Sunday, September 30, 2018

We are all Tod Lubitch now.

So, the biggest effect I've seen regarding l'affaire Kavanaugh on social media is that it's allowed people to more effectively caulk the leaks in their bubbles by purging people who they suddenly discovered did not share their particular orthodoxy as closely as they thought they did.

And the best part is that they feel completely righteous in doing so!

After all, they're only shunning and/or blocking those people who [don't believe women & enable rape culture/don't respect due process & enable political chicanery], and who wouldn't want to be shut of *those* assholes, amirite?

The meteor can't get here soon enough.


Pretty much.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

QotD: Bad Image Edition...

From my friend MattG:
"You can generally tell a hit piece, lately, by the photo which accompanies it."
Go and RTWT...

A Pair of Sevens...

I went walkabout to Fat Dan’s to get ribs for lunch. I was carrying the Sony a7 with the 24-240mm zoom my friends bought me, in case I saw things along the way that needed photographing.

Fat Dan’s is packed on a lovely early autumn weekend. There’s a Cubs game and an IU football game on the tellies and the overhead doors that face the street are both rolled up. Both the dining room and sidewalk tables have a bunch of people doing interesting people things.

And I have a full-frame camera with a bazooka of a lens on it that is about as un-subtle as if I started swinging an RPG launcher around. The only way I’d be less able to get candids would be with a big ol’ putty-colored Canon L-lens.

I wish I’d brought my black Pentax Q7 with the 15-45mm f/2.8 zoom. I’d order another beer and just sit here against the wall and enjoy myself...

Friday, September 28, 2018

Poor kitty...

Rannie is always so miserable at the vet's office. Our local vet has gotten Fear Free certification, but Miss Wu is generally shaking like a leaf and wanting to just stick her nose in a corner and pretend that none of this is happening the whole time she's there anyway.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Lucky score...

So, I had bought an EOS-1Ds to go with the old 70-200mm f/2.8L lens that a reader had graciously made me a fire-sale deal on. And due to KEH's error and their appreciation for my honesty, I wound up with an EOS-1Ds Mark II for $399. And I had an EF 40mm f/2.8 still laying around from the days when I was shooting Canons.

Because good things, like bad things, apparently travel in threes, I saw a new listing pop up on eBay for a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG lens...usually about $3-400 on the used market. This one was $167.

The seller had an excellent rating, offered a money-back guarantee, and said the only reason for the price was because of a crack in the plastic shell on the lens.

That seemed worth the risk for the price.

The lens works fine. It's an older Sigma EX zoom, so it's a little soft wide open at longer focal lengths and can hunt for focus in dim light, but for a $165 lens, it seems to be the berries. Now I have some wide(ish) angle glass to go with the 70-200 tele. Can't wait for vacation!


Shot with the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II & Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG lens.

I had no idea this bike even existed before I walked past one yesterday, and now I want one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #175...

Coming soon to a post on the sadly-neglected other blog, a Colt New Line revolver in .38 rimfire. This one dates to 1875. Unlike many European firearms manufacturers, the Colt plant has never been bombed flat by the Luftwaffe, RAF, or the Eighth Air Force, and so serial number records exist going back to the beginning, and Colt has made them electronically searchable, at least for date of manufacture.

I LOL'ed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

L'affaire Kavanaugh...

You know what pisses me off about this whole situation?

My conservative friends keep bringing up Bill Clinton and The Evel Knievel of Chappaquiddick, and they don't grasp that the #MeToo movement was in *response* to that environment in the past.

People don't understand how common sexual assault and straight-up rape is...and, yes, #MeToo...and this groundswell happens where now we're not going to sweep it under the rug, we're not going to let it slide with a "boys will be boys" or "she should have been more careful".

But somehow the movement got shanghaied, first by people who diluted the meaning to "someone at work said my ankles were fat", and now finally we've come to this.

