September 30, 2014

I Am Using Flickr For Old and New Photos

If you glance to the left side bar under "Other Interests", I have add a link "My Other Photos".  That link will go to my new Flickr account where they are giving me 1 terabyte of free storage. Some of the photos you have seen on the blog but there will be many others that are not on my blog.

It's a long slow process after they are uploaded, adding titles and a short description but I am working on transferring all of my current photographs on my computer, using Flickr as a "off location" photo storage. I don't have to be tied into a Google Plus account, which for me is a plus, no pun intended.

As I take more and more photos I'll add them to Flickr but some of them may not deal with RVs, Hounds or Retirement Living. They will still be sorted by subject and put in their own albums. I am only a few days into this new venture but have over 600 photos titled, described and edited so the public can see them.

Once again, there will be some duplication here on the blog but many more photos on Flickr. Some of the recent photos on the Flickr photostream will be posted to the blog, but not all of them.

If interested, click the link on the sidebar.

September 29, 2014

New Day & New Smells

It's another beautiful day in the "tropics" of southern Indiana ... Hard to believe it's just a few days from October. 

Sadie is going over her schedule mentally in her head for today ... no need for one of those stupid iPads ... she has her whole itinerary for the day between those ears.

The life of a hound is hard but someone's got to do it ... when do we eat??

Winston on the other hand may look slow and his eyes are always bloodshot but his nose is always working and something has touched off his sensors ... not sure what he smelled ... I didn't smell anything.

Heidi had the "Do Not Disturb" sign on her door ... no photos today

A Weekend of Computer Play

I turned out spending more time than I had planned on the computer this weekend but it was all at night just as I said I would do last week. I want to spend my computer time after 6pm and be able to enjoy the days outside since the weather is so nice. So I did that but I got more than I bargained for Friday night.

I was up until 4:00am Saturday morning all because of a new external hard drive I bought for continuing my backups. 

Luckily I like that kind of stuff. I like working on computer software that has problems, reading online on how to get it to work if needed and then seeing it eventually work ... so the stories below may sound very frustrating but I enjoy the process of figuring everything out.

Four years ago when I bought my iMac I bought a external hard drive for backing up all my files, the same size as the hard drive. Currently my computer hard drive is barely even filled. The way Apple's "Time Machine" works when backing up, it keeps adding backups with changes as it should but space wise, my external hard drive is full. It will keep backing up and will let you know that for it to complete the backup it will delete the oldest file, which is this case is in 2011. The Time Machine works well as I have gone back into the files and pulled out pictures or older files that I have deleted and wanted back.

So last week when buying the camera, I bought a new external hard drive twice the size of my hard drive as recommended. I thought it would be simple just to move all the backup from my older drive to the new one and then reformat the old drive and use it for backing up something else (system files). I searched on Google to confirm the transfer process and it looked simple, should be no issues.

Due to the size of the file, it took forever to start the transfer of files and eventually stopped although not completed. I started reading about the process again in case I missed something. I found out by reading online that what I was wanting to do should work but a lot of people had problems doing it with the hard drive I had. I found it hard to believe there would be any problems because when you buy the drive it was already formatted for your type of computer, Windows or Mac.

Long story short ... I was up until 4am Friday night / Saturday morning, having fun trying to configure the drive based on what I was reading. The problem was after I got it to work, it took from Saturday morning until earlier this afternoon (Sunday) to complete the transfer.

But it didn't complete the transfer ... after almost a day and a half of non-stop transferring ... it had a problem with a file on the new external drive!!!  I remained calm though and decided I would try Plan B, after almost two days after I started. During the dog walk on Sunday, I decided that I would do one more update on the older drive, take it off Time Machine as the backup drive and disconnect it from the computer with a note to myself that drive has backup files from March 2011 until today.

So far I am into 44.70Gb of backed up files on the new external drive without any problems. IF ... IF it does not finish the job without error, I will return it Monday and buy an external drive with a different brand name. WD does have known issues with Mac computers from what people say on the forums, yet like all things, some people have zero problems with that match up. The new drive is WD My Passport for Mac. No formatting required.

I found out in the early hours of Monday morning, there is a different way to transfer the backup from the old external drive to the new drive. I was on that screen the other night in Disc Utilities, but was hesitant in clicking the "erase" button like I should have. So later tonight I will try that process. I also found out since the time I bought the computer in 2011, updates to the OS has changed what the Time Machine backs up and with the current Maverick OS, it does back up the system files and a lot more.

I am not sure I even need a new drive, if I don't mind having older files deleted on the backup disc from 3 years ago.

Besides seeing that my kitchen counter top in the photo above is the original "vintage" 1975 model, there is an iPad Mini sitting next to the hard drive along with an external CD/DVD drive. A few months back my CD/DVD drive on the iMac started spitting the discs back out once I slid them into the machine. I was in the process of downsizing my music and movies to use while traveling. Once again I did a lot of reading about what the potential problems could be, some do some don't have problems. I personally think it had something to do with the last OS update to Maverick. The optical drive worked on the previous OS, so that is just my guess.

The external CD/DVD drive is part of my "downsizing" ... I am putting a lot, not all of my music on the computer along with some favorite movies that I can take with me when traveling instead of DVDs and a player to use. I also like playing music on my computer while I am on it rather than the stereo in the other room. That drive has worked perfect so far and downloads 4x-5x faster, so transferring a CD does not take long at all.

I bought the first iPad when they first came out and actually used it more than the laptop I had at the time. I also thought I could use it at work for all the meetings I attended plus replace the notebook I would keep during the work day. I didn't think there would be a problem .. the first generation iPad did not have a camera, no way to connect an external drive to download anything or upload from my government computer. There was no way to break the restrictions of using or being around a government computer.

