A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the Schoolyard

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We went to a crumbling old schoolyard to take some photographs this afternoon. The red brick of the abandoned Mediterranean Revival structure seemed to be seeped in old memories, laughter and otherwise.

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I think my model must have been feeling the memories of people long gone as well.

Nikon D-200 18-70mm ƒ3.5


Monday, March 30, 2009


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Lighting makes a photograph. A good photograph is all about lighting. I much prefer to use available light to get what I want. Here, the model is backlit with afternoon sunlight, but she is standing on a concrete sidewalk which reflects light back up into her face.

I really enjoy portraiture, always have. There is something special about capturing the essence of a person, and having them be excited about it. A good model can make a mediocre image wonderful, and I am fortunate to have an excellent model living underneath my roof. I suppose I will have to begin asking around for volunteers for models to find a challenge.

Nikon D-200, 85mm ƒ1.8


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fancy Shooting

At the range today I shot my Colt Sistema carry gun, and alternated with a Ruger MKII. The old Sistema isn't the prettiest pistol at the range, but I like it. It is the first 1911 I ever fitted a barrel to. I chose a Wilson Combat barrel and bushing for it, and worked slowly but surely over the course of a couple of weeks to fit them. Click to enlargeWhen I first shot the pistol with the new barrel, I was in awe. Other modifications include an Ed Brown grip safety, a Commander hammer, a McCormick trigger with a trigger job, a flat mainspring housing, rubber double diamond grips, a Wilson Combat magazine, and a belt clip. The old Sistema was designed to be a car gun, and the belt clip gave me a way to carry it away from the car without a holster if needed. I had it finished in a green and gray teflon coating. It was accurate enough and quick enough with the military sights, so I kept them on the gun.

A couple of fellows were shooting one of the curly cue FN rifles with a can and holographic optics on it a bit further down the line. I was shooting double taps from low ready, and during a cold range call/target change they wandered over to take a look at my target.

"That's a Wilson you're shootin', isn't it?" one of the asked.

Click to enlarge"No, it's just one of his barrels in an old Argentine 1911, nothing fancy" I informed them.



"I have a Wilson pistol back there," one of them piped up. "It shoots real good." He went back to the line and retrieved a target frame and set it out at the 15 yard mark a couple of spaces down from me. Then he opened up an embroidered carry bag to reveal a grey Wilson Combat pistol. When the line went hot again, he began stuffing hardball rounds into the magazine and blazing away at the target. After several magazines, his target and the cardboard behind it looked like a sieve. Holes were evenly spaced out across the cardboard backing and the targets. Nothing was untouched. A wooden leg of the target frame was splintered. Finally, he dropped the slide from slide lock on an empty chamber, and blew the smoke from the muzzle with pursed lips in an exaggerated display of aplomb.

"That's pretty amazing," I told him. He grinned. I started to ask him if I could take his photo to remember the event by, (and to post here) but I refrained. I decided it was time to leave and try again another day.


Morning Light

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There is something about morning light that is magical to me. These two portraits have morning light simulated. The light is actually about 4:00 in the afternoon. The location is underneath the porch at our camp. The ISO has been bumped up about three notches on the camera. The settings have been manipulated to intensify the color.

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D-200 with Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 AI-s, ƒ1.4


Ugly Gun Sunday


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Symphony Shots

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Both shots: Nikon D-200 Nikkor 85mm, ƒ1.8



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My bikes in the morning light.

Nikon D-200, Nikkor 35mm AI-s, ƒ3.5


Teaching a Child To Shoot

I was asked recently "Why teach a child to shoot?" Why is a question that does not come to my mind frequently. To me, it is kind of like asking why we would teach our children to use the stove, a can opener, telephone or a shovel. Guns are not evil things, and the danger that is associated with them is not inherent in the gun. It is within the person wielding the gun.

