Nikon Coolpix 2200: first impressions

inscription on paulist center and chapel by boston common

Following up on the thread about the camera purchase, here are my notes about my first pictures from the Nikon Coolpix 2200. The sample I’m using is the album I took in Boston on Saturday, May 29.

First point: The built-in memory in the camera is good for about 36 or 37 photos using the default settings. After a few rounds of importing and deleting photos (interestingly, iPhoto can’t erase imported photos from the camera’s built in memory as it can from removable media), I bit the bullet and picked up a 128MB SecureDigital card. The capacity looks like about 225 or so images—adequate for a weekend’s shooting. At some point I may consider this handy little iPod accessory to provide additional storage. Battery life is OK—the camera is still going after about 100 photos on the first set of AAs.

I wonder now whether I had the settings correct for these photos. None of the photos in the album is larger than 800 x 600, but the camera is supposed to support up to 1600 x 1200. This could also be an artefact of iPhoto—I’m not near my PowerBook, so I don’t have a way to check the original image sizes.

In general—and again this may be an artefact of the process for sending the photos up to the photo album—the images don’t appear to be very sharp. Some blurring and color fringing around diagonal sharp edges is visible, for instance in this picture of the North End after the removal of the elevated Central Artery (look at the two street signs), or this close-up of the tower of Park Street Church. Some images also appear a little dark even though they’re taken in broad daylight, for instance in this shot a lot of detail in the buildings to the left is not visible.

The stronger point, I think, is that the camera isn’t going to make me a better photographer by itself. Hopefully I’m learning a few things by looking critically at my results and will improve by taking more time with each photo and considering issues of lighting, etc. Maybe even a short course—who knows? I just know it will be a long time before I’m in the league of some of the better photobloggers out there.

Incidentally, the cryptic fragment of text in the image above is from an inscription above the door of the Paulist Chapel on Park Street across from Boston Common. The full inscription, if not the full facade, can be seen at the Paulist Center Community Boston web site.

Boycotting Virginia?

Hooblogger Dave Tepper writes, “ provides the most cogent analysis I’ve seen yet of Virginia’s latest anti-gay law. Simply a vile, disgusting law all around. I’m still encouraging people, including a gay friend of mine who’s considering going to grad school at U.Va., to boycott the state.”

While it isn’t exactly a surprise that Virginia isn’t progressive on this issue, the specific implications of Virginia’s holding as null and void civil unions and “partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage” are pretty alarming. I guess, living in blue states for the last four years, I had forgotten how the “mainstream” feels about issues like this.

Issues like basic human decency. And good models of marriage. My home state, lest we forget, was also home to a particularly keen model of marital bliss.

And, of course, to my 10th college reunion this weekend. I’ll be interested to take the pulse of other alums on this one. My feeling is that many of my friends will hold my position, but some of Greg’s friends from the Jefferson Society will try to play the usual gay-bashing cards.

What’s for dinner

I missed my customarybachelor chowpost the last few days. Normally when Lisa is out I end up cooking stuff that she would never eat if she were there; this time was no exception, although she was only out two days.

Last weekend as we cooked with Charlie and Carie we grilled vegetables, including fennel, and I was reminded of how little I do with vegetables these days. I resolved to address that. So Monday I spent working on my first ever ratatouille.

I learned to eat this stuff in Norfolk in a little pub whose name I’ve forgotten; the beer was always varied and good (I had my first Harpoon IPA there) and the cuisine was mid-90s American bistro. I think ratatouille was the side dish for every other entrée, and I loved the stuff: the eggplant’s slight bitterness countered by the sharp edge of the tomato, the overall mouth feel full without being heavy; perfect vegetarian comfort food, in fact.

My version was pretty good, and tasted good cold (a mark that I had the recipe pretty close). I had bought ingredients without looking at a recipe, so ended up with a yellow squash instead of the customary bell peppers, and with no basil. I had the right mouthfeel, though, and by swapping these ingredients around I think I could arrive at a pretty good recipe—and a surprisingly easy one. I ate the ratatouille with a ribeye that I coated with coarse-ground black pepper and seared in a cast iron skillet until just past rare.

Yesterday was a working day, so I couldn’t linger as long in the kitchen. I opted for a single ingredient dinner of broccoli rapini with garlic and cheese. I trimmed the tough stems from the rapini, blanched it in salted water, drained it, dunked it in cold water to stop it from cooking, and drained it again. Then I sliced garlic thin and cooked it in olive oil over moderately high heat, stirred the drained rapini in, and tossed it until it was heated through. I grated fresh pecorino over the rapini and ate it with a bratwurst that, to save time, I had just boiled. Good, simple, and Atkins-friendly.