About the second day I had it at work, the department IT guy went ballistic when he saw it on my desk and that it was even in the building. Whereas just two weeks prior I was in a meeting in the corporate office that included high ranking military personnel and the iPad was the machine used to present the meeting.

So it wasn't that big of a deal, I had bought it for home use more than work anyway and I thought for what I did I could use it and sell my home laptop, which I did later on.

Since my iPad is the first generation, Apple quit including that model in their system updates recently ... good business sense ... forces me to buy a new one if I want to take advantage of their latest OS where the iPad, iMac and iPhone will all be synchronized easier and plus all the added features like all three devices using documents and spreadsheets.

I found over the years the 9.5" iPad was too big for reading a book, meaning it was not something you could hold with one hand for long periods of time. You couldn't do that with even the newer lighter Air's or iPad's but I found I could do that easy with the new "Mini" version. I like the mini version and it's still a great replacement for what I used my laptop for which mostly turned into internet browsing, email, photography, and reading electronic books. With the new upgrades I'll be able to synchronize documents from my iMac to the other two devices.

The thing is I spent all my time looking at the one with a retina display and thought that was what I was buying. I wasn't paying attention at the cash register to notice the difference in price and really didn't notice the difference on the box. When I got home and opened the box I realized the sales rep pulled out a iPad Mini with the regular screen which is nice but that retina display is unbelievable. I have used the Mini this weekend but I know that if I don't take it back and exchange it, it will continue to bug me.

I bought some Rockfish camera lens filters at Best Buy today on the clearance shelf. While there I took another look at the iPad Air, a larger screen to work with spreadsheets and a laptop replacement when traveling. I decided to go with the Mini and the Retina display. Of course that not only has a sharper screen but also a faster processor. After a few hours of working with it, the exchange was worth it. I can tell a difference in speed and picture quality, whereas these past few days i wasn't sure the difference would be noticeable.

The next big fiasco this weekend was photograph programs.

I downloaded the disc that came with my camera ... Nikon ViewNX2 ... it's great for photo editing and I think is better than iPhoto that I have been using for the past three years on this blog. I am still in the process of learning how that works, along with how my camera works and how to do things with it besides just taking a picture. I want to get to the manual mode of photography as soon as possible.

But that wasn't the fiasco.

I decided I wanted to backup all of my photos in a 3rd party program like Picasa or Flickr. I had read about Dropbox, iCloud, and some others but I basically decided it was down between Picasa and Flickr as the best programs to use. The fiasco started as soon as Picasa was installed on my computer. It started downloading EVERY photo that had ever been on my computer. For me the problem was in the past I had over 50,000 images of items I sold or loaded on my websites to sell, provided to me from my suppliers. When I stopped that business, I deleted all of those photographs and I thought they were gone.

When I moved to a new computer in 2010, all of those photos were transferred to my new computer and then deleted from their folder and from the iPhoto library ... but Picasa must have started pulling images from my 3 years of backed up files because the photos I was seeing during the upload I had not seen in years and thought they were deleted. I am not sure where Picasa was getting those photos.

I immediately stopped the upload to Picasa and un-installed Picasa from my computer. I went to Google and searched what might be the problem. I posted comments on my blog hoping for some answers. I emailed Al who is a power user of Picasa. During my online reading I was able to find my Picasa account that had been set up automatically when I set up a Google Plus account last summer. Of course I knew that Blogger keeps all the photos uploaded into the blog in Picasa Web Albums. A lot of reading and trying things. I was seeing too many people were complaining about privacy issues after Google Plus was added to the Picasa program. So I was hesitant in using it. The more I read it seemed as if I would need a Google Plus account eventually.

I noticed once I brought up that Picasa file, on the right side was my profile name and when I clicked it, it would move to a screen to upgrade my profile to Google my Picasa was still linked to my old Google Plus account I deactivated last summer. I think think about letting it upload photograph it wanted and then I would spend many many hours deleting photos I did not want or had deleted in the past...such has the 50,000+ sports images of the memorabilia of my past online business. That would take way too much time and I didn't want to do that. I wanted to have control on what I uploaded and could do that with a bulk upload.

I went to check out Flickr and I liked that program. I spent a short time loading around 500 photos of my dogs and VWs, not all of them on the dogs but a lot of them. I'll work with those 500 photos to find out how Flickr works and after I find out how it works I plan on putting all of my photos on my computer into Flickr for a 3rd party storage. They give you 1(Tb) terebyte of free storage. 

Where I almost made a huge mistake was earlier this afternoon when I had bright idea to go through my iPhoto Library and delete any duplicated photos and increase some of my hard drive space plus clean up my photo files before I would upload them to Flickr.

Also the new Apple OS 8.0 update will change iPhoto drastically, moving folders around and naming them something different. I have not read all about it yet but what I saw when glancing at the article there will be some major changes to the photo program. To much info to discuss here.

Well I spent a lot of time going through the Library and deleting duplicates, luckily I didn't not empty the trash and could restore them if I needed to. Well I needed to. The first folder I looked at was Sadie's and 2/3 of her photos were not in the folder. I checked some VWs folder and they had the same result. So I am still in the process of going through photographs and adding them back to their correct folders. When I saw photos missing, I restored all the images I deleted and added them back into the iPhoto Library. They are all there, around ~2,100 of them.

So it was a relaxing weekend but also a lot of unexpected time spent on computer with things that should have been very simple.

I am posting this while I take a break from working with Flickr. I like that program so far.

