Cold, Grey, Rainy, Freezy, Slurpy Saturday. Some personal notes and observations. No Canon versus Nikon wars here. No full frame versus micro four thirds either.

Joy-Boating on Lady Bird Lake.

The image above is not topical and I did not take it today or this week in Austin, Texas. I am sharing it with you and me to counteract this ongoing stretch of cold, wet weather (here) and incredibly cold weather wherever you happen to be. Winter just seems to be dragging on forever this year...

I've been unable to blog for most of the week for a mix of reasons. I was busy shooting images in the first part of the week and then I had to head down to San Antonio to check on my parents. I wound up taking my mother to the ICU on Thursday and have been totally engaged in that life experience since. 
Today I was able to wake up back in Austin and hit the pool this morning. 

When I got up it was thirty degrees and there was a freezing rain falling. Normally I would have pulled up the covers and gone right back to sleep but after missing a regular workout too many times this week I dragged myself out of bed and pulled on my old jeans and a sweatshirt, slid into an old pair of Crocs and headed out the front door. For the first time this year I had to scrap ice off the windshield of my car. Swimmers might be interested to note that StrokeMaker(r) hand paddles make very good windshield scrappers. I let the car warm up and flipped on the defrosters but I still made it to the pool in enough time to be on deck and ready to swim at the 8:30-10am practice. 

The (outdoor) pool is about 50 yards from the locker room and wearing nothing but my swim suit and a swim cap the jog over to the edge was cold and a bit nasty. There was a brisk wind mixed with a light rain. If you take your time getting to the shallow end of the pool to park your equipment your skin starts to get really cold but when you dive into the 80 degree water the difference feels divine. 

For such a nasty day the workout was fairly well attended. Either two or three people to a lane. The coach on deck was well bundled and that's a good thing since she'd been there since 7:15 that morning. Halfway through our workout one of the swimmers from the earlier workout dropped by to deliver a large, hot coffee to coach Kristen. A very nice thing to do.

We started with a descending distance set: 400 (get your time at the 300 split...) followed by a 300 (descend from your split time by 10 seconds) followed by a 200 (dropping your split from the 300) and then a fast (out of your comfort zone) 100 for time. The rest of the workout was fun as well but we had the most fun near the end. The coach mixed everyone up into three person relays in each lane. She tried to distribute people so that each lane had a combination of slow and fast people to make it competitive. 

One person in each lane headed to the deep end and the relay commenced. We kept the three person, 25 yard sprint, cycle going for the rest of the workout. It was so much fun to really get up on the water and sprint. 

The hardest part of the workout was getting out of the pool, soaking wet, and getting to the locker room in the 30 degree wind gusts. Then it was off to coffee with the usual hardy band of masters swimmers. 

Tomorrow I'll head back to San Antonio to work on our latest family emergency and relieve my little sister and older brother. 

Pangs of regret for a camera that was traded away last year....

Every once in a while I get swept away by a camera that I think is just superb and then a newer camera comes along and I forget my love affair with the first one and move on to the second one. Most of the time the first camera is obsolete and my trades seem timely and efficient but every once in a while I have moments of doubt and regret. I was thinking about that this morning when I came across this image below:

I photographed that landscape with a Sony RX10 camera back in the Summer of last year. I had just used the same camera to do an eight page magazine assignment in Fredericksburg, Texas. While the camera seems to excel in rendering nice images where lots of depth of field is welcome it's weak spot is its deep depth of field, even wide open, when making portraits. Since I always think of myself as a portrait photographer first I was too quick to trade in this camera on some of the Nikon gear I had decided to designate as more important for my core mission. 

What a mistake. Not a week has gone by when I haven't felt awkward about letting it go. The really nice Zeiss designed lens and a very nicely upgraded video capability makes this camera a formidable all around tool for a multi-media kind of business. I've bounced back and forth about getting a new one and I was halfway between in my decision making. Was emotion trumping logic (once again...)?
But a phone call on Thurs. morning is pushing me over the edge and making the justification for replacement easier. I've been contracted to do a five minute corporate video project that includes some handheld, moving shots and I know the Sony RX10 would be the perfect tool for that. I guess I'm jumping right back on that merry-go-round. The bonus in the whole trade in, buy back episode is that Sony upgraded the video codec to a much more robust one. I just hope it intercuts well with the Nikon D810 (uncompressed Pro-Res 422 LT) footage I plan to shoot for the bulk of the project....