I believe that if guns are to be present in a family, the children should be taught to shoot. Each child reaches the maturity level necessary at different times, as all children are different. Click to enlargeThe average time usually occurs around age seven, when the child reaches Erikson's industry vs. inferiority conflict. This stage, often called the Latency, is a time when we are capable of learning and accomplishing numerous new complex skills and knowledge. The skills and values learned at this time often stay with the person throughout their life, and form the foundation of their personality in adulthood. Many competent shooters, of all ages relate being taught to shoot by a father or uncle at age seven or eight.

But why shooting? Shooting accurately is a task that demands concentration and dedication unmatched in many endeavors. Holes in targets that spread across the surface or clump together like clover leaves on a bulls eye is instant, nonjudgmental evidence of whether the shooter is applying what they have learned. Other sports do not have this no error aspect. In basketball, there is always another shot. In football another down. Baseball has another inning. In most sports, scores are accumulated by success. In shooting, scores are tabulated by failures. There are lessons to be learned from that.

Even though I am not a hunter, I have to consider the values instilled in a child through hunting. The quietness necessary to get close enough to game is lost on many children. The one chance or go hungry aspect of hunting, especially as referred to by Rufus Hussey introduces the child to the realities of the adult world. Do your job right, and you will be fed. Continue to do it wrong, and you will go hungry....... Or get on public assistance.

So why teach a child to shoot? If done successfully, shooting provides the child with demonstrative evidence of their competence at a skill that elevates them above the common man. Competence in shooting is not measured by time spent, rounds down range, or firearms owned. It is measured by holes in targets. A ten year old child, competent with his rifle, can best a thirty year old man who is not. Clickto enlargeThe result is self esteem and confidence in oneself. That is the real reason to teach a child to shoot, whether it is plinking at tin cans, or shooting competitively.

There are those who say that if there are going to be guns in the home, they should be locked away from children. Guns should be secured when not in use or under adult control. Children do not all have equal levels of maturity, and parents will often be surprised at what a child does when the child is alone with friends. Teaching the child to shoot removes the lure of the taboo from the gun in the home. If anything, the gun safety that the child learns will serve them well when they are at a friend's home, and the friend want to show off the unsecured gun in the house.

The bottom line though is that we owe it to our children to teach them how to shoot. Firearms are a means of self preservation unparalleled in defensive circles. Even a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick is eclipsed by the power of a 30.06. When we teach our children to shoot, we are giving them power. Power to do good, power to sustain themselves, and the power to preserve their way of life. Yes, we are also giving them the power to do evil, if they so choose. What we must remember is that we must not simply teach our children to shoot, or play ball, or do algebra. We must teach them the value of these endeavors. We must teach them to value themselves. What Randy Pausch said was true. It's a head fake. Indirect learning. We learn best the things that we did not even know we were learning at all. Perseverance. Discipline. Individual accomplishment. Responsibility. Self respect. Respect for others. Confidence. Humility. These are the values a child learns indirectly when taught marksmanship. They are also the values that will insure the child uses what they have learned appropriately.

Boomer's thoughts

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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Sling Shot Man

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Cameras, a Journey

I rediscovered photography with the purchase of a digital SLR at one of the local pawn shops. My blog has become a combination gun, Click to enlargebicycle, and photo blog it seems. Over the past few days I brought some out of the closet, and I opened up a few cardboard boxes containing the cameras I used throughout my life.

When I was a boy, my mother owned this Kodak Baby Brownie. Some of my first pictures were taken with it, both snapped of me and by me. It's certainly beat now, with the lip broken off the front, but I still keep it. I decided to take it, and a few others out to document my journey to where I am now in photography.

My next camera was a Kodak Instamatic. I no longer have it, but the memories of flash cubes are still bright. Click to enlargeAs I became a little older, I inherited my father's Yashica twin lens reflex.

The Yashica was my secret passion. It was hopelessly outdated by the time I received it, and I used the Instamatic for Cub Scout trips and such, and learned how to operate the big complicated green camera alone. The Yashica A-44 was a manual camera that taught me how to manipulate light, shutter speeds and apertures. The Yashica became an old friend, and I made a few good photographs with it. Developing the film was a problem, but I would collect Coke bottles, and trade them in at the local drug store for processing. I became a common sight riding my bike into town with a load of Coke bottles in the basket, a knapsack full of more bottles on my back, and a roll of film in my pocket.