DiFi's smug little last-minute "Aha! I've got a 'gotcha' that'll stick it to the GOP but good!" expression...its blatant in danger of becoming the Pickett's Charge of the #MeToo movement. Movements have backlashes and pendulums swing both ways. Thanks for f$cking it up, Diane.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Last night...

I saw the color of the light streaming in the kitchen window, and grabbed a camera and ran out front to see if I could capture it...

The above photo was with the Fuji X-E1 and the Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 lens. I wished I had a more conventional wide-angle lens for the Fuji, but lacking that, I ran back in and got the fisheye...

By the time I got the fisheye on the camera and got back out front, the sky had lost most of its dramatic color, but I was still happy with the "pools of light" effect I got in this photo.

Friday, September 21, 2018


I met up with my friend who uses the nom de blog "Global Village Idiot" today to do some fun hanging out here in the Circle City.

The centerpiece of the day was a tour of the Scottish Rite Cathedral downtown.

One recent addition to the camera bag really came into its own...

Scottish Rite library, full of books on how to take over the world by organizing pancake breakfasts, no doubt.
 I did a lot of interior shooting with the Fuji X-E1 (rapidly displacing my Pen E-P5 as my favorite "LookaLeica", thanks to its controls.) And the reason I used it so much was because the 7.5mm f/2.8 7Artisans fisheye may not be the sharpest lens in the world when run wide open, but it does a bang-up job for shooting interiors with iffy lighting. For the price, I don't think you can beat it.

The lens is available for Fuji X-mount, Micro Four Thirds, and Sony E-mount and is stupid cheap.

Real men don't shoot mouseguns!

I have no idea how Chris stays so poker-faced through these.

Lost the knack...

After sitting in its case, untouched, since late April, the Smith & Wesson 4046 came along to the range yesterday. After putting a hundred rounds through the Wilson EDC X9, I put a box of fifty rounds through the Smith.

Obviously, I have lost the knack for the gun's trigger in the five months since I last pulled it. Nevertheless, it ran through all fifty rounds with no problems.

This makes 300 rounds through the Smith since it was last cleaned and lubricated. 1,700 rounds to go.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

More Huck...

This was shot with the Sony a7 & Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens. Zoomed all the way out to 240mm, the f/6.3 max aperture doesn't allow for the dramatic background defocus of faster lenses, but it still takes an okay picture with a well-lit subject.

The Eagle Has Landed...

FedEx showed up at 5:42PM yesterday. No unboxing video, sorry. Here's the end result:

KEH called me and said they'd invoice me for another $200. That seemed fair to me.

It's money I wasn't planning on spending and really don't have to spare, but a week or two on ramen is good for the character. Besides, a couple hundred bucks for a clean conscience is a bargain. Now the camera is mine fair and square and I don’t feel like I’ve put one over on anyone. And $499 for an excellent-in-the-box 1Ds Mark II is still a screaming deal, as a quick perusal of the used ones on Amazon will show.

Here's the comparison I promised with the equivalent field-of-view lens on the Micro Four Thirds OM-D E-M5. One is a walking-around lens, the other...not really for just casual roaming with a camera by your side.

I have a Lowepro Apex 120 camera bag that's a leftover from when my go-to camera was a Canon Rebel XT with an 18-135mm travel zoom, and there's no way it will accommodate a massive pro body like the EOS-1Ds Mark II, no matter what lens you put on it, but it'll swallow the little Olympus, complete with 35-100mm zoom and the battery grip, no problem at all.

By the time the lens got here, it was cat-feeding and dish-washing time. So it was headed for dusk when I threw it on the camera and took it into the back yard where there were squirrels who could serve as models for some test shots...

Hey, little fella! Pose for the camera!

I was impressed by how easily it grabbed focus through that little gap without any hunting or confusion by the tree trunk or vegetation. I am going to have fun with this setup next month!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Back-Saver...

The Online Photographer is spot-on with the observation he makes in this post. I have been extremely impressed with the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 so far, and its size makes it easy to tote pretty much anywhere.

