Tomorrow, G-d willing, I’ll be receiving my first shot of the Moderna vaccine. By my birthday, on March 31st, I’ll be about as immune to coronavirus as modern science can make me — which is apparently pretty darn immune. So I am tentatively starting to look to the future again.

And the weather is getting warm. My crocuses are in full bloom and the daffodils are rapidly coming up. My Venus’ flytrap is happily budding out. (I’m odd that way, yeah.) A few patches of snow on the ground, but they’re melting fast.

So I am beginning to think about my annual birthday road trip and hike, which traditionally takes me to somewhere close to home that I have, for whatever reason, never visited before. I’m still trying to figure out where that will be — the El Rito valley is one candidate; some interesting corners of the San Juan Basin is another — but y’all are invited to join me when the time comes. Whatever else the celebration features, it will feature interesting geology.

I’m also in the market for a new camera. I really, really liked the Coolpix S9700, but it broke. I’m just not impressed with the TG-5 that replaced it. My default plan is to find another used Coolpix S9700 and hope it is still functional and remains so for longer than a year or two. I might buy a slightly more modern camera — the S9900 is a definite possibility — but would be glad for advice for anyone out there who knows cameras.

I can afford to spend hundreds, not thousands. It has to take excellent crisp, color-balanced landscape and rock outcrop photos. It has to be able to endure joining me on long hikes, though I’m okay using a carrying case. It would be very nice if it had GPS and did good close up photos. I’d really like a deep optical zoom. I don’t care about low light performance, or action photos, or built-in panoramas (I do my own from single shots in software) or other gimmicks. Digital zoom is a gimmick.

If you have ideas, pass them along.

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