September 28, 2014

Heidi Comes Out of Hiding

For the first time I took the new Nikon with me on the dog walk. For the first half of the trip, Sadie was off leash so I could use the camera on the way. Still I remembered the last time she was off leash years ago, in the middle of a December snow where she saw a deer and took off. The deer jumped the short worn down fence and so did Sadie. She returned to the door step 5 hours later and didn't even wake up the rest of the night.

Due to that experience I always have her on the 25' retractable leash for these walks, but today I thought I would take a chance. No problems, but I don't think I'll do it again because I can't take that chance with her and there are signs of deer everywhere.

So I took a few photos during the walk and then afterwards I had Heidi come back out to the yard to get some updated pictures of her. She didn't want to come back out into the yard at first and really wasn't thrilled about getting her picture taken but she finally faced the camera. She was extremely happy when I said "ok" as she sprinted for the door and wagging her tail until I let her in. Food was not the motivating factor since she had been fed before the walk.

Let me know if these pictures show up to big when you open the blog. I'd prefer to fill up the available space on the sides of the pictures but if it causes problems from your point of viewing the blog, let me know and I'll decrease them down one size.

Sadie is ready to go outside anytime the word is mentioned and will walk in any kind of weather EXCEPT rain. She loves this field. For some reason she will face this camera instead of the iPhone. I mentioned that before but I don't know the reason why. The photos are in sequence of the walk.

Winston completed the walk without a leash but has to have a collar put on him so he feels that is part of the walk. There are times if I don't put the collar on him, he will sit in the backyard watching us walk away ... he will not walk any further unless I put a collar on him. So really it's just for looks and is used on occasion where a leash is needed. Otherwise he and Heidi do not wear collars anytime unless they are walking or in the car.

I touched up these photos using my basic iPhoto program that I have been using the past 3 years on this blog. Friday night I did download the Nikon ViewNX2 to use not only to edit the photos but also use that program possibly as storage. The few photos I worked on in that program was much more detailed than the iPhoto so I will eventually start using that on the blog photos.

I am happy with the new camera and the quality of photographs. It's more than just quality, it's what can be done in the future after I get more experience. Also the different lenses have already made a difference in other photos I have taken. That might turn into a different blog for just photography, not sure.

As requested, I will try to get more photos of the hounds on the blog but their daily routines are about the same so the differences in photos could be slight.

September 26, 2014

Winston Loves the Camera & Sadie is Starting To

Yet, Heidi doesn't go back outside after she gets back from her walk ... so I didn't get any pics of her. I will either have to start walking the hounds later for better camera light or take pictures of her earlier when she is outside.

Sadie may not like the iPhone because it's a phone. She has always ran away when I pointed the iPhone at her and likes to bother me the few times I am talking on the phone. When I point the new camera at her, she will face the camera when I call her name. Can you see a dog that size living in a 17' Casita trailer, with a 6'x14' living space? Plus two other long hounds.

Winston has always liked the camera, I'm not sure if there is anything he does not like ... he is just a very mellow basset hound.

He is actually sitting down in the top picture. Not a lot of clearance between the ground and the bottom of his stomach.

There are more weeds than grass in my yard, but it's green and cool once the sun goes down. He would lay there all night if I didn't call him to come inside. Due to Winston having some lower back problems that come with the basset breed, he doesn't play with Sadie as much as he use to but they are still pretty good pals.

Not quite the sunsets like the western states but you can tell it's fall by the way it looks, although the weather temps are not cool at sundown. It's continues to be great weather and not sure when it's going to end. Interesting.

That's it for today ... but I have a lot of ideas of where I want to explore around here. I'm going to try to take all three hounds with me and hopefully the more they ride the better adjusted they will become instead of acting like it's dinner time every time I stop the FJ.

September 25, 2014

A Camera Has Been Purchased

Maybe a surprise but this is usually my normal process about purchasing decisions ... want something, do some research, and buy it. It usually doesn't take longer than a week for a decision to be made. Why can't it be that simple when it comes to me buying an RV?

After I posted about my interest in buying a new camera, something different than my iPhone 5s and getting back into photography as a hobby, I had answers to my email questions, comments on my blog post, and a phone call from my long time friend of 45yrs. All of these people had taken or are taking great pictures currently. Almost all those that replied are using different model cameras. So I received the feedback I was looking for and by the time I made the 25 mile drive to Bloomington to Best Buy, a decision had been made.

Some of you may be asking "why Best Buy, you could have gotten a better deal". As it turned out, Best Buy was the best deal for me and I'll explain.

First of all to all that commented here on the blog and those that emailed me ... I looked and studied all of your suggestions. There were a lot of positives to sort through but I finally had to ask myself what my plans were for photography. Once I knew what I wanted to do and then built a little buffer into what I wanted, the decision was close to being made.

The camera searches included Amazon, Nikon, Canon, Best Buy, Adorama, Craig's List, eBay, some local camera shops and Walmart, even though I would never buy any electronics from Walmart.

I knew in the future I was going to be needing a zoom lens in the range of 200mm or more. I thought I'd have to buy that separately, so I looked at new and used lenses, recorded their prices. I also knew I wanted to buy more than just a camera body, I wanted at least one lens that came with the camera. When I added costs of buying things needed separately, it was always higher than what I expected to pay.

Tuesday night I called my old friend Ralph. We have known each other and keep in touch on a regular basis since we live an hour from each other. The reason I wanted to call him was to run some of my thoughts by him, Ralph as a teenager had Nikon 35mm camera equipment in the 1960's that he had used during his summer hikes all over the USA. I wasn't sure if he was still into photography. I assumed he might have done what most of us did and that was to buy a smaller, more convenient, automatic point and shoot camera.

