Camera Ready

The problem with getting older and being a half-ass photographer is that to keep up you have to upgrade your equipment every few years.  I upgraded a few months ago to a Sony a7ii with a 28-70mm lens.  It was a package deal from Mike’s camera last November, it’s replacing a Sony Nex5 I’ve been using for the past 5 or so years.  I bought both cameras from Mike’s, there are a lot of advantages to still buying from a camera store – one is the classes and ongoing support for the camera.

I bought a nice camera for my son once from Best Buy as a graduation present, the guy practically spit into the lens to clean it as we watched in horror.

Last night I went to a Sony seminar at Mike’s to learn a little more about the camera.  I’m very familiar with cameras, not above going to find out what new features I might be missing and a few tips.  One of them being that I’ve been cleaning the sensors wrong, I’ve been laying the camera down flat and blowing into it so the dust can just go right back in.  It’s little tips like that I go for.  I’ve taken many photography classes, it’s amazing how much I forget and how obsolete my college classes are.

Darkroom class 1997??

My first camera was a Pentax K-1000 my parents gave me for my 16th birthday in 1978 (photos above are from Manhattan Beach, 1978).  Sadly, between my boys that camera has been lost 😦  I used that camera up until my youngest was crawling around in 1998, then I switched to my first digital camera that was about $1,000 with 500k of memory.  You had to anticipate the shot, once you held down the shutter it was almost a minute before the camera actually took the picture.  By that time my boys were on swim team,  I switched the slide shows to all digital for swim team and Junior League those years.  I still have pictures of every kid in Walnut Creek, now 25 year olds.  I remember someone saying they thought digital would never catch on, there’s always a naysayer.  I was all over it!

This only shows pics, the songs were copyrighted:

Then I got an ill-fated job with the Contra Costa Times as a contracted out photographer and bought a Minolta something or other.  Honestly, I didn’t do much research on it, I took the advice from a guy at our office who is really into cameras.  I had to cancel a job at 5am due to spending the night in the emergency room with my husband, who severed something in his knee the night before playing volleyball.  It was a 3 day shoot, luckily I was not the main photographer, but I had a babysitter lined up all weekend for it.  Not surprisingly, I never got a call back for work again.  I also quit Junior League, he was down for months with surgery and couldn’t drive.


Quitting Junior League was interesting, not sure if they knew why I had to quit but not one person called to see if I needed help or if we were OK? I petitioned to become a sustainer, that was a no.  When I bought my Sony Nex5 I was in that class at Mike’s camera coincidentally with a woman who was a big sustainer, she recognized my name.  She thanked me that night on upgrading JL to all digital, gave me all the credit for making them cutting edge in technology at that time.  That was nice, especially because the end seemed so, “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

Then came the iPhone cameras which gave photography a whole new twist, making virtually everyone a photographer.  Somewhere in that time we got a Cannon Rebel digital, replacing a film Cannon my husband had.  When the cameras on the iPhones got decent, you have a camera with you at all times.  I have no problem whipping out my iPhone for pictures, it’s so convenient.  People who know nothing about photography starting getting awesome shots, those selfies look better than posed shots a lot of times.  With FB and Instagram photography blew up (good & bad, kind of killed writing & photography for a living in general).

Below is Golden Gate with my iPhone, Hawaii sunset w/ Sony Nex5 & looking out from Manhattan Beach Pier Marine lab with the new Sony:

I still like to have a nice camera though, and a drone for fun.  I was using the drones for work before we hired two 25 year olds to replace me.  Now I use it for fun, it’s a whole new world in photography and technology that’s fun for me.

3D with images on the left to practice AutoDesk Recap 360, a few hundred images.

This one is with the drone, about 800 pictures I did years ago when drones still crashed & flew away.  The drone technology has advanced to just pressing the button, instead of crossing your fingers as your pre-flight routine.

Not sure if I’m losing my “eye” as  I age or if people are just so damn good at it now!  On my Instagram (@hellereng) I’ve had several known photographers follow me and I’m super flattered.

Glad there are still some actual camera stores around, many are gone.  Camera and book stores used to be my favorite places to go and browse around, I miss that.  Amazon is bringing the books stores back, after they made a clean sweep to make sure there are no Barnes & Noble competition (Which is fine by me, B&N wiped out small books stores first).  Time marches on, still trying to stay cutting edge if at all possible.

The Featured image is of Lou Silva & Rob Ryan from a volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach when we were teens in 1978.  They have both passed on, can’t believe I got this shot.

Another Job

Did I think I’d quit so soon?  I just took a job for a half marathon near San Diego, better to drone than to run in it!  I can’t run anymore, I used to run (jog) a few miles a day.  I walk a few miles a day now.

