Strictly P900 Photos and other stuff

I’m screwed. Two days ago, I was writing the last scene of my Michelle Maul short story. As I write, I’m happy with the plot, with the twist, with the progression of the story and looking forward to putting it up on the blog . . . and then it hits me; a huge frigging problem with the ending. The character I had pegged as the bad guy (“guy” used as a general placeholder term not indicative of actual gender) had leverage (rather, would have leverage in real life were it an analogous situation) that would undermine the conclusion of the story. 

I looked at it for a number of hours and there’s no escaping it . . . I wrote myself into the equivalent of a corner. Rare for me, but I’ll have to scrap a large portion of the story and re-write it. OR . . . introduce a new character and weave them into the plot from about halfway through. 

Either way, I’m not only not done, I’m a long way from being done. Honest, as much as I enjoyed writing this short story, it’s caused me more headaches than almost anything I’ve written. 

So, instead, I decided to catch up with some of my P900 photographs snapped since my last P900 update. 

For them who are keeping track, notice that these days my camera of choice increasingly is the Nikon P900 as opposed to the much better Nikon D7000 and the expensive lenses that accompany the D7000. Some of it is convenience (one camera that does it all) but it’s also that the P900 takes decent enough (good enough) photos that I don’t often miss the big rig. Yes, yes, no RAW support and not as good at the pixel level, but . . . well, you be the judge. 

You can click the photo for a larger view and you can go to THIS SmugMug gallery and look at the original size of the photo. Again, for pixel-watchers, some of these photos will be a disappointment, but at the sizes most viewed (the above or clicking on the above), these should satisfy. 


Oh, yeah . . . not all of these will be in chronological sequence, but not only that; this post comes with an additional warning: 

Warning: if short on time, this post is not for you. Not only are there lots of photos, but a few videos, as well. Not to mention words. There is a gallery at the end of the post, but you have to scroll a long way down to get to it. In fact, I won’t even tell you how many photos there are . . . the faint of heart — and readers with no stomach for it — would pass out from exhaustion just imagining reading all of it, let alone actually doing it. You have been warned. 

OK . . . so, the common Mayna bird . . . look at this next photo.

This shot is taken from our balcony down to the pool shed’s roof. I’d occasionally pondered about the large number of small smooth rocks strewn all over the roof. And I’ve occasionally watched these birds take apart the popcorn-like fruit from a nearby tree. But it wasn’t until I shot a video of it (thank you P900) that I made a discovery . . . 

Those are not little black rocks . . . they are seeds. Presumably, inedible seeds. By the way, all of the movies are shot in 1080p; if the video doesn’t default to HD, I suggest manually making the choice for the better resolution.  

One other thing before we move on . . . Mynas are very energy conscious. Notice how they’ve all switched their eyes to LED lights. Smart birds. 

There are situations where the P900 kind of falls flat. Notably, photos with a high dynamic range (some objects are very bright and some are very dark). It can make for poor captures, as in these next two shots.

It was also cloudy and with the settings I had the camera at, it shot with a low shutter speed. By the time I went to adjust the ISO, the bird took off. Bastard!

Also, the P900 occasionally chooses the aperture based on a minimum shutter speed I set (125th/sec). I would like to set the minimum shutter speed higher and I would like to set the maximum ISO higher than its current range (currently 100-800 but I would prefer 100-1600). I could shoot in aperture mode, but again the camera makes odd choices. I could change settings for each shot, but as the menu system is not professional grade (no dedicated buttons for common settings) it takes too long to switch and I would miss more shots than I would get.

I could have it on full auto, but then it’s a crapshoot as I have no idea what algorithm it uses to come up with a shutter speed and ISO combination. 

For example, these next two photos were shot in full Auto because of the difficult lighting conditions (backlit dark-ish subject). The camera picked the widest possible aperture and I ended up with only parts of the subject in focus. I cropped the photos to show only the parts that are in focus. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are nice details on the feathers but, you know, bird ass . . . not exactly award-winning photography. 

Unless a repeat visit, I make it a point to photograph ships that visit Kona. I’ve gotten into trouble — as in getting castigated — for not including information about the ships I show, ergo, each photo has the name and link to the ship’s stats. 

Sea Princess

Oh, one other thing . . . some people plain don’t like cruise ships. Elitist snobs they be or not, if not interested in cruise ships, they should just skip past this part of the post.

