Thursday, July 31, 2008- - -
Things that make you say Hmmm..
Here's an interesting article on a program intended to take bison from Yellowstone and reintroduce them to the range, starting with several Indian reservations.
Overall, there are about 20,000 wild bison in places including Grand Teton National Park, the National Bison Refuge in Montana, South Dakota's Wind Cave National Park and Utah's Henry Mountains. Another 500,000 bison in North America are being raised commercially for meat.So here's the Hmmm.. part: Bison readily interbreed with domestic cattle. While the article doesn't say, it implies that this is why they want bison from Yellowstone, due to their relative isolation they're "the most genetically pure". Yet, once these bison have passed the extended quarantine required to insure they're free of brucellosis, they'll be allowed to roam (it's what buffalo do, doncha know). Whilst roaming they'll be exposed to cattle and can interbreed with them. Thus, it's likely that in a few generations these bison will be no more genetically pure than those 500,000 bison now being raised commercially (which are presumably brucellosis free).
For ranchers, the primary concern over expanding the territory wild bison can roam is the livestock disease brucellosis. While Yellowstone offers the most genetically pure stock of bison in the world, about half the animals have brucellosis -- which can cause pregnant cattle to abort their calves.
So.. Tell me again why we're funding a project that costs about $130,000 annually and, after three years, is set to produce its first 40 head of brucellosis-free bison. Couldn't we just buy bison from a commercial breeder -- they go for about $1000 a head -- and have about 390 head by now?
Oh wait, it's the government. By now I should know better than to ask such silly questions.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008- - -
Ever since the dark ages of 35mm photography, if you didn't do your own darkroom work you were pretty much at the mercy of the doofus running the photomat machine. Getting accurate color rendition was a sometimes thing, particularly if you were photographing anything out of the ordinary. Thus, I was pretty happy with this first photo of a little abraded 'horned shaman' petroglyph. Taken with the auto white balance setting, the colors are a bit muddy, but it's a relatively clear, well-focused photo.
But that was before I discovered how to manually adjust the 'white balance' of my new camera (see post below). Here's the same little guy with fairly accurate color rendition. Still hard to see -- the original is only about 4 inches tall -- but a much more vivid photo with relatively accurate depiction of the rust red patina of the rock.
I really wasn't kidding when I said this makes an immediate and noticeable improvement in the quality of my photography. I'm totally tickled with my new camera!
Update: Yes, as nice as the old 35mm was -- and the new 10.1 megapixel digital is still a bit grainy compared to Kodachrome -- I never had the control over the ultimate product that the new outfit gives. Give 'em a few years and they'll get the megapixel count up and fix the graininess too. In the mean time, I'm beginning to learn how to do this -- it never occurred to me that I could tweedle the white balance manually -- and I'm betting that my Olympus Zuiko lenses will still work with the 50 megapixel jobbie when it becomes available.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008- - -
A little wildlife photography..
Have I mentioned lately that the 70-300mm lens on the Olympus E510 kicks butt? It does a great job of macro photography, but it will teach you the value of a good tripod. I didn't have a tripod handy when I took this shot, and I snapped around 30 photos to get a couple that are in pretty good focus. It's darn hard to hold 12x magnification steady!
I spotted this little critter on the sign-out clipboard in the office and managed to get pretty good color reproduction even though I was shooting under fluorescent lights (ambient light with no flash) by using the fluorescent light settings.
Update: Aha! Sometimes it helps to read the instructions. Color rendition is usually pretty darn good using the auto white balance setting, or the various presets, but it can be a bit off under difficult lighting. But.. the E510 allows you to manually set the white balance. I've just been fiddling with that and it does an amazing job shooting in ambient fluorescent and incandescent light. As a gadget freak I gotta love it. I've had the camera for a month now and it's still got bells and whistles I haven't fiddled with (or even knew about!). I'll remember this one though, it made an immediate and noticeable improvement in the quality of my indoor ambient light photos.
Monday, July 28, 2008- - -
Signs of the apocalypse..
My beard trimmer just died and I thought I might do better than the $10 WalMart specials I've been buying that die in a year or so. So.. I hit Amazon and searched for beard trimmers. Then I asked to sort by best selling. #3 on the best sellers list is that little gadget I've guffawed about before, the Mangroomer back hair shaver.
Number Three? You've really got to be kidding me.
I'm hoping they're just a popular gag gift because real men really don't shave their back hair. And the men who would shave their back hair don't have any.