Click to enlargeWhen I reached High School, I purchased my first 35mm SLR camera, a Minolta SRT102. Now that I was taking taking photos in public with increasing frequency, I wanted a camera that I could control, and one that did not look thirty years old. Most high school kids are like that, I suppose. I saved up a lot of lawn mowing money, and a lot of gas pumping money to purchase my first Minolta. It came with a 50mm lens, and I quickly learned to enjoy the benefit of interchangeable lenses.

When I went to college, I had the opportunity to upgrade my Minolta camera when a friend decided he needed a Nikon. Click to enlargeHe sold me his Minolta XG1 for chickenfeed and a six pack. While I was happy with the deal, I found that I liked the familiarity of the SRT 102 better. When a photographer is unable to evaluate the results of his labor for several days, familiarity is a good thing. Although I purchased it as an upgrade, the XG-1 received comparitively little use, and remained my back-up camera for years.

When I left for the Navy, I was unable to take along my camera. All of my belongings were stored in a mini warehouse, and I did not want to unpack anything when I came back home for a three day liberty after boot camp. I was making money, and when I decided to purchase a new camera Click to enlargefrom the base exchange, the choice was easy.

I had Minolta lenses already, so I chose a Minolta X-700. My X-700 became my constant companion on liberty all over the far east and Australia. I carried it with a 50mm f1.2, a 24mm f2.8, and a 50-135 zoom, all Minolta lenses. I learned from the mistakes of other sailors who cheaped out on aftermarket lenses. Twenty five years later, after being slung over my shoulder on four continents, my Minolta lenses are as solid and clear as they ever were.

I purchased another camera in Yokosuka Japan. It, too, was a Minolta. Not wanting to ruin my X-700 taking photos in the salt spray off the ship, a Minolta Weathermatic was the natural choice. Click to enlargeThis point and shoot was a 35mm camera as well, making processing a snap. I frequently took it diving, and learned that photographing fish is not as easy as it may seem. I got some great shots of me and my friends though. Eventually, the salt environment got to it. Although I religiously rinsed the Weathermatic in fresh water after diving, the on/off switch finally broke off from the salt environment. After four years of hard use, it was retired.

In Hong Kong, on Cat Street, used cameras were every where. I purchased a couple of junk Olympus Pens and a Mamiya as curios, but never used them. They remain my souvenirs of Cat Street.

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My Canon Cannonet was given to me by a Japanese friend.

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My Nikkormat FTn was also purchased on Cat Street in Hong Kong. It followed me around the far east beside the Minolta X700. The Nikkormat already had significant brassing and a few bumps and bruises when I purchased it. It gained a few more as I transferred to liberty boats and to piers. It was and is a tough camera. It is solid enough to drive tent stakes, knock out a mugger, or chip ice if the need arises. Its still clicking away with a manual focus 50mm lens, although the meter had given up the ghost long before I purchased it. Thankfully the Nikkormat camera led me to Nikkor glass while I was still in the Orient.

When I left the Navy, I learned that a photography professor at a local college had passed on and I went to the resulting estate sale. Click to enlargeI found his Nikon F2A with a motor drive up for grabs, along with several lenses. I grabbed quickly.

I had learned that this Nikon was the workhorse of photojournalists. Photographers were still shooting slides and saving negatives. Auto focus was in it's infancy, and digital photography for the masses was still just a dream. I just wanted a motor drive and seized the opportunity to obtain an entire professional quality Nikon set-up for a little more than a motor drive for my X-700 would cost.

At the same time, I was learning how to create websites on the internet. Publishing photography online was a chore. I would shoot, develop and scan each image. Click to enlargeIt was time consuming. My first digital camera was a Sony Mavica FD.

I was looking for ease of use, not megapixels. Popping a floppy disk out of the camera and into my floppy drive was as simple as it could get. I actually went through three Sony Mavicas. They all worked fine. I used them for wound documentation as well as internet publishing. I could snap them up cheaply in pawn shops, and having a spare always seemed like a good idea.

