Friday, February 26, 2010

Canon G11

The Canon G11 has fantastic macro abilities, very reasonable noise at high ISO, and a great lens.  For those three reasons, I highly recommend it for taking field photos in nearly any conditions.  Of course, a bonus feature is RAW which means you, as the geologist, can adjust pictures using a very wide range of available tones.  Why use a 8bit JPEG burned with white balance and tone curves when you can have unadulterated *nearly* 16bit RAW?  Besides, posterization is unacceptable and JPEG is king of that.

One problem of the G11:  At 6.1mm (28mm film), the lens does distort light at the fringes; that's typical.  However, Digital Photo Professional, included with the camera, fixes that in a pinch with minimal cropping.

If you still need convincing of RAW, please see 
Ron Bigelow's incredible website.  Particularly, see "Why RAW."  Leave JPEGs for the party at camp.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Generic Geologist

I am not going to be a generic geologist.  I took optical mineralogy, or "how to use the petrographic microscope", but I will not be taking the other petrology courses.  Instead, I am aiming for a Bachelor's of Arts in Geology with a mixture of other, perhaps equally  important, classwork.

To offset the fact that I won't be experienced in determining the exact igneous or metamorphic rock based on modes of minerals, I'll be focusing on sedimentology.  I am also focusing on the environmental aspects of geology.  Finally, I have developed a program to cluster GIS coursework.

I do not plan on staying in academia.  I think I will be quite satisfied as a field technician with a plethora of knowledge and skills that are ancillary to geology.  

The BA allows me to explore all kinds of areas without spending time in courses learning skills that flood the marketplace.  It is a valid reason, though it does certainly have drawbacks.  However I am willing to accept those drawbacks for a different career path.