Disjointed epilogue. 

While last week was filled with excitement, drama and work, the upcoming week seems like it will be even more stressful and kinetic. I'll be in San Antonio tomorrow taking care of family and I've got a presentation scheduled for a local college on Monday ( along with post processing from last week's projects) followed by a long and full shoot here in Austin on Tues. (21 portraits on location...) and then a shoot for the theatre in several different locations across town on Weds. More post processing for those shoots on Thurs. and then off to San Antonio again on early Friday morning. I'll drag my laptop around with me, or at least an iPad and a wireless keyboard, and I'll try to get some blogging done. 

Thanks for reading. - Kirk


Anonymous said...

Be careful on the road; oldtimers (and I include myself in that squadron) tend to think of other things while driving (the mental equivalent to an iPhone?), and that can get you into trouble. Especially in wild cold weather.

And Best Wishes for your family.

Old Gray Roy said...


billstormont is right. You have a lot on your mind when you are so busy, and on top of that a parent is involved. Been there, done that, be sure to care for yourself so that you are available to care for your family. All the best for you and yours.

Carlo Santin said...

No sympathy for you on the weather front. It's been about -30, give or take, the entire month of February here in Canada. Lots and lots of snow. Howling wind. The cold stuff started in November and will be here until some time in March.

I'd probably be quite happy with an RX10 as an only digital camera. I've been using an RX100 for several months now and I love it. That 1" sensor is terrific and it consistently gives me images that I mistake for APS-C. My Nex 6 hasn't seen much use since the RX100 so perhaps it's time to trade it in. I gave up my DSLR two years ago and I don't see myself going back.

Have you seen these selfie sticks? You put your camera on this stick that you then extend out in front of you to take a selfie. It's about the silliest thing I've seen in a long while. I was out shooting at Niagara Falls (much of which has frozen over due to the extended cold) and these things were everywhere, it was really quite comical.

James Pilcher said...

Just keep sight of what matters the most. Do that, and you will make the right decisions.

Fred said...

I believe the weather will be warmer for your trip, but let me echo the first two comments, be careful driving. Take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Take care of yourself and your family first. The business, writing, swimming, this blog and your readers (us) will be (t)here when you return.

All the best.


Kevin Mayo said...

Best wishes on the family situation

Gato said...

Take care of the family stuff. We'll be around when you get back.

I went through some tough times with my mom but it would have been even harder if I had not been able to be there for her.

Best wishes.

Carlo Santin said...

Apologies from me Kirk. I didn't read the entire post and missed the paragraph about your mom. Hope everything works out. I just went through this with my dad, pretty much all of 2014. It was a very difficult year and it did consume my life despite my efforts to try and not let that happen.

Unknown said...

Wouldn't the E-M5II that you wrote a recent post about work as well as the RX10 for this project. You already have the lenses you need.

David L. said...

Worries and anxiety are hard. A tough time no doubt.

Hang in there and take care of your family priorities.

Ann Peterson said...

Family has to come first,, take care.

I love my RX10 and was probably influenced by your review when I bought it. Great all round camera particularly for travel, no regrets.

Steve Mack said...

Hope your Mom gets well soon. Hang in there.

With best regards.


Patrick Dodds said...

Good luck with the family stuff Kirk.

Ken said...

You comments about regretting a sale / selling too quickly really hit home. I've had a tough time selling lately for this reason...and I need to. LOL! I've been burned too often in the past.

Like you, I have an RX10 that has, on more than one occasion, been slated for sale. It's still here. Out of all my cameras (incl. XT1, X100s, etc.) this one is the versatile, especially related to video, so it stays. Plus, it's a fun little camera that is perfect for family travel where ultimate IQ isn't what is called for all of the time :-)

Scott Braley said...

No cold on the west coast. Warm, dry, little snow in mountains, which means little water this summer. SF Bay Area couple degrees warmer this winter than ever before. Climate change promises only climate change and more extremes.

And I sold off 20 years of Nikon gear to buy into Olympus. Lenses are great, and small. No real regrets, just the usual "give me one more stop of useable high iso". But that is what I said every year when I shot Nikon.


Dave said...

I nearly didn't buy the RX10, mulled it over for the better part of a year. Now I wonder if I almost need any other camera. Stills are ok, but as a video tool for the wannabe/newb wanting to "make movies" it is amazing. Partnered with a used A6000 its an amazing tandem.