Finally, the day came when my old computer monitor requred replacement. I opted for a slick new fangled flat screen, so I could gain some extra room on my desk. Suddenly, the resolution of the Mavica was noticeably lacking compared to the photographs of others. Click to enlargeI began to look more into the megapixel thing. I researched online, and I went back to the pawn shop. I came home with a Canon Power Shot A520.

The four megapixels of the Canon is puny by today's standards, but I was mainly interested in the glass, the method of file storage and transfer, and of course, availability at a cheap price. The point and shoot Canon fit the bill. Indeed, most of my photos on this blog were taken with the Canon.

I was learning to love the spontenaity of digital photography, and the freedom from film. Click to enlargeStill, I wanted to be able to fully control my images, and I wanted interchangeable lenses. Finally, the day arrived when I spotted a Nikon D-200 in a pawn shop. After a bit of negotiation, the black beauty was mine. It carried more megapixels than I dreamed of, and best yet, I could swap Nikon glass, including making use of the lenses I had. Digital photography has effectively replaced film for me now. The ability to shot without hesitation, to simply delete inferior images at no cost, is a freedom that I have longed for. A digital camera such as this may not necessarily make better photographs, but I believe it will make me a better photographer.

Lens Inventory:

Minolta SR mount
50mm ƒ1.4
135mm ƒ2.8

Minolta MD mount
24mm ƒ2.8
50mm ƒ1.4
50-135mm zoom ƒ3.5
Tonika 70-210mm ƒ4-4.5

Nikon F mount
24mm ƒ2.8 (AI conversion)
35mm ƒ2.8
50mm ƒ1.4
45mm GN ƒ2.8
50mm ƒ1.4 Series E
50mm AF ƒ1.8
85mm AF ƒ1.8
Vivitar Series 1 90mm ƒ2.8
300mm ƒ4.5
500mm ƒ8 reflex
24-50 AF zoom ƒ3.3-4.5
18-70mm AF zoom ƒ3.5-4.5
35-70mm AF zoom ƒ3.3-4.5
70-210mm AF zoom ƒ4-5.6

Nikon F mount non-AI
50mm ƒ1.4
50mm ƒ1.4
50mm ƒ1.4
50mm ƒ2


Know Your Enemy

"We're not working with no marksmanship... We just putting it in your direction, you know... It don't matter... as long as it's gonna hit you…if it's up at your head or your chest, down at your legs, whatever... Once I squeeze and you fall, then... if I want to execute you, then I could go from there....." from Stoppingpower.net.

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Chilling. Ruthless. It was wet, but I made it to the range today. As I trained shooting one handed, and weak handed, these words of a killer kept rumbling through my mind.

"The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable."
~Sun Tzu

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Front Sight, Press

Syd's back.

Go read.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Power Outage

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Rain, lightning, BOOM! The power went out this evening, so not much blogging. I spent my time lighting kerosene lamps and putting bubble boxes in the salt tanks. I took a few photos before the house went dark. Here's the best one. Critique away.

Nikon D-200, 85mm, ƒ1.8.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

James Brown Dance Lessons


Good Samaritan In Burger King

Miami(WSVN) -- Miami Police are investigating a double shooting that left one dead Tuesday afternoon. According to Miami Police, there was a robbery attempt at the Burger King located on 54th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

Authorities said a customer pulled out a gun, which led to a shootout between the customer and subjects. The subject was shot and killed on the scene. Authorities transported the customer to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Police said a possible second subject fled the scene in a black four-door sedan that may be a Toyota.
This story is still developing. Some reports only refer to one robber, other reports say two. Some reports say they wore masks. (Edited to add: Update here.)

In the coming days, many people will speculate on what the defender did wrong. What did he do (or fail to do) that allowed him to get shot? One thing is certain. Even when you do everything right, Lady Luck can be smacked down by Brother Bad News, and the righteous defender bleeds, sometimes profusely. Making the commitment to continue fighting through injury and training to do so is what separates survivors from the morgue.

