Archive for November, 2010

Rachel photo updates

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

I realized today as I was processing a few images of Rachel, that we’ve completely neglected to keep her gallery updated. It’s not that we haven’t been taking pictures, we just haven’t been uploading them. So here are a few from the last few months.





And our photographic growth chart entry…

Trading a car for a camera lens

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

I’ve already spent part of the proceeds on my impending Integra sale on a new lens. The 24-70mm f/2.8 L.[1]

I’m not quite sure about the cost vs. practicality ratio on this trade. The car is certainly approaching old age and the lens is likely to give a decade or more of future service, but then the lens cost about half of what I’m getting for the old car.[2]

The truly amazing part is I ordered it at 8:34 AM EST from on Monday and it arrived this (Tuesday) afternoon. Regular free shipping. Sweet!

On the negative side, despite both being sized for 77mm filters, the lens hoods for this and my 70-200mm f/2.8L are not compatible. It would have been nice had they shared interchangeable parts. One more thing to carry along. It’s obviously quite a bit heavier than the 28-105mm it is replacing (more than twice as heavy). However, with a f/2.8 all the way through it has significantly more light collection than the f/3.5-4.5 of the old lens (and it’s all that extra glass that makes it heavy, obviously). I trade quite a bit less range, but then I have the 70-200mm to cover the upper end. Time will tell if I’m now swapping lenses more often.

Useful first light pictures will be coming soon!

  1. Image from Canon USA. []
  2. K is still deciding what to do with the other half. []

500 miles on 13.4 gallons

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

For those keeping track at home, that works out to 37.3 mpg. The observant reader will note that the average consumption shown on the MFD is 38.9 mpg. The discrepancy is due, in part, by the fact that the main trip (bottom right 500.0) and the trip used for the calculation are not, in general, synchronized. (More on that below the fold.)
The other observation (which you can’t see, but I did) was that the estimated range remaining was down to about 25 miles or so. This despite the fact that the fuel tank is over 14 gallons (plus the filler tube). So if I only put 13.4 in, there must have been over a gallon left, or over 40 miles of range remaining.[1]

  1. This poor range estimate may have been due in part to the silly circles I did just before stopping at the pump to make sure I made it to 500 miles. Not very efficient I know, but I wanted the picture to look that much sweeter. []

First Tank…

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Well, I have almost exhausted by first tank of fuel in the Jetta. This morning the fuel pump indicator lit up on the dash and the MFD showed that my remaining range had dropped below 45 miles.
Of course, this was on the way to work (which is net downhill by about 1000 feet), so after driving almost 20 miles it still said I have 40 miles of range left. I’m over 475 miles for this tank, so I may see how much I have left at 500 miles. 🙂

Jetta TDI vs. Acura Integra

Friday, November 5th, 2010

So I mentioned my shifting issues in my previous car related posting. Although I’m doing much better, I’m still working on getting the feel[1] for the new drive train.

Generally speaking, the TDI provides more torque at low RPM with proportionally less power at high RPMs. The red line is at 5000, and for the ‘break-in’ period I’m trying to keep it under 3000. The 1997 Integra LS by comparison, engages the rev-limiter at 6800 RPM and one can easily get up into the 5-6000 range in road driving.

Much more car stuff, including musical engine comparisons, below the fold…

  1. Literally, because I think one feels shifting from their backside and ears rather than by watching the tachometer. []

Cazenovia Community Band!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been playing trombone in our local community band. For those who live in the vague vicinity of Cazenovia, NY, please come out to our upcoming concert! The concert is at 2PM on November 14th at the Caz High School.

Even if you can’t come, feel free to put up a copy of our announcement poster at your daily hangouts.
Poster for November 14th Concert

Jetta TDI: First Thought

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

K upon sitting in the drivers seat and taking in the array of controls and displays: “It’s a bit… overwhelming, isn’t it.”

That sort-of sums up my initial reactions as well. Not being the sort-of person who’s willing to leave a button unpushed or a menu unexplored one can quickly find yourself in information overload. This is not recommended while driving your brand new car home at night.

Combine that with the fact that the combination of the turbocharged diesel engine and the 6-speed transmission give the vehicle an entirely different feel than my 5-speed high-RPM Integra. For instance, red-line on the Integra is roughly 6800 RPM vs. the TDI’s 4500 or so. Reverse is now on the left of the shift lever (and requires a ‘push-down’ to enter the detent). So twice now I’ve shifted into 6th (far right and down) when I meant to go to reverse. Thankfully, this is a relatively safe failure mode since even with the low RPM torque, you won’t jump right off in 6th gear. I’ve stalled the car something like 6 times since I picked it up last night. I haven’t figured out where the right clutch transfer is for this engine yet. All of these issues are growing pains, and will, no doubt, quickly pass (until I drive K’s Accord and everything goes back the way it was).[1] Once I’m going, the shift points are all different. The TDI operates at whopping 236 ft-lb maximum torque from about 1750 to 2500 RPM. This means the engine sound is much lower pitched than I’m used to for shifting.[2] The acceleration is such that you blow through the available RPMs rather quickly so you require shifts at lower speeds. I’ll look up the gear ratios in a future post and do a comparison.

For now, I’ll be satisfied with not stalling or hitting the rev. limiter.

Oh… my drive to work clocked in at an average of 47 MPG.

  1. I’m hoping the lack of the reverse push-in wil prevent me from putting it in 1st when I intend to back up… that would not be a safe failure mode. []
  2. I typically shifted my Integra in the 3500-4000 range. []

Losing ability to concentrate…

Monday, November 1st, 2010

See two posts down.