r ranson

master steward & author
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since Feb 05, 2015
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an insomniac misanthrope who enjoys cooking, textile arts, farming and eating delicious food.
and who almost never replies to pm's or emails.
Left Coast Canada
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Recent posts by r ranson

A Year With My Camera was a great free class that taught me all about how to use my new camera.  
https://ayearwithmycamera.com/

I'm considering taking it again soon as I'm sure there are some great things I missed.
9 hours ago

Leigh Tate wrote:Here's what I decided on - A Canon EOS M50. It received consistently positive reviews from consumers, camera websites, and serious photographers. The negatives were either inconsequential to me or not confirmed by other reviewers. In fact, it was interesting to me how many professional and serious photographers own and regularly use an M50 for personal use. Video comparison reviews for this class of camera usually used the M50 for their standard of comparison.

Because it's such a popular digital camera, pricing for it is very competitive. Another plus! I was able to get the camera plus a used Canon EF-M 55–200mm f/4.5−6.3 IS STM lens and two extra batteries and stay within my budget. I'll be looking into a macro lens in the future.

It's a kit, so it comes with a battery, charger, and Canon EF-M 15–45mm f/3.5−6.3 IS STM lens. I don't really know what all that lens stuff means, but I'm ready to learn!

So, now I need recommendations for a good free online beginners photography course. Any suggestions?



That's a really good place to start!  Great choice!

After the camera equipment, the next thing that propelled me into taking better photographs was a large-ish beanbag.  About 12x12".  I prop my camera on that and put the 2-second timer on and it's awesome!  Better than a tripod because I actually use the beanbag and the tripod is a pain to set up and take down for 1 or 2 photos.

Easy to make at home too with some scraps of cloth and dry beans.  
9 hours ago
People on the autistic scale don't have the same affect (way of showing emotions) as "normal" humans.  
For people looking for volunteer (or get-paid as you go) opportunities, promoting the Digital Market could be a really great option.  There are some great things available there created by amazing people who need support to keep on creating awesome stuff.  

This not only helps permies (I think it's like 1 or 2% of every sale goes towards the server bills) and Paul's Empire, but it also helps permaculture reach more people.

The affiliate system is set up so people who want to do this can be rewarded for their hard work: https://permies.com/wiki/affiliate
I've managed volunteers in the past and I can imagine after about 2 years of being Paul's VA, this might be a good way to grow.  But I wouldn't recommend doing it at the same time as learning how to be his VA.

The thing about volunteers is that they aren't paid to do anything.  They choose to do it.  This means they can choose how they do it (which may not be up to standards).  And they can choose to not do it (and then the volunteer manager has to step in at the last minute and pick up the pieces).  They can choose to undo it (leaving you to rebuild it).  

If a volunteer chooses they can take on a world of commitments then drop them all leaving the job undone, done wrong, or worse, needing doing immediately so you miss Christmas dinner because the rotten C--- assured you they would, but they didn't and now I don't get any turkey... (personal experience and then it's me that gets the blame I couldn't make the big family dinner.)

We're very lucky on permies with our volunteer staff and very choosy about who we invite to staff.  But I also feel that as staff, we have a lot more freedom than most volunteer organizations.  We can do as much or as little as we want, we can switch areas and write a daily-ish a day for a few months, then maybe we want to build content and make new forums, or some days I just hunt through the forums and give out apples until my daily limit is reached, or... whatever I want to do that day.  

But to build momentum for The Empire, more reliable commitment would be needed.  
I'm a volunteer who works with/for Paul to help permies be the wonderful land of lovely that it is.  

The biggest thing I noticed about working with Paul on projects is the huge amount of trust that I need to have.

He doesn't do things the normal way.  And that's okay.  That's why permies is the way it is and not like the rest of the internet.  If the normal way worked, everyone would be doing permaculture by now (spoiler, they aren't because normal doesn't work).  

But sometimes I don't understand why he makes the choices he does.  Very early on, I decided to think like this. "It's Paul's website, not mine.  He's been doing this a lot longer than I have.  This choice may not make any sense to me now, but the results are awesome.  I'm just going to go with what he says and I suspect the reason why he likes things done this way will make sense later."  

From watching the VAs he's had, the ones that do the best and learn the most have the ability to trust that he might know what he's talking about even if it doesn't make sense from where you're standing right now.  Just go with it.  Take it and go all the way with it.  And you learn so much more than you would doing things the 'normal' way.  

I wish my life was in a place to be Paul's VA right now because I could learn so much working closely with him.  It would be a helluva lot of work!  But the skills learned and the connections made would be amazing.  I'm envious of anyone up for the challenge.  And as a permies person, I'm here to support you as you help grow The Empire.  
Something to think about with your pros and cons.

Price and availability of lenses.  

For the Canon, there are fewer mirrorless lenses and they are generally more expensive.  But they are SO MUCH LIGHTER weight than the DSLR glass.  

I really like how light and small my camera equipment is.  I can stick three lenses, my camera (with another lense on) in my handbag and it weighs less than the DSLR with a lens on.  That was an important deciding factor for me.
4 days ago
Battery life and the Canon mirrorless

When I read the reviews, it suggested I would be lucky to get 300 shots (no flash, but all the features turned on the lens and camera) from my M5.  So I bought extra batteries.  Glad I did for during long power outages, but I didn't need them for daily stuff.  

I can get 600-900 shots on the Neewer make battery.  I can get between 900 and 1200 on the Canon battery that came with the camera.  

This is about the same as my Dad's DSLR that I also use.  (and they take the same battery).

When filming video at 1080p, I end up changing the DSLR battery about 20 min before the M5.  

I don't know if it's just earlier versions had poor battery conservation or what, but I would say between the two cameras I use, the battery life is near enough to be identical.  


I do keep a spare battery in my bag but I haven't yet needed it.  One day of shooting or filming is about one fully charged battery.
4 days ago
Making a mocking sewing bird might be a great way to test if it's right for you.  
4 days ago
Awesome - camera money!  

I spent a lot of time on the DPReview website comparing cameras but the biggest deciding factor was my right hand.  I narrowed it down to about a dozen cameras then I went to the local electronic store and handled all the display cameras.  All the ones on my shortlist had the buttons in exactly the right place for quick and easy unwanted deletion (who puts the delete button under the thumb?) or the bodies were too big and heavy for my hand.  

Because at that time I was doing mostly stills, I went with the Canon M5 which is a mirrorless with lots of interchangeable lenses.  It is FANTASTIC at stills.  It matches my body and vision beautifully especially with the 22mm lens.  

But it isn't great at video.  The autofocus is a bit slow but more importantly, the screen won't face forward if it's on a tripod.  If I had known I was going to do videos, I would have gone with the M50 (which takes the same lenses and batteries as my current camera).  

But I have ordered an external monitor for mine and if this works, then the M5 will still be my dream camrea.  
5 days ago