Monday, June 18, 2018

Low-hanging fruit...


Can't say the man's not consistent in his belief that illegal immigrant children should be kept with their fathers.
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Family resemblance...

When Pentax jumped into the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera craze in 2011, it's pretty obvious from where they drew their styling inspiration.

The Pentax Auto 110 of the late-'70s and early-'80s was pimped as the tiniest interchangeable lens SLR on the market, using the little 110 Instamatic film cartridges Kodak had introduced in '72.

Pentax marketed the Q-series digitals the same way. Ironically, the teeny 110 film negatives are the same size as a Micro 4/3 image sensor, which is much larger than the little 1/2.3" sensor chosen for the initial Q models. (The later Q7 and Q-S1 had slightly larger 1/1.7" sensors.)

From Wikipedia.
The small sensors are going to cause problems with noise at higher ISOs...

click to embiggenate
The above image is using the 3.2mm f/5.6 03 fisheye lens on the Q-S1, which has the later, larger sensor. It's a 1/6th second exposure at ISO 3200 and is obviously noisy as dammit.

Despite being an interchangeable lens camera, the Q-S1 uses the same 1/1.7" sensor size as my late, lamented Coolpix P7000, a higher-end compact. (The original Q and the Q10 use a smaller sensor, the same size as the one in the old Canon ShowerPot SX500 I've since handed off to Bobbi.)
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Sunday, June 17, 2018

So are "titular" and "prognathous"...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Nothing so exciting...

Glock blue guns from Ring's have always been only available via gray market to the general public, retailed by secondary sellers.

People often wonder why this is:
Can't have irresponsible and untrained civilians owning things that LOOK like Glocks, but buy all the real guns they want. 
I... 
I... 
I don't get it. 
Bear in mind, this is GLOCK making the demand, not Blue Guns.
Civilian trainers can buy them for civilian training and civilian holster makers can buy them for civilian holster-making, but Glock apparently has a bee in their bonnet about cosplay or running around the back yard playing cowboys and bank robbers with anything that might look like their product.

Glock...to a level nearly unique among firearms companies other than maybe HK...vigorously protects its branding and trade dress and is real squirrelly about who it lets do what with it. Making a toy gun that even looks too much like a Glock will probably get you a visit from Smyrna's legal beagles with an armload of C&D's.

Glocks are apparently super srs bzness.
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Steadycam...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Overheard on the Intertubes...

Frustrated Friend: "The enrollment at some of the non-shooting classes I'm hosting is disheartening." 
Me: "People are stupid about non-shooting classes. For a long time I’ve been comfortable bagging on folks who have 200 hours in a plate carrier with a carbine and not eight hours drawing a 19 from concealment, but I need to start bagging on people with 200 hours of running a 19 from concealment and not eight hours of legal/med/retention/defensive driving/intermediate force...  
 Congrats. You’re trained like Joe SOCOM in the skills you’re least likely to need..."

Quiet, shady tree-lined streets...

It's a quiet, low-crime neighborhood, but it is in the middle of a big city, and low-crime don't mean no-crime:
He was in his car in the SoBro neighborhood, parked in his drive along the 5300 block of Carrollton. It happened during a time of day where you’ll typically see families with kids in strollers and on shoulders. People on bicycles. A mail carrier making his rounds. 
Police said it was about 2:00 p.m. when that man, 34, was approached by two armed men. They got away with cash and a a cell phone.
That's not far from where I'm typing this, not far at all. The approximate scene of the crime was within easy line of sight as I walked home from lunch yesterday. As a matter of fact, you can see the relatively busy thoroughfare of 54th street, a common walking route for me, in the background of some of that TV news footage.

I'm going to wager that dude was sitting in his car, futzing around with his cell phone like people do all the time, when all of a sudden and from out of nowhere...!

Sitting in parked cars is where people get jacked up. You're pinned in a box, and most people don't pay any attention to their surroundings while they'te in there.

Look around you before you pull into the parking space, and again before you shut off the car. When you shut off the car, exit the vehicle smartly, don't get lost in your glass cocoon.

What interested me in some of the discussion about this was the weird reluctance people have to locking their doors, like it's something you only do out of fear. Let me quote fellow blogger Unc on that one:
My kids always, in an annoyed tone, ask: Why do you always lock the doors? And I respond with So I don’t have to shoot anyone.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Little project well underway...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

I've been waiting near a month on a zoom lens to arrive on the slow boat from Japan, but according to the tracking number it should show up Saturday or Monday.

This is going to be fun, albeit kinda sad, since the story of the Pentax Q series is already a closed book. Initially, I just wanted a teal camera, is all...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sorry.

I certainly did not intend to miss two complete days of blogging.

I don't think I've slept for more than two hours at a stretch for the last three or four days. It had been getting better...I think I managed four hours of uninterrupted sleep last Thursday or Friday...but it's gotten worse again.

Just being able to lay flat on my back would be such an improvement. I tried that for a little while this morning. Getting up from there without aggravating the shoulder is really hard, though.
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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Painted into a corner...

Let's start this off by reminding everybody that, as the good civil libertarians at a certain website proclaim in their very name, Photography Is Not A Crime.

And the folks at Photography Is Not A Crime (or PINAC) are on the same page with the cops and the courts on another basic issue:  If you are sitting in a place of public accommodation with two walls composed of floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows, you don't have much of a reasonable expectation of privacy, and therefore no real legal protection from being photographed.

And if the place of public accommodation you're in is staffed by people who just got a whole mandatory day of sensitivity training about their customer (and non-customer) service policies...

...how do you expect them to make someone stop taking pictures of your kid?

And why is this Starbuck's problem? Can you not ask the dude to stop yourself? And do you understand that, depending on jurisdiction, there might be no up-front legal reason he needs to? Now what?

(Personally? I'd leave. Simplest solution.)

Vague terms of service, capriciously enforced...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Tab Clearing...


Camera for sale...


My Panasonic Lumix GF3 is up for sale on eBay.

Fantastic combination of a decent-size 12MP sensor in a tiny body that's just about pocketable when fitted with a collapsable lens, like the Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

Sensor Sweep...

The Nikon Coolpix S6500 I used for a year or so back in 2014-'15 is on the left, with the Pentax Q10 on the right.

The Q10 is the second iteration of the series, being a more value-priced proposition than the original Q, largely by replacing the magnesium shell of the original with a plastic one. It debuted in September of 2012 and featured a 12MP 1/2.3" sensor...

A digression to mention that digital camera sensor size descriptions date back to the earliest days of digital video. A 1/2.3" sensor is 6.17mm across by 4.55mm tall, or 7.66mm across the diagonal.

The Nikon, which hit the market in January of 2013, has a sensor with the same physical dimensions, but 16MP resolution. The lens on the Coolpix is the equivalent of a 25-300mm zoom, in 35mm terms, but only an f/3.1-6.5. Consequently the Coolpix tends to be noisy at longer focal lengths in anything but the best of lighting conditions.

With a wider choice of bigger, specialized lenses, and the ability to shoot in RAW for better image processing, the Pentax Q10 ekes a lot of performance out of the little 1/2.3" sensor by comparison...but it's still a tiny sensor. Noise is going to happen at higher ISOs no matter what trickery you employ.


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Punchy

As Bobbi noted, she's been working the early shift this week, which has her arriving home from work at about noon, doing her best to go to sleep not long after, and waking up with her alarm clock at about 10:00 PM.

Myself, I had been going to "bed" (for a given value of...) at midnight, because I'm trying to spread the pain meds out at least six hours apart to make them last as long as possible. Projecting forward off the recent past, I figure I've got about another week until things are down to a dull roar.

Even without this week's disruption in the normal routine at Roseholme Cottage, being forced to sleep semi-sitting-up meant that I was rarely getting more than two or three hours' uninterrupted sleep at a lick. The occasional four-hour stretch is still cause for celebration.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if my writing is a little garbled for the next week or so, you know why.
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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

It's Summertime in SoBro again...

 Forced myself out of the house yesterday. The weather was nearly perfect, with temps in the high seventies and freakishly low humidity. Just enough of a breeze to make flags ripple a little bit.

 I strolled to Fat Dan's for a smoked pulled pork sandwich, sans bun, and I allowed myself some fries.

 The interior was cool, shady, and inviting...

 ...and you could see right out onto the sidewalk eating area.

 One of the aforementioned lightly rippling flags.

A secret backyard treasure!

All the photos were shot with either the Pentax Q10 and the 02 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 kit zoom lens, or the Pentax Q-S1 and the 03 3.2mm f/5.6 fisheye lens.

Monday, June 04, 2018

I'm in the wrong line of work...

Ambulance bill for the ride to the hospital just arrived in the mailbox. Jayzus.

Literally a hundred times more than I've ever paid for an Uber going twice the distance. Hell, I could have Uber'd back and forth between Indianapolis and Lafayette every day for a couple of weeks for that money.

Next time, no matter how much I'm writhing on the floor and screaming in pain at 0300, just tap me behind the ear with a hammer and throw me in the car. If I need drugs en route, they're available on most street corners between here & 16th Street for a lot less money than that, and they've probably got even more Fentanyl in them than what I got on the ambulance.

Not unrelated: Be watching my eBay and Gunbroker pages in the next couple weeks.
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Apples and Oranges

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Fun Show Time!

It's Fun Show weekend here in Indianapolis, and I'm headed there with Shootin' Buddy in a few. Let's sing the Fun Show Song!
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
Thanks to the still-unknown medical bills hanging over my head, I don't really have any huge plans for this show, mostly just seeing and being seen and socializing with my peeps who I only see at Fun Show time.

Oh, I do need to get a couple magazines for the next 2k test gun...

That's right, thanks to the assistance of Commander Zero at Notes From the Bunker, it's fixin' to get all 1990's up in this place...

Saturday, June 02, 2018

End of an Era

Somewhere around here is a picture of me holding my very first serious camera, a Canon AE-1 Program like the one pictured above.

In that picture I'm a 24-y.o. kid inordinately happy with the fact that she's got a media pass and is working as a photographer's assistant covering the inaugural First Union Grand Prix bicycle race in Midtown Atlanta. My boss was doing important stuff while I got crowd shots with one of his Pentax ME's and my own AE-1. I also got some cool pics of some young rookie named Lance Armstrong out in front of the pack on his way to a big win.

I'd dig the picture out, but my jacked up shoulder isn't conducive to shuffling boxes around the attic just now. Remind me later.

Unlike Nikon, when Canon switched to autofocus cameras in the Nineties, they bit the bullet and went to an entirely new lens mount.

Canon still cataloged one model of 35mm film SLR, their top-of-the-line EOS-1V up until just now.

As it happens, those EOS-1V cameras in the catalog were actually "New Old Stock", however. The 35mm film camera market had collapsed so quickly that for the last eight years, Canon was selling new cameras that it had stopped making in 2010.

Having sold the last, Canon is now announcing that they are officially out of the film camera business after eighty years. They will be officially repairing the cameras through Halloween of 2025, although some repairs may be refused after 2020 based on availability of spare parts.

And so it goes.
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Thumbnail Report: Urban Rifle with John Farnam

On the morning of Day One at Tac-Con 2018, John Farnam presented a two-hour block of instruction called Urban Rifle.

The description of the class in the brochure was as follows:
"This course is about the interplay between pistol and rifle (or carbine) applications in urban defensive contexts. We will explore the ways these two weapons systems can complement each other and the safest and most efficient methods of transitioning between them. All pistol work will be from a concealed draw. Good iron sights; EOTech or Aimpoint (Red Dot) sighting systems; or low-power, low-profile, forward-mounted scopes are best for this class. Rifles will be put to strenuous, rugged use and may get scratched up a bit. Pretty guns are best left at home. Equipment List: Approx. 20 rounds of pistol ammo; at least 2 extra magazines or speed-loaders; Approx. 100 rounds of rifle ammo; eye and ear protection; rifle magazine carrier."

John Farnam shouldn't need much of an introduction. He's been doing this as long as anybody, and his traveling roadshow dates back to the pre-Cambrian era of the days of tactical firearms training for private citizens here in the US.

Here's his bio from his website:
John Farnam is presently a fully commissioned deputy sheriff (Training Officer) for the Park County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office. 
A police officer and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, John is one of the top defensive firearms instructors in the nation. He has personally trained thousands of federal, state and local law enforcement agency personnel, many private security agencies, foreign governments, and hundred of civilians in safe gun handling and the tactical use of the defensive firearms. 
He has authored dozens of magazine articles, five books, written several handgun manuals, produced numerous training videos (including the DTI “Operator Series”), and has written a model Use of Force Policy. His books, The Farnam Method of Defensive Handgunning, Second Edition, The Farnam Method of Defensive Rifle and Shotgun Shooting, Second Edition and Guns and Warriors, Volume One have become the standard texts on the subjects. 
John is a Senior Board Member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. In June of 1996, he was selected by his peers to receive the renowned “Tactical Advocate of the Year” award from the National Tactical Association. In April of 2009, he was inducted into Black Belt Magazine’s “Living Legends.” In November of 2011, he was elevated to the rank of Kyoshi Sensei within the American Marital Arts Association.
As could be expected, the class filled quickly.

The students were a good mix of private citizens and a few LEOs, with quite a few firearms instructors who were there to see how John taught his stuff and maybe find some gleanings they could incorporate into their own curricula. (This is a collaborative art and one sign of a good instructor is that they're always out there learning stuff.)

The class was almost entirely conducted in the 0-25 yard envelope, with most targets engaged in the 7-15 yard range.

Emphasis was placed on movement "off the X" and keeping the head up and in the fight. While disparaging of the rote "scans" that result in robotic head-swiveling taught in some places, Farnam was insistent that looking around to ensure things hadn't changed be a part of the target engagement procedure.
The class was almost, but not entirely, composed of AR-pattern carbines with a couple SBRs, but there was also a Sig Sauer 556 and a CZ Skorpion 2 carbine.

Gun-handling on the whole was solid and safe, and there were ample folks serving as RSOs/AIs to ensure no lack of watchful eyes.

LPVO's were more common than in days past, but this crowd was still mostly zero-magnification red dots, and even a couple of iron sight shooters.

John had plenty of techniques he taught peculiar to the environment of using a long gun at pistol distances. One was a method to buy enough time to get off a single precisely aimed shot at close range, useful especially for hostage rescue shots.

Farnam also taught a fast, coarse visual index for bringing the gun up from low ready. This was presented as being used in situations where speed to first shot trumped precision and can be seen in the photos immediately above and below. Rather than rotating the sights into the eye-target line, the gun remained horizontal and as soon as a visual index was to be had, the blasting started, all while moving off the X.

I don't know exactly how much time is saved by this versus getting the dot up there, but we weren't timing it.

One of the biggest doctrinal differences (if not the biggest) between Farnam's gun-handling mechanics and the things I learned from Pat Rogers and various Pat-adjacent instructors is the use of the safety on the carbine. Current best practice as I've been taught is that the safety on the carbine is on unless one is actively engaged in pressing off shots; the safety even goes on to reload. Farnam, on the other hand, doesn't express any strong preference for what you do with the safety while the gun is in your hands. I believe he stated that he takes it off when the gun is in his hands and doesn't reapply it until he slings the gun again, but I'm not 100% on that quote.

I'm going to look into his Defensive Urban Rifle class in Kankakee, IL this September and see if I have room on the calendar.
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Friday, June 01, 2018

One thing led to another...

...when all of a sudden it was 11:30PM and I hadn't written any of the blog posts I'd meant to today.

I'll try again in the AM.
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