Friday, January 15, 2021

At loose (video) ends...

Bobbi and I tend to watch something over dinner and, for most of the past couple years at least, it's been binge-watching various shows or miniseries (miniserieses?). Anyway, we're done with The Queen's Gambit and, unfortunately, we're caught up with the current season of The Expanse, which means it will be trickling out on Wednesdays for us now.

I'm currently nosing through shows with 30-min or 1-hr episodes and at least two or three seasons in the can, looking for the next bit of dinner theater while we wait for the next seasons of Stranger Things, The Boys, and The Umbrella Academy to drop*.

*For whatever reason, the old Roku on the living room televisor will not find Disney+, so that's only viewable on the TV in Bobbi's room or the computer monitor in my office. Sure, my desktop monitor is only a 25" screen, but I was in high school before the living room TV was that big. It's true, kids! Ask your parents. The living room TV can do Prime Video and Netflix.


As the ship continues to spring new leaks...

...the new leaks keep getting funnier.

New Year's Resolution

From a "year in review, year in preview" piece at Luminous Landscape came this interesting digression on the rumored imminent ultra high resolution sensors: 
"It is difficult to tell a really good 24-26 MP print from a 45-60 MP print at 16×24” – it’s possible, but under close inspection – even an experienced observer would have a hard time on the wall. A 24×36” print from a really good 24-26 MP sensor and lens looks good on the wall, even in a gallery – but put it next to a 45-60 MP version and the difference is obvious from close up. I’ll happily print 40×60” from a Z7 or an A7r IV, which I won’t from a good 24-26 MP sensor – like a 24×36” from 24-26 MP, the print works very well, but if you put your nose right up to it, you might wish you’d used a GFX 100 or stitched. A 90-100 MP sensor will really show its stuff at a print size of 40×60” or above – the native print size of the GFX 100 sensor is 29×39” at 300 dpi, and a beautiful print that big can be made from a 200 dpi or even 150 dpi file with careful resizing. How much of your work ends up that size? Do you have room for a printer the size of a piano? If you are thinking about digital display, what 12K display device are you planning on using? Even at 8K, it has no advantage over a 45-60 MP camera, since both will outresolve the display. 

What lenses do you own that will resolve 100 MP? What will even look different between 60 MP and 100 MP? An Otus, sure… Some of the best Sigma Art lenses, like the newish 85mm f1.4, are likely to. A few other excellent lenses – think the best of the Sony G-Master, Canon L and Nikon S lines, mostly primes. Any exotic long telephoto prime from Canon, Nikon, Sony or Sigma. If any zoom that good exists at all, there are VERY few of them. The closest possibility I’ve handled is Nikon’s 24-70mm f2.8 for the Z bodies – it resolves right up to the limits of the Z7 and seems to be begging for more. I’m pretty sure it has at least something more to give on a higher-resolution sensor. I haven’t used the latest Canon or Sony zooms at the top of their lines, nor have I used either of the $10,000 telephoto zooms – but they all seem to be good candidates as well. That’s about it – a bunch of $1000+ primes, mostly $2000+ other than the Sigma Art lenses, and a very tiny list of $2000+ zooms. 

How good is your technique for 100 MP? Even the best lens is only that good at optimum aperture – diffraction is going to set in quickly with pixels that small. Handholding will require faster shutter speeds than you’re used to, even with image stabilization, and any subject motion at all is going to show up. Depth of field? What depth of field? The 45-60 MP cameras are already difficult to focus correctly, since any tiny focus error eliminates their resolution advantage. If you’re doing huge prints of architecture or motionless landscape, using a Series 3 or larger tripod (think 6-7 lbs of tripod and head, even in carbon fiber) or have enough light for very high shutter speeds (any noise at all will kill the resolution advantage, so a very high resolution camera will be best at ISO 64-200, maybe ISO 400 at most to see the difference), you might see a gain. 
Speaking as someone who sold her 5D Mark II to partly fund a mega-super-high-res 5DS and then wound up buying another used 5D Mark II to supplement it, all I can say is...ouch. 

Sure, the 5D Mark II is about a dozen years old now and sports a 21MP sensor, less than half the resolution of the 5DS, but it'll turn out a photo that can be splashed across a full two-page spread eleven inches high and eighteen inches wide, with plenty of room for the art director to crop...

Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and an old EF 28-70mm f/2.8L lens

The 50MP sensor on the 5DS will let you know a lot of things: If your lens sucks, if you missed focus, if you should have used a stabilized lens or a faster shutter speed or more light. Cramming that many photosites on a full-frame sensor is noisy at higher ISOs, at least in Canon's 2015 effort.

From a gee-whiz point of view, I get the attraction of a squillion megapickle camera. But from a gearhead point of view, I have to acknowledge that its downsides currently outweigh its upsides for the kind of shooting I do.



I needed to get that film dropped off at Roberts, and I also needed to get out of the house and get some exercise. It was an unseasonably balmy forty-something degrees, so I slung my Leica R4 around my neck, grabbed the pre-packed bag with my Nikon D700, and headed out.

I fed a few quarters to the meter on North Street by the Scottish Rite Cathedral and started walking south on Illinois, heading generally toward the state capitol building.

Foot & vehicle traffic was light. Some store windows, like on the CVS and the Thai restaurant on Market by the Capitol, were still boarded up from the summer's events. I walked over to the east steps of the Capitol, shot some film, and headed back east up Market toward the Circle. On the Circle, workmen were busy boarding up windows. It was about this point that I'd used up the roll of Ilford XP2 in the Leica, so I bagged it and pulled out the Nikon for the remainder of my stroll.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument was right there where I'd left it...

The bottom photo is, I believe, why bears generally stay away from Indiana.

From the Circle, I strolled back up Meridian to where I'd parked the car and drove over to Roberts to drop off film. I think I need to do this more often.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Five by Five

Just finishing up a piece for RECOIL...

Granted, it's only five yards, but I was shooting offhand at a reasonable pace and those sights aren't the easiest to use. That trigger's no basket of kittens and rainbows, either...


Random Updates:

  • Finished the last episode of The Queen's Gambit last night. This series was nearly perfectly-executed television in my book: very well-acted and shot, and the sets and soundtrack both helped set the mood and tell the story. It was also another excellent demonstration that the only real way to do justice to a novel-length presentation is in a miniseries.

  • Took the Leicaflex SL for a walk yesterday afternoon. I was shooting from the hip, exposure-wise, but double-checking my guesses with the myLightMeter Pro app on my phone. Everything was going swimmingly until I took a shot at 1/125th at f/5.6 and the mirror hung in the up position. I'd shot about eight frames at that point, so I rewound the film and I'll take it to Roberts today. Went home and dry-fired the camera fifty or sixty times, both with the lens off and on, at 1/2000th to see if it loosens anything up. Lesson learned: Go back to using a 24 exposure roll of the absolute cheapest Fuji or Kodak from the drug store for test rolls, rather than a 36-exposure roll of Ilford.
Below, see a video about the light meter app I use!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

*hot take*

*spit take*


My first digital camera was a 1.3MP Mavica FD88 that I hung on to for a year or two after it was obsolete (I mean, cameras got obsoleted every three months back then) because memory stick/card standards were totally non-standardized but every computer would always have a 3.5" floppy for emergency booting, right? 

Memory card standards in DSLRs more or less shook out in the early Aughties. Compact Flash was the initial winner, although it gradually started getting supplanted by SD cards about ten years ago, starting in smaller consumer-level bodies.

In fact, many pro bodies, up until last week or so, still had CF slots simply because photojournalists had so much CF infrastructure. It's only been in the last year or so that I've had a hard time finding CF cards small enough for older cameras like my D1x and D200 to use. 

Interestingly, you can still get really big CF cards easily, and there are a lot of companies still selling the tiny sub-1MB CF cards that are needed by old CNC machinery on Amazon...but cards in the 2-8MB range that are usable by older cameras are getting scarcer by the year. If I walk into Roberts camera right now, I can buy film for my 80-y.o. Leica, but I might not be able to get a CF card small enough for my 18-y.o. Nikon D1x to recognize.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Future Imperfect, Tense

Let's see if it works...

Behold the "Diesel Leica", so called because of its bulk, Brutalist styling, and baroque mechanicals. It's the camera that almost bankrupted Leitz!

I have it loaded with Ilford XP2, an ISO 400 black & white film that's developed using the C-41 color process. This means I can have it done on-site at Roberts downtown. Or, I guess, if you didn't mind not getting your negatives back, you could drop it off at a CVS or Walgreens. Of course, getting the negatives back is kinda the whole point of shooting film in 2021.

