I’m still here

A minor site update for the few who are still paying attention.

This website was created at a time when I was traveling quite regularly, and planning on spending a great deal of time abroad and on the road. It was intended to be a travel companion, to share my journey with others. The concept of Packcamera is not conducive to the author (me) leading a sedentary and homebound lifestyle. Sadly, recovering from a string of injuries and their inevitable complications has shifted my agenda a great deal. As such, this website as well as my Green Photo Tours endeavors have been all but abandoned before they really got going. So this summer, I am going to  mirror the slow but steady efforts I am making in physical therapy and begin participating in smaller domestic adventures, building up for the big expeditions and workshops that instigated both this website and the tours I have been forced to temporarily shelve.

On tap in the upcoming weeks is a 7-10 day kayak trip along the upper Delaware River continuing on through the Delaware Water Gap. This is to be preceded by a couple of overnight kayaking trips along the Hudson river. Possessing a Feathercraft folding kayak has opened up a great number of local expeditions that can be achieved without the use of a car, instead, relying on mass transportation for accessing launch sites. It is a concept popularized by the kayaker known only as Dubside. I am even dabbling with creating another website that allows people to share their own car-free excursions, but I wish to get Dubside’s blessing first, which will require my composition of a proper letter as he refuses to attain his own email address despite having his own website.

Returning to the issues affecting this site, in addition to this post I have a half-dozen others on draft, where I will be focusing on long-term evaluations of some gear, a couple of rants, and my pursuit of my next holy grail item in the world of photography, the digital Nikonos or a modern equivalent.

I wrote an earlier piece bemoaning the gap in the waterproof photographic market that Nikonoses used to fill during the era of 35mm film. The brilliance of these cameras is not only did they have interchangeable lenses, but could be used at substantial depths without the bulk, weight, and cost of the SLR housings we have available today. Additionally, Nikonoses are significantly more durable than the over-engineered Zip-Loc bags that many consumers waste enormous amounts of money on to protect their equipment. This protection also prevents access to buttons, displays, and controls, so anyone who knows the difference between an f-stop and a bus stop will be frustrated by the limited control.

Most adventurists would love a super-zoom point and shoot cameras that was built to the same specs as the Pentax Optio W-series or the Olympus Tough cameras, but with a greater zoom range. We desire a camera with a decent wide-angle for landscapes and vistas, a long telephoto range for spotting and shooting wildlife from afar, RAW files, HD video recording, and backed by image stabilization. A durable casing that can handle a few drops and bumps while remaining waterproof to a few meters is all that is needed – it would be a camera for surface sports, not SCUBA diving, as there are plenty of devices for that market already.

So for my own addition to my accumulation of crap, I am comparing a Nikonos V with the air-corrected and quite common 35mm/2.5 against a Pentax Optio W90. Neither camera possesses half of what I have on my wishlist of features, but nothing else comes much closer. I won’t be shooting much from the trail or boat, but when I do, I want to have on hand the right instrument that has the full range of notes I am accustomed to playing. I have an affinity for the Nikonos and its manually controlled prime lens, but the compact W90 presents a greater optical range without a lens interchange. This comes at a cost that is over twice that of the film camera (at the time of writing used Nikonos V with 35mm/2.5 sells for about $100 used while the W90 costs about $260). Neither are a wallet-draining investment, but in this economy, we all have to watch our expenditures.

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