So much frustration right now. *waves vaguely at everything*

There are little things that make me think that the gremlins are just rubbing it in.

For example…

I’ve mentioned that I had to get a new “normal” lens for my Canon Rebel XT. The original lens is flaky, at the wide end of the zoom it won’t trigger, just locks up the camera mechanism. The new lens I got is much more new and faster and wonderful, but might be too new and wonderful for the old camera body. It auto-focuses like a dream, but for manual focus like I use all the time in astrophotography it’s just been a nightmare.

I thought that I had figured it out, right up until I didn’t.

One trick from when I had “figured it out” was to go out a few minutes early and take a test picture which I could review on the spot in the camera. And I got this. Recognize the Big Dipper? Maybe? Kinda? Yeah, if you say so…

Ten frantic minutes trying my new “trick” over and over and over – same results. Finally it’s time for the ISS and Dragon to rise, so set up one more time and take my chances.

It looked amazing. I’ve got that memory.

Do you see that streak in the bigger, right-hand oval? That’s the ISS. See that dimmer streak in the smaller, left-hand oval? That’s the Dragon spacecraft.

It’s more obvious in a blink comparison with the images before and after this one. (New thought, stand by – can I do that in Photoshop?)

(thirty minutes later)

YES! I can. (Remember this for a minute, I’ll be back to this in a minute.)

Here’s a three frame animation with a long pause on the third frame so you can see the looping action. Dragon shows up just to the right of the telephone pole in the middle frame.

Frustrated by this failure on Saturday night, on Sunday I sat down with the camera to figure out just WTAF is going on with this new, fancy, somewhat expensive lens that should be perfect but instead makes me want to scream.

And I figured it out.

Short version – the lens is sort of “fly by wire” in that the focusing ring doesn’t move the lens elements, so it doesn’t have a mechanical hard stop when focusing in or out. Instead the lens simply detects motion on the focusing ring and makes the mechanical adjustments to move the lens elements based on that input. BUT, and here’s the key, since this is being run off of the camera battery, in order to avoid draining the battery at an extreme rate (apparently) it shuts itself off after about five seconds. If you don’t know this (I didn’t) you can spin that focusing ring until the heat death of the universe and it’s not going to change a thing. If you do know this (I do now!) you can flick the power off and then right back on to “wake up” the lens, focus away, and then wait for it to “go back to sleep” after about five seconds.

So I was proud of my stubborn ass self. I had figured it out! REALLY really this time! Now to test it!

There was a pretty good ISS pass on Sunday! And it was cloudy.

So try it on Monday, an even better pass! And it was cloudy.

A great pass tonight! And…

Completely socked in.

As I said, the gremlins are just screwing with me because they can at this point.

Which was my original point when I started writing this an hour ago. But then my brain said, “Wait, that looks better in a blink comparison type of GIF, can I make one of those?” And I didn’t have a clue but I tried and asked the question and fought through some so-so tutorials and finally got close enough to just figure it out on my own before I fiddled with it a bit to make it better and when all was said and done, not only did I have a tiny little thing that I created myself and shared with all of you, but that made the existential angst-ish blanket of frustration lift just a little bit.

And that helped.

It also helped that this popped up on my news alerts about five minutes ago:

Change is possible. That’s one absolutely evil, ignorant, guanopsychotic, complete waste of protoplasm down, a few hundred more to go.

It won’t be tomorrow. It won’t be completely done in November or January. It’s going to take the rest of our lives, and maybe our children’s lives and grandchildren’s lives.

But we’ll get there.

One at a time.


Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Politics, Space

5 responses to “Frustration

  1. If you were looking for advice on how to use your camera, you could ask the folks at Canon’s online chat service. The site is
    I’ve used it before!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Making progress is possible if you take one step at a time. You figured it out. and… hopefully… so have Iowa. Well done Iowa!


  3. David J. Flood

    Hi Paul,
    I liked your piece about shaving your head. I think it looks good – especially because now you have less hair than I do. I also love babies who are hairless. But I digress.
    Actually, I have been cutting my own hair for 60 + years. I use a slip-on “adjustment piece” on the razor that is labelled “3 mm / 1/8.” After going over all my head, I take off the adjuster piece and trim my eyebrows with the edge of the razor; then trim around my ears; trim the back of my neck; and then trim the several lone hairs that pop up on my “high forehead.”
    The phenomenon that you mention abouy the “velcro” effect may be something that passes with time. It may have been like that when I first started cutting my hair – but now the memory is gone.
    You go, man! And look like the stud that you are (eat your heart out, Michael Jordan)!


    p.s. If you ever have a story about our planes, or airplanes in general, I hope you will “let your hair down” and share it with us.
    p.p.s. I hope you will forgive me – but I have an obsession to write poetry when I come upon a good story.


    You now are bald – and you have no hair,
    That is, on your head – not everywhere.
    You walk down the street, and the girls all stare,
    If you wanted to, you could run for mayor.

    But as Yul Brynner once proudly drawled,
    There’s nothing so beautiful as being bald!
    Once out of the caves our ancestors crawled,
    They were so smooth, even the Mammoths were appalled!

    All you need every month now is a trim,
    And you begin to shine when the lights get dim.
    As you enter a room, the drums begin,
    And you are plied with drinks up to the rim.

    The baldness somehow always lets you create
    All kinds of things that are usually first-rate.
    As long as you maintain that glistening pate,
    You’ll prosper ’til you enter that Pearly Gate.


    • Dave, your poetry is a hilarious inspiration. If the chrome dome effect would guarantee prosperity I would be a lot more inclined to keep it. As it is, this might be an “Okay, crossed THAT one off my bucket list!” item


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