Here it is with a pint glass for scale...

When the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L gets here, I'll get pictures of them side-by-side.


My review of the Sig Sauer P365 is up at Shooting Illustrated...

...and so is my review of the Gen5 Glock 26.

I want to buy both review guns, but I can't afford both and only need one. Argh.

The future is surreal...

1,300 rounds.

Yesterday morning saw me back at Indy Arms Company with the Wilson Combat EDC X9 and another two hundred rounds of ammunition.

I'm trying to work up speed again, which is requiring me to try and get some grip strength back into my left hand. On round number 1,279 I got my left thumb in the way of the slide closing fully, so I'm not going to count a user-induced malfunction against the gun.

This makes 1,300 rounds down, 700 to go.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

QotD: I Don't Get It Either Edition...

"“Unboxing Videos” are an internet phenomenon I will never understand. Rank them up there with eating Tide Pods and finding Kardashian women fascinating."
I absolutely don't get the fasincation with sitting there and staring at a box while listening to someone drone on about what's inside it. It's even less explicable than the painfully dull "tabletop review".

Well, that explains it...

Looking at the sticker on the box, the camera somehow got inventoried as a 1Ds and not a 1Ds Mark II. They're probably scratching their heads over why some woman keeps calling and claiming she owes them $300. As a friend of mine noted, once a bar code is on something, to the average employee it might as well be engraved in stone.

I last spoke with customer service yesterday afternoon about 4:30. They said they'll call back.

Even with the thoroughly mediocre EF 35-135mm f/4-5.6 lens I had laying around, this thing does okay. I can't wait to slap some real glass on it.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Doing the Right Thing can be tough...

I've just made the phone call to KEH and now I'm waiting on them to call me back, so I suppose I can tell the story in public now...
"So, I had posted on my blog a couple weeks ago about how I wanted a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for shooting action stuff and indoor sports and such, but they were too expensive. 
Well, one of my blog readers emailed me and said he had an older non-stabilized Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L lens that he'd sell me for $250. Even these old ones are bringing $600 on eBay, so it was very generous. Because lens is more important than camera, I took him up on the deal. 
I stopped shooting Canon several years back. I still had the Canon 20D in the house, but I'd given it to Bobbi, and it's an APS-C camera, and this lens deserves a full-frame sensor.  On a lark, before shopping for a Canon-to-Sony adaptor, I went to go see how much the oldest Canon full-frame bodies were going for used. KEH Camera Brokers had the EOS 1Ds (state of the art in 2002!) for $299. 
"What the hell," I thought, "Blogorado's coming up and PNC has raised the limit on my card. It might be fun to play with out on the range.
The box arrived Saturday, and when I opened it up it was like that scene in True Romance where they open Patricia Arquette's suitcase to find a fortune in cocaine instead of dirty laundry. 
KEH had sent, not an EOS 1Ds, but an EOS 1Ds Mark II. This is the next generation of pro-grade Canon from the one I bought. I checked the invoice and the serial number matched, but this was definitely a Mark II, and according to their catalog should have been $625 instead of $299. 
Now I have to call KEH in the morning and see what they want to do. Even though it's going to be a financial kick in the ribs, I'm tempted to ask if they'll let me just put the difference on my charge card. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying holding what was an $8000 pro-grade top-of-the-line camera in 2007."
I sometimes wish my parents hadn't raised me right.

Travel Hassle

On longer trips, like the ones to New Mexico or New Hampshire, my carry-on bags are stuffed with my MacBook Air for work, my iPad for entertainment and light writing chores, and a heavy Dell gaming laptop. If it's just a short trip for work, I leave the gaming rig at home, but that's still two items I need to drag out of the carry-on at the Security Theater checkpoint.

Yeah, I'm that person who waves you around her as she struggles getting all the crap out of her bag and into the trays.

