January 6, 2019

Can You Hear Me Screaming?


With all the positive feedback I was getting about the photos I posted Saturday night, I was feeling pretty good about the camera this morning. I tested those settings last night inside, like this photo of Heidi. She has finally decided it is okay to sit in "Sadie's Chair" after almost four months. It's her favorite place to sleep now.

It's funny to see her walk into the living room, stop, look at the couch, then left at the chair ... then turn and jump in the chair. Stella now has more room to stretch out at night on the couch while I read, watching ballgames or a movie.

2019 Jan 06

If I wasn't so busy beating my head against my desk this morning, I'd have time to lean back with my mouth wide open and scream as loud as I could. That was my reaction after downloading the photos from the walk. I took 53 photos and am posting only 16 of them here ... even some of the 16 suck, but I wanted to post them to show you what I am talking about.

I thought Sunday might be a 'day off' from electronics. My Apple Watch is working to perfection. Your feedback on my photos made it seem the settings were correct so the camera was set for taking photos anytime day or night. I did not even have the huge 800Mb of 'data dump' that I experienced Friday and Saturday morning ... where Google Chrome was showing Wordpress .com as the guilty party.

Things were looking good for today ... more NFL playoff games and an IU basketball game at 4:30pm.

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I looked at the first photo I downloaded from the camera SDHC card and was SHOCKED!!


ALL OF THEM ... all 53 of them were too dark, except for the two I took in "Auto" instead of "M". Not only were they dark but almost all of them were out of focus. I mean I was in total shock as I moved through the photos, enlarged on my 27" 4K monitor. I won't tell you which ones but I had to lighten some of them just to see Stella.


Here is an example ... I did no editing to this photo. It was much brighter than this outside.


Another example of being too dark ... you can barely see Stella in the lower right corner walking along the edge of the woods. BUT IT DOESN'T STOP THERE ... it even gets more interesting. I think "Flabbergasted" would be the correct word to describe my thought process at this point of the walk.


As I zoomed into maximum, which would have put nothing but Stella into the photo, just like yesterday afternoon ... the bar was showing the zoom was max'd out and I wasn't even close to a 200mm zoom. For some reason I couldn't get to full zoom. The camera was working okay but the scale on the monitor was showing me the zoom was as far as it would go.


Mostly for the zoom feature, I quickly changed from "M" to "Auto" ... it still would not zoom in any further but it did lighten up the photo without any editing. This is pretty close to what the morning was looking like in color and lightness.


I was probably no further away from Stella than what this photo shows, and "Auto" is still on. Slightly out of focus.


As an example .. from this photo forward I was shooting back in the "M" mode. Stella is blurred, the twigs closest to me were sharp and clear. I think I know where I can fix that by changing two settings.


I was SHOCKED the way this photo came out. In the monitor on back of the camera, everything looked sharp and clear, in focus ... Stella and the surrounding area. The beep told me I was in focus. DISAPPOINTING would be an understatement. That is the worst photo I have ever taken of the area in front of us.


Again that stem right in front of me is sharp ... where I was wanting the tractor in focus. I have a setting to "track" instead of "1-photo" I might have to change back to the default. I thought the "tracking" option would be good for catching Stella and/or deer running, in stop action.


This photo was not edited and looks like I would expect ... why is this one good and not the others???? I looked over into the field in the direction that Stella was looking ... I saw no deer, nothing in the field that would make her so interested.


In my eyes ... this is not sharp, too dark on her face and to the left of her head.


I took five photos to show the damage the yard moles are doing to the yard in this warm weather. This photo is the only one that was clear enough to see what was going on. All taken with me standing in the same spot, just turning left and right for different yard damage.


I am not happy about this photo either. Too dark, looks nothing like it did in real time. Plus the photo is a tad out of focus. I even put my glasses on to double check before I wrote that sentence.

This morning I took three photos of Heidi, two with the Canon and one with the iPhone 8+ ... the auto flash did not fire on the Canon and for some reason the setting in the "flash fire" is greyed out where I cannot change it under the current settings. It was the same when I moved to Auto from Manual.

I'll be digging into the owners manual right after I publish this post.