I haven't bothered trying to put a battery in it to see if the meter works. I have a light meter app on my iPhone if I need it, but C41 negative film has pretty decent exposure latitude and as long as I stick with the "Sunny 16" rule and don't try any really tricky shots, I probably won't need it. Since the camera itself is entirely mechanical, all the battery does is power the meter, anyway.


Monday, January 11, 2021

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #195...

Here's a larger photo of the 509 LS Edge with my Trijicon RM08G mounted:

FN has a video up with, in amongst the expected advertising fluff & superlatives, a good look at the basic features of the pistol.

Because Racegun

My initial look at the FN 509 LS Edge is up at RECOILweb:
"Developed with input from demanding shooters like Dave Sevigny and Tim Kennedy, the FN 509 LS Edge has a host of details to help it deliver the results. For instance, the suppressor-height irons, solid black in the rear and fiber optic with a bright green light pipe up front, line up for a lower-third co-witness on most miniature red-dot sights.

The magazine release, while still ambidextrous, has the right-hand button heavily beveled, almost flush with the frame. This keeps an aggressive high grip from inadvertently dislodging the mag. 

The lightening cuts in the slide of the FN 509 LS Edge aren’t just there to look oh-so-2020; they reduce the mass of the slide, helping to both keep the gun shooting flat and to remain compatible with the recoil spring assembly of its duty-size kin."
Dave Sevigny with the LS Edge

I was proud of the "you might say that a whole legion of Edge variants will follow this one in subsequent years" line. Especially because I first said it during the initial presentation.


Let's get this done.

Indiana's state legislature went into session last week, and saw the introduction of House Bill 1369, which is our latest run at Constitutional Carry. 

This bill does not affect the availability of concealed carry permits for Hoosiers who want one for the purposes of interstate reciprocity or the amended Gun-Free School Zones Act. (This was the error of our first meaningful attempt at Constitutional Carry years ago, which just tore out all permitting language, root and branch.)

We've run this play in the legislature a few times in recent sessions but the former Speaker of the House, despite being a Republican who called himself "Indiana's Conservative Leader" but was mostly in the hip pockets of the State Chambers of Commerce, was a problem. Since the Chambers of Commerce were still buttsore over our expanded preemption law, he dutifully allowed Constitutional Carry to die in committee, session after session.

Well, Bosma's gone now, so let's git 'er done this session. Hoosiers can contact their state reps via link here, although actual letters or phone calls are always more effective at the state legislative level.


Saturday, January 09, 2021

That's a lotta guns...

People don't generally line up like this to buy guns with the intention of turning around and immediately turning them in. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


Friday, January 08, 2021

Not How This Works

The headline on the latest Washington Post opinion page piece on the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha reads:
I understand that the writer is very upset at what they seem to think is a miscarriage of justice, based on their legal training from old Law & Order reruns,'ve got some bad news for them. Neither the number of shots nor the range they were delivered at have any bearing at all on the legality of the shooting.

The question is not how many times the shooter shoots or what range he shoots at, it's:


Thursday, January 07, 2021

The good ol' days...

Man, we were so young and innocent and hopeful then, way back in the salad days of last Friday...

This aged well, too.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Don't look down, little goat!

Watching them just chill out halfway up the dam is wild, but there are definitely some high pucker factor moments in there, at least if you're cheering for the goats and not gravity.


That's certainly very carefully worded.

The WaPo notes this morning:

Which is technically true, I guess, since the African American senator from formerly Confederate South Carolina, Tim Scott, is not a Democrat.


Tuesday, January 05, 2021

2020 Strikes From Beyond the Grave

It was a lot easier to hoard ammunition when I didn't shoot as much.

2020 was a slow year, and I still burned up a little over six thousand rounds of my own 9x19mm, not counting the couple of times I was lucky enough to get a class with Other People's Ammunition. These days it's a situation of "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" and so my favorite brand of range ammo has been whatever's in stock. For test guns, I only shoot factory ammo for a number of reasons. If I pull components out of storage and set up the reloading press, it's going to be for recreational use only. Or because zombies are in the wire.

Anyway, this year has seen me buying steel-cased TulAmmo at prices that would have been a little high for premium jacketed hollow points in 2019. I've found myself shooting Scorpio, from the Czech Republic, which is a brand I'd never even heard of in the Before Times. (My friends in the EU assure me it's good stuff and a number said it was their preferred brand of range fodder.) And just before Christmas, on December 20th, I ordered some Sarsilmaz 124gr FMJ from at near sixty cents a round.

