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Surprise from Dad

Last night was Dad’s birthday.  We gave him his gifts and then went out dinner at Boston Pizza.  As we sat down, there was a cloth bag of stuff and I through Mom had something she was going to surprise him with.  Inside was two packages and Dad gave me one.  It was a grip for my Pentax K-5 II.  I had wanted one since I got the camera but couldn’t afford it.  Then Pentax stopped making them so they got more expensive.  Don’s Photo didn’t have any old ones in stock so I had hoped to get one used this summer or fall.  Dad found a replica one that had good reviews and ordered it for me.  He gave it to me last night.

The other weekend, Oliver was in Don’s Photo at the end of the day and was telling me about this incredible Canon camcorder.  It costs $2500 new and ever since then Oliver has been shoveling snow like a madmen.  He gets paid $2 a snowfall.  He wanted the Canon Vixia HF R700 camcorder which just cost $200.  I think in his mind if he could just produce a few Hollywood blockbusters, he can get the Canon XF 100.  Makes sense to me.

Dad had a Canon HF Vixia R200 camcorder at home that we rarely used.  He preferred some other gear.  He bought Oliver this adorable Lowepro Adventura SH 110 II case, some SD cards, and gave it to him.  Oliver did even want to eat supper, he wanted to leave right then and film an epic adventure.  Since that camcorder (all camcorders?!) aren’t great with batteries, Dad ordered him in some extras.

Speaking of batteries, I will pick up a few extra batteries for my grip but it also came with a AA battery holder so I can use some AA batteries if all else fails.

Christmas Eve

As much as I like working at Safeway, it is nice to be home with family tonight.

Mom got up early and made us a great breakfast of Farmer’s Sausage Quiche (real men may not eat quiche but I did today) and then it was off to take Marley to the Pierre Radisson Dog Park before I had to get to work.  I may be the low man on the totem pole in terms of seniority but it is always nice to get some extra hours over the holidays.

I am told that other Safeway’s get quiet on Christmas Eve but not the one on 33rd Street.  We have a lot of working class customers and they have to work on Christmas Eve which means we are busy right up to closing time.

Swan Pizza in SaskatoonCanada Dry Cranberry Ginger AleOn the night of the Civic Election, Dad was in The StarPhoenix’s newsroom and they ordered in Swan Pizza.  We had never ordered it or heard of it but it’s pretty amazing.  If you are looking for great pizza, it’s up there with Panago and Santa Lucia pizza as the best in Saskatoon.  So we ordered a perogy pizza and a pepperoni pizza for dinner tonight, had some festive drinks (Canada Dry’s Cranberry Ginger Ale) and some fun dessert (the awkwardly named Sex in a Pan) before opening presents.

Dad then sat down in front of the Christmas Tree and handed out all of our gifts. 


A friend of dad and mom’s gave Oliver a snowboard and bindings.  They went to Larry’s Sports Exchange and got him a pair of snowboard boots so he can use them.  I gave Oliver a pair of Nintendo DS games and a Huskies Athletics hoodie.  Marley gave him some ski goggles. 

Dad gave him some warm snowboarding gloves while Mom also gave him the fourth Jedi Academy book. 

They also gave him a Acer Iconia One 7” Tablet for Christmas.  The same that I have.  Dad is installing Google Hangouts and Google Duo on it so we can chat in real time.  I put it on my phone as well tonight.  Along with it was a case so he can start learning to type.

Acer Iconia One 7" Tablet

Oliver also was given a new pair of binoculars and a Bluetooth speaker.  It was a pretty big day for him and he was really excited.

In his Christmas stocking, there was a model of a helicopter, a wooden Yoyo, and a monthly daytimer so he can keep track of his life which is kind of hectic for a kid in Grade 3.


Dad gave Mom a new 10” tablet with keyboard. 

10" Android Tablet for Wendy

I knew Dad was getting her one so I ordered in a tablet bag that is made from goat leather and was imported from India.  I also got her a Moleskine journal, a nice set of Sharpie pens and a new thumb drive.

Woods Cypress KettleOliver got her some camping gear.  He gave her a tea pot and a 2l pot for cooking.  Marley gave her a camping frying pan with the expectation that any bacon that is fried up on there, goes to her.  I can’t see that happening.

Sriracha2Go containerIn mom’s stocking was a Sriracha2Go keychain. It’s a little Sriracha container that fits on your keychain.  It’s a pretty funny gift.   Santa got her some new wooden spoons because someone (looks over at the dog) chewed up her old ones as well as some candy.


Mom gave Dad the same kind of tablet we got for Oliver and I have.  Marley gave him a keyboard case to carry it in. 

Oliver gave dad a new backpack for travelling and hiking.  It had a new Bear Grylls Gerber knife in it as well as a notebook and some pens.