This will be fun though, I’m OK taking the fun jobs.  They’re all kind of fun, my problem has been more of the physical aspect of getting to job sites lately, climbing to where I need to get to for cell phone coverage or clearing everything for line of sight.  I try to find the highest point, it makes things a lot easier.  Sometimes that’s at the top of a landslide.  Now, there are two Part 107, 25 year old pilots to do that for me.

My other issue has been no bathrooms all day.  One time I was in Tahoe at a job site DYING!!  I physically cannot handle it anymore.  The guys are doing a spillway job for me this week for a huge engineering firm.  Did I mention I suck at delegating?

I’m in Monterey right now, we went whale watching yesterday and even that drive hurt my back.  I’m going to have to take a commercial flight to San Diego, I still don’t think I can sit in a car for the drive down there and back.

My pic of the day should have been a whale tail.  We saw at least one pop up a few times, I never got a good shot of it, just the sailboat out there.  I’m a water girl for sure.

Next Chapter

Now that I’m giving up my role in my business.  I went in yesterday to “train” the new guy.  Not really train, just to tell him how I’ve been doing things and hand over my equipment.  Strange changing of the guard?  55 year old woman to someone who I think is 25?  I’ll still do photography jobs, it’s just to get this to the next level I’m going to have to step aside and have someone who can speak as a peer for these landslides.

One of the abilities my husband, and quite a few of the guys that work for him have, is that they are extremely smart guys and you would never know.  I don’t get talked down to, they help me come to a solution.  I’ve appreciated that since I’ve had to forge this road from absolute scratch for the past few years when I knew  nothing about this.  I’ve learned a ton, I just know my limits.  Humble is the word I should use for these guys, it’s refreshing.

What am I going to do now?  First off, heal my back.  It’s pretty debilitating,  I can’t hardly sit in a car for a 20 minute drive without feeling it.  I do have a sailboat that’s getting new rigging right now.  I had to have someone ferry it over with me just in case my back went if I was by myself.  When it goes, it takes me to the ground and I can barely move.

Not a place I expected to be, finally able to enjoy some freedom in my life and physically unable to do it.  Last week I was watching my friend ripping it up surfing in Mexico while I had ice & heating pads all week, reading a book on aging.   Ugh.

Almost done

I thought I’d turn over my business the first of the year, this keeps stretching out and now it’s almost March.  I wish I could say I was a good at having my own business, at least I gave it a go?  The problem has always been, I’ve been a slave to it without getting paid a lot of the time.

We hired a guy to replace me who came on yesterday as I was finishing up a project and we were trying to troubleshoot another one.  Since what I do is all troubleshooting, it was a good time to come in.  Lately, I’m just the mean old woman that hates everything.  Instead of soaking it in, he was calling me out on ways to do it better.  Really, I just don’t care anymore.  One of the reasons I don’t want to do this is because sometimes talking to these engineers is a battle, I just don’t speak their language.

It also made me feel obsolete, this was my baby.

On the other hand, I really haven’t gone away for an extended time for YEARS.  I do quick trips on weekends, I have been grounded most of the time.  My surf trips I did last year resulted in broken ribs both times, a lost drone, and a major case of tourista.  I just want to sit on a beach and read a book.  I love surfing, this back thing has really nailed me and made me finally feel my age and that my body is limited.  The broken ribs are from Osteopenia, right before Osteoporosis.  My body is falling apart!

I thought if I was a half ass athlete my whole life that I would be in better shape?

I can still take pretty pictures…




Keep on Chooglin

Going to try not to be so negative, hard when my back’s out and I just watch the news then Law & Order re-runs before I go to bed.  Yay though!  I got a few hits yesterday and quite a few downloads of that ebook, I got something done at least.

In my extreme dork-ness, I have a DJI Mavic Pro right next to me with the Epson Moverio, FPV goggles.  Not sure if it’s because it’s the Alpine white edition, I just can’t get the goggles to connect to it?  It connects right away to the Phantom 4, so I know at least it’s not my error.  I had a problem with the gimbal on the Mavic and sent it back, luckily it was a freebie repair.  Whatever the problem, they just don’t connect?

I’m hoping to get up and around today for a little bit, I’ll just carry my pills around in case I have a major spasm while I’m out.  So far, I’ve been home when they happen.  The last time I couldn’t make it downstairs for days.

My goal is pretty pictures, with my camera and drone 🙂  Making social media great again!  I’m so sick of the memes, they’re like when everyone got email and started sending chain emails instead of notes.

As for the “Keep on Chooglin” title, I thought it was a cool title for an old Credence Clearwater song.  My titles are whatever mood I happen to be in.

And now to post one of my pretty pictures, thanks to the 5 people who viewed my blog!