Ralph is still using his Nikon D-90 with various lens. I won't go into our discussion but will say that toward the end of our conversation he agreed that I was buying the right camera for what I wanted to do.

I decided to buy the Nikon D3200.

As you see it came as a "Bundled Set" with a bag, a 18-55 and a 55-200 Nikkor lens. Basically it was everything I wanted. I found it at three different places online, all within $3 of each other.

Those places might surprise you.

1. Adorama
2. Best Buy
3. Walmart

Adorama and Walmart had the Nikon D3200 bundle for $546 and Best Buy had it for $549.

Now here is why I used Best buy. Besides being local, there was another big advantage, more than I expected. Since I had bought most, not all, of my Apple computers there I had a few dollars in awards not used that I could use to decrease the total price.

That's not all. In the past few weeks I looked at Gazelle Buy Back to see how much I could get for my two old iPhones, the 3gs and the 4, that have been sitting in my desk drawer after each phone upgrade. Also since Apple was no longer including the 1st generation iPad with their updates and synchronization with their computers and iPhones I had thought about trading that in for a newer model iPad. I remembered those amounts that Gazelle was going to give me for my two iPhones and iPad if I chose to use their buy back system. I did not think of checking what they were worth on Best Buys buy back program while I was on the computer at home. That mistake cost me making two trips to Bloomington.

So I am in the store ready to buy the camera and saw where they had deals on "trade ins", for the iPhone 6 or 6Plus. Long story short, Best Buy was giving more money for my two iPhones and iPad as a buy back than Gazelle was. Plus I could use that amount toward my purchase of the camera bundle and save even more. I didn't have the phones or iPad with me. I would have to drive back home, 25 miles away to pick them up if I were going to use my trade in dollars before I bought the camera.

So as I have the Nikon D3200 in my hands, I get an email from Mark over at Box Canyon Blog telling me he uses a small Canon Digital Elf 110 HS for his great photos while hiking. There was a Elf 135 right behind me. So I started thinking again about which camera to buy. Since I was going back home to get the phones and iPad to trade in before I made any purchase, I decided I could think more about the cameras on the drive home.

When all of the dust settled after using my award dollars on my account, the amount for my trade ins... My Nikon D3200 Bundle was bought for $335. I sprinted to my car and got out of town before they had the chance to change their minds. (j/k)

So this morning while the camera battery was charging and over coffee, I read the manual that came with it. I covered enough material to be able to use the camera. I lot of camera stuff came back to me from my past as I started to take some test pictures. Yes, I could see my hands were shaking just a little bit as I glanced through the viewer. It's great to have modern technology to fix that issue. So here are a few samples, nothing major, just some test photos. I didn't make any enhancement changes to the photos except crop a couple.

WARNING: On the photo of Sadie below you might want to scroll past it to the next picture of Winston, as it will be gross to some people. Otherwise if you choose to look at the next picture of Sadie you will see one of the highlights of owning a Bloodhound ... you might want to duck or turn away if she starts shaking her head. That isn't a white string you are seeing ... that is good old fashion bloodhound drool, stuck to the side of her lip.

What's wrong? she asks

Winston on the other hand has just returned from the daily walk and a little aerobic exercise. He must have been feeling good today because at times he did some trotting through the field. Usually its a very slow walk with him.

After the walk Heidi refused to come back outside for the photo shoot ... so nothing of her on this post. She is stubborn and I am stubborn.

The next shot is one of the older trees still standing in my yard. Someone told me it was a mahogany tree, I'm not sure ... but it's been there a really long time.

I "know just enough to be dangerous" with the camera, I like the clarity of the test pictures I took, something I was wanting even after cropping a couple of them. I ended the day with a short mountain bike ride to town a couple of miles away, about 4 miles round trip I guess. Combine that with mowing the yard today I should be able to sleep hopefully before midnight instead of 3am - 4am. I have decided these past few days as I have tried to decrease my computer time, that my days are going to be spent outside when there's good weather. I have decided to keep my computer time after 6pm. I cannot waste good weather, sitting in front of a computer all day.

For all of those people that contacted me with answers to my camera questions ... thank you.

September 23, 2014


A few months ago on my way to recycling, which our center is located out in the middle of some corn fields, I passed a field of horses. It was a great opportunity to take a neat photograph but all I had with me was my iPhone 5s, I had no way to zoom in on the horses themselves. I took a couple of photos, one of them when they took off running but I was too far away. That was when I had a short mental bolt of wanting a different camera.

Sometime last month I was going through some older boxes of stuff when I had a sudden urge to downsize a little more. I found an old Kodak 8x11.5" box I had forgot I had, full of photographs I had taken close to 30 years ago with my Nikon (can't remember the model) and 70-200mm zoom lens. Some of those were black and white 8x10's, some where 5x8's in color.

A few of the photographs I took as a series on the beach in Hawaii as the sun was setting, not knowing my zoom lens was picking up a kyaker moving in front of the sun. What stood out to me was how sharp they were, even after 25-30 years old. Of course most of my photos were on 35mm slides. There must have been 1,000's of them, too many to look through and the thought of scanning them was overwhelming. I glanced through a lot of them, holding them up to the light and instantly going back in time and could almost feel like I was there.

Once again ... quality was sharp and clear.

In the mid-90's I sold all of my lenses, filters, the bag, tripod and camera body to a neighbor in high school wanting to pursue photography. I am not sure why I decided to sell that stuff, except a few years prior to that for some reason I had stopped using the equipment completely. I may have started taking photos with a smaller camera with a built-in zoom lens. I don't remember the name or model of that camera, but I do have a few photos from that time period.