I am seriously considering 'resetting' the camera back to the factory defaults and THEN going back to change the settings that I remember doing yesterday. THEN I'll go outside to take some test photos ... of course the lighting will be better an hour or two later than these morning photos.

If I am going to use the Canon G9 X on the morning walks ... I am going to have to figure out quickly what in the hell is going on inside that camera. I obviously have messed up something playing around with it last night .... USER ERROR!!!

I forgot to tell you, even with the strap around my wrist, I dropped this camera in the field. About the time I was changing the setting from manual to auto, I remembered I had not set my watch to track my time and distance for the walk, which I do all the time. I had to slide my glove off, so my fingertip could tap the watch screen to activate the activity.

When pulling off my glove, the camera strap came with it ... dropping down onto the soft grass, no harm done as it was a very soft landing.

SO FAR ... with time to adjust the Canon ... the iPhone 8+ is the better camera for indoors low light conditions ... such as, at night with one lamp turned on by the couch.

It is still a great day though ... the sun is already bright at 9:22am ... this post is not soaking up data like a sponge and there will be ballgames on tv again today. There is plenty of food, the hounds are rested and I am rested ... so it's all good. I just thought I'd be spending less time with my head inside an owners manual or in front of a computer monitor.

Above average temps for January here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. Did you touch the white balance? Is it set for indoors or tugsten? I usually set it at awb. Also sounds like depth of field is off or not set to what you want. Good idea to reset to defaults and begin again.

  2. Enjoy your games today while the dogs are snoozing! You'll get the camera figured out in time. I'm going through the same thing with my new camera. I want to master all the settings on it before my trip to Europe next month! :-)

  3. No I did not touch the white balance ... it is and was at AWB.

  4. What kind of camera are you taking? I saw some photos of Paris at night on my Best Buy reps, Samsung that looked awesome.

  5. Bought a Canon Powershot SX730... I'm loving it so far!

  6. Remember the days of 'chasing the needle with the ball'? That was my original cannon 35mm SLR. Other than a light meter sitting between the aperture and the mirror there were no electronics on that sucker at all. (Of course an electronic calculator cost hundreds of dollars in those day too. . .) The meter, self powered by the light coming through the lens so no batteries required, would move the needle up and down in the left side of the viewfinder and cranking on the aperture ring and shutter speed knob would move an arm with a ball in the middle of it up and down. The idea was to center the ball on the needle for the proper exposure. (at the time the ISO was a function of the film you bought as was WB.)

    My point is, with all the electronics in the cameras today, except for special situations such as night shoots on a tripod, I stay away from the M mode where I've got to think about every setting for each shot. Instead I do most of my shooting in the Av, or aperture priority setting. Now I only have to set my aperture (depth of field) and let the electronics handle everything else, though I do tend to keep the exposure at about a minus third of a stop which helps prevent the brights from blowing out, (Once those are blown that's it, no detail at all in the brights) and I'll go as far as minus 2 full stops when shooting sunrises and sunsets to capture the colors better.

    As for focus, well in my opinion that is the weakest function of an electronic camera. The software is looking for edges so when there is a lot of contrast between elements it works fairly well, as long as the edge it picks to work on is the one you want and not some random branch in between you and your intended subject, but when there just isn't that much contrast it struggles. The sad thing is that with the advent of automatic focus the manual focus was either taken away all together or is an afterthought that is ridiculously cumbersome to use.

    By the way, I have thrown my Cannon SX50 down on hard surfaces a good half dozen times over the years (Not a single one of them on purpose.) and the dang thing just keeps on working. . .

  7. I always thought that way about manual until this weekend. Once I saw you could change the settings for manual shooting and save them for every shot from that time forward .. I liked it. Not counting this morning, the post you are replying to ... but tonight after I figured out what happened to do those terrible photos ... they look better when the settings are correct than shooting automatic.

    What I am trying to say is, this manual mode is not like the manual mode you and I remember 39 years ago or longer.

    I think what happened was, I was screwing around last night with the monitor on back of the camera and inadvertently changed from AF to MF and didn't know it.

    That's good to know about the survival rate when dropping it.