Categories
Corvallis Oregon Photography

I rented a Canon 300mm F4L and I loved it!

During the pandemic lockdown, we’ve been heading out to the Finley Wildlife Refuge quite a bit to get out of the house and enjoy the birds. I previously rented the Nikon P1000 super zoom and visited the refuge. After returning that camera, I turned back to the Canon 80D I already own. I use a 70-200mm F4L for that camera but wanted something with a bit more reach to get the small birds and prehistoric herons. I ended up renting a Canon 300mm F4L IS and a 2x teleconverter.

Right off the bat, the teleconverter wasn’t really for me. I’ve seen some nice results posted online from other users but running around hand-held, I wasn’t able to get sharp results. It also disabled most of the 80D focus features and required going with manual focus in most cases. Here is probably my best shot with the 300mm and 2x converter:

Spring 2020

This quick hand-held of Pepper also turned out well:

Spring 2020

The ten day rental with both the 300mm and 2x converter, only cost $141 with a discount. I didn’t use the teleconverter for the rest of the rental but at that price I didn’t get too upset.

Here are the other shots I got that really turned out great. One of the best features of this lens is that it’s not only great for reach, but also can focus at 5ft for awesome macro images as well. These are processed through Photoshop with mild RAW filter adjustments and some cropping:



My conclusion for this lens is that I want to buy it! The image stabilization is a little slow, but once used to it, the hand-held quality of these shots is awesome! It’s an older model at this point, debuting in 2015 I believe, and brand new it comes in around $1,100. While I’ve seen some used for about 60% of that on eBay, the rental I had was quite noisy and I’d want it brand new so I could care for it appropriately. I’ve been tempted by the similarly priced 400mm F4L, but it doesn’t have the stabilization. Cropping pictures from the 300 turned out to have very little loss of sharpness and detail, even on a crop body and hand-held.

If you’d like to try out a rental before buying, check out LensRental.com and this discount for first time users. They make it easy to rent through the website, and the shipping back is a breeze with everything included. I get a perk from you clicking that link but I also have had great experiences renting from them.

dc

Categories
Classifieds of Interest Motorcycles

Bad timing, but if I were to sell the 93 Ducati 750SS

COVID-19 makes selling vehicles person-to-person difficult. But if it were a normal spring, my advertisement might read something like this. dan@motoringblogs.com -dc

1993 Ducati 750SS For Sale by Private Owner with Upgrades

23k miles showing, but speedo cable broke on the way to Laguna Seca in 2012.  Was replaced upon return. Add an additional 2k miles to account for that trip.

I am the third owner since 2007.  I thoroughly enjoyed this bike as an enthusiast rider in the first 8 years of ownership, but have barely used it in the past 5 years.

Just serviced, 4.7.2020:  Belts, oil, filter, plugs, coil upgrade, brake flush, quick carb clean, idle adjustment, and clear gas.

Period upgrades include

  • Keihin FCR 41 racing carbs. (very aggressive)
  • Staintune 2:1 exhuast (very loud)
  • CA Cycleworks coil upgrade (just added, better starting)
  • Kickstand saver
  • NOS 900SS full fairings with Ducati mounting hardware (currently installed)
  • Bar-end mirrors

Included with sale

  • Rear stand
  • Original 750SS half fairings and Ducati mounting hardware
  • Spares: original windscreen, mirrors, carbs
  • Service manual
  • Original coils
  • Period soft luggage saddlebags.
  • Copy of Craigslist post from 2007 when I purchased the bike

Issues

  • I’d recommend a carb rebuild, valve adjust, and corresponding tune (done once in my ownership). It runs “good” as-is but could be excellent at the hands of an expert.  I’d recommend Cheshire or MotoCorsa, both in Portland.
  • Sport touring tires have good tread but they’re old. Replace ASAP for any real riding or distance.
  • 900SS fairings: one touched up crack between turn signal and headlight on the left side. 
  • Pint of touch up paint included.

Known history

  • Supposedly purchased by a tech at then Ducati in Salem. This owner reportedly installed most of the upgrades back in the day.
  • Second owner was a local engineer and enthusiast.
  • Acquired in 2007. In my ownership
    • 3 trips to California
    • Rides all over Oregon and Washington
    • Never stranded on the road despite Ducati reputation
    • Hard-starting after the off-season
    • Cold-blooded starting in general due to race carbs and no choke. Somewhat improved with new carbs.

 

This is not a beginner’s bike or a commuter.  This an enthusiast-quality rider and an excellent introduction to classic Ducati motorcycling.  It makes for a somewhat jerky in-town bike but an absolute pleasure out of town on country roads.  It’s not superbike uncomfortable either, but still has a serious sporting nature. 

 

If I’m honest, it could be parted out for more than the asking price – which would be a shame.  While not a museum piece, it is in really nice, original, and period correct modified condition.  My hope is that it remains local to be enjoyed on our back roads and on the occasional out of state road trip.

 

I have quite a few blog posts from when I first purchased the bike in the link below.  I was in my early 30’s then and these youthful, verbose entries, not only reveal my love affair with the bike, but also the one and only time it was tipped over in my ownership; mere minutes after acquiring it…  No damage.