Maybe the convenience of not carrying a bag of equipment with me? Maybe it was having just one camera and a multiple size lens that made me change my direction in photography? I don't know but I do remember after 1994 I started taking photos a lot less. Hardly at all. My bag of equipment sat in the closet never used until I sold it.

Last month I kept going back to those older photos and looking at how sharp they were. Then I would look at all my digital photos on my blog and in iPhoto on my iMac, trying to compare the difference. I thought my iPhone took pretty good photographs but one thing I noticed was when I would crop the photo and it would zoom into a closer view, the sharpness disappeared. You can see that in yesterday's post with Heidi at the top of the page. The other two photos were not cropped but for some reason were not as sharp as normal. Could it have been my hands, the light ... don't know.

When I mentioned I was looking at different camera equipment on my blog, a few made comments, a couple answered my questions by replying in emails and other's I found out what kind of camera they were using from their websites. All of them have great photography of their travels posted on their blogs. All of them were high quality and reminded me of my older photos that I shot with my 35mm camera years ago.

I knew then I wanted a different camera than my iPhone and the palm sized Nikon Coolpix 3100. I had bought the smaller camera in 2005 to take photos of items I was selling on eBay and my other websites. I've rarely been able to take good photos with that camera without using the tripod ... too small to hold steady.

So the past few weeks I've been spending more time looking at different cameras online, reading suggestions as I get them and just like my rv decisions ... hadn't come up with one.  Still I am much closer today on what to buy than I was a few days ago.

I've looked through all the specs, customer reviews, and even wrote down a list of camera models and lenses used by people that had commented, emailed or blogs I follow. NO ... I have not put that information into a spreadsheet like I have done on everything else, so I am pretty proud of myself that my camera analysis has not gone to that depth.

I was close to buying a Nikon D3200 last week. Since it was an older model, it was on sale. It came with the bag, battery, charger, strap and an 18-55mm lens. I didn't buy it, I wanted to research some more.

Albireo uses a Nikon D3300 and is considering moving up to a heavier, larger camera, the Nikon D810. That is some great equipment but might be more camera than what I am looking for. I don't know how far I want to take this reborn hobby, so I am almost starting over with a camera that a beginner would buy .. maybe 'intermediate' would be a more accurate level.

Al over at The Bayfield Bunch takes fantastic photographs daily. That is his hobby and although he claims he is not a professional photographer, the quality of his photos and the way they are taken are every bit professional. He has different cameras with different size lenses mounted for different shots. They range from a Nikon D3100, a Nikon D-90 and his older camera for backup, a Nikon D-40. He has a Canon SX210iS on his belt at times for the unexpected shot and a Canon A730iS near his chair inside to shoot the Phebe's. I do those kind of inside shots with my iPhone 5s, although Sadie is not a fan of being a photo model.

Chinle at Spotted Dog Ranch takes her landscape photographs of her travels with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i. A lot of her photos are using a larger zoom lens, one that I would need. I would have to buy the new version, a T3i if I went that route, unless I could find a used T1i on Amazon or Craig's list. Yet, there is just something about buying used equipment from those two sites that I don't like. I would buy used equipment from a 'old school' camera store or a friend though. From her photographs from Canada this past summer, I see that I would need 200mm or 300mm zoom capability for what I want to shoot.

Gary Ramsey has some fantastic photography at Travel Small With Ramsey. He uses a Sony NEX 5n. Those cameras are a little out of my price range, although the price for a used Sony NEX 5n is reasonable on Amazon, but you know how I feel about buying used equipment.

Basically I had been looking at different cameras that had interchangeable lenses. I was favoring the Nikon D3200 due to the customer reviews, the price and it was within a short distance from my house. I haven't bought it because I didn't know if I wanted to go back to carrying one camera and then a bag with different sized lenses. I had done that before many years ago when cameras that had multiple range lenses built into the camera were not available.

I kept reading and looking.

Then yesterday I get a comment on my blog post from Lloyd over at Enjoy The Journey. His older blog name was Wanderin Lloyd for those that follow blogs. Either way his photography is also fantastic with different cameras used over his 13 years of traveling. You will see in his comment yesterday that he uses a Canon SX40 for his trips to zoos, museums, etc and uses a Canon SX700 30x lens when hiking.

Those two cameras kind of hit home with me. Great photographs, great consumer reviews and I noticed all the photos taken from a distance were sharp. Just like the cameras I mentioned above but these had just one built in lens with a wide range of different distance. Was the Canon SX40 the camera I had been looking for?

I spent a lot of time last night looking at those types of Canon and Nikon cameras. I am thinking that might be the type of camera I need. 

What I want is one camera, ability to shoot macro shots, landscape, shots of my hounds even in "action", zooming in on the eagle that shows up in back on rare occasions. Then at times I'd like to zoom in on the 10-15 deer that surprise us at times just in back of the house. I also wanted to be able to catch action shots that requires high speed, at sport events, especially when I go to the Indy 500 to watch practice or the times I am sitting on row 53 at a football game wanting to take a shot down at the line of scrimmage or sidelines.

After reading about the Canon SX40 and SX50, I am beginning to think that is the camera I've been looking for. I would have to buy the SX40 on Amazon, everyone locally is selling only the SX50 model with the SX60 coming out in October.

So I will let those thoughts brew for a while, maybe a day, maybe hours ... before I decide what to buy. The Nikon 3100, 3200 and 3300 are available locally as well as the Canon SX50.

In the meantime, the hounds will continue to "sleep on it" before the decision is made.

