Canon G9 (or G10)

canon G9 I bought Holly a used Canon G9 to shoot pictures and video of the boys.  It’s a small size, like she’s always said she’d like to have, and it’s easy to use.  And yet it still has lots of manual controls and plenty of speed to react to changing situations. 

In bright light it’s a great camera, and in the terrible lighting we have in Alaska in the winter, I can put a flash on it just like I do with my DSLR.  I strongly recommend this camera for those who don’t want to pack around a big bag everywhere they go.  It’s a nice little responsive camera and can be purchased on Ebay for under $330, buy-it-now, which is not bad considering that it’s just last year’s model and it original sold for near $500.

IMG_0025cAfter setting the camera to what I would normally set my DSLR to for indoor lousy lighting (ISO 1600, Aperture priority wide open, single frame advance, flash with -1 stop flash exp comp), I gave Holly the camera and she shot this adorable picture of John Caleb that really captures his essence in the way only a mother can.  While I can find fault with the photo technically, it’s more fun not..  It’s better to enjoy his little smile, with his four front teeth.  For web photos, the image quality is fine.  What really makes this type of shot possible is that the camera reacts fast enough to take the shot.  If you’ve ever photographed little kids, you know how easy it is for the camera to cause this type of shot to be missed.

Probably the thing I like best about the camera is that it can shoot video easily.  In this video below, Mark has been given the task of putting the water on the table.  Luke, after trying to grate the cheese, and  finding that quite a difficult task, has decided he wants to help with the water as well.  This is quite typical. 

I shot the video at 640×480 resolution and then uploaded it straight to google video with no modifications at 111MB, which YouTube will not allow, as that is over the 100MB limit.  Go Google. 


I suppose this is a typical snapshot of what happens near dinner time.

In summary, if you want a little camera that should last for years and years that is really sharp, stylish, small,  reacts quickly to changes, and shoots stills or video, I recommend the Canon G9 if you’re on a budget, and the G10 if you can afford to pony up the extra $100.


And don’t forget to add in a couple of fast 16GB SDHC Class 6 cards with along with an SDHC reader (note the SD readers in many computers will not read the SD High Capacity cards used in the latest generation of cameras, but check your computer’s specifications first).  Video really eats up the gigs.

Also, be sure to tell me if you want more videos or less.

John Caleb’s first oil painting

This morning while the older two were outside playing in the snow, John Caleb did his first oil painting on my LE1600 Motion Computing Tablet PC using Art Rage 2.5.


It helped that the stylus was tethered to the Tablet, as he kept trying to walk off with it and write on something else. John Caleb is one year old.  I changed the colors for him, for the most part.

Have a great Saturday.           

My Class notes are online again! Yipee!

I guess Ken fixed my web-site a few weeks back, because the web-site he gave me a few years ago is working again!  the web page, in Internet explorer 7 anyway, looks almost exactly like the pages in OneNote that I write in class.  I host my notes and my old wedding album samples there.

CLICK HERE!! to see my notes page.  Drop me a line if you have any problems loading the page and tell me what browser you’re using, what type of connection you have, and any other pertinent information you can think of.

Notes online

The pages don’t load SUPER fast, but reasonably fast for DSL, which I have at home, and there are no click-able links plus the backgrounds with the graph paper is not visible, but hey, at least the assignment sheets are there and the problems are there worked out. Notes close-up: see below.

notes closeup

I’m just excited that the web page is good again. Students can click on their class along the top, then select either the assignment sheet or the appropriate lesson  on the right. PLUS, since the web-site was working, I was able to get a gig shooting a wedding down in Sitka in April, as Mother-of-the-Bride was able to view my album on the web-site.

Time to Get out of the Cabin!

In the winter, it’s easy to eat too much, get fat, argue, get depressed, and spend too  much money.  So it’s important to go outside, so you can be thoroughly miserable.IMG_0263

It’s even better to go outside with the family and take a long walk down into the wind until they get to the freezing cold beach, where there’s no escaping the wind, so they learn to appreciate how warm it is inside and hopefully get along better.  At least that’s what I thought when Holly decided it was time to go outside and enjoy the beach on Sunday afternoon. 


Unfortunately, the little guys have such nice snowsuits and such an eager positive outlook that they don’t seem to realize how nasty the weather is often.  Nobody knows where they got that…  Even when it’s cold and miserable, they still squat down on the ground or lie down, etc., they play in the water (with their boots only), they run up and down the streets.  Frankly, they’re kind of unstoppable even in the winter.


One thing the boys did that you can see here in the photo is they decided to build a wall to hold back the tide.  You can see them in the photo above each working on a separate part of the wall, which is about three inches tall.  I suppose there will be some time in the future when I’ll teach them about tidal forces, water, wind, etc.


John Caleb wasn’t miserable at all.  He just think’s it’s normal to head out on a windy cold day when everyone else is inside and go play at the beach.  And of course Luke was happy to be playing a game with his older brother that he could fully participate in–holding back the tide with the dirt wall. 


