Terii’s Cycling Babble


Loke, Cameras, Heat, and Such
June 3, 2018, 3:54 am
Filed under: Misc

Just an update. No rides, mind you, but still stuff that does impact my cycling and blogging of rides.

Loke – Well, he’s doing pretty well given the circumstances. He’s still having trouble getting to his feet sometimes. Trips and wobbles on occasion. When it’s cooler in the evenings, he has interest to go out though he’d rather just stay in and melt under a ceiling fan during the hot hours. As for the tumor? Practically gone! I can hardly believe it! No noticeable lump and the ulcer is barely more than 1/8th of an inch across. Quite an improvement from something that looked like the size of a large grape under the flesh with a gaping wound over it. *shudder* For a dog who I didn’t think was going to see May back in the middle of April, he’s… good. Not as good as he was back in March, but not staggering around with 3 paws in the grave either.

Camera – This story is a little more involved.

So, on May 23rd, I packed up my Canon 200D and went off to the camera shop, upbeat and ready to borrow a lens for a test. The guy was more than willing to do so and we walked back to the lens case. As soon as he reached for Tamron 70-300 mm lens, things came to a screeching halt.

THAT’S the lens?!” I blurted incredulously.

He pulled it out. “Yes.

It’s HUGE! The 16-300 mm Tamron lens was tiny! This is a monster! Even the Canon 70-300 mm isn’t nearly as big.”

It really was big. To be fair, the 70-300 mm lens that was smashed might be as long, but at least it wasn’t as big around as a grapefruit. And talk about heavy. Oof.  It just wasn’t going to work for me. The lens was wider than the camera’s body so it wouldn’t have even fit in the compartment I’d made for it.

So, back home I went and threw myself into trying to figure out if there was somewhere. ANYWHERE that had my old telephoto lens. Or one enough like it to make no difference. Finally, I found that there was a ‘version 2’ of my old lens. I could go look at it and perhaps buy it at a shop called ‘Scandinavian Photo’ which claimed to be the largest photo-supply shop in, well, Scandinavia. They were even open on Sunday.

So, Sunday, May 24th, I jumped on the train for Stockholm. The camera shop was downtown, apparently not too far from the station. Perfect. I’d go there and then maybe off to the mall in the area which has a delightful kiosk with yummy gourmet chocolates. It’s past time for me to send a package to my family back in the states. I always try to send them some of those awesome goodies.

The train ride, was well, a train ride. I’m glad I have a habit of arriving early though. I jumped on the train as soon as it pulled in and took a seat. By the time it rolled out, the train was packed. People were having to stand for the journey. Annoyingly, I got motion sick. What on earth?! I mean, yeah, I’ve gotten seasick on ships and larger boats since I was in my early 20’s, but motion sick on a train? All that’s left is cars and my trike. Heaven forfend such a thing from happening.

The train arrived at the Stockholm central station just before 11 am. I went to plug in the shop’s location on my phone only to get a notice that it didn’t open until noon. Oops.

Oh well. I started off toward the mall with the chocolate shop then. Stockholm is one of those cities I thought I didn’t mind too much. It’s clean compared to most. Lots of things I find interesting to see and divided up into islands. This time, it was just too hot, too many people. My body seemed to break down within a couple hundred yards with feet and muscles through my shoulders screaming.

It’s frustrating really. One day, I can go walk at Wiks for 2 miles, no problem. The next, just getting around the block with Loke kills me. This was one of those ‘around the block kills me’ days.

I took it slow and got to the mall, found the chocolate shop. I had thought to maybe shop for more light weight summer tops. Instead, I bought a cold, fresh pressed juice and found a place to sit for a bit. When it was finally close enough to noon, I started out again.

It turned into such a fiasco. Maybe it was because of the tall buildings that my phone didn’t have enough of a connection for Google Maps to work well on the walking setting, but it wouldn’t update with any accuracy. I’d start walking and move off a few hundred yards and it would just show me where I’d been. Then it would give this jump and display that I was on ‘X’ street, completely off the plotted route, when I was on ‘B’ street. Or the other way around. After stumbling around for a bit, I finally gave up and ducked into a tourist center, grabbed a paper map and went all old school.

All the while, the heat, the noise, the sheer press of people and traffic, remind me why I typically despise cities.

Finally, I got on the right road, scanning for building numbers as I walked along the crowded sidewalk. I gave a distracted glance across the street and did a double take. The central train station, right there. The original building is actually fairly graceful with Victorian accents and holds center stage in a way with the expansions taking a more modest approach in the chaos of Stockholm. Now, see if my phone’s Google Maps had just plotted back the way I’d come from the station to the mall (direct), it would have clicked in my head. Instead it had marked a string of dots off in this direction and then down Queen Street (site of that terrorist attack a couple years ago), the over and around. What. The. H*LL?!

Muttering, I put my phone away and walked through the door. The guy at the register laughed when I blurted, ‘Woah!’

Scandinavia Photo claimed to be big. With that declaration, I expected something maybe… triple the size of Uppsala’s camera shop? Maybe even quadruple. Nope. I can’t even calculate. The area where they had just lenses and cameras on display for people to get their hands on was more than double the size of the entire Uppsala photo shop. Then of course were the accessories – bags, tripods, filters, video cameras, flashes, light meters and more. Also a couple of photo studios for rent and on several levels. I mean, all things camera. Just… wow.