September 22, 2014

Not a Lot To Blog About

One thing that has changed since I retired in April, the hounds get to go outside a lot more than when I was working. They also seem to like to go outside at the same times day and night. Just recently Heidi has been going outside every time the other two go outside and that's a good thing. Just this past summer she rarely got off of her dog bed on the floor and usually that was just to move to the couch.

But she is evidently feeling better now because not only does she go outside even for short trips, she is barking at 4pm every day to be fed.

It may take some coaxing to get her to get off the couch and go on the daily walk but once she starts the walk, she insists that she be the leader of the walk and will do anything to keep in front of Sadie to maintain the lead.

Little does she know that Sadie could care less who leads. Sadie is only conscious of what scent is in front of her nose and yesterday it was good I had her on a leash, the deer scents were stronger than normal.
Winston on the other hand is getting older and consequently is needing to go out more times than this time last year. I can tell that his aging process seems to have increased this past year and in a way that is a sad thing.

He will also put his nose to the ground as soon as he steps outside. He is stubborn, will not listen if a scent has him busy and is slow in everything he does. He is on his own clock and will not move faster no matter how much I voice commands.

In this picture around noon today he is enjoying a cool 65°. His favorite position is laying on the concrete in the sun and will spend hours sleeping, at times so long that I forget that he is outside.
Sadie have has never liked having her picture taken. I was able to when she was just a few months old, but after that she would turn her head or take off running. She definitely does not like the camera.

In this case I took eight different photos trying to catch her looking at me and every time at the last split second she would turn her head.

She might not like cameras but she LOVES outdoors. She loves going outside, will stay out for a while or there will be times that she will want to come back inside two minutes after wanting to go outside. She never barks but will just stand still until I come outside to find her.

She will even sit sometimes in the field not moving, thinking she is stuck or her rope is tangled up. The funny thing is, she is not on the rope that is anchored. The one time she was attacked by the neighbor's dog, she just sat down and didn't move while the other dog was moving around her in circles barking.

All of these photos were taken today around noon with an iPhone 5S.

It's another beautiful day here in the 'tropics' of southern Indiana. It was all weekend actually and it is the norm for this time of year, yet it's strange seeing all the different kinds of weather hitting other parts of the USA, the fires in California, flooding in Arizona and tornadoes yesterday in Michigan. Still very nice here and one of the reasons I hardly have the urge to travel in the fall seasons in the Midwest. Plus it's football season.

Saturday was the normal college football marathon. What can I say, I'm addicted to that sport even though there are still things outside the game I don't like about it. I am hesitant to say what I don't like about the current game because it also spreads into the NFL, and society in general. It would take too long to type and discuss all the different aspects of some sad situations and wold only lead to more discussions on subjects I am tired about hearing in the news.

I'll talk about the games only and not the news outside the games.

My local team (IU) had a major upset at Missouri Saturday. They have a little split personality in them the past couple of years, meaning they can play great one weekend and next weekend they might look like they have never played the game. I'll take the win on Saturday though. Those type of wins are very very rare in football.

I only have one tv but flip back and forth to different games during commercials. I also have my remote set up to a set of sports channels on DirecTv. It's amazing how many games are televised at one time. I don't want to see all of the games but a lot of times there are a couple of games going on at the same time, so I'll record one and then watch it later IF it turns out to be a good game. My Saturday viewing starts at noon eastern time and ends after the late Pac12 game usually around 1:30am Sunday morning. I'm a night person, so there is not a problem with the late finish time.

Sunday I watched only a couple of NFL games. The local Colts games and then a Super Bowl rematch where Denver was in Seattle, a game that went into overtime. Great game to watch.

Some might be asking what do the hounds do during all of these football games? They sleep most of the time which is their normal daily activity. Throughout the day they will have me take them outside, more trips during the day since I am retired. We can usually fit those requests to go outside during commercials and we still do the daily walk either at game halftimes or between games.

Their daily routine is not changed just because I am watching football. It's good they have the room to spread out during the day, each hitting their favorite sleeping spots and those spots do change during the day. That is one thing I think about deciding whether to buy a trailer or not ... the available room. The interesting thing is their sleeping spots are the same every day and change by what time of day it is.

Heidi is feeling much better. She is actually going outside every time the other two hounds go out, where she wasn't during the summer. She hardly got off of her dog bed during the summer, only getting up to move to the couch to continue her sleeping marathons. She takes her time deciding whether to go on the daily walk but then will insist she leads the way once the walk starts.

With all the news about Apple's release of the iPhone 6 and the OS upgrade to 8.0, I am seeing today in the blogs I follow that 8.0 seems to be too frustrating so they are showing people how they can revert back to OS 7.2. I usually wait before upgrading operating systems on my phone or computer and I think I'll still follow that until the bugs are worked out. It's tempting but I'm sticking with the 5s I bought in June. I remember when I decided to renew my contract and upgrade my phone, I had decided not to wait for the iPhone 6. I wasn't sure I would like the size of it.

Really, I have no desire to be carrying a small tablet all the time when I am out and about. In fact I have been tempted recently to selling my 1st generation iPad, my iPhone 4 and my new iPhone 5s ... then going to a cheap flip phone to use for emergencies and making the few calls I make every month. When I thought about that, the only thing I could gain by selling the 5s, is part of the cost of the phone. I would still have to have the same monthly plan with Verizon, so I would not be saving anything there. I might as well keep the 5s.

Reading Rick's blog this morning, I started thinking if I should go back to a Google+ account. Unlimited storage for iPhone photographs is a pretty good deal. I have plenty of room on my iMac, so storage is not an issue for photographs, same with my 16Gb iPhone. I have 1,000's of photos on my iPhone and have barely used the amount of storage available. I still remember the reasons I stopped my Google+ account before and still feel the same way about it.

