass filter (OLPF), however, is big news. The OLPF is used to minimise false colour and the moir√© effect that you’ll often see in finely repeating patterns (such as mesh curtains, for example).

For the D7100, Nikon managed to chuck out the filter without compromising image quality. Which basically means that you get the full benefit of the 24 MP resolution in¬†crisp detail. This is in contrast to other Nikon models such as the entry-level D3200 and the mid-range D5200, which both have 24 MP resolution too, but should produce slightly softer images because they still have the OLPF fitted. The reason that these specs pleased me is because I don’t want to spend hours tweaking my pics after I’ve taken them. Sharp images straight from the camera are exactly what I’m looking for.

Another exciting aspect of the D7100 ‚Äď and one that puts it on par with some of Nikon’s higher-end models ‚Äď is that it boasts 51 focus points, and 15 of those are cross-type (the most sensitive type). The reason this impresses me is that I love photographing animals, but they can be tricky to focus on when they’re moving around a lot. With this camera I should have no trouble locking on to scurrying rats or skittish birds ūüôā

The 1.3x crop of DX¬†mode is another boon. The D7100 is already a DX-format camera, and thus has a crop factor of approximately 1.5x on¬†focal length (compared to professional full-frame cameras with uncropped¬†35mm sensors). Now with the extra¬†1.3x crop mode, the¬†D7100 offers an angle of view¬†around twice the focal length of the lens. In laymen’s terms: it gives you a total¬†‘zoom’ factor¬†of about 3.5x on whatever lens¬†you’re using!

Cropping the sensor like this does reduce the available resolution from 24 MP to around 15 MP, but that will still produce large, usable pictures. In addition, the 7fps (frames per second) burst function works best with JPEGs in this mode. The crop mode also fills the frame with the 51 focus points, making it pretty tough to get an oof (out of focus) shot.

Oh dear. Are you guys sleeping on your keyboards¬†already? Sorry for all the jargon if you’re not into cameras!

Let me mention just¬†one other highlight of this camera that makes it well suited to my kind of photography: it’s quite robust.¬†The D7100 has a magnesium alloy body with a good deal of weather and dust sealing. That makes it great to take with when Ninja and I go hiking and camping, which we’re hoping to do more and more of in future. It’s also a fairly lightweight camera, weighing around 700g without a lens, which will make it relatively¬†easy to handle and carry around.

There are dozens of other exciting specs that blow my mind, especially¬†when compared to my current little¬†Fujifilm FinePix S1850. Make no mistake, the FinePix has been a lovely piece of equipment. It’s the perfect middle step between my old point-and-shoot (which, incidentally, was a Canon) and my future dream DSLR. My Fujifilm FinePix is still going strong, and I’ll still¬†hang on to it as a good¬†backup camera once I’ve got the D7100.

I have to be honest, though.

My first thought when I discovered the D7100 was, ‘WOW.’ And right after that I thought, ‘This is wayyyy too much camera for me!’ In fact, the Nikon D7100 is probably not the ideal choice for a¬†newcomer to DSLR photography. I mean, that’s why Nikon offers¬†the D3200 and D5200, right? The D3200 is aimed at total newbs, the D5200 is targeted at the ‘advanced beginner’, and the D7100…? Well, it’s Nikon’s flagship APS-C DSLR ‚Ästalmost a semi-pro cam for an upper-mid-range price!

And it is way too much camera for me. The thing is a beast :mrgreen:

But after lots and lots of research, and discussing the matter with my financial advisor (AKA Ninja), I realised that¬†the D7100¬†would be the best buy for me after all. Given the fact that I’m not planning to become a professional photographer, but that¬†I also want a DSLR that will last far¬†beyond entry-level capabilities, the D7100 is the middle-of-the-road choice that¬†should be with me for years.

I don’t have the luxury of¬†regularly upgrading my camera. I can’t quite afford this upgrade as it is, but I can more easily afford this one camera that lasts¬†than several¬†upgrades every couple of years. I’ve never been the type of person who needs the latest model of car or cellphone ‘just because’. In fact, the only reason I’m upgrading from my FinePix is that my end goal has always been¬†to move on from the ‘superzoom’ or ‘prosumer’ level to the interchangeable-lens¬†DSLR level.

It’s a bit of a risky and brave move.¬†I am a housewife, after all, with an¬†erratic freelance income. Spending a fortune on a fancy camera and lenses may not seem that wise. But Ninja understands the logic of getting the best I can once-off, rather than wasting money by¬†buying my way up to this camera¬†in slow steps. And since our current¬†budget will allow me to slowly¬†save up for this, and I’ve got the blessing of my man, and I’ve prayed about it and have peace about¬†it,¬†I’m going to go for it!

So… are there any downsides to the D7100?¬†I’ll save that for¬†another post¬†ūüôā

Mixed blessings

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Wow, it’s an utterly freezing cold grey day in Jo’burg today. Biting wind, gusts of rain and sombre grey clouds blanketing the skies. It’s the perfect weather to attempt to bake some bread, based on this great recipe… but unfortunately it didn’t turn out so well.