Most of these shots are taken from the Old Kona Airport County Park (where we go for our daily 4.5 miles walk). 

Radiance of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas
Celebrity Solstice – approaching Kona from the South
Celebrity Solstice – approaching Kona from the South
Celebrity Solstice – anchored
Celebrity Solstice – anchored
Crystal Serenity
Crystal Serenity
Crystal Serenity

Now, those are all fine ships . . . this next one is something else . . . 

The World

Let’s say you’ve done well for yourself; you worked, saved, paid for your house, put the kids through college, got a little set aside for when — more likely, if — you retire. Well, you are about to get a taste of how the rich live . . . read THIS and THIS and THIS.

That’s right; those are not cabins. They are residences; condominiums. Let me quote from one of the above links:

  • Studio cost – USD 600,000 (initially sold at USD 90,000).
  • Two Bed (Ocean Residence) apartment cost – USD 2,95 million.
  • ms The World Suites cost – only USD 13,5 million(initially sold at USD 6 million).
  • Short-term rentals – you can rent some of The World’s cruise apartments (depending on category) from ~USD 550 for a studio apartment (per person per night, min for 5 days) to suite rentals – from ~USD 20,000 a month. Some of the residences are also available for rent – at USD 2100 a day. Discounts are available for repeat guests.
  • The World ship’s apartments sizes vary from 1350 ft2 (125 m2) to 3000 ft2 (280 m2) “cruise ship mansions”.

If you fantasy {sic} about becoming an apartment owner on ms The World, you should also know that ship service fees (depending on property) start from USD 60,000 to USD 300,000 a year. These cover crew, fuel, maintenance, port charges, meals. USD 8 million is the entry fee. This amount of money buys you a lease expiring in the distant 2052. As to the maintenance fees mentioned above – they are ~5-6% of the apartment’s sale price. As to the ship’s occupancy – it rarely goes above 200 passengers.

You can read about notable celebrities who own suites on The World. Celebrities who will happily tell you your truck is harming the climate and you should be driving an electric car. Celebrities who chastise you for not giving as much as you possibly can of your “extra” income to help the less fortunate. I have two words for them . . . but I best not express myself in such a base manner. But, I’m thinking them. Oh, yeah, I’m thinking them; in capital letters. 

Occasionally, we go out for breakfast. Not often because two eggs, toast, pancakes, sausages, spam, and a wheat toast (no butter, thank you; just grape jelly) take a bit of effort to work off at the gym. I mean, the walking I do and the 4-5 days at the gym each week are barely enough to keep ahead of my regular meals and snacks. Adding forays into local restaurants would require a substantial increase in exercise.

Anyway, if the day is nice — as it was on May 26th — we stroll along Aliʻi drive . . . 

. . . occasionally spotting interesting features on trees. 

Occasionally looking at boats anchored in the bay . . . and occasionally spotting two idiots playing chicken on jet skis.

Also watching some random bird look for FSM-knows what on the rocks.

On this particular morning, I got to watch some crabs foraging on the lava rocks. Thank you Nikon P900 long zoom; without you, I’d never gotten these shots. 

. . . or the accompanying movies.

Or, for that matter, a dog out paddle boarding (yes, I got permission from Melisa to snap a photo). 

There was another day when I saw a dog out for a swim with its owner (or someone I presumed was the owner) . . . 

We were a bit concerned, but they only swam out to the buoy and back and the dog did not seem in any distress. Plus, there were two guys swimming with it. I presume they like the dog and would keep it safe. 

As for the girl, naked women are not an uncommon sight on the main drag . . . 

I can’t speak to her taste in men, but then she might not be a great catch herself. 

So, how are we doing? Need a break? Here’s a musical interlude . . . 

Now, perhaps that wasn’t your cup of tea . . . how about videos from the first time I saw someone surf using a hydrofoil board?

You got to admit . . . that looks cool. There is no question that if I surfed, that would be my board of choice. PHOTOS and HERE offering more on Foilboarding.

Mind you, them boards are not cheap, but that’s actually not much more than regular board sold at the local Costco . . . not something I would usually see at the Costco in Colorado. 

Here are two more quick videos. 

The middle video was shot from the car, and that’s why the video ends with a big dark area coming in from the left side of the frame . . . that would be my A-Pillar. 

Many a day, after our walk, after going to the gym, after chores and shopping, I’m left with just myself and my thoughts. 

