Saturday, January 11, 2003

The Truth About Stella

When Stella went dead after her coffee bath, I had to face facts.

The truth is when I had bought the camera, it was only, and is, only intended to be a short-term camera... to have and to hold until it inevitably died from day-in, day-out use.
I accepted that.
The day I bought it, I was already on the lookout for Stella's replacement.
I had no illusions.

But, always, there was this sense of uneasethat it would die before its time. Like when the Mac laptop started giving the signs that it was about to die, that I am in no position to be ABLE to replace the camera anytime soon.
So, I was hoping it wouldnt die for quite awhile.

I dont know what Id do without having a camera. I thought about what would happen if I lost my possessions. The last thing I would want to lose is the camera, I realized.

Losing the computer had its mixed blessings. Not having one forced me to use the time to wander and see more of the world.

What would I do with myself if I lost the camera?

I cant even imagine.

Stella is tough and well-made, although not weatherproof.

It seems to be back up to snuff after I worked on it (thank god for my troubleshooting skills), even though a few of the controls stick and dont click with the precision that it used to.

But now, like anything else - now I KNOW it aint gonna last forever, so I should be ready to replace it.

Ironically enough, I was working on a list of cameras for Anna so she could have something to work with when she goes and gets hers.

She doesnt want something as bulky or complicated as Stella (even though the camera can be amazingly easy to use in point and shoot mode - thats not its forte). She wants something thats small, ez to use and does great pics.

Small, ez to use, great pics.
Virgo translation: minimum 3 megapixels, 3x optical zoom with excellent optics, shirt-pocket size, no overwhelming features to get in the way of simply using it.

So, being the good little Virgo that I am.. I dont simply look at reviews and product sheets when Im researching.. I wanna know how it feels and works, so I go to the camera store.

For Anna, I have narrowed it down to 4 cameras.

The Canon Powershot S45, Minolta F100, Olympus D-40 and Fuji S601. All these are on my I would buy list.

(Im not fond of Sony's and Nikon point and shoots.Sony always feels overpriced for what you get and not everyday useful and although I am a Nikon FILM camera owner - something about their consumer digital stuff just rubs me the wrong way.)

The Fuji F601 may be japan's best-selling camera, but I wouldnt neccesarily recommend it for everyone. As much as I am partial to Fuji cameras for how they feel and shoot, they're not always the easiest cameras to get the right picture when you want it, unless youve learned how to use it.
But I would buy it in a heartbeat.

The Minolta F100, I like slim size and the images. REALLY sweet. But for daily, NY-type camera use? Eh.
It just doesnt *snap* to it the way I like.

Heh. The Olympus D-40. Dont let the goofy toylike size and appearance fool ya. This thing take INCREDIBLE pictures, fits nicely in your hand and is cheap to buy and operate.

Whats not to like? The way it looks just makes me giggle. ;-)

The Canon Powershot S45. This thing is serious candy.
Its fast, solid, feels like it was carved from an ingot, shoots "Cant-find-any-faults" pictures, gives its big brother the Powershot G3 a hard-core run for the money and is CHEAPER than the unit it replaces - the Powershot S40.

This is the camera Id place in Anna's hand. It would satisfy her Virgo heart, mind and whimsy.

So.. why wouldnt I simply pick it?
This sounds silly, but I like cameras that put a smile on the faces of people BEFORE I take the picture.

Ergo, the Olympus or Fuji.

And that's MY opinion.

Now, which camera would I choose to replace Stella?

Surprisingly, Im open to other cameras above and beyond Fuji's.

It has to have a superb lens like Stella, fast or faster than Stella, adaptable in all light like Stella, and can print out pictures above 11x14.

There is a wide range available, but Im watching the prices on the current version of Stella.. the Fuji S602.

After Christmas, it has dropped to a price BELOW $500. *(Incredible slack-jawed face)*.

Great googly-moogly.

So, two things are happening:

- Most people just look at the megapixel numbers and dont know these cameras take images way above and beyond what their numbers would indicate. So they arent selling as well. But their owners know better.

- Fuji may be getting ready to introduce a better camera in the next few months and letting the price drift down to clear inventory. (The professional version is a true 6 megapixel camera that produces a TWELVE megapixel image. I want something like that for when the primo features come down to the consumer level.)

So, thats what Im waiting on.

Although I also have the nagging feeling that if I intend to be a professional photographer - I should be looking for professional-quality gear.


Regardless of if I have the money to afford those aspirations.


Between Jan 2nd and 22nd, the planet Mercury appears to be going backward in the skies due to an optical illusion. Astrology holds that things kinda goes to shit during that period.

As gg so eloquently put it awhile back during a period of merc retro...

my mind feels like scrambled porn trying to piece together a coherent picture. the house is built, but the occupant is in a coma. the highway is expanded, but the driver is lost. the runway is dazzling, but the supermodel has tripped.
June 14, 2001

This morning
Her: Ugh.. EVERYTHING went wrong yesterday. I couldnt get ANYTHING done, and I wasted a lot of time.
Me: Merc is retrograde right now.
Her: *SIGH* When ISNT mercury retrograde?
Me: I know.

What does mercury (the planet) going retrograde mean to me? I try not to be supersstitous aboot it.. but my mind starts fuzzing up a few days after it starts.. and coffee barely helps.

And when mercury goes retrograde, with all the crazy shiznit - I may not even get to DRINK my cuppa.

Oh, that cup that bathed Stella yesterday was prepared by a no-nonsense italian at the famed Cafe Meditarranean on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue, hangout of homeless and poets alike.

I even tasted it before it went flying.

Oh. A thing of beauty, of sublime tastes smells and textures, Im here to tell ya.

And. I. Didnt. Get. To. Drink. It.

No coffee today either.

I slept through it. Got nothing done.

So, thats what mercury retrograde feels like.

Days of No Coffee.
For Maria, days of her beloved-but-shit-its-cold Berkeley..

Coupla street roses..

I like it better down on the 'flats' of Berkeley, technically West Berkeley.

Now, of the two flags above.. which do you think the herb lovin denizens of Berkely n' Cali relate to most and would rather fly?


But still, if you know how to get into that state, no matter which way - its a beautiful place to chill..

Of course, some kinda relate more to where they came from..

And some take it as it comes.

But it all kinda wears you out after awhile.

Still, not so bad.


Of course Mars, you know where most Bay Area residents would rather be...

Natcherally. ;-)