Posted on October 3, 2018
Three years ago, I purchased the Sony a6000 mirror-less camera. Its been a great camera, and I was surprised to see that while Sony is now up to the a6500 in this series, for my shooting, the a6000 still holds its own – and at a current price tag that is a steal compared to the newer upgraded models. It is a 24 mp mirrorless APS-C 1″ sensor camera that supports removable lenses – and my 24mm 1.8 lens is a real gem.
Because I got rid of my car a year ago June, my life has become a lot more “portable”. I have become a master of getting around on my bike and mass transit. In fact, even though I no longer ride metric centuries like I used to when I was younger – or when I rode 160 miles a week – I still get around and ride nearly every day. Because of this – I wanted something (other than my smart phone) that had a decent lens – one that would be capable of distance shots for San Francisco cityscapes as well a landscape photography – and when carrying around the larger a6000 would not be realistic. I have several decent lenses – from 12mm super wide angle to telephoto – so I am covered.
The Sony RX100VI fits this bill – with a big caveat.
I like city and country photography equally. The only problem is that they typically are at the opposite ends of the light spectrum – city photography can be full of shadows – and some of my favorite shots are night scenes in low light. Landscape shots are generally done in much brighter light.
Lens choice is also important – city shots of full buildings require a wide angle lens, but if you are doing Henry Cartier-Bresson style “decisive moment” or you want to shoot a small feature of a building from far away – a telephoto lens is required. If you don’t want to be noticed – the RX100 series camera is perfect.
The RX100VI is a good general purpose camera for what I want to do – but its not great in low light. Sony has other models that are – the RX100V and RX100IV – previous models with a wider lens that does not get into the telephoto range. If you want low light and do not need telephoto coverage – you should go with their previous versions.
I did a test with both cameras in low light – and sure enough – as I had researched, the a6000 with the 24mm 1.8 lens outperformed the RX100VI significantly. At telephoto and brighter light shots – the RX100VI holds its own (as I fully expected it would), and because the size of the RX100VI is so much smaller than the a6000, and because it has this excellent Zeiss lens (non removable) – it works great as a day camera commuting to and from work – or as a landscape camera. The RX100VI is much more compatible with cycling.
The complement of these two cameras fits my use cases nicely. The older a6000 and the older RX100 line of cameras are still for sale and are really great deals – if you don’t need the newer video features and some other small improvements (i.e. supposedly lower noise and whatnot). I had no desire to upgrade the a6000, but the telephoto lens in the RX100VI was important – and I do have a range of all possibilities that I can shoot in now.
Posted on October 3, 2018
Telluride Aspens, R. Holoch
I have received enough feedback to keep this blog going – even though Ham Radio will appear only very occasionally. I simply have run out of things to say about Ham radio and DX-ing – but this could change if I find a “new muse” within the hobby.
Some have told me that they especially enjoyed the landscape and art photography . . .
Ode to the Surrealists, R. Holoch
It will be much more art (photography and assemblage), cycling and music oriented, plus some (hopefully) surreal and dadaist oriented musings – with the occasional beer review.
I don’t get a lot of feedback to my postings – but I do get a lot of email, and the email’s are always thoughtful and encouraging with some great suggestions every now and then. This blog has always had many more followers and readers than the DXCC Sleuth, and I look at the stats to judge whether or not a blog is worth continuing.
By the way – since many seem to like the antenna articles – please feel free to use them in your club newsletter – all I ask that you give KY6R attribution. The same goes for my photography – use anything you like – I’m an “Open Source” kind of guy – and all of my work is covered under the Creative Commons license.
Posted on October 3, 2018
Posted on October 1, 2018
Posted on September 29, 2018
I plan to retire in 8 years, but its possible I would move before then. I’ve completed my awards chasing years – and the biggest question is will I be here in Orinda at my present QTH for my last two on DXCC – Glorioso and Bouvet.
The answer is – its a race to the end. With current predictions on Cycle 24 being at the bottom now and for several years – and the next peak of Cycle 25 being maybe 6 – 7 years away, gee – I almost doubt I will be here. When I retire I might bring my ALM-31 and SteppIR UrbanBeam because it could work out in any town that I move to that doesn’t have CC&R’s or HOA’s. There are still towns that do have local ordinances – and the usual height allowance is 30-something feet (like they have in Concord, CA), so this means I could bring this setup – and its very portable.
Another part of me thinks just bringing a receiver and the two Wellbrook Loops and NCC-2 would be enough. The last QSO in my log in July 2 – but I have continued to check into one nightly net – just to still transmit. I still like browsing the internet and listening to the radio, but don’t really care much anymore if I ever transmit again. I thought I’d get back into CW rag chewing, but with conditions as they are – and everyone in FT8, there just isn’t much to offer these days for me in Ham Radio.
I used to like to do BCB DXing, but the AM radio stations are now filled with political lunacy, so that is just depressing. The days of local AM radio stations discussing local issues are gone – its all syndicated Wacko Radio now. There are no more shortwave stations either – if they exist its on the internet. Boring.
I guess there are three possibilities:
- Some small station – SDR radio at 100 watts max. ALM-31 and UrbanBeam
- Just an RX station with Wellbrook Loops and NCC-2 and SDR RX
- Nothing at all
It is just as likely that I will never make DXCC #1 as I would make it. I’m finally at the point where I really don’t care. I’ll try if I am still here – but once I retire, all bets will be off. I think mega DXpeditions will be pretty much over when I retire, many more DXers will be SK, and that my end of the road will coincide with the end of an era – which is the boomers who stoked all of this activity in the first place are in their final years.
But until then, I am enjoying this cozy shack and at least listen every day and am squeezing out any last Ham Radio on air activity that I can. Maybe now that its Fall – and with Winter coming in 3 months – maybe I will finally get back into CW – in a way where I increase my speed and listen to nightly ARRL Bulletins – hopefully at high speed and without writing anything down. That is one area I can get a little excited about.
Geez – I guess I better make hay while the sun shines!
Posted on September 29, 2018
Conditions are so bad – I’m actually hoping that the teams that will activate Bouvet and Glorioso will wait until about 2024 or so. I’d be afraid that if they went now – I wouldn’t even hear them and it would be like FT5GA all over again.
We are very much at rock bottom, and I expect that conditions will suck in 2019 and 2010, but then climb out of the hole in 2021, but that the next peak would be maybe 2024 or so.
In Cycle 24, 40M picked up the slack – but right now – its anemic at best. I think it seemed to shut down not long after the demise of 3Y0Z. Hopefully it will return soon – because I’m finding that while 20M has been open – even the Caribbean and South America has been just “OK”.
For a major DXpedition to be worth its while – its needs the confidence and then donations from the DXers. Right now – that confidence has to be low – and I would bet up front donations would be lower than they had been say up through 3Y0Z.
The other thing is a project to either of these places would need to be heard on many bands – and that just won’t happen after what I expect to be a long and deep minimum of this cycle moving into next.
Posted on September 27, 2018
Fall Colors on Pepper Tree
I lucked out – I purchased my house in the Spring, and had no idea what wonderful fall colors it was surrounded by.
Its as if the house and yard knew I am a sucker for fall colors . . .
Chinese Pistachio covering my driveway
Gingko tree in our front yard
Its ironic that the best SF Bay Area colors are right at my house
The colors are just starting to turn at my house, and this will continue until about Christmas. Yes, these are “just landscaping trees”, but for someone who has lived in California 2/3rds of his life – a little “Fall Color Throwback Thursday” is just fine by me!