After playing outside, we got some salad, rice, and fresh baked bread from home and went to the annual Presbyterian business meeting/potluck and had a wonderful time with the people there.  All of our salad and bread was eaten and some of the rice made it home again.

Life is good.

Fun Club!

IMG_0167 On Saturday, Holly bundled up the boys for a swim team training session entitled Fun Club down at the pool.  When she got there, they found out that the class was entirely full! They had to leave.  Sarah Chapel was there with Dylan and she was not happy at all, but Holly didn’t mind to much.  She invited Dylan over to our house to read and then to go to Luke Club!  A newly organized swim time with us and Dylan.

IMG_0171 The boys had a great time at our house and Dylan, who is a 1st grader, showed us how he can read!  Wow.  He is a GREAT reader.  Back when I was a kid, many of the kids I went to school with could not read as well as Dylan even when they were in HS.  It was a real eye-opener to see someone so young be able to read.  I think it was really inspiring for Mark to see one of his friends read so well.  He’s a very hard worker in class and always does his best to listen and do what the teacher wants.

IMG_0178 After playing and reading, it was time for grilled cheese sandwiches, and then off to the pool.  Since Holly had four boys to deal with, I thought I better help her out, so I brought my camera and helped in the way that fathers often help.  I took the older three boys to the men’s room and chased them around the room snapping them with a towel.  Boy, do they squeal with their high little voices..

I’m kidding.

IMG_0174v Of course I would never do that as a father, but that is the type of stuff that often went on in the locker-room when I was a boy in Barrow, Alaska. You had to get good with a towel or you were in trouble. HINT: roll it up along the diagonal, wrap it around your wrist for a handle (so it doesn’t get taken from you when you’re smaller than the older age kids in the locker room), and then wet the very tip so it gives a very intimidating CRACK! when you snap it.  Looking back, I can remember all sorts of “fun” we had in the locker room.  it also helps to have two towels at all times, one rolled up and  ready to go in the locker, and the other one to use for drying.  Also, it helps if you use the longer lighter-weight towel for the “fun” towel and use the thicker towel for drying.

IMG_0192 No, I didn’t do any of that. I was a good example and mainly just helped Luke with his change of clothes in the locker then started the showers for the boys when it was time to get wet.

Near the end.  John Caleb started to shiver a bunch so the life-guard took pity on him and brought out the garden hose with the nice warm water!  Boy was that ever an attraction.  The rest of the kids had to get in there and get warm too, by then and it got a bit crowded around the hose. They were all civil though, and I saw no horseplay and no tears.

We had a good time and took our inaugural trip in the 1990 Mazda MPV that I got recently from Rainbow Glacier Camp.  It now has a driver window and new spark plugs; a new valve cover gasket is on the way, as are new rear struts for the hatchback door at the rear.

For some reason, I like to alternate the photos, one on the right, the next on the left, etc.  Do you think that’s a good way to go?  I know a lot of people don’t really bother to look at the photos anyway, and just read the text, so I think I’ll just stop putting in the text, and make the photos really big.  That’ way, people will be forced to look at the photos.

That’s a joke.

Happy Birthday John Caleb

Margaret made pizza and a cake for John Caleb’s first birthday party yesterday after school.  It was a nice night, but a day early.  I wish I’d had the video camera here with us at home, but the wrestling team had the camera for their trip to Anchorage.  Oh,, well.  I like stills better than video anyhow.


Looking at the picture, I’m not sure at all what John Caleb is understanding, but he definitely enjoyed the singing of the birthday song each time as we looked at him and Holly tickled and smiled at him.  All the lights were off, with the candle giving off almost all the light, I had the flash on, but at 1 2/3 stops underexposed, as it was too dark at f/2.8 to get a good shot with just the candle light.


After the party, I went to the RGC board meeting and then to a fire call (chimney fire), then to choir practice.  By the time we got back home, it was well past the normal bed-time, and nearly 2/3 of the kids were crying.


It sure was fun to remember that day a year ago when John Caleb was born.  In many ways it was a lousy day: I was stuck in Haines, Holly was in labor in Juneau at the birth center, right near the Hospital, the snow was coming down thick and heavy, I was teaching class in the room right above the old science room that Patty Brown used to have as a classroom in the old middle school, we were very thankful that we had a plan B, for the birth: Melanie Venalbes, who was a great help, and totally there for us when we needed her, for child care, driving, moral support, good cheer, and all in the middle of the night, starting at about 2 am, if memory serves: Thanks Melanie.


Heaven for a one year old.

IMG_0898So, what is heaven for a one year old?  Is it walking or emptying the cupboards.

This past weekend, John Caleb really started to walk with a few steps in a row.  It still scares him quite a bit, but he tries to do it when he’s not too tired.  He’s probably like most babies that way in that he learns to drop down to his little bum really quickly whenever he feels.

From the perspective of a 39 year old father, what babies really like is places that have just been cleaned up.  In the kitchen, we have the lower end cabinets filled with non-breakable things for this purpose. 