That's why this was good news:
The next time you fly, your bag may undergo a computed tomography, or CT, scan. 
Indianapolis International Airport is one of 15 airports using technology similar to a medical imaging scan to look inside your luggage.
It would be way more convenient to just toss the bags on the conveyor and scoop them up on the other side without having to unpack and repack them.

I've considered paying for one of those pre-probulating services, but I just don't fly frequently enough to make it worth it. I don't know where the tipping point is, but currently I'm only flying three or four times a year, and that ain't it.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


The nobles and rich people back in the day didn't know what they were missing when they let the kitchen help make off with the shanks and tails and suchlike...

Yesterday's dinner started out with some beef shanks and ox tail browning in the big stew pot. All that marrow and connective tissue was going to make for a super-savory stew.

Here Bobbi has added the stew beef and some diced rutabaga...

After adding white onion, fennel root, carrots, beef stock, crushed tomatoes, and other stuff, the final result looked like the picture above and tasted absolutely delicious. Bobbi has a more detailed recipe up on her blog if you would like to duplicate this repast.

Stay In Your Lane


I really didn't want to go out there and walk this morning, but I guess that's part of it, the doing of things you don't want to do.

I'm debating going to the range today and grinding out more round count on the Wilson EDC X9. I need to finish that up and start writing it up so I can get started on the Autumn of DA/SA.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Lazy Day...

Like last weekend, I slept in on Saturday, which means I'll have to go out and walk tomorrow morning before Meet the Press comes on.

Other than a quick errand to Meijer for sodas and dinner fixings, it's been a lazy day around the house. I got some writing done, but not as much as I wanted to, so tomorrow will be serious catch-up time.

Have a picture of Huck:

Sony a7 II & Sony 24-70mm f/4 Vario-Tessar T FE OSS

Friday, September 14, 2018

Light My Way

Caleb, at the Lone Wolf Distributors blog, wrote back in August about the importance of properly identifying your target before shooting:
"Understanding the role of a WML for home defense is critical to using it – WMLs aren’t for searching, they’re for target ID. Here’s the scenario: there is a person in your home that you believe to be a threat, you point your gun at it that’s equipped with a WML and see that it’s a 6’9 dude with white power tattoos and a machete, so you light him up. Good clean shoot. Same situation, but this time your light reveals your teenage son sneaking in after curfew. Because you had a WML, congratulations you didn’t shoot your jerk kid!"
This, interestingly, brings up the additional possibilities allowed by the newer, brighter weapon-mounted lights, like Surefire's 1,000-lumen XH35 seen here...

There's enough light from those that you can often positively ID targets with spill, with the gun still in a low muzzle-aversion position. Alternatively, an XH35 on a pistol held in a high muzzle-aversion position like temple index will usually reflect enough light off the ceiling of a room to light the room reasonably well.

While the lens on the light is protected by Thyrm Clens, the body of the light can get pretty grody on a short gun like this. I got the masking tape idea watching blog reader rremington shooting at TacCon this year...

Have some flowers...

Here's a pretty flower to look at while I'm sitting here waiting on the little white van of happiness to drop off my latest order from Lucky Gunner. (Thank you, Patreon subscribers!)

I love the convenience, because if I order before 3PM Mon-Thu, the ammo usually hits my porch before the range opens at 10AM.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


I am thankful for the pretty decent built-in speakers on the iPhone 7 plus, because the last couple days I've been able to listen to Ballistic Radio while doing my morning walk, and I refuse to use earbuds (also known as "target indicators") while out walking in the middle of a large settlement of apex predators.

Besides, if I got jacked while out walking while listening to Ballistic Radio on earbuds, I would never ever be able to live that down.

Not to mention being able to hear cars and stuff like that. I'm always amazed to see people jogging or bicycling in the street with earbuds or even headsets. It seems like the texting driver and the Bose-wearing cyclist are just a match made in insurance heaven.

Actually, about the only time I use earbuds is when I'm on airplanes. I just don't like being deprived of a sense like that.