It shipped from Findlay, Ohio on the 22nd. A couple days after Christmas, I got an email from UPS letting me know that there were weather conditions causing my ground shipment to be delayed in Minneapolis, which seems rather a roundabout way of driving to Indianapolis from north-central Ohio, but okay.

The package finally arrived yesterday morning with a corner of the box stove in. The resulting hole was enough to have let one of the rounds get away, so my 250-round order turned into a 249-round one.

Gotta say I'm not super-impressed with Sarsilmaz's packaging. The material of the boxes is closer to construction paper than cardboard, and the plastic cartridge trays are brittle and flimsy. We'll see how it does when I get to the range with a chrono today or tomorrow.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Changing of the Guard

The Year of Carrying Double-Action didn't work out the way I wanted it to. Initially I was going to tote the Langdon Beretta for a month or two at the beginning of 2019 while I sorted out which plastic double action I'd finish out the year with. One thing led to another and I wound up toting the LTT for the whole year and doing all my schooling and gaming that year with the Spaghetta. I didn't settle into carrying the Grayguns Sig SP2022 until the start of 2020...and then 2020 happened.

What little gun school I managed to get in this year was incidental to various product launches and therefore used whatever guns were provided there. While I toted the Sig for the whole year, between ammo shortages and 'Rona, it just didn't see much work. After Thanksgiving I just put the SP2022 away and finished out the year carrying a 1911 in a Milt Sparks VM-2, waiting for the calendar page to flip...

And now it's 2021 and time for my next CCW gun project. Like I said, I didn't get to much gun school last year, but what little I did all involved shooting dot-sighted guns. Plus, early last year I wrapped up a 2,000 round test on the FN 509 Compact MRD with the Trijicon SRO. I was intrigued by the little gun, only slightly larger than a Glock 26, but with an optic, a usefully-sized accessory rail, and a 12+1 round capacity (15+1 with the 'stendo).

So the plan is for 2021's carry gun to be the little peanut butter colored FN with a mounted Trijicon SRO and a Streamlight TLR-7. I'm initially carrying it in a Spark holster generously provided by Henry Holsters. For now it's strong-side IWB until I shed the COVID nineteen (probably closer to COVID twenty-five, but the bathroom scale's on the fritz).

Whatever classes I manage to enroll in or matches I manage to shoot this year will be with the little FN. The idea of a subcompact pistol with a reasonable mag capacity and a usefully-bright WML is intriguing. I'm not a believer in the necessity of a WML on a carry gun, but I think they're very useful on a firearm used for home defense. Traditionally, this meant either carrying a bulky light you didn't need, or using separate pistols for carry & home, or mounting and removing a WML on your carry gun every morning and evening...none of which are what I'd call optimal solutions. So this is kind of a workaround for all that, a "have your cake and eat it, too" thing.

We'll see.


Sunday, January 03, 2021

"If Batman did meth..."

Seen on the bookface:

Now I want to write "Trailer Park Bruce Wayne". Instead of a hidden garage in a hillside, the "Bat Cave" is a carport and the Batmobile is concealed under a tarp. Bruce's buddy Al is this guy who rents the spare bedroom and keeps the Batmobile's smoke screen tanks topped off with Winstons and drives down to the Circle K to swap out the propane tanks for the flamethrowers.

It looks like someone was making a Jack Daniels-fueled attempt at cloning the Cooper Markette, although why someone would want to clone a hideous failed Seventies kit car is beyond me. Were the people who laid all that extra fiberglass drunk at the time or what? Notice how the badge on the faux Continental hump doesn't center with the bar in the back window, and the taillights aren't either of them centered?

There was a story from Car and Driver back in the day... 

One of the writers had a Ferrari test car at home, I think it was a 275GTB. One of the magazine's photographers came over and they parked the car in the writer's front yard, pulled out a couple lawn chairs, and spent the afternoon drinking, talking cars, and contemplating the Ferrari from various angles. 

It wasn't until the photographer got the car for the technical three-view photos to publish with the road test that anyone noticed the Scaglietti bodywork was a hot lopsided mess. "Not a square corner or plumb line on the car." 