 

http://www.dancrouchblog.com/tag/750ss/

 

Why am I letting it go after all these great memories?  Honestly, I want to get back into the hobby but with something more modern.  This is a wonderful second or third bike that will excite the senses, and still stands out when in the wild. It definitely requires some fiddling to keep it at it’s best but that is part of it’s charm.  On the other hand, it’s so affordable that I dare you to find something with more character for less. 

 

If you’re still reading let’s talk.  No test rides without full asking cash in hand.  Sorry but you know how it is.

 

-dc 

 

 

Categories
Corvallis Oregon Photography

Nikon P1000 Wrap Up and COVID-19

My intention was to make use of the Nikon P1000 in different situtations each afternoon and evening for the week I had rented it. Then the COVID-19 curtailments hit the OSU campus (my day job) and my plans were out the window as we all shifted into high gear to accomodate. Unfortunately I didn’t really have time to make full use of the camera during the rental period. I even extended the rental after realizing it was going to be busy but the situation unfolded very quickly and the spare time never really materialized.

With the pity party out of the way, I did still learn alot about the camera.

First of all, this is not a camera for beginners or casual shooters. You have to have a pretty good idea of what you’re intending to capture and how you’ll prepare to get the quality that many P1000 users publish on social media. I followed the Nikon P1000 Photography group on Facebook and was routinely impressed with the quality and professional results shared. Unfortunatley I was largely unable to match the effort during the 10 rental.

Here is what I was able to produce with limited time under the circumstances:

This is Mary’s Peak. just outside Corvallis
My family moved to Corvallis in 1980 and this backdrop was ever-present in my childhood. The view still stops me dead today and invokes memories of my youth.
This was taken on Sunday after a week or so of rain and clouds, but a very cold morning to follow. This always rinses the atmosphere and the following day has the clearest sky.
This is from the same location fully zoomed, no digital crop. It’s handheld, but with a tripod you’d easily be able to see the weather station at the top much clearer.
We went to the Finley Wildlife Refuge to catch the migrating geese but they had already moved on. These ducks were about 300 yards out.

Here’s what it looked like earlier on March 1st:

My best of the week was this video of the super moon. While the result was good, it would’be been better out in the country. I got this in my back yard just over the neighbors roof. The heat rising off her roof distorted the edge in particular, and the focus wasn’t perfect. On the other hand, I was exhausted after a few days of intense work and just put the tripod in place and pressed go. All things considred, not a bad result:

My main takeaways:

  • This camera takes time to master, not only in it’s technical abilities, but your time to adaquately prepare. Tripod, location, remote trigger, weather, etc… But get everything right and this camera produces pro results. I wish I had had the time to master it.
  • I can now see how an even more robust tripod could’ve yielded even better results. Again, you have to know what to plan for.
  • In the end, it’s $1,000 dollars and while it’s trump card is the amazing 125x zoom (3000mm equivalent), it’s not really a “bridge camera” in my mind.

In the end, the results from my Sony HX400V are still so comparible, it doesn’t warrant the additional purhcase. Further it makes me wonder what I could do to take advantage of my Canon 80D and 70-200mm f/4L to get similar results and at a higher quality.

But I’m glad lensrental.com had this avaialble to try out. Their service was easy to use, thought out, and safe both ways with a hard case and return shipping in the same box. I’m not being paid for that endoresement, but I appreciate a well designed online business. Edit: If you use this link, you’ll get $25 off your first rental.

Being quarantined is rough but does allow for self indulgent exploration of abondoned hobbies. Be well,

dc

Categories
Photography

2020 Update: Blog Revival?

Hello 2020! It’s been years since I actively did anything with this site, and I’ve failed to reboot it a number of times. But I think this time may different and I’d like to use this space to share my hobbies, side business, and travel. I know that this post is being delivered to subscribers that haven’t seen an update from me in ages, but if you’d like to follow along I’d appreciate the feedback.

One of my renewed pursuits is photography. I stumbled onto a camera that has me curious about it’s super zoom capabilities, the Nikon P1000, and specifically it’s “moon mode” for caputuring stunning pictures of moon. LensRentals.com has the P1000 avaiable for $67 for a week. Add in insurance and shipping, and it’s right about $100.

In preparion of renting this camera, I dusted off our 6 year old Sony HX400V because it boasts a 50x zoom and should serve as decent benchmark to compare. Here’s the shot I got of the moon on an incredibly clear night:

For the most part this is right out of the camera with some adjustments in Photoshop to clean it up. Not bad for a 15 minute effort.

Here’s the shot I got tonight from the rented P1000 on a flimsy tripod with about 5 minutes of prepartion.

It’s not as sharp but the potnetial is there as I wasn’t even zoomed in all the way. Sunday and Monday are super moon display opportunities and it’s looking chilly here, so we should have some good opportunities to get the moon again even clearer.

dc

Categories
Automotive

2006 BMW Z4M Roadster Walk Around and Exhaust Clip

I shot this with a Canon 80D by hand a few nights after bringing her home. More to come!

dc