Tag Archives: Nikon

Late Sunday on an abandoned spur 05.18.14

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Blog title note for readers outside the United States: although I make every effort to include metric equivalents in my writing, my dates are always expressed as MM.DD.YY.

Lots of sunshine this past Sunday. Jennifer and I had just returned from the gym, and dinner was at least an hour away. It had been a sunny day, and its setting phase was bright and deep. I said I was going to go over to some railroad tracks near the house and take some pictures. Jennifer suggested I take Mr. T along for company… and that some fresh air would be good for him. He said yes, so I grabbed my Nikon and we piled into Meerkat, our Subaru Outback, and were off for an adventure.

Mr. T is our youngest son, and he is also my neighbor in the Secret Underground Lair. And even though he really does have a name, his blog pseudonym will forever be Mr. T, as that is how he was first introduced.

In five minutes, we were at the site of our shoot.

As we walked across the street, and as I looked around, I was struck with the realization that we had lived in this area since ~1993, and I did not know this line was abandoned. I pointed out that there was not a hint of shine on these rails to indicate and recent usage; the ties (sleepers) were mostly rotting and in some areas the tracks were barely visible under gravel. In a nutshell, a fantastic place to shoot.

We walked probably a quarter of a mile (~500m); so much of the track had been pulled up and actually stacked on the side of the right of way. I was composing a shot of some track that had been stacked four high, and suddenly realized that the piece at the top was actually a set of parallel tracks that had been cut (possibly by a saw, as I saw none of the characteristic markings of a blow torch). They were all stacked neatly, as if  some giant child had stacked them up, intending on completing his railroad layout tomorrow. Unfortunately for our hypothetical giant child, it seems tomorrow never came. There were three or four neatly stacked groups of rail, all with their ties still attached. In Another place was a large stack of ties- probably close to fifty, if not more… I can imagine a gardener reading about these massive hunks of wood, free for the taking… if only the location were known!

As with my previous photographic outing, https://hochspeyer.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/happy-happy-joy-joy/ I simply had an experience that was beyond words. I shot eighty frames that Sunday, and would have shot more were it not for the untimely demise of my battery.

Mr. T and I returned to Meerkat, and we gloriously drove off into the sun… er, can’t say that. We drove off in a generally northeasterly direction.

Until next time… I am hochspeyer- one f-stop short of a six pack.

*Don’t forget to visit my data analysis blog…it’s more fun than it sounds like… hochspeyer.blogspot.com

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Christmas… in May

20130809_084556[1] Schwarz is unconcerned.

Today is Friday the 26th of May, 2014. This past Sunday, I had cut the grass and it was in the 80’s (Fahrenheit, high 20’s Celsius); it snowed this morning. Jennifer and I had planned on visiting the library, and in a dusty corner of my mind a scheme had been fermenting. Well, to be honest, it was more of an opportunity to make a little sidetrip. As Jennifer put the final touches on gathering up library materials and double-checking her shopping list, I headed down to the Secret Underground Lair to grab my old Cokin filter holder. It’s the standard, garden variety “A” style that I purchased when I was shooting 35mm.

I mentioned my desire to hit the camera store across the street from the library, and Jennifer agreed. I asked if she’d like to come with, and she said yes, “so you don’t spend any money'” to which I replied, “you mean so I don’t spend too much money”. I had no intention of spending much money at all, and we ended up spending $5.42.

The lady in the store was very nice- she asked if she could help me find anything. I said yes, but I’d like to take a look around first.  She, of course, was fine with that; she went back to her Eric Clapton concert, and we browsed the narrow aisle. This was a classic, Main Street small business: if you don’t see it, they don’t have it. It’s also the sort of business in which the proprietor knows every piece of their stock, and where it might be found.

I only browsed for a few minutes, casting an appreciative eye on both the shiny and the dusty, and then it was back to the lady. “Do you carry Cokin,” I asked.

She said that she did, so I pulled out my filter holder and told her I needed a 52mm adapter ring. She went to a brown cardboard box which had its flaps amputated quite obviously by a boxcutter with only a small thought towards neatness. After only a few moments, she produced a ring and handed it to me. I inspected it. The black paint on the threads was hardly worn, and the paint where the ring mad contact with the holder was unscathed and shiny- in a photographic equipment type of black shiny. Best of all, the front of the ring bore the markings “52mm Ø France”. Genuine Cokin. I was happy. I asked how much.

“Let me check.” I’m guessing she had the item on consignment- she said. “How about $4.95?” I said that sounded fair, and Jennifer paid her.

Poker face. Poker face. Poker face. I learned this some time ago… I haven’t seen these anywhere for less than ten dollars, and I told Jennifer that on the way to the library.

The best part of the deal, though, is this: both of my Nikon lenses are threaded for 52mm filters, so I suddenly have a small stable of around a dozen filters that I can use with both of my lenses.