Rick did bring up an interesting point when he was talking about cameras. He said with digital photography and posting photos on blogs, it really didn't make a difference if those blog photos were taken by an iPhone or a bigger digital camera. Recently I've been thinking of buying a bigger digital camera to get back into photography as a hobby. It's been almost 20 years since I had a larger camera and interchangeable lenses. The only other camera I have besides my iPhone is a Nikon CoolPix 3100, that I bought years ago for my online sales business.

Many times I would have to use a tripod with that camera because I was not able to hold the camera still enough when I used two hands. Would it be that way if I were to buy a larger Nikon? I think a larger camera would be easier to hold and less chance of blurred photos that the CoolPix has at times.

That's about it ... nothing really going on ... and I apologize for the lack of excitement in this post. It's just part of the laid back lifestyle outside a small rural town. I'm spending less time on the computer recently, looking and reading about different cameras, and on occasion trailers and camping equipment. I have thought more about traveling this winter. I still don't see traveling is possible with my three hounds and two hands.

September 19, 2014

Heidi and Her Allergy Update

Heidi may be the one hound that isn't talked about as much as the others but I give her just as much attention as Winston and Sadie. Since I bought her from a rescue service in July 2011, she seems to stay by herself most of the time. Sadie is a little big for her to play with, Winston is at the age where running around and playing is not on his agenda ... so she hangs out kind of on her own. When she is in the house alone she does like to play, will sprint all over the house wanting someone to chase her but will immediately stop if Sadie enters the house. She does sleep with them at night and will also sit on the couch with Winston in the evenings.

Sadie would like to play with her but doesn't realize how big and strong she is. Sadie has clipped blocked me before in the back of my knee, knocked me down various times and it felt like one of the better tackles I remember from high school football, many many years ago.

When I bought Heidi from GABR on July 2011, she came with a reputation of being "a runner" and a file full of medical records where they had treated her for allergies. She now walks leash free on the daily walks with no problems. She has chased an occasional rabbit but will always tire out and stop before getting to far away.

She also goes out and stays outside for short periods of time without a leash. I think it might have something to do with her knowing this is her home since it's the first time she has been at one location for three years after moving from different families and ending up in the dog shelters her first two years.

Walks Leash Free
Walks Leash Free

Walks Leash Free

 When those allergies flare up like they do every summer, they look like the following pictures.

She does not wear a collar except on her walks. The original diagnosis was alopecia on her rear legs. She has been treated at different times over the past three years with Ketoconazole, Medrol, Tribrissen and the latest was a shot of Vetalog.

Most of the pills and shots last a month or so and then the rash will return. This past July I decided I did not want to use the different shots or pills so I tried a food additive called Dinovite. After 60 days of daily use, there was no improvement and in fact the rash became worse.

So a few weeks ago when she was due for her annual check up and annual shots, I had the vet give her a shot for her allergies. Within 24 hours I could tell a difference in not only her rashes but also the way she acted.

With all the time she spent sleeping and not wanting to go outside, she must have been in a lot of pain. I will remember that in the future. I was thinking she was just tired/laidback but the reason I assume she was in pain is the way she has been acting in the past few weeks after getting her shot.

She now goes outside around 7am with the other two hounds, in fact she will get up and go outside anytime they want to go outside. Before when I didn't realize how much pain she was in, she would not go outside hardly at all. The only thing is now she thinks that every time she comes back inside, she get a Milk Bone and starts barking. She has always barked more than the other two hounds, doesn't bark a lot, only when she wants a Milk Bone and it's time to eat in the afternoon.

So I can tell a major difference in the way she acts. I will be returning the empty box of Dinovite for a refund as their policy states. I read their customer comments, both positive and negative, before I made the purchase but I thought it might work even though I had my doubts.

I never really thought it was food allergies. In the past I have fed her Taste of the Wild (no grain), Diamond Naturals 60+ for large bread dogs, Fromm Golden, Nature's Domain (no grain) from Costco, all with no improvement.

To find out if it might be the grass or hay she was allergic to, I kept her out of the yard when she would go outside and no daily walks for two weeks. Some of those walks were canceled because of the temperatures being above 95°. After two weeks there was no improvement in her rashes.

I mentioned all of this to the vet at her annual checkup and she said in past allergy tests she had given to other dogs recently, they were allergic to almost anything, ranging from dust mites, pollen, dog dander, etc. She did not think it was a food allergy based on her experience.

The vet did tell me to use the Antibacterial Antifungal spray I had bought the next time the rashes show up and see if that would work before bringing her back in for shots. 

The vet then trimmed her nails way back. The vet is the only person Heidi will let cut and dremmel her nails, so they are much shorter than what these pictures show.

Winston and Sadie have not shown any kind of allergies living in the same environment and eating the different foods. They will eat anything in dry kibble just as long as they get their dinner by 4pm eastern time every day. When it gets close to that time, Sadie will come and get me if I have not fed them yet.

She is a great dog that has been a house dog from the first minutes she arrived with no accidents or destruction. I am not sure how she kept ending up in the animal shelter, although the GABR did say the last time she was a "owner surrender" to the shelter. It is estimated she will be 6 years old this December 2014.

Previous Post About a New Blog Deleted

Very early this morning I had posted about a new blog I had found and had put on my sidebar. It also had a comment and my reply to that comment. Both comments were good but the more I thought about the blog, I decided it wasn't a good fit here.

I deleted the post and the blog that was on the sidebar.