They were doing brisk business, so I took a number, found an out of the way spot to sit on a step, desperate to get off my feet. My number came up and a very nice woman introduced herself and asked how she could help. I opened the backpack to pull out the old lens.

“I need to replace this.” I held it out to her.

She looked a bit baffled until she took it and it rattled. “Oh! Well, that’s a very expensive maraca.”

I told her how it had happened and then explained that I knew this model lens was no longer produced and went briefly into the story of chromatic aberration with the Tamron lens. So, I wanted the upgraded version of my old lens that I’d heard was out. Was it possible for me to look at it? Perhaps even put one on my camera and snap a few photos to check for purple fringe?

She said the new model was so new they didn’t have one for display yet, but she was willing to open one up and let me try it. She even let me step outside to snap some photos of the train station across the way. You know, I discovered that my 200D’s touch screen will let me not only view the photo after I’ve taken it, but I can even ZOOM in to check the pixels on the contrasting edges of say, a roof-line and the sky? The camera just keeps impressing me.

And it all looked good with the new lens. It was the same size and shape, just a couple buttons rearranged and a little LED display screen for a couple extra bells-n-whistles. I called Jens to ask if he minded. He didn’t.

Even better? They were having a special on that exact lens. 20% off! Kismet? I was practically on Cloud 9 as I waltzed out the door.

It was well after lunch time by this point. I was hungry. I thought about finding somewhere to eat in Stockholm since Jens was going to be tied up with something until after 4 pm. I thought about more staggering around the crowded, loud, and hot city and, no. Just no. I plodded back into the cooler space of the train station and found a bench to sit on for about 15 minutes before heading off to the platform 5 minutes early.

Then it was back to Uppsala. I rode in the upper level of the double-decker train. Again, glad I was there early. It was standing room only for those later arrivals.

Hungry and with a couple hours to spare, I inched my way exhaustedly through Uppsala to one of our favorite little restaurants. It’s one of those sorts for smaller meals. It’s called ‘Plock’ which translates to ‘Pick’ in English. You pick a little of this and a little of that. I relaxed and sated my hunger until it was time for Jens to pick me up.

So, camera settled! Mostly. I’m looking into sturdy lens case now and a couple of ‘carry systems’ have intrigued me. Something to have the camera quick to use if I get up from the trike and walk around, say, a church? Something less agonizing than a strap around my neck or over the shoulder. I kinda like the idea of one of those clip like things that can fit on a belt. I could just have a nice, sturdy mesh belt with the clip on it. Get up from the trike, clip the belt around my hip. Camera on one side, maybe lens on the other?

Turns out my bag can’t accommodate the camera with the long lens on it. Maybe if I hadn’t put in the foam inserts to reduce rattle. Not worth it though. I’ve always had to swap my telephoto lens off and on for use and transport, so no change. Completely acceptable.

And the heat. Oh, and lack of rain. Just on and on. Even during the nights, it’s not getting so cool (downright cold) any more. Jens, Mr. Sleep-All-Summer-Under-Goose-Down, has been kicking off covers and complaining about how warm it is. I’ve noticed some hint of discoloration in the leaves of a few trees. Looks like they’re starting to go brown on the branch. Baby birds are leaping from the nest way too early because they’re just cooking in them and desperate for shade. This weekend, the trains south of Stockholm stopped running because the tracks are warping. Ankle high wheat is turning yellow. Some of those fields that were yielding up so much soil to the wind are, at best, thin with sprouts, withering for want of water. At least it hasn’t been so breezy, so there’s a lot less dust flying around. May was the hottest on record and we had NO precipitation for the entire critical growing month. Those blueberries in a previous post won’t be turning blue if we don’t get rain soon if it’s not too late already.

June is shaping up hot as well and still no rain on the forecast for the next 10 days. Saturday, June 2nd, was Stockholm’s annual marathon and the officials were worried about runners collapsing with heat exhaustion if not stroke. At least one woman should be fine though. She was on the news for having run 40 Stockholm marathons and 80 if she’s a day. She’s not worried at all. She ran a marathon in Havana, Cuba a few years ago when it hit over 120 F. I’ve not heard anything about it yet.

We did get a slight kiss of rain Friday night. So little there was no trace of it the next morning except for streak patterns in the dust on the cars.

At least a brief relief from the high temps is in the forecast for Monday – Wednesday. Tuesday is supposed to be down right nippy. I’ll have to get out and ride on those days before it gets warm again. Maybe even get some flight practice with the drone.

Anything else? Oh, hotels booked for our northern trip. Not sure if I’ll be taking the trike though. Norwegian roads look kinda scary to ride on. Even their major ‘highways’ are narrow 2 lanes winding through the mountains, squeezed tight between cliffs and rock faces with no where for a cyclist to get out of the way if someone comes whipping through a blind curve. The forecast for the area this week is cool and rainy. I wonder if the heat’s gonna follow us?

And that’s caught up. Until next time. Hopefully I’ll have rides to report then.

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