I think I'll practice some one handed drills next range trip.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Night Ride

I took my Raleigh Passage out tonight to blow some of the winter dust off of it. I guess I'm crazy, but I really prefer the ride and handling of my other bikes, the ones I built from scratch, to the bike store polished Passage. There is no doubt that the comfort bike is smooth. It rides like a dream. The chain shifts cogs quickly and effortlessly. I guess I don't really like the posture I must assume on it.

As I rode, I thought about an email I received from Austin Haley's mother, Renee. I will cut and paste her update here.
"Since the horrible tragedy, we now have another son--Gabriel Jeremiah Haley. He is now 9 months old....our precious little miracle.

We are so blessed that Austin's name and story has still not been forgotten....even one year and seven months later. A third year college student, Chris Rogerson, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania sent us a letter a couple of weeks ago. In the letter, he stated that he wrote a music piece that will be played in an Orchestra on March 31, 2009. He titled it "Noble Pond." He invited us to Pennsylvania to listen to the college orchestra play the piece at that time. We feel honored and blessed that Austin is still being remembered.

We still live and relive what happened on August 3, 2007. Austin is still so dearly loved and missed beyond what words could possibly say. We are thankful, though, Austin's story is used in very important ways. For example, OMAG, an insurance company for many police stations in the state of Oklahoma, created a police training video in memory of our precious Austin. On the video, they had interviewed Jack and I to explain what happened. We appreciate this video being made, and hopefully it will encourage individuals to "think" before shooting, and know what is behind their target.

Jack and I often read comments made on the blogs, and we appreciate those of you who are still thinking about and praying for our family. We cope with the grief only through the grace of God. We are also in the process of writing a book that will hopefully one day be published. We pray the memory of Austin will live on forever, so Dalton, now 4 years old, and Gabriel, 10 months, will know who their big brother truly was....truly the best big brother they could have ever had!"
I can not imagine the inescapable grief and anguish of losing a child, especially to the errors of others. I can only admire the resolve and the faith of the Haley family. Thank you Renee.

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Car Guns

I took the Model 66, the Colt New Agent, and the M1991A1 to the range this afternoon. I was feeling the need for some recoil therapy, and while none of these handguns Click to enlargedeliver massive wrist snapping recoil, the dose was enough to do the trick.

The Smith & Wesson Model 66 is the quinissential stainless steel revolver. A K frame chambered in 357 magnum, it is a size that's quite handy, while packing an undeniable punch. The market for the Model 66 is a lot like the Model 10. It is ubiquitous, and therefore usually inexpensive to purchase used. Four inch barrels are commonplace, but the pinned and recessed versions are getting harder to come by.

The more I shoot the Colt M1991A1, the more I like it. The simplicity of this pistol is the charm of it. There is absolutely nothing pretentious about it. It's just a purposeful handgun for putting a big hole in a target fast. I usually carry it or my modified Sistema as a car gun. Either pistol is perfect for resting underneath a newspaper on the seat beside me. With a pistol holstered at 4:00, it's difficult to effectively draw and fire when a seat belt is fastened on top of the rig. Lately though, I've been thinking a 357 revolver might be a better choice.


Amanda has a Gun

This is the kind of ignorance we, as gun owners, are up against. This is why we must seek to educate the fence sitters and repudiate the anti-gunners.

What troubles me most is that one of the people involved in the making of this video owns a handgun. Who ever owns that Beretta is so uncaring that they allow the pistol to be used in a video in a manner that is not only extremely unsafe, but also one that depicts gun owners as caricature crazy people.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

High School Indoctrination Halted

Eric over at Learn about Guns single handedly put a stop to a school system trying to indoctrinate eleventh graders against firearms.

Great job Eric! This is the kind of grass roots activism that can not be ignored. It makes me wonder what is being taught as gospel in other school systems.