I gave dad a pair of hiking poles for this summer and a new Rode VideoMicro for his Olympus OM-D E-M5 II.

Mom also gave him a Joby Gorillapod Focus tripod.

Marley and Hutch

We all went together and got the dogs two winter jackets.  Marley’s is an old school varsity jacket while Hutch is looking dapper in his dog parka.

Marley’s favorite toy is her rope so we got her another one of those and some boots to go with the jacket.  She hates the boots, loves the rope and is learning to accept the jacket.


Head SnowboardDad and Mom gave me a new Head snowboard and Oliver gave me some snowboard boots.

Marley gave me some new Ryder sunglasses and some Head snowboard gloves.

Dad and Mom also gave me a book called Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys while Dad gave me a travel duffel bag so when I want to have an epic adventure, I will be prepared.

Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys

Grand Adventures explores the hurdles that prevent us all having as many adventures as we would like to do. Using Alastair’s experience of 15 years of adventures, plus interviews with around 100 different adventurers, Grand Adventures offers encouragement, advice and a polite kick up the backside to overcome a lack of Time or Money and life’s Commitments and Relationships. It will help you choose which sort of adventure appeals to you. And then the second half of the book dissects many of the different types of journey you might choose, whether that is by Bicycle, Foot, Animal, Water, Motor, Climbing, Travelling, living in a treehouse, or something even grander such as blasting into Space.

Consider this: if you saved up £20 a week for a year, you’d have £1000 which is more than enough money to cycle all the way to Japan… Dream Big, Plan Quick, Go Explore.

Oliver also gave me a GSI Outdoors Javapress mug so I can enjoy some coffee in the backcountry.

Finally in my stocking were two Promaster protective filters for my Pentax 50mm f1.8 and 35mm f2.4 lenses. 

Safari 360 Action Camera

Safari 360 Action Camera

I stopped in Don’s Photo in Saskatoon yesterday and I picked up a Safari 360 Action Camera yesterday.  I was going to pick up a Micro SD card but quickly realized we have a couple extra at home. 

The camera comes with a Joby Gorillapod and a nice case.  After I downloaded the wrong app and the finally got the right one (umm, user error there), the camera sync’d up to my camera easily and I got some great photos.  The addition of the Joby Gorillapod is a nice touch but Dad a Joby Gorillapod Micro 250 Tripod that he uses for things that I might try.  I like a lower center of gravity for some things. Also, even though Joby calls it a Gorillapod, it isn’t one which is weird and makes me question the competence of Joby’s marketing department.   Why not just call it a Joby Micro 250 tripod?  Despite all of that, it is a great tripod.

Yes, the 4k video on the Nikon Keymission 360 is preferred but it is a lot more money at $649.99 and 1080p is enough for me for most of what I am doing.  Finally, the Safari 360 uses the GoPro Mount which means all of the GoPro adaptors I got this summer will all work.

An affordable guide to vlogging

My dad wrote this post a few months ago on Casey Neistat’s vlogging gear for the Don’s Photo blog.  A lot of that gear that Casey uses is really expensive and I told him that.  Today he came out with an affordable guide to vlogging which is pretty cool and is based around using the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 which is really affordable and the compact 24mm f/2.8 lens.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 at Don's Photo

It’s a fun guide and as a Pentax user, if I want to get really faster video autofocusing, I either need to upgrade to the new Pentax K-70 (and pray for some new lenses) or buy a Canon.

Why a professional photographer sold his Nikon D5 and got a Fujifilm X-T2

The first thing was that the Nikon has horrible dynamic range.  Canon like dynamic range.

However, those little gripes began to grow into larger annoyances for me. The first gripe I had was that my bank account was completely deflated from the massive expense of the D5. The other gripe was a complete step backwards from Nikon in the dynamic range department. I had really grown accustomed to the insane shadow recovery ability from other Nikon cameras, including the Df, D750, and D810. This was like I was shooting with a Canon from recent years. Just terrible, terrible dynamic range.

The Fuji X-T2 has improved quite a it.

I have been a skeptic for a while on the Fuji autofocus capabilities, but I’m a convert. It can do everything that I need it to do, and it weighs something like 23 pounds less than the D5. Seriously, I weighed them both. Imagine how grateful my arms and shoulders have been these past few weeks! I feel lighter on my feet and I feel like I am able to truly blend in amongst the wedding guests. People don’t see me and immediately feel intimidated when I raise my camera to capture moments. Sometimes, I don’t even have to raise my camera thanks to the fantastic flip screen on the X-T2—another thing that the D5 cannot do.

And guess what. The Fuji X-T2 has amazing dynamic range and fantastic shadow recovery ability! It blows away the Nikon D5 in that department. It really isn’t even close. I can shoot the way I want and be confident that the file will hold up to my editing style. I’m no longer limited by the flexibility of a RAW file.