When I'm playing World of Warcraft here at home, I almost never get the full stereo effect from my Logitech G930's, because I usually leave one ear uncovered so I can hear Bobbi and the cats.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Your House Isn't a Free-Fire Zone...

So, one time back in the day, when I lived in Cookie Cutter Courts apartment complex, I stayed up for most of a weekend playing...I can't remember, but it was probably Diablo a LAN party. And then because I had errands to run on Monday, I only got a couple hours of half-assed sleep Sunday night. I ran errands during the day and then sleep-rode my motorcycle to the airport for work, clocked out at about 0100 and rode home so tired I was practically hallucinating.

I stopped one flight short and stuck my key in the door of 213 instead of 313 before realizing my error.

So that much of soon-to-be-former Officer Guyger's statement to authorities rings true.

However, she states she found the door ajar, that she issued the shadowy figure she encountered commands to stop, and only shot him when he did not comply.

In other words, her statement ticks all the boxes for an unfortunate shoot that will likely result in a plea deal on manslaughter charges and the end of a career in law enforcement. Especially if her claim that she didn't turn on the lights and realize she was in the wrong apartment until she was already on the phone with 911 is borne out by the recording of the call.

The angry public is clamoring for murder charges, however, and if soon-to-be-former Officer Guyger fudged any part of her statement in order to make her case look better, it will bite her in the ass.

So, back to my oft-repeated mantra of "Your house is not a free-fire zone," with the newly added codicil: "...especially if it turns out it's not your house."

For fifty bucks, you can use this:

For 9.06¢ per kWh, you can use this:

And for free, you can use this:

Maybe so...

It's certainly helped me through a rough year.

Because it's just a hobby, I know it does for me a lot of what shooting used to do. With shooting, unfortunately, I have learned the lesson that adult film actors do: You can turn anything into work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #173...

After 3,785 I suppose I owe you guys a teardown, some macro photos of a filthy gun, and a writeup. And I owe this poor gun a bath. Reliability has been stellar, BTW. Go figure.

A tentative feeling of accomplishment...

See all that snot on the picture? That was stuff on the sensor of my Sony a7 II. The vibrating self-cleaning process didn't dislodge it, and it didn't blow off with an air bulb, and so that meant cleaning the sensor. (Actually the glass protector on the sensor.)

I ordered up some swabs and solvent and pondered my options. There was nothing like a clean-room sort of environment inside Roseholme Cottage, but it was 68 degrees and humid, with dead calm air outside. If I was going to have the body cap off long enough to swab something, sitting in the corner on the front porch was as good a place as any.

Once finished, I shot the clouds at f16, and the spots seemed to be gone. I'll take it out for a spin later today.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Overheard in the Hallway...

TV Announcer: "...the new book about beloved First Lady, Betty Ford."
RX: "Who ever writes a book about a First Lady the people hated?" 
Me: "Hillary Clinton's ghost writer?"

Riddle Solved...

So I'd thought I'd tracked down the mystery of the automagically imported files on Lightroom CC. I went into the settings of the app on my phone and turned off the feature that auto-imported photos from the camera into my Lightroom catalog.

Then I came home from lunch with Shootin' Buddy yesterday afternoon, sat on the front porch finishing up a column on my iPad, and came inside to futz around on the desktop computer. I opened Lightroom, and there were the phone snapshots of lunch! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Strausberg chili dog with a side of cauliflower salad at Liter House.
So this morning I hit the Googles to see what was up. The answer was simple enough that I felt a little silly. Since all the Apple devices share photos to the same pool, the Mac desktop computer and iPhone had been commanded to stop uploading grocery lists and screen caps to Lightroom, but the iPad was dutifully chugging away. Fixed that now.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


So, sometimes I take a photo with my phone that is intended as an actual photo and process it with Adobe Lightroom CC, right there on my phone, because it's handy as dammit.

Far more often, though, the photos I take with my phone are notional things, meant to share a picture my friends of a tasty meal or a cool t-shirt I saw. (Because that's what social media is for, in my opinion. I'm just having conversations with friends that, because these conversations are on the internet, are observable by other people to a greater or lesser degree.)

