Friday, January 26, 2018

Bad lens, no service from Panasonic

I've just been through an extremely frustrating experience with Panasonic. My most recent purchase was a Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 zoom. I added it my kit consisting of a Lumix GX7 camera body, a Lumix G 20mm F1.7, and a Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4.0-5.6 zoom.

I've been pleased with the fixed 20mm and the 45-150mm zoom. All of my wildlife shots from our recent Africa trip (like these) used the long zoom, and they were very sharp.

But after using the 12-32mm zoom for several months, it became clear that it just wasn't sharp. I finally did tripod-mounted comparison shots with the 12-32mm and the 20mm, and the results were clear: the 12-32 is soft, both in the center and in the corners.

The lens was still under warranty, so I sent it off to Panasonic for service in November. After five or six phone calls (and none of the promised call-backs), and after sending in the comparison shot files, I was told that there's nothing wrong with the lens, and that comparing the 20mm with the 12-32mm was an "unfair" comparison. Bottom line: no repair, no replacement. They are sending the same lens back to me. Elapsed time: two months. Thanks for nothing.

I purchased the lens because it's small and wide-angle and had glowing comments on the Online Photographer. I've read that sometimes you just get a bad copy of a lens, and that zooms may be especially prone to variations in quality. I guess my luck wasn't good. But I expected better service from Panasonic. Caveat emptor, y'all.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Welcome Winter

The winter solstice occurred at 11:28 am EST (16:28 UTC) December 21, 2017. The days get longer now, so celebrate with light and love on this shortest day.

Tree at Great Falls, MD

Thursday, November 9, 2017

American Landscapes: Water

Much of the west is dry, but we also saw beautiful coasts, rivers and lakes.

California Coast at Gualala

St Marys River at Pine Island, Ontario
Point Arena Lighthouse and marine sanctuaries, California
Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

American Landscapes: Hills

On our road trip we saw lots of lovely landscapes. Many of those that made us pull over to take pictures were mountains and hills. Not too surprising, since we live in the East and don't see much elevation in our everyday lives. I suspect that even those who see them often still get a bit of a thrill from the hills.

Hills, Southern Idaho
Powder River Pass, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

Sunday, November 5, 2017

American Landscapes: Badlands

It's tempting to put badlands in quotes, because "bad" isn't the adjective that comes to mind: "strange", "tortuous", or even "severe" seem better. But apparently early europeans called them bad because they were difficult to traverse, and the name stuck.

"Extensive" is another adjective. The badlands cover more than two hundred square miles in North Dakota and South Dakota, in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Badlands National Park respectively. A casual tourist can see wonderful sites but to see it all would take a long, long time. We were happy we could at least visit both parks.

The northern badlands were cloaked in haze from large fires to the west, but the vistas were beautiful nevertheless. A memorable hike led to a vantage point overlooking a group of grazing bison. My preconceived notion of the badlands as barren was wrong. They have colors, textures and life.

Painted Canyon, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Bison, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Jones Creek, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Yellow Mound Formation, Badlands National Park

Saturday, November 4, 2017

American Landscapes: Canyons

Susan and I took a long road trip to the U.S. West Coast and back, driving 8,200 miles over 38 days. Loving landscapes as I do, this journey thrilled me. The scale and variety of the terrain and vegetation kept us enthralled through many hours in the car, and made every hike unique.

Some of the most enchanting scenes were in canyons. One chilly morning in South Dakota we drove through Spearfish Canyon, where the Ponderosa pines on the hills were frosted and the cottonwoods at lower elevations still had their autumn yellows.

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota
Another morning found us in Twin Falls exploring the Snake River Canyon near the Perrinne Bridge.

Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls, Idaho
Wyoming had two canyons we loved: On the Wind River in central Wyoming, and Ten Sleep Canyon at the western edge of the Big Horn mountains.

Hillside in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming
Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming
Outside of Bozeman, Montana we hiked in Cottonwood Canyon along South Cottonwood Creek.

Cottonwood Canyon, Montana
There seems to be no end to the beauty in our country, let alone in our continental neighbor, Canada, where we also traveled. Pictures from north of the border in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

African Wildlife, part 3

Apologies for the multiple posts. There are so many animals to see, including a wonderful variety of birds. There was no way to get photos of them all.
Tawny Eagle, Hwange National Park
Lilac-breasted Roller, Okavango National Park
Saddle-billed Storks, Okavango National Park
African Fish Eagle, Chobe National Park
Woodland Kingfisher, Okavango National Park
Small mammals are harder to spot. One of the most unusual is the hyrax: a mammal that resembles a rodent but is in the same taxon as elephants and manatees.
Hyrax, Okavango National Park
Banded Mongoose, Okavango National Park