Flash Diffuser Hack

I despise photos that are lit with unnatural flash. Village of the Damned eyes are awful, but the dark shadows projected behind subjects framing them like a black amoeba on their head reek of amateur photography to me. Click to enlargeI might be an amateur, but I don't want my photos to appear that way. Even when a camera meters correctly and the background disappears, the flattening of the form that occurs with a flash bothers me. Such starkly illuminated faces remind me of shots the paparazzi snapped of Paris Hilton as she staggered from the latest trendy nightclub.

Even though I enjoy portrait work, I'm not about to go out and purchase studio lights. I would rather use natural available light. Still, a flash is nice to have to fill in shadows, and indeed sometimes to provide the light necessary to make the shot. When shooting candid photos at parties and gatherings, it is nice to be able to avoid the paparazzi look. I was looking for a way to use my camera mounted flash in such a manner that it would be diffused and softened.

Last night as I was adjusting the salinity of the fish tanks, I noted the jugs containing distilled water was a soft, translucent plastic. Click to enlargeThat would work well to diffuse the pop-up flash, but how to hold it in front of the mechanism? Looking at the handy dandy pop-up flash on my Nikon D-200, I noted that there was a space underneath it leading to the hot shoe. I cut the water jug to the size I wanted, with a T shaped arm on the bottom. It took several tries to get it right, but by placing the molded 45 degree top of the jug in the right place, I was able to slip the top of the T arm through the flash and into the hot shoe. The water bottle diffuser was held in front of the pop-up flash at a 45 degree angle. But would it work?

The starkly lit photo above was taken with my Nikon D-200 and the pop-up flash. By most accounts, the camera performed fine. Red eye was avoided, and the subject was separated from the background enough to avoid the dreaded black amoeba. All chiaroscuro is lost in the harsh light though. The form is unseen. The subject is flat.

Click to enlargeI put my hillbilly contraption on the top of my camera and tried again. With the water jug diffuser, the flash is dispersed, yet still partially projected through the plastic. The model is not only lit more evenly, but with a softer light. Even the background is illuminated slightly, allowing the warm dark bokeh to show through. The entire effect is reminiscent of Vermeer and Rembrandt.

I think I will be slipping this chunk of plastic in my camera bag for when I need it. Feel free to steal my idea to adapt to your own camera.


Ugly Gun Sunday

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A Kalashnikov confiscated from Somali pirates on March 3, 2009. Rusty, but odds are it still runs.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twilight Shooting

Click to enlargeI am on call this weekend, but I still managed to find time to shoot a few portraits just before twilight. these photos were shot with the Nikon D-200 and a Nikkor 85mm 1:1.8 lens set at f1.8. Mode was aperture priority with a shutter speed of 60-100. The ISO was set to automatic.

I apologize for the lack of gun stuff of late. This is supposed to be a gun type blog after all. Between being on call, sleeping off the work and a runny nose, and teaching myself to use a new camera, I did not make it to the range today. Perhaps I will go tomorrow if I get done with cases soon enough.

I guess I could say this is a shooting blog, whether cameras or firearms. Nah.... Its a personal blog, and sometimes I will use it for record keeping. Click to enlargeKeeping a record and understanding why certain things occur in photography is integral to the learning process. If a photographer does not understand why a serendipitous effect occurred, they have no hope of repeating it when they would like.

I really thought that I would like the top two photos while I was shooting, but the contre-jour around the architecture bothers me. As it turned out, I much prefer the third shot. I like the expression that could mean anything. I like the rhythm set up in the back ground. I like being able to read "Carnival" on the shirt. In regards to composition, it is the strongest. Oddly enough, it was the one I simply shot.

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Nikon D-200, Nikkor 85mm, ƒ1.8


March Haiku

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Azaleas bloom,

Spring returns,

Mucus flows freely.

Nikon D-200, 18-70mm ƒ3.5

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Manual Focus

I cut my teeth on manual focus cameras. Turning a focus ring to get a shot does not bother me a bit. In fact, I like it. I usually shoot in aperture priority mode, so as long as a lens allows that, I am happy. One of the great benefits of Nikon cameras is the interchangeability of the lenses. A thirty year old lens can often be used on a new Nikon camera, and vice versa. Even though they weigh more, I actually prefer the older, metal lenses.