The Few, The Proud..
The.. Nuns? An interesting article on The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not many of them left.
I suppose charity is out of style but, the way the world seems to be going these days, I'm surprised more parents aren't putting their daughters in convents.
Update: I suppose it's a sign of the times that the author thought it necessary to parenthetically point out that 'habits' are nun's uniforms.
Saturday, July 26, 2008- - -
There's got to be a moral in this story somewhere..
MORRISTON, Fla. — Authorities say a Levy County man accidentally shot his wife while trying to hit a fox that had attacked her. The couple told deputies they had spotted an animal in their yard Friday morning and went outside to see what it was.
The fox bit the woman on the left leg and wouldn't let go, so she told her husband to get a gun.
The man fired a .22-caliber rifle seven times, killing the animal but also hitting his wife in the lower right leg.
Zen and the art of lawnmower maintenance
Angry man shoots lawn mower for not starting. Perhaps sometimes putting the tools down and walking away just isn't an option..
This date in history..
The location of the 1865 Battle of Red Buttes and the graves of soldiers killed in the attack remains a mystery.Well, I certainly hope they find it. Who could resist visiting the location of.. Custard's Last Stand?
This summer a team of state archaeologists and volunteers conducted a meticulous grid-by-grid search for the site on private land in the foothills west of Casper near Poison Spider and Robertson roads. The area is believed by some historians to be where a war party of hundreds of American Indians killed 22 U.S. Cavalrymen who were travelling from Sweetwater Station to Platte Bridge Station 143 years ago today.
On July 26, 1865, a wagon train of 25 soldiers led by Sgt. Amos Custard came under attack by hundreds of American Indians. All but three of the soldiers were killed. Earlier that same morning, Lt. Caspar Collins and four other soldiers were killed in the Battle of Platte Bridge after they left the fort in an attempt to reach Custard's wagon train to try and escort it to safety.
Friday, July 25, 2008- - -
Snicker, Snort, Guffaw!
The good news: Carbo-loading on doughnuts optimizes your lifespan and makes you sexually potent.
The bad news: Only in crickets..*
They get around..
An interesting article on population genetics among the Yellowstone wolves. One thing to remember is that they've been found all the way down in Colorado and Utah so they can travel quite a long way. It's also common for wildlife managers to trap and move critters from one habitat area to another to broaden their gene pool.
Thursday, July 24, 2008- - -
An appeal to the video gamers?
Obama channels his inner Pacman.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008- - -
Voltaire had email?
From an email I received this morning:
We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our e-mails, at our peril, risk and hazard.Heheh. Of course the original is slightly different, although the sentiment is the same:
--Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique, 1764
We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.I kinda like the first version myself.
Sunday, July 20, 2008- - -
Everyone's a critic!
The roads out here in the Piceance Basin were never designed for the kind of heavy industrial traffic they're getting and they're developing axle-breaking potholes..
Things that make you say Hmmm...
Reading this bit about the joys of on-line shopping reminds me to mention that both grocery stores in Worland deliver groceries to the elderly and shut-ins. I can't say for sure, but I don't think they charge extra for the service either. Just one of the joys of small town living!
"... expanding the nation's energy portfolio ..."
An interesting short article on the future of energy in the US. Nice to see someone at the Casper Star coming over to the dark side.
I should note though that we've been making use of solar and wind power in the oil patch ever since REA quit building powerlines to nowhere for free.
Things that make you say.. Holy Moses!
Is anyone but me a bit disturbed at the sight of a sheriff's department officer in full battle gear, manning an M240 belt-fed machine gun (mouse-over the light blue panel at center frame)? I suppose an M2HB would be a bit much unless the religious cuckoos get out of line again.
On the one hand, I suppose this is the free market in action, a business seeking out new customers wherever it can find them. On the other, I would really wonder at any police or sheriff's department that felt a need for this level of armament. What's next, mortars?
Just what they need for that unruly crowd at the county fair.
Saturday, July 19, 2008- - -
Unfortunately, lawyers aren't an endangered species..
BILLINGS, Mont. -- A federal judge in Montana has ordered gray wolves in the Northern Rockies be returned to the endangered species list.Now he can put on his Game & Fish hat and enforce his ruling.
The region has an estimated 2,000 wolves, a population that has been soaring and increasingly preying on livestock.
Update: Here's the rest of the story:
Molloy's primary conclusion is that while the original wolf reintroduction plan called for the animals to be delisted after the population reached 300 in the three states, it also called for "genetic exchange" among the greater Yellowstone, central Idaho and northwestern Montana subpopulations. The judge said there's "strong evidence" that such exchange has not occurred.So.. what do we need? Pix of the wolves doing the wild thing?
"If a species that's recovered to the extent that the wolves have cannot be delisted, it confirms to me that the Endangered Species Act is truly broken," [Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association] said.
Friday, July 18, 2008- - -
Man shoots dog..
A not-so-humorous variation on the usual theme. A few days back there was an article in the CasperStar telling us that no charges would be filed against a man who had shot an agressive dog on his property. The article goes on to tell us:
It was one of at least five dead dogs that have turned up in Park County recently. One dog was apparently stoned to death. Another was found severed in half.Now we're told that "The Humane Society is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the conviction of whoever has been killing dogs in Park County."
Sigh. I like dogs & cats, horses & cows, and even sheep are okay. Cruelty to the poor dumb beasts shouldn't be tolerated. But what neither of these articles tell us is how these dogs could be killed while they're confined to their owners' property or properly leashed, as required by law (most places). Now I don't know that there is such a leash law in Park County, but if there isn't there certainly should be. Dogs are dogs, it's in their nature to chase other animals. Let them run at large and they're quite likely to be over at Farmer Brown's chasing his cows, frightening his horses, and killing his chickens. When that happens Farmer Brown should be quite within his rights to shoot the dog. Likewise, when a stray dog is menacing your children, as appears to be the case in the first story here, you should be within your rights to shoot the mutt.
I don't know what to make of the business with the dogs being stoned to death and severed in two, but I do know that this doesn't happen to dogs that are properly confined and controlled by their owners. Were I in charge of the Park County Humane Society I think I'd be pushing for creation and/or enforcement of a leash law, as the most effective way to put a stop to this, and at the very least reminding people not to let their dogs run at large.
Update: Hmmm.. The second article Re the Humane Society appears to have disappeared from the CasperStar web site. Go figure.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008- - -
Things that make you say Hmmm..
Today's DenverPost has a sidebar poll asking:
Would you like to see Congress join President Bush in repealing the ban on offshore oil drilling? (Read related story.)With 9077 total votes cast, the results are:
Yes -- 2147 Votes, or 23.65 %You'd think that most of the respondents live in or around Denver, a long way from the ocean. So.. near 75% either enjoy the pain, or are wise enough to know that opening the coasts to drilling will have only a negligible effect on the price of gas.
Not sure -- 130 Votes, or 1.432 %
No -- 6764 Votes, or 74.51 %
Don't care -- 36 Votes, or 0.396 %
Meanwhile, Colorado's Sen. Ken Salazar cautions against a "Heedless rush to oil shale". He has a point. That photo above is the headquarters of Shell's Mahogany Research Project, spank in the middle of the Piceance Basin, oil shale central. Other than a few ranch buildings, it's probably the only permanent structure in 500 square miles and, trust me, the ranches don't have landscaping with pools and waterfalls. Looks to me like they're here for the long haul and they've got all sorts of mysterious little facilities in the surrounding area. But.. Shell also owns quite a lot of land in the area and if they could extract oil from the shale in an economically feasible and relatively environmentally friendly manner they'd probably be doing it. Doncha think?
The folks who figure out how to extract oil from the shale will become very wealthy and I'm sure they're working on it hard. But it's just not there yet. On the other hand, I don't see any harm in issuing leases to encourage the effort.
Meanwhile, there are a bit under 100 drilling rigs currently working in this area, with more coming in every day. We talked to a trucker a couple days ago who's been contracted to haul rigs all the way from Edmonton. But there's another But.. It's all natural gas drilling. We've only seen one pump jack in this whole area and it's an antique that hasn't worked in years.
There's something a bit odd about the DenverPost's poll though. If you consult Baker Hughes' Rig Counts you'll see that there are quite a few rigs drilling offshore. Yes, there are some areas where offshore drilling has been banned, but it's not banned everywhere by any means.
Bottom line: We need all the energy sources we can get, oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, everything. But there's no magic bullets. The Chinese and Indians, and all the rest of the emerging third world are putting a tremendous strain on the supply and that's not going to change any time soon.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008- - -
"... a crisis of political coherence ..."
Janet Daley -- How could anyone - let alone the elected members of a governing party whose raison d'être has been to represent the interests of the poor - not have deduced that raising the Vehicle Excise Duty on cars that had been purchased years ago would be likely to fall most heavily on those who were not rich enough to replace their cars every year?With a hat tip to CCNet, where Benny Peiser also links to an interesting article by Julia A. Seymour:
There are two prevailing fashions dominating the political scene, whose aims and effects are in direct contradiction with one another. But that does not prevent virtually all of the political parties in the Western democracies from attempting to embrace both at the same time.
They are global warming and the mission to eradicate poverty. What scarcely any leader seems prepared to admit (although they are all coming bang up against the reality of it) is that the objectives and tactics involved in forwarding the cause of preventing global warming are inimical to the cause of fighting poverty on a national and an international level.
Who would have guessed? Well, almost anyone with even a basic understanding of how markets work ...
According to one energy security expert, unless prosperity exists people simply will not care about climate change. Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, said on July 11 that the poor have other priorities than global warming.Yep. I particularly like the carbon cap and trade schemes, which strike me as a means to pay third world dictators to keep their people backward and impoverished. Nor do we have to look all the way to India or China to find the poor taking the brunt of the climate change hysteria. Denver is among the municipalities that require emissions testing, but only for cars over four years old. Pass the test, no problem -- and the test itself is fairly inexpensive -- but fail the test and you could be in for major work to bring your '82 Malibu back in compliance. 'Course this in no problem at all if you get your Mercedes on a 2-year lease.
“They [poor people] could not give a damn about climate change because they want 24 hours a day light,” said Luft who cited the example of people living in slums outside Bangalore, India.
“In India alone, 600 million people are not connected even to the [power] grid,” said Luft, “When you talk to these people all you have to do is drive 10 minutes from the center of Bangalore to the slums there and ask them about climate change. And they’ll tell you: ‘We want electricity, we want it today, we want it cheap, we don’t care how you make it.’”
Excellent articles and they touch on a whole host of problems being dilligently ignored by our eco-warriors.
Sunday, July 13, 2008- - -
Sweet. If I'm reading this correctly, it appears that those "...who rely solely on Social Security have a 90 percent chance [of becoming destitute]." Got to love their recommendation for maintaining your lifestyle in retirement though:
Save your money and make sure you start your 401(k) at an early age, he said. Figure out what your nonnegotiable expenses and assets are. If you don't have enough money to cover your necessities, he said, cut out any luxuries in your lifestyle.Yes, the best way to maintain your lifestyle in retirement is not to have a lifestyle to maintain. He's right, of course, that necessities should be budgeted before luxuries, but I think I'd have put it a little differently.
Bottom line though, trust the govmint to take care of you in your old age and you'll likely live in poverty.
Things that make you say Hmmm..
An interesting article by Bob Owens on DC's attempt to maintain its ban on semi-auto handguns. His argument runs parallel to the objections we've long had to bans on "Saturday night specials": ban the cheap, pot metal, low caliber semi-autos (and revolvers) and you force the thugs to up-arm with more powerful and deadly weapons.
I think the argument works for nation-wide bans, but I've a feeling the thugs in DC will continue to get their weapons through the same sources they've employed while all handguns were banned. However, should DC succeed in maintaining their ban on semi-autos, I'm sure others will follow their lead and more wide-spread bans on cheap, low caliber handguns could indeed pose a problem.
Saturday, July 12, 2008- - -
Everyone has the occasional bad hair day!
It puzzles me now!*
What goes up..
I've been amused by the Iranian missile launch photoshopage, but note one issue no one seems to mention: Launching missiles is the easy part, any kid with a model rocket kit can do that. Getting them to come down where you want them is another story.
Dangerously close to perfection!
One of those places we discovered entirely by accident when we drove by on our way from the Palisade Brewery. Not a fancy joint by any means, but a Peach Street Distillers' Jackalope Gin & tonic is to die for. Stop in if you're in the Grand Junction area!
The Cowboy Myth
An excellent article by Jeffrey A. Lockwood. Some would have you believe that self-reliance and respect for the individual are anachronisms better replaced as soon as possible by a more modern collectivist urban mindset. For them the image of the cowboy symbolizes everything that's wrong with the west.
Fortunately, some of us like our cowboys.
That only our carefully trained law enforcement personnel can be trusted to be safe with firearms.
Friday, July 11, 2008- - -
You'd like to think that you're immune to the stuff..
Mmmm.. Zombie girls. Because I haven't linked to this lately!
Thursday, July 10, 2008- - -
Beer is the root of all civilization!
The InstaPundit links to an article by George F. Will arguing:
The development of civilization depended on urbanization, which depended on beer. To understand why, consult Steven Johnson's marvelous 2006 book, "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic -- and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World." It is a great scientific detective story about how a horrific cholera outbreak was traced to a particular neighborhood pump for drinking water. And Johnson begins a mind-opening excursion into a related topic this way:Professor Bainbridge disagrees, observing that wine probably predates beer, as many fruits have yeast naturally occurring on their skins, making wine if you simply let the juice sit. Makes sense to me.
"The search for unpolluted drinking water is as old as civilization itself. As soon as there were mass human settlements, waterborne diseases like dysentery became a crucial population bottleneck. For much of human history, the solution to this chronic public-health issue was not purifying the water supply. The solution was to drink alcohol."
Both arguments suffer from the idea that "civilization" and "urbanization" were somehow intentional -- we got tired of hunting [gasp!?] -- and that beer and/or wine somehow facilitated that intent. I'd argue that urbanization is a byproduct of beer and wine making. What happens when you decide to make beer or wine? Well, you've got to sit in one place long enough for the stuff to ferment. Also, if you're to make very much you've got to have a great surplus of fruit or grain. So you set up shop next to the plum thicket or the barley patch. Then you start encouraging the fruit trees by thinning the underbrush, or you start replanting a bit of the grain. Next thing you know you're a sedentary farmer and vintner. Then all your friends drop in to try your brew and the next thing you know you've got a town.
I doubt that it's by accident that the very earliest permanent settlements -- Jericho may be the first -- practiced agriculture and made wine and beer. I suspect (and I'm not alone) that they practiced agriculture in order to make beer and wine and that the permanent settlement was created of necessity to facilitate the process of making beer and wine.
Of course, this also forced us to give up hunting as a subsistence activity, and it's been all downhill ever since.
Preble's jumping mice are in the news again. They've been delisted in Wyoming because studies have shown.. "There's literally dozens of locations where Preble's has been verified," said Pete Plage, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.
Ah! So these rare and endangered species are neither particularly rare, nor terribly endangered. But lack of knowledge never stays the hand of the federal government.
Meanwhile.. The Bush administration is objecting to legislation that would ask the federal government to help compensate livestock owners whose animals are killed by wolves. You know, the wolves the feds forced on us? Now they don't want to accept responsibility for the totally predictable results of their actions.
Nice work boys.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008- - -
Tell me again..
Why national ID cards and national medical databases are such a great idea. I mean! If we can't trust the DMV to get it right, who can we trust, eh?
Tuesday, July 08, 2008- - -
Who ya gonna believe?
I've been following the ruckus over the Rainbow Family gathering with some interest. Now there's this:
CHEYENNE -- A top U.S. Forest Service official said Monday the agency must consider banning the Rainbow Family from Forest Service lands after a confrontation that led to the arrests of at least eight people in western Wyoming.Asside from the fact that being "non-compromising," "arrogant" and "anti-authority" isn't illegal, I've got to wonder how it could be that none of the LEOs were hit by these 70 people throwing rocks and sticks from 25 feet away. That pretty well pegs my BS meter.
John Twiss, director of Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations in Washington, D.C., said he was among the officers who responded last week when Rainbow Family members threw sticks and rocks at federal officers. The incident started when officers tried to arrest one member of the Rainbow group for an alleged drug offense.
Twiss characterized the Rainbow participants as "non-compromising," "arrogant" and "anti-authority." He said this year's incident and other disturbances at recent gatherings should prompt a review of whether Rainbow Family events are allowed.
Thursday night's confrontation started at 8 p.m. and escalated as about 400 Rainbow participants tried to intervene in the arrest, according to the Forest Service.
Twiss said when he arrived at the scene, about 70 people were yelling profanities and throwing rocks and sticks at officers from as close as 25 feet away. Twiss said none of the officers was hit.
Update: Dont miss the comments on this article. A mix of 'leave 'em alone' and 'they got what they deserved'. I find the later rather appalling, if only because there's always someone who wants the government to give you 'what you deserve', at least until they're on the receiving end.
Saturday, July 05, 2008- - -
Hippies starving children to feel good about themselves.
Friday, July 04, 2008- - -
It was about 98F when I snapped this shot this afternoon.
Taken clean across the pasture with the new 70-300mm telephoto. I realized later I'd screwed up, having left the image stabilizer set for a portrait shot, so it's not as clear as it could have been.
An interesting feature of the Olympus Evolt E510 -- its image stabilization is built into the camera body rather than the lenses. This makes the lenses considerably less expensive than comparable lenses from Nikon and Canon.
After several years of being hobbled with a point & shoot I'm loving the ability to swap lenses to frame each shot. Now all I need are lens cases so I don't have to pack the extra lenses wrapped in bandanas in my butt pack. I suppose that the old hard cases, covered in nice leather, would have made the whole rig much more expensive, but the padded nylon cases I've ordered aren't that expensive. Ah well, I suppose I should be happy, the camera works darn well.
While I'm on the nostalgia kick, I'm also a bit appalled that even the lens ring the filters screw into is made of plastic. I keep telling myself that they make some wondrous plastics nowadays, but still.. A delicate touch will be necessary to avoid galling the very fine threads, as the filter rings are still made of metal.
Yes, out here we fly the flag every day!
[Taken with the new 70-300mm Olympus lens from about half a mile away, then cropped and enlarged with Photoshop. Wow, that's a nice lens!]
"Be a patriot! Get a job"
David Harsanyi at his finest. Of course, it would never occur to most politicians that they sound a little two-faced when they chastise us for pursuing our own crass self-interests.. While they pursue their own crass self interests.
Embrace the suck!
Poor Rifle, they want to diversify their economy by hobbling the only industry they've got. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of pain to the boom & bust of the oilfield -- when we left Rock Springs in 1987 there were tumbleweeds blowing down Dewar Drive and the standing joke was "Last one out turn off the lights!" -- but sometimes the only alternative to a boom & bust economy is a bust & bust economy.
I'd suggest that it's better to take advantage of the opportunities you're presented than to reject those opportunities while dreaming of being something you're not and won't ever be, a tourist destination.
Thursday, July 03, 2008- - -
I just love this time of year!
Wednesday, July 02, 2008- - -
Here's another cool one!
You don't have to photograph many flowers before an accommodating bee or butterfly happens by. This one was also shot with the 40-150mm lens and cropped with Photoshop.
One nice thing about the 10 megapixel photos is that you can crop them pretty severely and still have a usable image. I'm thinking a tripod would help reduce the fuzziness a bit and allow me to shoot with a smaller aperture and longer exposure to get greater depth of field. There's room for endless experimentation and I suspect it will take quite awhile to master the camera. I'm also thinking that, if Olympus is true to their usual philosophy, they will be employing these lenses for several generations of cameras, so upgrades will probably only require a new body. (Yes, I'm trying to justify going hog wild and buying another basket-full of lenses as I had with my old OM-1.
For years I packed an Olympus OM-1 and a basket-full of lenses, until photographing Megan's hooters did it in. Broke the darn camera, but it was fun nonetheless.
Since then I've fiddled with point & shoot digital cameras while wishing I had the bucks for a good digital SLR. I just couldn't see forking over a couple of grand for a camera that was going to be obsolete in six months, and anything more affordable wasn't much better than the pocket cameras I've been using.
But I've been watching the market and the high tech end of things seems to be leveling off. The difference between the $600 digital SLR and the $2000 model is 10 megapixels v. 10.2 megapixels, a couple of bells and a whistle. So I started seriously comparing the specs on the cameras in the $500-1000 range. They all look good on paper and all have their good points and bad, but I've had great good luck with Olympus' products for over 30 years so I ordered their Evolt E510. Just got it night before last, so I've only had time to shoot about 250 photos (they go fast when you put it in "full-auto" and rap off 3 shots per second).
To say I'm tickled would be an understatement. It has more bells and whistles than I could have imagined, enough to keep me endlessly fascinated with all the fiddly bits, but it also shoots great photos in auto mode. This one was shot in auto mode using the 40-150mm lens (I bought the model I've linked to, with two lenses), and subsequently cropped a bit with Photoshop.
I'm eagerly waiting a 70-300mm telephoto, which should be tons of fun. (As with all of Olympus "four-thirds" digital lenses, double the stated focal length to get the 35mm equivalent, so it's a 140-600mm in terms of 35mm film cameras.)
Stay tuned, because I've already got some great pix!