A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Zooming Around

One of the blogs I follow is Carole at Snap Happy Birding.  She comes up with some of the finest bird photos simply by using her Sony Cyber-shot HX300 which has a 50x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom.  This is a single lens camera.  My little Canon Powershot point & click has 14x optical zoom and 4x digital, so it pales in comparison but the point of this post is that her photos prompted me to start using my little camera once again for more than just movie making.

Here is a scene in my Annadel State Park.  This is at the camera's wide angle and I should have zoomed in a tad to show it as the eye sees it.  Anyway, there is a mountain biker across the valley.  Carole can put little arrows or circles on her photos to point it out but I don't know how.

Here he is zoomed in to the max on optical zoom.

When you go into the digital zoom mode the quality of the picture deteriorates.  
Not with Carole's camera though.
At any rate, it's fairly impressive for a little point & click camera.

By the lake I made some adjustments to the camera plus had the realization that I should have brought the monopod along as I do when making video instead of taking these pictures hand-held.  Carole by the way doesn't use any tripod or monopod.  That woman has hands so steady she could defuse a bomb or do brain surgery.  I've mentioned this to her.   

Anyway, here is the scene zoomed in a bit so it is represented as the eye sees it.  
There is a guy floating out there fishing by the opposite shoreline. 

Full-on optical zoom.

And maxed out in the digital zoom range.  The adjustments seemed to have helped but having Carole's steady hands would have made this better.

Let's try something closer.
Full optical zoom...

and now full digital zoom.

I discovered a few other features this camera had which I never used before that day.  
Gee whilikers I didn't know it did that!
How long have it had this camera?  I'm not saying but it wouldn't do me any good to get a more modern one lens camera as I don't read manuals and only learn all that the camera can do years later. 

This is the last post for awhile.  We will be well along on our road trip by the time you read this, unless you live in Australia or Europe.  I'll make posts as I can find Internet but being in the high desert of Oregon I am not expecting much so perhaps you shouldn't either.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wine Tasting on Two Wheels

I found yesterday's prop powered Volkswagen while riding my motorcycle through nearby Napa Valley.  In the town of St. Helena (major uppity tourist trap) there was this shop with a sign out front "We Rent Motorcycles".  You can see "rentals" in the shop window sign of the first photo in case you didn't believe me.  I mean, I wouldn't have believed myself either.  Who in their right mind would rent motorcycles to wine tasting tourists hitting all the wineries along Hwy 29/128 in the Napa Valley?

There is a message here in this art piece, but I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusion.
Wine + two wheels =  

I am sure this is not for rent.  It is far too valuable to let a wino ride it.

Motorcycles was not the owner's only passion.

This information applies to the engine below it.  I like the part "...and the speed to clear the blast zone."  Yeah!!!

You can't tell but this engine was as large if not larger than the VW Beetle.
I can't imagine changing 56 spark plugs.  "I've got one left over! Now let's see, where did I start?"

I didn't go inside the shop and ask about the sensibility of renting motorcycles to wine tasting tourists as I had to go pee real bad.  No, it wasn't because I had been tasting wine either.  I don't care for the stuff.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Saw this a the flea market and it was pretty neat.  
The wind spun the wings around although my camera stopped the action.

I bet it would keep the squirrels away from the feeders.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Banzai !

After watching the marathon runners I returned back to the flea market for in the Veterans Memorial Building (where the flea market is held in their parking lot) they were holding a bonsai plant show.  Now bonsai plant growing is a whole other thing with their own unique culture of enthusiasts.  
(pun alert) I could dig it.

Rather than pick and choose, I'll just show the whole lot I took pictures of, 
so you may scroll through at your own chosen pace.


I was impressed with the size of some compared to the very shallow bowl they were in.

Most all had labels with the species of plant and their age.

Pyrcantha.  Presentation was a big element (I heard it being discussed) and the pots alone are pricey with "famous" big-name artist's names attached to some of the high-end models.

  I didn't see one over 100 years old but it could have been there.  
The average age was 25 - 50 years. 

Another view of #3 above to show how little of this large tree actually was in the dirt.

Look at the little fruit.  This may have been a pomegranate.

A type of maple I believe.  Notice how shallow that dish is!

One said "crab apple" and this may have been it.  
Who'd think a bonsai would have fruit like this?
Not I.

Pyrcantha.  Never-wake-up berries.  
That is how my wife and I knew them as kids.

All one plant or separate ones?

Makes me think of a whole little miniature forest world there.


This could be yours for $500

This was sale priced at $400

There was a vendors area where many plants were for sale from $10 on up.
I didn't buy one.  Sinbad would just munch on it.
But I did learn that bonsai is an outdoor plant, not intended to be kept inside.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Santa Rosa Marathon

After the Sunday morning flea market I drove on over to watch the runners come in from the Santa Rosa half and full marathon runs.  I selected a spot at the 25 mile mark (12 mile for the halfers) and see how they were doing after three hours of running with one mile plus left to go.

Of course it made me long to be among them as I sat by the wayside.

Back in 1982 I took on the San Francisco marathon.  

I only had the desire to do just one marathon, no more.

 My goal was to come in under the 3 hour mark, if I could.

Well I did it, with less than 30 seconds to spare.  2:59: something.  I've since lost my results.

I vowed never again!  I stuck to the half marathon and under races from then on.

Then knee problems forced me to quit running for 20 years.

Today, when I thought I would never be able to run again, I can.

Albeit much slower.  Very much slower.

The runners I watched were inspirational

and motivated me to think

maybe next year I might just give it a go.

The is the half marathon.  Remember my vow?