As I go shopping for bargains in Nikon lenses, I have gathered some information from Ken Rockwell's Nikon lens compatibility charts. I am putting the information here, so I can access it, and use it easier. This lens compatibility information is specific to my Nikon D-200. Many older Nikon lenses can be used on the digital SLR bodies, although a 50mm lens presents itself as an 85mm. To get the same results that a 50mm normal lens gives with film, a 35mm lens is used on a digital SLR camera. These are my own notes for my convenience.

The oldest Nikon lens that will mate up to a Nikon D-200 is an AI (automatic indexing) lens. These lenses were introduced in 1977, and are recognized by a smaller set of aperture numbers that could be viewed through the viewfinder of the camera. These lenses also have two extra holes in the coupling prong that allow light to strike f/8 and f/4 so they can be seen in the viewfinder.

Nikon Series E lenses were sent to market in 1979. These were budget lenses, but they still contained superior optics. The Series E lenses gained a poor reputation among camera geeks because Nikon was honest enough to admit they contained plastic at a time when plastic in a camera lens smacked of cheapness. Today, plastic lens casings are commonplace, even among high priced gear. The Series E lenses represent some of the best values in prime lenses that will work on a D-200.

In 1981, the AI became the AI-S lens. The AI-S lens is easily recognized because the smallest aperture marking is in orange. These are still the same manual Nikon lenses made today.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shootin' Nines

I still consider the 9mm Commander to be a best buy in a 1911. A person's first 1911 really should be in 45 ACP. After all, it's the round the pistol was designed to shoot. Click to enlargeHowever, for inexpensive practice, it's hard to beat the 9mm for half the cost. I have not owned a 22 conversion for a 1911 although I have shot a few. None of them had enough recoil to knock a gnat off the front sight. 9mm in a Commander does.

I had a little time after work today to go to the range with my Colt 9mm Commander and my Model 10 snub. The 9mm Commander is the ideal pistol to introduce new shooters to a 1911 with. I purchased my 9mm Commander three years ago for the take home price of $650. At the time, I considered it a novelty. Little did I know that in three short years finding 45 ACP target ammunition would be a difficult process. As long as the shelves are bare in the stores, I am reluctant to shoot up my supply. The 9mm allowed me to not only shoot for less, but to shoot with an alternative ammunition that is easier to purchase.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Sampling of Portraits

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Click to enlargeThe 1:1.8 85mm Nikon lens is a superb portrait tool. These two images can be enlarged by clicking on them. The original dimensions of the upper portrait is 1887 X 1279. The dappled light on Cassie (the Golden Retriever) is difficult to deal with.

Both pics have been compressed and resized to save space on Blogger. Perhaps it's time I got a flickr account.

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Nikon D-200, 85mm ƒ1.8


Cycles of Life

I took the Raleigh Grand Prix out for the first time this spring. The last time I rode the Grand Prix was in November, a sad occasion. Winter was approaching, and while I know a Louisiana winter is insignificant by most standards, the shortening of the days and the wet cold can make the days bleak.

Today, the azaleas and hawthorne are beginning to bloom, and the evening air is a spicy bouquet, temperate and still. As I rode, I thought about the Zacarius video on transformation. I thought about Vivi, and Darla, Chester and Bear... and Cassie. I thought about the nurse at work who just today found out that she had passed her boards and become a registered nurse. I rode past a grove of magnificent cherry trees in full bloom, and recalled the cherry blossom season in Japan.

I have changed much since I left Atsugi Japan. Eighteen years have come and gone. Much has changed just since November. The days are getting longer, and soon I will again be riding to work in the morning light. It's often said that the only constant in life is change, but the rhythms of repeated cycles provides a pattern for the tapestry of our inexorable transformation.



It looks like sixty-five congressmen want to keep their jobs. The pro-gun Democrats, led by Representative Mike Ross of Arkansas wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder affirming their conviction to "actively oppose any effort to reinstate the 1994 ban, or to pass any similar law."