I was looking at my Flickr account last week and realized that I hadn’t taken any interesting pictures since October of last year. The only new addition to my account in five months was a roll of high school reunion pictures from 2000 that I’d found while cleaning my office. I’ve always had a hard time finding worthwhile subjects in the dead of winter around here–it’s cold, dark, and wet, and not in an interesting way, but five months without a single good shot is just depressing. I think I’m generally happier when I’m out taking pictures, so I’ve been taking a few steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

The first thing that I fixed was my bad case of photographic constipation–I had gigs of older, unprocessed pictures piled up on a couple laptops and a flash card or two with no easy way to get them processed and posted. I didn’t really have a good place to keep all of my pictures, and the disorder was making it hard to create anything new. So, as part of my ongoing office cleaning project, I took my old 17” PowerBook, plugged it into a 300 GB FireWire drive and a 24” LCD, and dedicated it to photo processing. I haven’t finished uploading everything to Flickr yet, but I’ve organized a huge number of pictures.

Once that was fixed, I headed out and took a few pictures. Last week I spent a few hours taking helping my sister-in-law and one of her friends with their beauty school portfolios, and today I took both kids on a 2-mile hike through the Snohomish Estuary.

Today’s hike was kind of a special occasion for me–I’m planning on retiring my old Canon D60 tomorrow, after 5 years of faithful service. UPS says that my new 5D is due tomorrow afternoon. The D60 was an amazing camera when it first hit the market–it was the first consumer-priced DSLR with enough pixels to be truly useful. It takes great pictures, as long as your subject isn’t moving and you have lots of light. ISO 100 is clean and crisp, but noise is clearly visible even at ISO 200. By ISO 400 there’s very little shadow detail, and most of the shadows have weird color casts. I only use ISO 800 when I have no other choice. I’m looking forward to the 5D’s usable ISO 1600 and 3200, along with a modern autofocus system and all of the other little improvements that Canon’s made over the years.

I’ll have a couple days to break the 5D in, and then we’re taking off for San Diego for a family wedding. We’re planning on driving the slow road back, stopping in Death Valley and Yosemite, so I should have lots of opportunities to take pictures of non-cold, non-dark, non-wet subjects.