Sob! I have visions of myself being the ultimate housewife, whipping up a¬†steaming pot of soup and a freshly baked bread on icy days like this… but the reality is that we’ll be ordering in for dinner because I’ve run out of both¬†ingredients and chutzpah now. Bleh. ūüôĄ

The bread (or edible parts thereof) actually tasted¬†delicious, so¬†my mess isn’t meant to reflect poorly¬†on the recipe at all. I’m sure¬†in more skilled hands it would have come out flawlessly. In my case¬†I had to add some¬†extra water because for some reason my dough was far¬†too dry… and then¬†‚Ästbecause my oven is a¬†temperamental old thing ‚ÄstI had to bake the bread for half an hour longer than the recipe suggested… and even then, only¬†one third of the loaf was edible: the rest was doughy mush. As if that wasn’t saddening enough, I took lovely photos throughout… which I have just accidentally¬†shift+deleted ūüė¶

Not. My. Day.

Anyway, so darling hubby is out¬†rescuing me by getting us takeaways. And while I wait for the meal that someone else¬†will mercifully prepare for me, I thought I’d¬†blog about¬†a mixed blessing that’s recently come my way.

I’ve been offered a temp position at my previous company, to work in-house for three months, from early¬†May to early Aug. There are both pros and cons to accepting an offer like this. The main con¬†is that it will take me away from my home duties, which means Ninja and I will have to multitask like crazy again to keep things running smoothly with working, shopping and housework. The other thing that makes it not so great is that if today’s weather is a foretaste of how our winter is going to be, it’ll be very tough to get used to¬†leaving early… or even getting out of bed!

But those are not impossible or unbearable obstacles, I know. I guess I’ve just settled into my homely comfort zone so well, it will seem odd to go back to what I left behind. On the plus side, however, I have¬†several motivating factors ‚Ästone of which is¬†money. And not just money¬†for money’s sake. But money for my dream camera! :mrgreen:

Ninja and I have budgeted that after all our expenses are covered, this work opportunity should allow me to put aside a substantial sum towards getting my first DSLR and related kit. That alone makes all the disadvantages of working outside the home fade away ūüôā

To keep myself motivated through the winter (the time of year I’m most likely to feel a bit gloomy), I created a poster of two goals I hope to reach after this season of working is over. I’ve stuck it up in a prominent spot and hope it will help me to stay focused on what I want to achieve through this busy season.¬†The main goal is my camera and the second goal is staying fit and training for my first 5km run, which takes place in October.

Poster of goals

Poster of goals

On the left of the poster you can see health-related pics, such as orange juice to remind me to boost my immune system through the winter months. The rest of the poster is devoted to my dream cam (the Nikon D7100, which I plan to post about separately) and miscellaneous photography gear.

But now you’ll have to excuse me.

My¬†chicken-pine-salad wrap has just¬†arrived ūüėČ

Nikon or Canon? Edward or Jacob?

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I’ve been researching which camera to get for my first DSLR, and like everyone I’ve had to¬†face the Nikon vs Canon question.¬†After a while¬†it¬†occurred to me that it’s not unlike the¬†whole Twilight¬†Team Edward vs Team Jacob battle… ūüėõ

Nikon

Edward

Edward

Nikon, of course, is the Edward of the two camera giants, since both:

‚Ästhave been around for about 100 years (Nikon originally founded in 1917)

‚Äď are beautiful to look at (Nikon¬†DSLRs are offered in some¬†lovely¬†colours)

‚Äď are competitive by nature (Nikon is always at the¬†cutting edge¬†of technology)

‚Äď sparkle in the sunlight (Nikon is known for its excellent glass (quality lenses))

 

On the other side of the fence is Canon, which is like Jacob because they both:

Canon

‚Äď are relatively young (Canon began around the 1930s)

‚Ästare ‘as easy as breathing’ to be around (Canon always scores highest in ease of use)

‚Ästare kind and supportive (Canon¬†is the most¬†user-friendly, family-friendly option)

‚Äď don’t come at such a high price (Canon’s offerings are¬†kinder on the budget)

Jacob

Jacob

As with both of the Twilight heroes, both of the camera manufacturers pack a punch and have compelling reasons for being¬†chosen. It’s taken weeks of research for me to make a choice between the two.

Of course I know that these aren’t the only two brands of excellent DSLR equipment out there… but unfortunately in SA we have limited access to certain brands: manufacturers such as Olympus and Pentax¬†hardly have any¬†presence in¬†my country. Because of this, I had to narrow it down to the two ‘big guns’ so that I can buy into a DSLR system that I can readily find in South Africa.

So which did I choose? Well, I know I’ve said before that in terms of Twilight I’m a wolfy Jacob fan… but if you’ve watched Twilight then you know who gets chosen in the end.

That’s right.¬†Edward :mrgreen: