Friday, October 31, 2014

Saturday Night Fever

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Why Moby Dick?

Because looking for a 'good' camera is a lot like searching for that white whale. The good news is unlike Ahab you don't have to go down and beckon, if you have read the last two posts you'll find your white whale and maybe even beckon and all save one, (Probably a Nikon guy), will follow.

So to review, DSLRs don't have to equal the Black Ops budget for The Republic of Irwadistan, they don't have to be more complicated than the stuff NASA uses to launch the space shuttle and you can with the tools I posted find one in less time than it takes to apply for Social Security.

So let's talk about that strange and curious thing quality.

Remember way back when I started this I stated, “Electronics either work or they don't.” That is true and will still be true when you do your search and will be true for the next lifetime unless they develop nanomachines to replace all humans with and the smart bugs won't have any use for cameras.

There just is no real difference between any of the top brands until you get to the professional level and we want to avoid that like the plague cause they cost more than an arm and a leg, they get used and abused more than a coin operated washing machine and they are just a little bit smaller than a '48 Merc.

So all things being equal you can pick any of the top brands and get a camera which will be reliable right out of the box, even if you aren't the first one to open the box.

You do want to chose an entry level camera.

But that doesn't make any sense, all along you have been talking about a 'good' camera and if the idea is to buy a used camera to save a few bucks then why not buy the top of the line?

Because that is where the usage curve starts to work against you. Every DSLR lives and dies on its shutter. The number of times a shutter gets activated is a better indicator of wear and tear than the age of the camera.

All of the top manufacturers engineer their cameras to take a lot of beating about and dragging around and most set the life of the camera at 100,000 shutter activations. Whew that is a lot of shutter pulls and it is more than any but the most dedicated amateur will ever do, but it is not more than a pro will do. That is why it is important to select an entry level camera. They will have a lot more life left in them than the work horse heavy-duty professional photographer's boat anchor.

Nikon and Canon both say one hundred thousand activations, Pentax says fifty thousand, but since that number is seldom reached it is just a likely spot where things might start going wrong. Sony claims one hundred thousand so you can see all of the Big Guys have a long way to go before they hit anything near then end of their service life.

My first Pentax came with 44,000+ activations and I have added another three plus since I got it plus plus I managed to take a dive while wearing it and it is still going so don't let a big number in the shutter count window scare you off.

Let's say that most DSLRs will do one hundred thousand shutter clicks before they head off to the Big Dark Room in the sky. So quality among the top three or four really is just a matter of personal choice.
What's next I heard you ask? Lens availability.

I picked Pentax because of two features; first I wanted AA battery power. Nothing stinks like grabbing your camera and finding the battery dead or almost dead when you get a chance at the perfect shot. And second Pentax has been around since the dawn of SLR cameras and there are literally thousands of compatible lenses made for Pentax cameras so I can use all of them when I find them.

Around here Canon seems to be to go-to brand. One look on Craigslist and you will find a dozen Canon lenses for sale, all of them too expensive but they are there all the same.

Nikon comes in third and they are even more expensive so think about what the lenses will cost when you are deciding what brand of camera you want to hang around your neck.

Oh yeah, Sony comes in last and you'll have to find lenses online or travel to Eugene, Salem, Portland or Seattle.

Now let me say that I have nothing against any brand. I think that Sony and Nikon suffer from name glitter without much substance to back it up. Canon's luster is a little bit of the same but not so dependent on the big budget add dollars. You make your decision on what you believe. Me, I'd rather save a buck or two and avoid the star-power of Nikon, but that's me.

But when making a decision about quality keep in mind this fact, bodies fail, get damaged or lost but lenses go on forever. You can get by with a dinged, dirty, scratched and skinned body, but when it comes to a lens, buy the best you can lay your hands on. That lens will travel with your next camera and the next and when you die the kid will fight over the lenses and throw the camera bodies out with the rest of the dust catchers.

Lenses fit on many bodies and manufacturers design their bodies so they are backward compatible with their older lenses. A good lens will sell for almost as much as you paid for it ten years from now while your camera, even if you bought it new and kept it in a mayonnaise jar over night on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls will be worth ten percent of what you paid if you are lucky. Spend more money on the lens and you'll be happy for years to come.

What about those bodies? And why buy just a body and not a whole camera? Most of those cameras come with an 18-55mm lens. Now this is a good ordinary lens which will take pictures and make your posts to InstaFame look really nice. But it isn't very useful when you start thinking about why you bought the camera. Better to let someone else worry about how to get rid of it and put your money in a lens you'll use.

So buy the body and the lens separately. Maybe you can't spring for the whole thing right now, probably a Nikon buyer, so you get the body and buy the lens later. No it won't be as much fun but it will make you hoard your pennies and save for that lens.

KEH will put you in a Nikon D3100 or a D5000 for $228 or 238 respectively. Then you can get a Nikon 55-200mm F4.5/5.6 for $79 and it is engineered for that body so your total expense is $307 or 317 for a Nikon camera and lens! And the lens will be something which you will actually use instead of trying to stick someone else with on Ebay.

One last word about quality, and this is completely anecdotal and not at all scientific, three weeks ago I was coming home form Coquille and had my Pentax in my hand when I missed a step and fell on my front deck. The camera wound up between me and the deck so it took all 229 pounds of Trawler on the body and lens. I was devastated.

No, not hurt but scared that my Pentax had been smashed to bits. This was not helped since a part of the lens hood went flying by my face as I landed. At the least I expected my lens mount to have been warped by the impact. Nothing doing, the lens hood part snapped back into place and I have run a coupla hundred frames through the Pentax since and there appears to be nothing amiss. That kiddos is quality. Try that with a point 'n' shoot!

So you now know how to get a 'good' camera and why to get a good 'camera' and what to buy with the good 'camera' so why aren't you out there buying a 'good' camera?

Parting shot, if you are truly worried about shutter count there is a free app you can download, Photo ME.

This will tell you the count every time you take a run of frames and you can worry about how close you are to hitting that hundred thousand count!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Type Casting

For Immediate Release                                                          Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 29, 2014                                                                    Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

Title:                            Monotype Workshop with Pat Snyder
What:                          printmaking workshop
Dates:                          Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, 2014
Time:                           10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., both days
Age Range:                  adults only
Skill Level:                   all skill levels welcome
Media:                         monotype printmaking
Where:                        Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR 97420
Workshop Fee:            $75 CAM members / $90 non-members
Registration Ends:       December 4, 2014
For more info:             call (541) 267-3901 or email

Learn from one of the area’s most imaginative and skilled printmakers in a two-day, adults only Monotype Workshop Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Coos Art Museum.  Renowned local artist, printmaker and art educator Pat Snyder will share with workshop participants the painterly printmaking process incorporating spontaneous painting and/or drawing within the fine art of printmaking using an etching press.  Materials can include paints, inks, pastels, charcoal and crayons or a combination of materials painted or drawn onto a surface (substrate). Substrates can be plates of wood, metal, glass, or plexiglas, however, for this workshop students will use plexiglas as the substrate. Plexiglas offers a consistent thickness supplying a uniform etching pressure for all students and due to its transparency can be placed over drawings or photographs acting as a useful guide for making the monotype.

Participants will learn the many different tools and materials for applying and subtracting paints and/or inks. Oil-based inks and paints have been popular with artists for their slow drying times. This Monotype Workshop will use non-toxic, slow drying, and safe Akua® water-based paints and inks. Additional topics will include monotype terminology, proper use of the etching press, the limits of materials and supplies, chine colle (specialty paper glued to monotype) and studio setup. 

This workshop is a prerequisite for independent use and rental of Coos Art Museum’s Printmaking Studio.  Cost for the two-day workshop is $75 for CAM members and $90 for non-members.  Registration ends December 4, 2014.  For online registration visit or contact the Art Education Dept. at (541) 267-3901 or

Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

 Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Black Market Alert

Upcoming Events at Black Market Gourmet

Monday, October 27, 2014

Moby Dick

So you thought I was through?

No, because we have only begun to talk about getting you a 'good' camera for holidays or your birthday or Guy Fawkes Day.

So to start, let's define good as a digital single lens reflex camera of 12 megapixels or better with interchangeable lenses and at least 720 video capability.


A digital single lens reflex camera is now and for the foreseeable future the finest tool for picture making you can put hands on. It is just the BEST. You can change the lenses to fit what you are photographing, take pictures in all kinds of light and weather conditions and when the BIG ONE comes you can video the panic and get on Youtube!

Why 12 megapixels?

They make cameras with forty megapixels, why should I be satisfied with just a dozen. Cause we are trying to get the dog to hunt for less than you paid for your car. Sure you can get a humongous number of pixels and I am sure that they would come in handy if you are trying to copy US currency so you can make your own money and get it past the gimlet-eyed Treasury Agents, (You know they have no sense of humor or proportion, you know that and they will catch you and kick you around the parking lot) so you really don't need all that many pixels so you won't be tempted, but if you are remember to run the new paper through the dryer a few times so that it looks like it has been in circulation for a while and didn't just come from you HP.

And if you are not going to try to make your own money then you won't need so many megapixels and the Treasury Agents can go back to beating the tar out of people who jump over the White House fence and that is a much better use of their time.

So let's say that twelve megapixels is good enough for starters. Sure if you fall in love and win the lotto and learn how to use all of the controls on that twelve megapixel camera then you can go out and buy a forty megapixel whizzbang and show it to all of your friends and be on a first name basis at the bank cause you will need just about the GNP of Moldavia if you are really going to buy one.

And because I want you to concentrate on picture taking and not on how you are going to pay for the beast. Remember this is going to be a really big adventurer and if you are so worried about what it costs you won't have time to enjoy the ride.

Also with a twelve megapixel DSLR you will have a tool which you can work with and grow with and play with for years and still not completely tame.

But it is just too complicated.

Yes, I won't kid you DSLRs are very complicated, but everyone of them has an Auto setting which will allow you to use the camera like a big ole point 'n' shoot. Better still most have a P setting which will check thousands of pre-programed scenes and select the one which most closely matches your scene and adjust the camera accordingly. So without much effort you can put the animal to work right out of the box.
That means it isn't all that complicated unless you want it to be.

They cost an arm and a leg and more than it takes to send the kid back to school in the fall.

They can, but one of the other reasons why we are talking about twelve megapixel cameras is they have all of the bells and whistles of their big brethren without the price tag. In fact having completed an informal survey, they can be had for under three hundred dollars in almost every case. (That's Nikon but we'll talk about that later.)

Three hundred dollars is a lot of money, but it is money you'd spend on many things without so much as a blink. The phone in your back pocket, the video game console by your TV, the cable package you got because you just had to see the final season of Boardwalk Empire and then you wanted to take a look at Outlander and see if trans-dimensional adultery is as much fun as they said it was and the thing on the sofa just wanted to see if that lanky Irish Miss was going to get nekkid and she did and did pretty nekkid pretty well for someone committing sin in two time zones.

So the cost isn't more than you would spend on many things and the camera you use, no not the one in your phone, they don't count, probably cost nearly as much without being able to do nearly as much so this is a good purchase.

So now you know it doesn't cost more than the appropriation bill for Senate toilet paper and it isn't as complicated as trying to read the congressional record it is still terrifying, right?

Who wants to go out on the dark and scary Internet alone to try and find one of those under three hundred dollar cameras. You do and you can with just a little bit of work.

The first and the most important thing you need to know is what you are looking for. Now some of you will want a Nikon and I can't help that although I hear there are twelve step groups for that sort of thing and some of you will want a Canon, almost as bad, but better and some of you will want a Sony, name identification gone mad and some of you will want a Pentax and then there are a whole bunch of others. So, you gotta pick.

This site will help more than anything I can say. You find a camera you like and enter it and then you can compare it to any other camera and get a side by side look, a numerical rating and a list of features. Snapsort will also give you places where you can buy the one you want, but they are almost always more expensive than the places I am going to give you, like...

These guys are very, very good and their inventory is always first rate and I bought my own much loved Pentax there and they did right by me so I think they will do right by you.

B&H will do almost everything which KEH can do and they do it almost as well. I have used them and they did exactly what they said they were going to do and they did it when they said they were going to do it and the followed instructions which is more than I can say for Amazon so they are all right by me.

Adorama is not one that I have used, but they are one of the ones which you could use and they will do the same sort of stuff which B&H and KEH will do and you can count on them and trust them and buy from them.

