Sam The Parrot

Sam the Parrot

An M. Ruggles original.

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Tantra Park Sledding Hill Panorama

Tantra Hill

A panorama of our local sledding hill at Tantra Park, Boulder

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Classic Car Front Ends

Modern Cars are Boring.

Car

Car

Car

Car

All taken at the Forney Transportation Museum in Denver.

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Backyard Flowers

This spring we scattered a couple bags of wildflowers all over a part of our yard we knew we couldn't/weren't going to actively garden this year. In previous years, that part of our yard has been mostly weeds and some native grasses. We think that it looks better covered in wildflowers, and so do our local pollinators.

Wildflowers

Honeybee

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

A bumble bee visits our wisteria

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The Wall is Done

Almost two years after the first digging started, and 10.5 months after serious and concerted work really began, our backyard wall is done!

Today I placed the last block of the wall. Hundreds and hundreds of blocks, tons and tons of rocks and dirt moved. All done!

Below a whole slew of photos covering beginning and end!

Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall Wall more ...

Zoo March 2017

We have a membership, so we go often, and we wanted to see the [newborn Giraffe](http://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/01/denver-zoo-baby-giraffe-dobby-born/). There is also a new Tiger exhibit, which is quite nice.

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A Few Zoo Photos


Dog Park


From The Top Of Our Local Sledding Hill


My New Camera

I've been thinking about replacing my 11-year old Konica Minolta Digital SLR for a few months now. The old camera still works okay, but it has issues that started to bother me more and more. The battery door opens on its own, which is annoying. If it hasn't been used for a while (e.g. a few hours), the first photo taken doesn't work and the camera has to be power cycled. There are other signs of wear and tear that all add up to a degraded experience. Sure, it works, but not as well as it used to, and certainly not as well as more modern cameras.

D5500

Last week I finally pulled the trigger and purchased a Nikon D5500. An incomplete list of the things this camera does better than the old one:

  • The Konica Minolta has 6 megapixels, which is plenty for what I need. The Nikon, with 24 megapixels, probably has more than I need. However, digital sensors have come a long way in a decade. Despite the fact that the Nikon sensor pixels are smaller than the Konica Minolta's (both cameras have APS-C sensors), the Nikon sensor has much better low-light performance than the Konica Minolta.
  • The Konica Minolta doesn't have a movie mode, while the Nikon can do 1080P at 60 FPS. I don't often take movies, but it's nice to have that feature there if I want it.
  • The Nikon has much faster and better image processing. Of course, this is no Nikon D5 that costs $6,500, but it's plenty fast for my purposes.
  • The Nikon has a touch screen that has iPhone-like swipe/pinch gestures, and touch-to-focus. As hilarious as it is to see my daughter try to swipe on my old camera, I like the idea of making photography approachable for her.
  • The availability of lenses for Nikon cameras is probably unparalleled. This was a source of consternation for me – let me explain. I have a number of lenses for the Konica Minolta that aren't necessarily top quality, but they work fine. I have coverage from 18-500mm. In 2006 (shortly after I got my Konica Minolta, natch), Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera line, and continue to make cameras to this day based on that product line under their name. Sony still makes cameras that are compatible with Konica Minolta lenses (the A-mount system), but recently they have focused most of their innovation towards their E-mount system. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay with a system that (it looks like to me) Sony isn't focused on. Sony makes a line of very nice mirrorless cameras that only support the E-mount system. I thought long and hard about buying a Sony mirrorless camera (especially the α6500, $1400 for the body), but in the end I decided I couldn't justify spending that much money. With a Nikon, I can get a more reasonably priced body and gain access to a wealth of high-quality lenses.
  • The Nikon can be controlled (in a limited fashion) from a smartphone or tablet over Wifi, which seems pretty useful.

Clever readers might wonder why I got a D5500 when Nikon has already announced the follow-on D5600? Well, the D5600 adds very few features over the D5500 (basically only Bluetooth connectivity and slightly better battery life), and I got my D5500 as a fully warrantied refurb for a significant discount. Clever readers might also wonder why I didn't get something like a Sony α6000/α6300 for $400/$1000? Basically, I had read bad things about the Sony menu system, the α6000/α6300 don't have a touch screen, and E-mount lenses are rarer and comparatively more expensive than Nikon equivalents.

Finally, here's a photo using the new camera from this morning's dog walk. I centered it on the iconic NCAR Mesa Laboratory building. Click for the full 24 megapixel size!

My dog walks have better mountain views than your dog walks

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The Photography of a Three Year Old

This is what happens when you give a camera to a three year old.

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Blue Mountain Dr

Taken today, 45 minutes away from my workplace by bicycle.

Blue Mountain Dr

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Chester

2002 - April 11, 2016

She was a good cat.

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New Chicken Coop

A few days ago we transitioned the chickens from their old coop to a new one we've been building for several months. This project involved more than just the coop, which is why it took several months. We replaced a crumbling fence with a gate, and built another gate to fully-enclose one of our side yards to serve as a chicken run. The new coop is very sturdy, has french doors for easy access, and should be very comfortable for the chickens.

There is still some work to be done, including figuring out what kind of siding we want to put on it, and also an automatic chicken door.

Chickens and a nesting box Chicken water and food Chicken door and ramp The front including two windows Easy access egg removal more ...

Snowy Christmas Lights