That’s when I try really hard to avoid the internet, especially anything that might carry “news.” News is bad news . . . literally. There are no places just reporting the news; they insist on giving you opinions with the news, usually, something about people they hope are not you being the scum of the Earth and not worth the air they breathe. 

Take any piece of news and you can channel hop to learn all the ways various groups are profiting from it. There’s only one person who is totally screwed, they will say, and that is you. Ask any pundit and they’ll have a list a mile long explaining in some detail why you, your family, your dog, and your favorite plant are all screwed because someone or other is in office or doing something while in office or stealing something while they are in office. 

On those days, I grab the camera and spend a few minutes outside, snapping at whatever holds my interest. Often, it’s flowers. But, since I do a lot of flowers, I do different stuff when I process them . . . 

My favorite program for “doing stuff” to photos turns out to be the Topaz Plugin Suite, as witnessed by the last two photos. 

Sometimes it’s just nice photographing stuff at random (hint: it’s never random). 

Future coconuts . . . except, they will be cut down before they have a chance to mature and kill someone walking under them.
This is a tree on the property . . . and them be mangos. Here’s the thing; smaller than a coconut, but they would still hurt if they dropped on your head.
Just a flower from a tree. Kind of neat, though.

Sometimes, the mundane can be turned extraordinary. This next one is of some palm leaf shot against the clear sky. Run it through a few Topaz plugins and you get this:

It looks like a sunset but it was the middle of the day.

Remember when I posted the photos from my trip to the volcano national park? Those were from the D7000.  These are from the P900. Some of these are actual macros and some are me just zooming the camera really close from far away. 

For the record, I think the P900 takes pretty good macros. 

As macros go, those are not bad. These next three shots are more along the lines of true macros (lens real close to the subject as opposed to zoomed in from afar).

That’s pretty good . . . sorry; I think that’s pretty good. 

Now, sometimes macro-like shots can be achieved by zooming in from afar. Let me show you these shots . . . 

I’m probably 25-to-35 feet away. The full zoom is overkill, but it need not be. 

More zoom macros or — as I like to call them — Zoom Macros . . . 

Here’s my attempt at an artistic shot . . . 

Do you like the fish? Here’s more. 

A few days ago we went to the Place of Refuge and as luck would have it, they had a cultural event. Still, we entered and went way to the back of the park where they have picnic tables and stuff. It was nearly empty as people were getting their culture fill in the main area of the park. I walked around on the lava rocks and had fun snapping a few photos . . . 

. . . I do like lava.

This crab looks undamaged . . . except that it’s dead (the orange coloring gives it away).

Normally, these things are in pieces, hacked by some bird or other. This guy looks like it just up and died there and other critters decided to just leave it be. 

Here are a few variations . . . 

And here’s a top view . . . 

I spent a fair amount of time looking at the sea rising and falling (kind of neat, actually, even if I would have preferred actual waves, crest and all.)

Got me a few videos, as well (four, to be exact):

But, I also watched the seafloor vegetation . . . 

Noticed some little details . . . 

. . . and saw my little buddies mentioned in THIS post from last year.

Here’s what I said back then about them:

Those purple things sticking on the rocks are Shingles Urchins or Helmet Urchins. Their Hawai’ian name is ha’uke’uke kaupali which roughly translates to “summabirch! this thing be stuck on there!” Once anchored, they are impossible to remove by hand, or so they say. 

On the way back to the car, I snapped photos of a few more things . . . 

Before leaving, I wanted a few photos of the quintessential Hawaiʻian postcard scene . . . 

. . . except, it’s often painted . . . 

Here are a few variations . . . 

The roots of these trees are interesting on their own . . . 

. . . as is looking up . . . 

OK . . . notice these next palm trees . . . 

. . . and now look at this one, off the beaten pass . . . 

Notice the difference? The park, the city, and every private and public place have people come in and remove the old palm leafs and cut down the coconuts. They do it for safety reasons, of course. 

That’s something that one has to remember when walking in non-cultivated areas . . . there be coconuts above you. Not just a few, either. Remember the shots from before? here’s what those fruits grow into if left to themselves. 

If you made it this far, looked at all the photos, read all the words . . . wow! I’m impressed. I figure 99% of the readers will skim this as their eyes glaze over the unending stream of photos. 

Well, I’ll leave it at that . . . 89 photos seem enough. I have 90, but I left one out. See if you can find it in the gallery below. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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