I can hear they grousing and complaining, “Why can't you just buy 'Merican for crying out loud?” And you can and I have listed three good American sources, but I would be doing you no favors if I didn't list Henry's. Henry's lists on Ebay a lot, but they also have a real, ordinary, normal online shop and you will find that they have some of the best bargains on cameras in the ether.

So now you know where to buy and how to find out what to buy and you've narrowed the field to three or four brands and you are ready to but, what next?

You have to decide what you really want to buy cause if you get something just because you think it is the bestest thing since Sofia Vergara, and Sofia Vergara is pretty closet to the bestest thing, you will not be a happy camper.

No, silly say yes to Sofia, but when you are thinking about a camera devote a little less eyeball and a little more brain.

Now go and shop and think and plan and we'll meet back here in a day or so and talk about quality.
out quality.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Jug of Wine, A loaf of Bread and Thou

For Immediate Release                                                       Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 23, 2014                                                                  Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

Title:                            “Of Men, Myths and Jars of Clay” presented by Steven Broocks, Coos Art Museum Executive Director
What:                          lecture
Dates:                         Thursday, October 30, 2014
Time:                          5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Where:                       Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR
Fee:                            FREE for CAM members/ $5 non-members
For more info:           call (541) 267-3901 or email

Join Coos Art Museum on Thursday, October 30, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for “Of Men, Myths and Jars of Clay”, a lecture presented by Steven Broocks, Coos Art Museum Executive Director.

The lecture covers the technical, historical and aesthetic development of Greek ceramics from the civilization of Minoan Crete through the Classical era in Athens. Through pottery painting Greek artists reveal themselves as individuals, they are among the first named artists in history. Pottery painting is also an incredible window into classical times unveiling myth, history and everyday lives.

Steven Broocks received his Master’s degree in Art History with a minor in Ceramics from Northern Illinois University. As a past professional potter and art history instructor he brings uncommon insight into the study of ancient ceramics.

Lecture is free for CAM members and $5 for non-members. For additional information contact the Art Education Department at (541) 267-3901.

Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Art by the Sea

Class Schedule - 2014
In the Continuum Building, Old Town Bandon
Thurs.  Oct. 16 – Watercolor by Vinita Pappas  1-4:00  $30
Tues.  Oct. 21 – Wet on Wet, Acrylic  “A Breaking Wave”  by Paul Kingsbury  10:30-4:00  $35  (See materials list.)
Thurs.  Oct. 23 – Watercolor by Vinita Pappas  1-4:00  $30
Sat.  Oct. 25 – Drawing Lips and Hands Play Day  by Kandi Wyatt  1-3:00  $16  (Bring pencils.)
Sun.  Oct. 26 – Design & Create Beautiful Jewelry  by Shawn Tempesta  1-4:00   $25  (Learn to use jewelry wire & crimps.  Make a bracelet & earrings with gemstones, crystals, glass beads, & metal findings.  All materials included.)
Fri.  Nov. 7 – Felting, Landscapes by Mattie Lane  11-4:00  $25  ($10 materials fee)
Mon.  Nov. 10 & Mon.  Nov. 17 – Hopes & Dreams Safe Keeper  (journal enclosed in a box)  by Deborah Fisher  12:30-3:30  $130 (Fee includes both classes, Part One & Part Two)
Wed.  Nov. 12 - Holiday Card Play Day by Joanne Drapkin  1-3:00  $16
Thurs.  Nov. 13 – Journals Play Day by Sandy Schroeder  1-4:00  $16
Fri.  Nov. 14 – Play Day Surprise (YUPO) by Ava Richey  1-4:00 $16
Tues.  Nov. 18 – Ocean Painting in Acrylics by Paul Kingsbury  10:30-4:00  $35
Wed.  Nov. 19 – Fabric Collage by Susan DeSalvatore  11-4:00  $30
Fri.  Nov. 21 – One Sheet Journal by Deborah Fisher  1-3:45  $35  
Contact the Gallery at 541-347-5355 for more information.  Most classes have a materials list of what to bring with you.
*Sign up at the Gallery.   Fee may be paid the day of the class.  Classes fill up quickly, however, so full prepayment guarantees your place in the class!  We no longer accept deposits.
*If interested in the “Drop-In” Play Day Classes, you may leave your name and email address at the gallery to be emailed with a reminder.