John’s favorite thing to do, besides playing ball, is to empty the lower cupboards.  Here he is with a cupboard that has just been cleaned up.


Take a good look at the clean floor and the cans and jars back where they belong on the shelves, ’cause the it won’t last long.

The lighting here is just the indirect afternoon light coming in the window (while the other boys take a nap).  One thing about having a baby, a todler, and a young boy in the house at the same time is they are rarely sleepy at the same time of day for a nap. 

Thankfully, they do basically get sleepy at the same time in the evening and sleep through the night.

Annual Eagle Release

IMG_0560 Today was a wonderful day, as all the days have been lately.  I seem to have found some much prayed for peace around the older two boys lately and around the home in general.  We lolled about in bed until about 6:15 AM then got up and ate breakfast: cold oatmeal mixed with granola for the boys and me.

The the older two boys and I then wrestled on the bed for a while to work off some restless energy. 

And then it was time for feats of strength and balance in the living room.  Holly was the base while the older two boys took turns standing up on her upturned feet while she lay on her back.  It was quite a sight.

IMG_0577 Today was the day for the Eagle Release in this year’s American Bald Eagle Festival.  Ron said it would be a load off of him if I went and shot the release at 1:30 PM at 19 mile Haines Highway, so I said I’d shoot it.  I’d wanted to go out there with the photography class, but they all said they’d be busy Saturday with other previous commitments.  I didn’t think Holly and the boys would be interested in going since it was set to occur right during Luke’s nap which usually occurs right after lunch.  But they all got really clingy as I was checking my batteries and unpacking my winter gear for the year, so I agreed to take them along.

Here is my favorite Release shot of the day.  It’s got the eagle tack sharp flying right over my head, virtually, with the people also visible along the bottom of the frame.  It really helped to have the 40D on the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, as it shoots 6.5 fps and caught the wings right at their prettiest: ISO 500, 1/400, f/10.IMG_0672

Before we left, we had to get drop off some donations for the Salvation Army and get the sale Items at IMG_0624Olerud’s and IGA, plus get the flash lights off the gill netter and return the life-ring buoy.  At Salvation Army, I found a real rugged snow suit for Mark Daniel that is just his right size now, but perhaps a bit too snug–it does, however, fit him much better than his old snowsuit which is a size 3T if memory serves.  This new one is actually a size 3T-5T, and is marketed as size 4T.  The picture above is Mark sledding down a minor slope on his back with the new snowsuit–an activity that really gives your back a chill if you don’t have a snowsuit on, generally.  I’m not sure how Luke ended up with no mittens or gloves

IMG_0611I really wanted to take the new (to us) SUV/minivan, the Mazda MPV, which recently had it’s front window fixed, to see how it handled on the road but when crunch time came, there just wasn’t time to get the kid’s seats all moved over to the other vehicle so we took the Subaru instead.  Bummer.

Of course the Brenan Whitermore was out there selling hot chocolate again this year, so we bought a couple of half full cups, one for each boy.

IMG_0744 The people in charge do a really great job.  This year the auction went two ways.  There were two women that both wanted to release the eagle and each was willing to pay $500, so they changed the release so that both got to release an eagle for $500 each.  It was a glorious day for it with the sun peaking over the Chilkat Range nice cool temperatures and virtually no wind to speak of.   Also, this year, there were no times when the eagles were tossed into the air.  They were just released from their dog cages in a nice civilized manner.  Only one of the eagles, the first one, flew off and landed in the river.

IMG_9873 (2)

On the way home, two of the boys fell asleep, but they promptly woke up as soon as we arrived.  Tonight, we splurged and ate Digiorno Pizzas with salad.  I hope your day went as well as ours.

Obama wins.


Whether you’re for him or against him.  It looks like Obama is going to win.  This is my first glimpse of the results, after coming to school to grade some tests.


Here’s the Fox news headline…image

50D Resolution

Having just bought a used 40D from Ron Horn, I was very interested in ‘s take on the 50D which just came out a few days ago.  They basically said to save $400 and just buy a 40D, as the 50D is not too much better than the 40D.  I am not convinced.  What I really like about the 50D is the better LCD on the the back and the advanced Liveview mode.

CLICK HERE!!  They say it’s not as impressive as it’s megapixel count would indicate.  It’s supposed to be 15MP, here’s the chart.

50D resolution

Here’s the data from the Canon 1Ds Mk II, which is 16.7 MP.

20D Resolution

I find these charts interesting, especially since I still own two 20Ds, and a 40D.  The 16.7 MP IDs Mark II, has better resolution and only slightly more pixel count, so it seems that it’s probable that the tighter pixel concentration of the 50D does reduce the overall level of resolution that makes it into the files.  It probably needs better glass than most people own to get optimum resolution.

I’m not much of a megapixel counter anyhow.  What I really want is a small camera that I can pack around a bit easier, like a canon G10 with an equivalent zoom range of 28-105mm.

What specs does your next dream camera have?  Why?