The Trout’s New Camera

In my last post I wrote that our lovely camera wasn’t resting or shocked or sleeping, but was, in fact, dead.  Being in the sea shorted-out the battery and the level of sand-encrusting certainly stopped me even trying to resurrect it.  We left the rinsed card to dry out for over 24 hours, hoped and wished and with great interpidation plugged it into the laptop card reader.  And…

And…

broken pebble artAnd we got every single photo and video!  Hooray!  I was so overjoyed I cried a bit (but don’t tell anyone – I’ve got a reputation to uphold).  The photos weren’t anything spectacular, but they’re very precious to me: Midi Minx with her first ever facepaint (she was a lion; how appropriate).  Mini Minx looking miniscule and cute.  Me looking not bad for a 40 year old grump.  Maxi Minx’s mermaid.  The Boss’s pebble art.  (OK, the lenticularis looked pale and washed out, but hey-ho, that’s clouds for you).  And I think I’ll stick to posting cute pics of the girls on Facebook, but will add some 2 anonymous pics from the castaway card.

mermaid collage So we had to get a new camera, and as I said, the Panasonic TZ range seemed most recommended.  Online research and much comparing and hair-pulling, and I decided that the TZ8 was probably the absolute best for us, followed by the TZ7 then maybe the TZ10 (though it had far more features than we needed or wanted).  The more recent models were just too gimmicky for me, as I don’t take enough videos to justify it.

I found some great deals online, but marched off to the local dealer yesterday to test it out.  Luckily they were happy for me to really fiddle around with the camera, and Mini Minx was happy to model her cuteness, even when I put the lens within licking distance.  Oh boy, can it cope with close-ups!  But the real test was how it could cope with my knitting.

I’ve not really mentioned my wee business Rainbow Knits, other than a single hyperlink.  Ok, here’s a second, www.rainbowknits.co.uk.  I do baby bootees in the brightest rainbow colours I can find – every shade has to make my heart sing.  Unfortunately, I’ve found that cameras can cope with each individual colour, but not all 6 together.  Example, the orange and yellow will look the same, or the royal purple will come out blue, or the red will wash everything else out.  I’ve only managed photographing it with much trial and error and cursing up till now.  Anyone got any tips or advice for me? 

Anyway I went armed with the brightest, stripiest bootee I’ve done, so bright it’s eye-popping.  And the camera couldn’t cope.  We tried messing with the white balance, footering with the manual settings, everything.  I tried other cameras in the TZ range.  I tried other cameras!  The assistant took the camera and my bootee outdoors into the shade and took more photos.

Having had a lovelyhour trying out every camera in the store, I was happy that the TZ8 was definitely the one for me, and I think because I wanted it so much, I flanneled about how I could try it out under strong halogen lights at home, and if it still couldn’t cope with the colours, I’d return it the same day, pristine.  And amazingly, they agreed! (though they wouldn’t do any further discounts).  Even more amazingly, the halogen treatment worked – it  picks up the colours enough for me to live with, better than the old camera.

The Boss had a footer with it last night and kept smiling.  I caught him stroking it, lovingly.  I’m glad I made him see sense that I had the better shortlist of cameras 😉

Angry Old Trout

The Boss (ha!) has been in Coventry for 6 hours now.  Only a penitent phonecall a few minutes ago got him out the dog-house.

Today was yet another gorgeously sunny day, so we decided to pack yet another picnic, and hit yet another beach.  Roseisle beach, this time, and walk as far west as Midi’s little legs would take her, towards the direction I last saw dolphins.  We had loads of sausages at their Use By date and The Boss had found an old disposable barbeque in the garage, from back in pre-kids days when we spent every single weekend out camping, climbing, walking and biking.  We’d buy them el-cheapo in their 10s from France on climbing trips.  Anyway, our last family picnic till next weekend promised to be a good ‘un.

Everyone bar Maxi Minx was tired from pants sleep – Midi woke me at 6.30am climbing into my bed.  I’m glad I caught her because she’d wet herself.  We just got up rather than slept on.  Mistake!

The picnic was lovely, with all of us scoffing sausage sandwiches in a pretty secluded part of the beach, away from the crowds (my God, there must have been about 50 people on the entire beach on a sunny bank holiday – it was rammed!) and their rubbish and dog poo.  Mini Minx dunked her breadsticks in the sand and sucked it off thoughtfully.  She’s cutting those 2 enormous top teeth, so I guess rubbing it into those inflamed gums helped ease the pain.  Either that, or she’s bonkers.