Even more notional than a picture of a meal or funny t-shirt are the countless images in my phone's photo album of shopping lists, screen shots, silly memes, and such. The phone dutifully saves these, too.

And the problem is that I haven't figured out a way to make Lightroom able to tell the difference between an actual photograph and the "Why football man don't stand up?" So it automatically tries to synch everything in the iPhone's photo library with my online Lightroom storage.

There has to be a way to fix this that I'm just missing...

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #172...

This Langdon Tactical 92 Elite LTT is fixin' to get the 2k round treatment. So far I am really liking the grips. I'm finding the sights to be very usable, and the trigger has to be felt to be believed. The DA pull is amazing.

Not in the game...

With the front moving through, I spent yesterday in rather a lot of pain. This morning I repeated last Saturday's day off from walking, which means I'll be out for a morning stroll before Meet the Press tomorrow morning. Hopefully without an umbrella; it's been raining pretty steadily for two days straight here.

My head has been muzzy today, which is making writing hard.

Friday, September 07, 2018


That's funny right there, I don't care who you are...

Terribly sorry...

Got out for a leisurely amble this morning. My 17.03/mile pace was due more to laziness than the fact that I was carrying an umbrella.

Then a discussion on Facebook wound up in me falling down the rabbit hole of Googling ballista plans on the internet. Turns out there are rather a lot of them. For instance, behold "Mista Ballista"!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

That felt good...

I got a good walk in this morning right at sunrise. A little over a mile at what Siri says was a 15.33/mile pace. It left me pleasantly winded. I should do that more.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

I'm not alone... my love of State Fairs. Aaron has pics and video from Michigan's State Fair. Go check it out!

Fast Glass

The 70-200mm constant-aperture zoom lens is a staple in camera bags. It's such a staple that, well...
"’s a lens that so many pros rely on for a considerable portion of their photography that the leading manufacturers of camera bags design their wares around it. We’ve seen countless demos by the bag makers who describe a pro-level case as being able to hold a DSLR with a 70-200mm."
I like "travel zooms" (like the Sony 24-240mm that's on my a7 right now) as the walking-around lens on my camera, but while they add the versatility of going from wide-angle to long telephoto, they are too slow to use for anything other than brightly-lit outdoor work.

Even with extensive work in Lightroom, trying to shoot derby with a typical f/3.5-5.6 travel zoom results in a hot mess.
I'd been pondering getting a constant aperture 70-200mm to better be able to shoot things like roller derby. There was no way I was going to be able to swing a lens like that before Blogorado time rolled around again, though.

A full-frame Sony E-mount 70-200mm f/4 is about a grand used, and the one I really wanted, the 70-200mm f/2.8, is double that money or more.

This is where the magic of Micro Four-Thirds comes to the rescue. Since the MFT sensor is half the size of the one on a full-frame camera, a 35-100mm zoom would give the same field of view as a 70-200mm on the Sony. And Panasonic happens to make a very well-regarded 35-100mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
Due to the smaller glass, it's a lot more affordable, too. Sure, because of the crop factor you also lose some of the tight depth-of-field control you get with a full-frame f/2.8, so if portraiture is your jam it's not really a substitute. But is it capable of shooting roller derby? It would appear so.

Speaking of the magic of crop factor, the tiny 1/1.7" sensor on the Pentax Q7 and Q-S1 means that the 70-200mm equivalent on those cameras is a 15-45mm lens that costs a hundred bucks and fits in a teacup.

Surly...or, well, surlier than usual.

The constant low-level pain makes me a downright unpleasant person to be around, and I don't much like that. I'm irritable and find myself answering even long-time friends snippily and shortly.

If I've done this to you recently (and it was in a manner you thought out of character for me) that's why, and I apologize. Hopefully things will be back to my normal levels of snarky hostility in another month or two.