The writer joked in his review that two pairs of trained eyes had spent an entire afternoon ogling the car without noticing this, so maybe all the asymmetries were intentional, like the Parthenon. 

This is like that, but ugly instead of beautiful.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Misplaced Childhood

Just watched the last ep of season 2 of The Mandalorian. All the feels. I was laughing and clapping and crying and all that stuff. 

"That was just fan service!" 

"Bitch, this fan's been waiting for that service since 1984.

I mean, I liked The Force Awakens just fine, since it was basically Star Wars All Over Again, but it was just returning to the well of the original. And the ending of Rogue One had me ooh-ing and ahh-ing and nodding my head at the slickly done symmetry... 

But this? This was just a straight-up tug at my middle school heartstrings.

An odd request...

Hasn't been much in the way of snow so far this winter, and I'm pretty ambivalent on that. It's pretty, but it can be a pain to shovel and it pretty well grounds the Mustang and at least puts a damper on driving the Bimmer until they have the main roads cleared. I'll slither a couple blocks to College Ave, but driving for a few miles with a wary eye on the traction control is a pain and there's just not enough snow in an Indiana winter to make a dedicated set of winter tires/wheels a worthwhile proposition.

What I am kind of annoyed about is that we haven't gotten any really good sustained cold snaps. The kind where the daily high doesn't get above freezing for a week or so. I'm looking at the ten-day forecast right now and we're going to be a third of the way into January with the daily high temps getting into the mid/high-thirties if all goes as predicted.

The reason I want a good stretch of cold weather is that that's what makes March bearable around here. When you've had some brutal cold spells in January and February, a mid-March day where the temps get up to 34º or 35ºF feels like sunbathing weather by comparison. When it's a couple degrees above freezing you can walk to 20 Tap without feeling like you need an extra undershirt, and stroll to Fresh Market in sneakers rather than winter boots, at least if you've been dealing with really cold temps for the last couple months.


A recurring theme of late...

From Reason magazine:
"As with far too many public policy disputes (over climate change, criminal justice, health care, etc.), it is not enough to merely observe that the opposing team has different ideas about how best to address a problem. No, the bad guys are either intentionally trying to make things worse or just too blinkered to admit there's a problem in the first place. The more partisan you are, the more likely you feel surrounded by murderers and denialists."
It's a good piece and worth reading. Also, I swear I hadn't read it before tweeting this:
When I was a kid, we had Choose Your Own Adventure books, and now we have Choose Your Own Reality

Don't like the world you see on regular old network news? Go to Fox News or MSNBC. If you're not getting the same buzz you used to from those outlets, you can always slide over to OANN or FSTV. 

On social media you can surround yourself with like-minded people, in groups where social capital is accrued by one-upping those around you in expressing the group's shared values more stridently than the next guy. If you do bother to take in media from the "other team" or tread in spaces where they congregate, it's not to understand them; instead, it's only a swift dip in and out, to copy/paste something for a fisking in front of your amen chorus, or maybe to count coup in the other side's comment section.

The insidious part is that modern social media, in a never ending quest for "engagement", is designed to foster this. "Oh, you like thus-and-such? Let us show you a bunch more stuff very much like thus-and-such. Just please stay online and clicking."

I have no idea what the end state of this looks like, but I'm not optimistic.


I can't believe this made it to production.

I get that this is some graphic designer trying to make their hastily-ginned-up social distancing floor marker both racially- and gender-inclusive but, uh, minus several thousand points for not thinking through to the optics of the finished work, dude. 

Your sticker could be used in some alternate-history sci-fi flick where 21st Century South Carolina still has anti-miscegenation laws.


Ah, the heady optimism of last spring...

Friday, January 01, 2021


Bobbi cooked a corned beef brisket & cabbage, with some taters, onions, and carrots for New Year's Day feasting. We enjoyed the meal while watching the third episode of Season 5 of The Expanse.

Other than that, it was a slow day around Roseholme Cottage. It was icy out when I woke up and stayed overcast all day, although it warmed into the forties in the afternoon and melted off the dusting of snow from yesterday.


All's Unquiet On New Year's Day

Went out front to pop off some bottle rockets tonight because I wanted to see 2020 off proper-like...

The lack of gypsy fireworks stands in the neighborhood here in the year of the 'Rona meant that the horizon was not as colorful as usual...but it was still very noisy. The decrease in the number of fireworks means that the people cranking off pistols and rifles into the air are much more noticeable.