This biggest issue this morning and yes, it's already 11am ... is coffee filters.

At the local Super Wallyworld they were out of the Braun brand name coffee filters in the black box. I picked up some generic filters that had a list of coffee machines they would work with. Braun was listed. They didn't look right but I trusted the label.

Bad decision on my part ... they don't come close to working.

I guess that is one of the dangers of retirement living.

September 15, 2014

Sadie and Her Separation Anxiety

Since the first day I brought her home as a twelve week old pup, she has shown separation anxiety. I thought after we moved past year six that it would change. In a way it has, she doesn't destroy things now, just tracks scent and drags it out for her own use and to show me what she has found.

It is always my stuff and not hers. She seems to follow The Bloodhound Laws that you can see here at the bottom of the page.

In the case of the photo on the left, she spent a lot of time hauling her red blanket from the floor to my bed for a little siesta while I was gone. This happened some time ago.

After a couple of years I spoke with a different breeder than whom I bought Sadie from and she explained to me what and why Sadie was doing what she was doing. At the time there was a lot of destruction involved while I was gone anywhere from 10 minutes to hours. While I was at work, she was kenneled for her first four years to keep her safe and my possessions safe. But during short periods of being outside she would get into stuff.

The breeder had acquired Sadie's dad and their personalities were almost identical. The breeder said she gives her puppies a test at forty-five days old to see if they are trackers or couch potatoes. After I answered four out of five questions positive, I found out that Sadie was rated as a tracker and the reason for her nose to always be in the working mode. It was the reason during the times I would be away that she would get into things, drag them out for me to see when I got back and some times destroyed.

The breeder said if I had bought Sadie from her, she would have given me a pup that tested out to be a "couch potato" instead of one that tested high for tracking. She would not have sold me Sadie. I had originally picked out a different bloodhound pup at first but changed to Sadie because she would follow Winston anywhere he went and would try to get him to play. She was the only one of eight pups that did that. Now I found out that when she followed Winston that showed a tracking instinct more than the other pups.

The two basset hounds can stay anywhere in the house while I am gone, no matter how long I am gone without any problems. I found out a couple of years ago the best room in the house to keep Sadie was in the bedroom. She sleeps on the floor at night, had familiar smells and fewer things she could get into. I also put the two bassets in the room with her to keep her company with hopes of preventing any tracking activity. I no longer kept her in a kennel due to her size compared to the largest kennel you could buy for inside use.

Overall things have improved a lot the past few years and now things she does at times are funny stories rather than getting home and pulling what little hair I have out of my head. Of course at all times when I am getting ready to leave, I have to put a baby gate up not to block the door because I shut the door, but to keep her from getting into my closet.

Her "specialty" use to be, get into the closet (sliding doors) and chew just the plastic tip off of the shoestring and only one shoe per pair. Honestly, there was never a time when both shoes had the tips chewed off, just one shoe per pair. There was never a time when the shoestring was chewed up ... just the plastic tip. I wish Nike, New Balance, Merrell would sell the exact same shoestrings for the shoes they sell.

So where this post is going is what happened yesterday. It was time to mow the yard and the normal procedure is to put her in the locked bedroom while I mow the backyard, then bring her outside where she is connected to her 100' climbing rope so she can roam in the field behind my house while I mow the front yard.

For some reason yesterday I decided to let her roam the house with the two basset hounds (they sleep the whole time). After finishing the backyard in about fifteen minutes, I moved to the side yard and glanced into the bedroom window to see if Sadie was sleeping on the floor or bed. No Sadie anywhere.

As I moved by the side window for the living room I glanced inside the window to see if she was in the living room. There were two basset hounds sleeping by the window on the floor, no Sadie anywhere.

In my small downsized house there are not a lot of rooms left to choose where she might be but I knew exactly where where she was. I mowed along the front of the house, shut it off and then as quietly as I could I walked into the house and glanced into the room where I have my computer, desk, dog blankets and the large rubber container full of forty pounds of newly acquired dry dog food. Like she use to do in the past while I was getting ready for work, she had removed or knocked off the lid, TWO 15# dumbbells and moved the lid to the side. This lid also locks to the container once you push down on the edges.

Someway she can get them off. The dumbbells are on the lid to keep her from getting into the food, even if I am inside the house. Usually during the time I am watching ballgames in the living room.

As I glanced into the room I see a wagging bloodhound dog tail and her head inside the container eating dry dog food. Luckily I had caught her soon enough to where she had not eaten a large amount and that would decrease the potential for her bloating. Bloating is common in large breed dogs and luckily she has never experienced that. Eating large amounts of food though could set that off. It didn't look like she had ate that much, still it was only an hour after I had fed her the regular meal.

When she saw me she knew she was in trouble and caught red handed. She took off in a sprint to her dog bed in the corner of the bedroom, laying there like nothing happened. With that bloodhound innocent look like asking me "is something wrong"?

Words were not needed ... she knew.

I babygated the closet doors, shut the bedroom door and then went back outside to finish mowing the front yards. It had been one of those days where she didn't want to be outside and would bark until I would bring her back inside, so this time I left her inside.

I began thinking and wondering what she would do or get into if we were in an RV or trailer and I left all of the hounds inside the trailer while I was out hiking, mountain biking or grocery shopping? There would not be a room I could shut her up in if I had a trailer. Temperatures would determine if I could leave her in the FJ while shopping. In a motorhome I could gate her off into the back bedroom where she could still get into things.

This issue with her and me being gone has always been in the thought process, asking myself if she would ever be a good dog to RV with. Would this separation anxiety also determine what kind of RV I would buy?