A Year with the Sony A6500

A thin layer of snow covers the Irvington neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

It was a year ago today that I ordered the Sony A6500 and a handful of lenses and, while it was a difficult decision at the time, I’m so glad I did. It’s the camera I’ve used for nearly everything since then apart from some wildlife shots, but I’ve used it for wildlife too. I wanted a small system that would be easy to take along but also provide good quality for when I’m hiking, and it has gone with me on all of the morning walks with the dog since then as well as all of my hikes. I took this picture shortly before heading out the door to catch my flight to Arizona. I had the camera packed for the trip but took it out at the last minute, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to do too much hiking when I should be driving around getting a feel for the city and its neighborhoods.

We’ll have a lot of fun together in Arizona, the A6500 and I, just as we did in Portland.


A house with Chritmas lights on a snowy Christmas Eve in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

I lived in small towns and cities growing up so the only urban neighborhoods I saw were the ones I saw on TV, which tended to be a sea of concrete and asphalt. So I was surprised when we started looking at houses in Portland years ago and found established neighborhoods full of unique old houses and old trees. This is our neighborhood of Irvington, covered in a light dusting of snow on Christmas Eve. I’m going to miss how walkable this neighborhood is, I’m going to miss these old houses, and I’m certainly going to miss these old trees. People talk about the heat in Arizona but the thing that struck me when I visited on a cooler day was both the dry air and the lack of shade due to the lack of trees.

It’s not just that it will be hot in the summer, but that you can’t escape the sun. I have an old bottle of sunscreen, I can’t even tell you how old it is, because I only use it when I’m up above the tree line or when I travel. Normally I hike in long sleeves, long pants, and a brimmed hat, and since I’m usually hiking in the forest I don’t have to worry about the sun. That’s about to change, but lest I sound too negative, I am genuinely excited about exploring the desert and photographing the completely different landscapes, plants, and animals.

My hunch and my hope is that I will love both places, my old home and my new home, and that I’ll appreciate each for what they are.

Would That I Could Take You With Me, Irvington

Dragonfly art on a stepping stone in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

I don’t know what neighborhood we’ll end up in when we move to Arizona, either the first year when we’re renting or longer term when we buy, but I know i’ll miss our Portland neighborhood of Irvington. But in a sense I can take it with me, thanks to the pictures from the little Sony A6500 I picked up a year ago that goes with me on all of my morning walks with the pup.

A close-up view of dragonfly art on a stepping stone in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

A Little Jealous

A self-portrait in Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon

I had to laugh when I looked at this self-portrait from fourteen years ago at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, judging by the youth in my face I initially assumed it must be older than it was. I’m a little envious of him, a little for his youth, but especially because he was on the other side of a move. My wife had changed jobs a couple years prior and we moved to Portland, I’m not sure why I went back to my old stomping grounds on this day but it was one of the rare times I’d visit the refuge again. I must have sensed that I wouldn’t be coming back often, both due to the distance and new favorite parks to the north, since I took the time for a self-portrait on the trail. As I recall this was the first park I visited in Oregon, but either way I spent a lot of time here when we lived nearby.

I believe the job search will be over soon, I’ll say more when I know for sure, but I will be glad to be moving on to the next phase, which will be moving. Of the two opportunities I’m considering (one is an offer, one is an upcoming interview) both require a move, either to California or Arizona. Not that I’m looking forward to moving, getting the house ready to sell, figuring out where to rent or buy in the new city, and actually packing and moving, but rather that I’m looking forward to being on the other side.

Moving the pets will be a challenge. Ellie had a health scare yesterday, while I was waiting on a phone call about the job offer I noticed she couldn’t stop panting and was really restless, so when I got off the phone we were off to the vet. X-rays and blood tests didn’t show anything surprising but the vet noticed she was sensitive around her back and stomach so she’s on extra painkillers for now that also keep her somewhat sedate and if she doesn’t improve will have to go in for more tests. She just had her yearly checkup a couple of weeks ago so we’re not sure what is going on.

Sam and Trixie also had their checkups recently but this time, when I put her in the carrier, Trixie began slamming her body against the sides of the carrier and howled like a banshee the entire way there and back, even upsetting the normally docile Sam. The move will require a two or three day drive, so …