WEDNESDAY 01 February — TUESDAY 21 February
Although this post is not (primarily) about the barn project, I did spend a lot of time during this period working on the electrical plan and researching devices, particularly lighting fixtures. Happenings specific to the barn project will be covered in separate posts following this one.
I decided to buy a new digital camera for our upcoming Panama Canal cruise on the NCL Joy with our friends (and RV travel buddies) Nancy and Paul. I wanted something small and light but good quality. My birthday was just a few days away, so that was my additional “justification” for buying it (not that I really needed one). After weighing various factors, including cost, I settled on a Sony a6400 with a 16-50 mm E-mount zoom lens. I placed the order with B & H Photo Video, which has been my go-to place for photography equipment for a while now.
This will be my third Sony digital camera, and I have been very satisfied with the first two; a DSLR-a100 and a DSLR-a99. ABIR, the DSLR-a100 was Sony’s entry into the digital camera space in 2006, having absorbed the Konica-Minolta A-mount system and lenses. I have a fairly complete Minolta 9000 35mm film camera kit, and the fact that I could use my existing lenses with this new Sony camera was a big decision factor. The only limitation was the 10 Mp APS-C sensor. Besides the inherent resolution, this also meant my lenses produced more magnification than on a full-frame 35mm body.
I used the a100 a lot and eventually bought the DSLA-a99. This was Sony’s highest end body at the time, with a full-frame (36mmx24mm) 24 Mp sensor, but maintaining the A-mount system. Both of these bodies are true SLR designs, with flip-up mirrors. The a99 is large and heavy, especially with the additional bottom-mount battery pack (like the motor drive attachments of old), but I like the way it feels in my hands.
The new camera arrived today. The a6400 has an APS-C sensor (25.1mm x 16.7mm) with the same 3:2 aspect ratio as a full-frame 35 mm sensor (36mm x 24mm), so it presents an image format with which I am familiar and comfortable. That said, it is definitely small and light weight. Significantly, it has a 24 Mp sensor, so the same resolution as my a99! Also, the 16-50mm zoom lens provides the same field of view as a 24mm-75mm zoom lens on a full frame sensor camera. This is similar to the range I have on my Sony/Zeiss 24mm-70mm zoom lens, which I use with the Sony a99 most of the time. The kit lens is not of that quality, of course, but I am looking forward to the images I get from the new combination. I still like my Sony a99, and I absolutely love my Sony/Zeiss 24mm-70mm zoom lens, but the combination is heavy, and I felt it was too much camera to take on this particular cruise.
The big tradeoff, of course, was the E-mount system for the lenses. But it’s not like I had a choice within the Sony product line as Sony had officially abandoned the A-mount system sometime after I purchased the. (The did bring out an a99-ii with a 42 Mp sensor, with a year of when I bought the a99, but the price was just too steep for a hobbyist. Still, in retrospect I wish I had bought it.) The other major difference (besides price) was that the a6400 is a “mirrorless” camera; the viewfinder, like the rear screen, is just a small monitor. Again, this has it’s good and bad points, and the web, including Youtube, is cluttered with articles and videos that get into all of this.
My birthday was on Saturday and the 14’ Werner Twin (2-sided) step ladder that I order from Lowe’s on December 3rd finally arrived at the store, so Linda and I went to pick it up in the F-150. In order to carry it home, I had to move and re-secure the three large Rubbermaid tubs that collectively hold about 300 pounds of sand to add weight to the drive axle during the winter. I needed to create a space in the center of the truck bed to allow the narrower top end of the ladder to sit in the bed (vertically) all to way to the front wall behind the cab. Even then, with the tailgate down, the lower half of the ladder hung out way past the end of the lowered tailgate. We took additional ratchet straps and large rubber bungee cords to lock it in place, and tied red plastic flags on the protruding end for the short trip home. The ladder was strapped closed along with two packing boards. As delivered, it weighed 86 pounds, and the combination of size and weight was quite a handful for the two of us. But I have a lot of wiring to do in the barn, some of it 16 or more feet above the floor. I did not want to do that with an extension ladder, and the only one we have is the Little Giant aluminum convertible unit that can be configured as a 14’ extension ladder.
We had the family over for brunch to celebrate my birthday. It’s always lovely when the entire immediate family is able to gather.
WEDNESDAY 15 February
It turned out that the crew from Motor Cities Electric Utilities showed up this morning to replace the pole in the SE corner of our property. In fact, it was same crew that was here in January to work on the pole for the house/barn and then started to work on this other pole before deciding to leave. This pole replacement was NOT part of the barn project, however, but a regular maintenance item intended to replace an old pole with a new/taller one, with the added benefit of helping raise the lines across our driveway a bit higher. (The new pole for the barn is also taller than the old one, and also helped raise the wires across our driveway and where they cross the street to the SW corner of our property.)
While they were working, I got a call back from the C/S person at DTE. She had checked on this pole, and found out it was not a DTE work order, and had (probably) been initiated by either AT&T or Comcast (those would be the other two choices). I thanked her for checking into this and getting back to me, and let her know that a contracted crew was here doing the work. What surprised me about this was that I was under the impression that the utility easement was granted to DTE Energy, that the utility poles belonged to them, and that all other users “leased” access on the poles from DTE. But then, the gas line that was run through our subdivision in 2013 is owned and operated by Consumers Power, and it was installed in the same utility easement, so perhaps I don’t correctly understand the arrangement(s) between these various companies viz-a-viz the rights to use the easement.
As I thought about all of this, I remembered that back in October, but sometime after I had initiated the work with DTE, someone was walking down the street checking all of the utility poles. I presumed he was working for DTE, but perhaps he was there on behalf of all of the utilities that use these poles.
No barn work today. Linda had already been packing for our upcoming cruise, and it was time for me to get serious about doing the same thing.
We made our final packing decisions for our trip this morning and, just after lunch, checked-in online for our flight to Los Angeles tomorrow. I spent the afternoon finalizing blog posts for December 2022, our trip to Disney World and Universal Studios over the holidays, and the electric utility work that took place in January 2023. I had all of those uploaded by 4:30 PM and was done with blog posts until after our cruise.