Maxi Minx, ever the artist, quickly gave up making sand angels and started making a collage of a mermaid.  It was over 6ft long, and she drew the outline with her hands, then ‘coloured in’ the tail with hundreds of pebbles and seaweed, with a discarded bit of rope to form the fish tail end; seashells made up a kind of bikini; a string of barnacles and baby shellfish strung out in a crusty kind of rope formed the necklace; she found 2 matching mussel shells with attached barnacles for earrings, and some plain mussel shells made up the pendant parts of the necklace; different types of seaweed made up the hair, but it was carefully arranged symmetrically and draped purposefully.  I describe it in so much detail because (a) I was agog and amazed at my little 5 year old’s precision, ever-present drive to create art, and sheer prettiness of it, and (b) the beautiful photos and the video I took of it with Maxi explaining all the different bits are gone forever.

The Boss dropped the camera in the sea and lost it.

I was nearly sick when I found out.  Losing the video cut me most, followed by the photos of the mermaid.  Then I remembered all the lovely portrait shots we’d taken of the kids all day.  And yesterday, I caught the most amazing lenticular clouds, in a beautiful 4 hooped wave.  And all the shots from the Theme Day.  Baby Mini changes so much so quickly that I worry being without a camera for a few days means that I’ll lose special memories (well, photos serve as my memory these days).  And she’s about to take her first steps…

I know he didn’t actually set out to drop the camera in the sea.  But he tried to blame the camera loss on me, till I reminded him that I’d passed the camera back so he could take some ‘wet’ shots of an arty piece of stone arranging he’d done at the water’s edge.  We both searched the edge of the water for around an hour, trying to calculate where the receding tide might have dragged it, in vain.

I glowered for hours.  I’m the kind of person who’d rescue photographs and diaries from a burning building, but abandon purses, wallets and phones. (Do I really need to say I’d rescue the kids first?  No.  Thought not.  Kind of obvious, eh?).  I really grieved for the lost pictures.  I know it’s silly, but I did.

Tonight he went off for a cycle ride after the kids went to bed.  I wasn’t all that surprised to find that he’d gone back to Roseisle beach, and had actually *found* the camera!  It was out at almost the low-tide bit.  He phoned to tell me the good news and apologise.  (‘Good’ in that I could stop tormenting myself with the possibility that it was lying on sand, ready to pick up and use but still lost.  Now at least I know that it did fall in the sea and get trashed and we’ll need to buy a replacement bloody pronto).  I stopped sulking and accepted that accidents happen.  I suspect that the camera will never be resurrected, but I have a ridiculously optimistic dream that rinsing the photo card in clean water and leaving it to dry for a few days might, just might, let me read off some photos?  We’ll see.

So.  Now to replace it.  If I could just buy the same one, I would, but I can’t find anywhere that still sells the 6 year old FinePix F10.  Many friends are recommending the Panasonic TZ range.  I’ve started comparing and am getting a bit lost.  I don’t want something all-singing and dancing.  I just want to be able to do great, sharp extreme close-ups of knitting, flowers and children, clear photos of clouds and children action-shots, and be able to take the odd video (not necessarily in HD).  But I’m being seduced by the possibility of better and better images as you up the price range… Argh!  Och, I have a realistic short-list of 3.  I think I’ll make The Boss feel useful and task him with deciding on a replacement tonight.  If he picks one on my short-list, we’ll just get that.  If he doesn’t… well, I’m sure I’ll make him see sense.

Can You Guess What It Is, Yet?

Could be worse... could be graffiti on an underpass wall

I’m including a pic of Maxi Minx’s latest scribblings on her bedroom easel.  In case you can’t see what it is yet, it’s Santa surrounded by a young reindeer, Mary and baby Jesus.  Maxi Minx interpreted my open mouth as being about to ask a question.  “It’s a young reindeer because it only has little antlers”, she jumped in.  “And those aren’t stars, they’re snowflakes.  I just don’t have a white pen”.

Now, I freely admit I’m probably just an overly proud mother, but I think her artwork is pretty sophisticated for a 4 year old (she’ll be 5 in April).  What do you think?  Please click on the *anonymous* poll below: