Sunday, June 29, 2008

Catching Up

Does this look like sunny Southern California? Last night the SBAS Dark Sky viewing session was fogged out at Ridgecrest. A couple of us had been waiting for weeks for a chance to use our scopes and set up even though things didn't look too promising at 8:00 p.m. The skies never cleared and I gave up at around 10:30. I think one lone star came out briefly in all that time. This is a frustrating hobby at times.

At least I got to practice setting up although I'll never know if I had perfect alignment or not. And I remembered to bring my dew shield and my watch with the seconds displayed which I usually forget. You need the exact time (and longitude and latitude) to set the go-to mechanism. I also brought a folding chair for relaxing now and then between viewings. But by the time I have all the equipment I need packed in the trunk of my car, there isn't room for much else. And take a look at those monster scopes that some of the guys have! After spending thousands (in either money or hours or both) on the scopes, you need to spend more money for a truck or van to haul it around!

The guys stood around "chewing the fat" about equipment which they tend to do even if the skies are clear. We are all bundled up because even though the temp only went down to 60 degrees, there was a cool breeze and when you are standing around not moving very much, you get cold fast. A few visitors came up to see the sights, but since there were no stars to see, they got a lesson on telescopes instead.

Earlier in the day, I had my student recital for the end of the year. Everyone played well and the parents were happy. It was a lovely afternoon.

On Friday, I went to visit Toddler C. again. I was happily taking pictures of him (love that blond, curly hair!) when my camera died! This afternoon, I have been searching the web to see if anyone else has had this problem of a half-black picture with their Canon Rebel cameras. Turns out my shutter has died. Apparently, this happens a lot and some people say that the shutter is only good for 10,000 pictures. Since I have owned the camera for four years and have taken 14,220 pictures I guess I should consider myself lucky. One site had detailed instructions for taking the camera apart and fixing it yourself, but do I want to do that? Other sites estimate the cost for repairing the camera at $200.

Well, I thought, maybe it's time for an upgrade, but the repair record for all of the Canon Rebels is not too good it seems. Some people are really angry about Canon's lack of good customer service and especially for their not acknowledging a known problem like this. So maybe I should really upgrade and go to the Canon 5D model. Its shutter is rated for 100,000 shots and I still want to be able to use all my Canon lenses.

Whatever, I do, I feel totally lost without my camera! I have a little Olympus that I can use in the meantime but it doesn't have the capability for close-ups that I need for bird photos.

Speaking of the birds, a Red-winged Blackbird came to my feeder this week! That is a very unusual thing for a blackbird to do. I didn't get a picture of him, not because the camera was broken, but because he was too fast for me. And he showed up two days in a row, too.


  1. I love Toddler C's hair as well! I've decided to wait a little longer to cut it. Maybe by his second birthday?

    I'm glad you solved the problem of what is wrong with your camera. Too bad it's not an easy fix.

  2. The telescopes are huge the one in the back of the black one looks like it is home it wooden ? No matter I think it would need it's own trailer...are you planing to bring your scope to SD ??? that could be interesting a gamble on the weather


  3. Yes, that is a home-made scope. It comes apart for transportation. The black part is just a cloth drape. The base is made of wood and the guy had an ingenious way of attaching wheels to it and turning it into a wheelbarrow affair. He then made a ramp with two wooden boards from the back of his van to get the thing in and out. He said the base alone weighed 100 lbs.