Sunday, April 06, 2008

Vacation planning and new toys

Last Saturday, OX and I drove to Basel to book our summer holidays. Because OX can't take any long vacation between September and end of Novemeber, we thought that August would be an good time to go. And just to make sure we have some warm weather - last August was cold and rainy in Europe - we booked 2 weeks in Egypt. The first week will be a Nile cruise on the MS Regina and we will be travelling the following route: Luxor - Esna - Aswan - Abu-Simbel/Kitchener's Island then back to Luxor. From there, we leave the ship and fly to Sharm El Sheik for a relaxing beach week of non far niente (well, maybe we will do a few things). Neither of us have ever been to Egypt, so we're both very excited.

Once that was done, we went by the InterDiscount XXL shop in Basel to drop off our written conscent to have our coffee machine repaired and decided to have a look at the new DSLR cameras on the third floor. One that had caught our eye a while back was the Sony Alpha series and now that we were going to Egypt, we decided it was time to invest in a bit of a better camera. The price of the Sony A350K was set at CHF 1500 (!) including the standard 18-70mm lens kit. We looked at a few other shops that carried this model, but could find nothing below that price. As soon as we got home, OX started a web search for better offers. And so we found it and ordered online. For basically the same price, we got said camera incl. lens kit, plus an extra battery, an 8GB compact flash card and a very nice Sony camera bag.

On Monday morning, OX already had an e-mail in his inbox saying that his order had been processed and sent out. When I got home on Tuesday evening, I found a notice from the post office to pick-up a parcel. Talk about fast! Of course, the post office was already closed, so the next morning at 8.00am, OX was standing at the post office counter picking up the parcel. He even drove back home to charge the battery so that I could start playing around with our new toy (I'm ususally at home before he is). Isn't that sweet of him?

In order to celebrate (read: waste as little time as possible cooking), I ordered some Indian take-away, left the office early and picked-up the food on the way home. I was standing in front of the terrace door searching for my key, when I realized that I had left them on my office desk! Stupid woman, I thought. So there I was, standing on the terrace with my Indian take-away food in a shady 12-13°C. Dale was looking at me through the glass doors, scratching and begging to go out while I was looking at the Sony box patiently sitting on the table, just waiting for me to try it out. I tried to get a hold of OX, but no luck. After 10 minutes, I tried again, and he immediately picked up. Twenty minutes later, he came to the rescue and opened up. We were both like little kids at Christmas opening boxes and unpacking the accessories. We did a few test shots at home, but that's about all we could do in the evenings. BTW, the Indian take-away food was excellent!

Since OX was in Lucerne yesterday at a 1 day exhibition, I finally had my first real opportunity to take the camera out for a stroll through our neighbourhood and just play with the basic settings to get used to it. The weather was pretty good, so that really made my day. Here are a few of my favourite shots.

I still have a lot to learn; not only about the functions, but I seem to look at my surroundings much more consciously.

The rest of the picts can be found here. Let me know what you think. Really.

Note: Let me know if you can enlarge the picts when clicking on them. Blogger seems to give me totally different HTML codes, depending on the size and position. I just know that if I use small/left, or right, it usually works, if I user med. or large, they usually won't enlarge, and I wonder whether it has to do with using Explorer or Firefox.

Addendum: I just tried to upload this post with Firefox, and now I can't enlarge ANY of the picts.


Rositta said...

Nope, can't enlarge them. That's why I seldom use blogger for photos unless I'm really lazy. Generally I use flickr...ciao

traveler one said...

I can enlarge the small ones but not the big ones.
When I want to post a really nice big photo I first post it on flickr then copy the code from there and paste it. You get bigger photos than using blogger plus it doesn't use up your limited blogger space.

Anyhow-- the shots are beautiful!! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with that new baby!!

CanadianSwiss said...

Rositta: Thanks for the comment. I think I need to subscribe to Flickr.

T1: See my above comment. I think there's just something wrong with the code. And thanks for the good words :) I already have an account with Picasa but I'm not sure if there is a code that I can just paste in. I'll have to have a look.

Anyway, I still have a LOT to learn, but it is absolutely fascinating :)

Jay said...

Oh gosh, so much to envy!!

Expat Traveler said...

This brings back memories. Let's see , coffee maker breaking... OX looking at cameras together with me.

I'm so excited that you took the plunge on the trip and the camera.

I got two out of four to enlarge. The Jonquille2.jpg looks wonderful!
And the cloudy + sunset worked too...

You know I wish that I could come over and stop in for a quick chat...

Wishing I was closer... And missing you guys already. :)

Ex-Shammickite said...

I can't enlarge the photos, but they certainly look good. That's what I have to do soon.... buy a new digital camera. My old Nikon point'n'shoot is still fine, but I'd like to get a bit more technical... well... not TOO technical!
You'll enjoy Egypt, I took a Nile cruise to all those places a few years ago, and had a great time. I'd love to go back, it was so interesting. But you should read up on a bit of Egyptology and Egyptian history before you go cos the place is so full of ancient monuments that it all can get a bit overwhelming keeping the dynasties and the gods straight in your mind.
I'm looking forward to the photos... with the new camera of course!

CanadianSwiss said...

Jay: You're a sweetheart! But don't be too envious... the bills will also follow! :-/

Aww, ET. Thanks :) It was great to have you over, although time was too short. I'm sure you could explain what I'm trying to understand in that manual. LOL!

I'll be sending you the html of the different picts. Maybe you can figure out what's wrong. But at least, I had the link to picasa!

Ex-S: If you follow the link below the last pict, you'll see them all :) And I'd also suggest something like we have as a new camera. I'm sure you'd get a much better price in Canada (if you surf the web), too. The basics are the same as on a small pocket digital camera, so it's an easy start. Then you can work your way through the more nitty gritty stuff. This model is also quite light, so easy for smaller women hands to handle.

And we'll be hunting down bookstores for good reads about Egyptology for sure! I think I'd be totally confused otherwise :)

Ginnie said...

I can see it now, CS: Camera Heaven! You are like kids in the candy store. I love it. Thanks for sharing the fun of this.

You are getting ready for quite a trip. WOW. You'll have so much to show and tell!

CanadianSwiss said...

We're really looking forward to Egypt, Ginnie, but there's a lot of reading to be done before: on the camera and the country :)

dabrah said...

I'm wondering about the cow on the walkway above a roof. Is it from a cow parade?

Great pictures. I could only enlarge little ones. I find that if I move them they don't enlarge, so I always put the in the last picture first and go backwards, and then weave the words between. It works for me.

CanadianSwiss said...

Dabrah: The cow must have been purchased a couple of years ago. It was part of an exhibition in Switzerland where differen artists were asked to paint cows. They were then sold and each one of them is unique.

Thanks for the tipp. I'll try that :)