As cats are alleged to say, “I haz teh happyz.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blog incubator

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I work at night, and my hours are somewhat flexible. At the beginning of the week, I try to get in earlier- say, 2000 or so. Depending upon my department’s workload, it is not uncommon for me to put in some overtime. When this happens, I will come in later on the next day. Unfortunately, this tends to be something of a vicious cycle with a long night leading to a later bedtime and a later start. I haven’t had any overtime thus far this week, but my sleep has been iffy at best. Today typifies the week (and its only Thursday!)

I got in this morning a little after 0630, put my plastic containers and utensils from lunch in the sink and gave them a quick rinse. I then greeted Tinka (our calico furbaby) with a smile and a gentle pet or two. She responded with an outpouring of indifference, Emotionally bouyed, I hopped into bed and started to drift off around 0700.Thirty minutes later, Jennifer’s alarm went off. My wife shut the alarm off, and I drifted back to sleep.

We live under a takeoff pattern just a few miles from Chicago’s O’Hare airport- since it was a pleasantly cool morning, my wife had left the window open. At 1030, I was awakened by an aircraft of some sort. I don’t know what sort of aircraft it was, but I do know it was loud. Think a steampunk coal-fired boiler flying Formula One car. Loud. Loud. Loud. I got a drink of water, went back to bed, tossed and turned for forty-five minutes, and gave up on sleep. Lack of sleep, though, is often an idea incubator. For example, during this morning’s edition of stating at the ceiling, staring at the walls, and then staring at the ceiling and staring at the ceiling again, I solved a data problem for a new table in my database, and came up with an idea for a blog entry on my other blog.

Now, Schwarz, our other cat (a sable/black Bombay) is behind me in the cat’s bunk bed. Snoring.

In my previous post https://hochspeyer.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/rain/ I had noted a big storm was passing through. I think its rained every day this week, and on Wednesday morning it was light when I got home. I looked at the hood of our car and saw the beaded water, which seemed to be a photo op! I hurried in, dropped my things off and went down to the Secret Underground Lair, which is the current home of the Nikon. I affixed the short telephoto, powered the camera up and went outside. I quickly composed the shot in the viewfinder, depressed the shutter release, and…

BUPKUS! DIDDLY SQUAT!

However, I remained calm. Grace under pressure and all of that other rot. I looked at the business end of the camera- the lens was fogged. I carefully wiped it off, recomposed the shot, and this time it worked. I had to repeat the procedure another six times.

I like the results; I suppose they’re probably not more than snapshots. My  coworker Anna and I were talking about composition last night, and she said that composition is so hard for her. I told her that the key to photography- especially at her level and mine- is to keep on taking pictures. Lots of them- after all, past the initial investment, digital is free.

Until next time… I am hochspeyer- One f-stop short of a six pack.

*Don’t forget to visit my data analysis blog…it’s more fun than it sounds like… hochspeyer.blogspot.com

 

 

What do you mean, “No film?”

This is my second blog. I’m feeling a bit the minimalist, right here, right now. This is a blog about photography, and there won’t be any photos in the inaugural post. No matter. Blogs are built with words, and away we go!

When I was in high school, I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. My cousin Jeff and I had thoughts about traveling to Germany (his Mom was an actual German, naturalized, and much of my family had German heritage). As most of my “plans” went, this didn’t happen. Well, it didn’t happen until I met Jennifer. I graduated high school in 1977, and for the next ten years tried to figure things out, mostly without success. Among the more interesting things I did during that period was a stint living away from home  at college. When I first went there, I had sold my Dad on my lifelong-dream-of-the-week of becoming a special ed teacher (at the time, no one knew that it was I who was actually the “special” one!). So I went there, and got my comeuppance. It turned out that I had a tyrannical instructor in one of my basic special education courses; if you did not have an excuse of typhoid, malaria and leprosy signed by Mother Theresa and witnessed by Nelson Mandela, you could lose a letter grade for missing a single day of class (well, I AM serious about the one day of class= one lost letter grade!) Upon experiencing this harassment 1st hand, I chose to switch majors. Photographic Technology beckoned. Odd switch, to say the least. Kids to cameras. Well, not really. At the time, I owned a 35mm camera, a Minolta (can’t remember which body). And, I liked taking pictures… and as I took a lot, photo tech seemed a natural. Except for the math and science parts (um, did someone bother mentioning “technology”???). You see, math was never my strongpoint in high school, and if I had been a little better at it, I would have gotten A’s in the classes. Instead, I received B’s, because I had to do catch-up math work. My lab partner was good at math, but not so good as a photographer or a lab person (very inconsistent). My takeaway from this period was some good photographic composition skills. Fast-forward several years. I’m married; Jennifer and I are planning a trip to Legoland (unbeknownst to me then, but an item on my bucket list). We are  living in Germany and Jennifer’s parents are on the phone asking if we need anything for the trip. I chime in, “twenty rolls of film!”  They think I am joking.

I never joke about Lego.

I think they sent us a dozen rolls- which were greatly appreciated; we shot nearly three dozen in that one glorious day in Denmark. That was ~1991. We’ve used a few other cameras since then, as well as the ubiquitous cell phone cameras, but I’ve always wanted to get back into SLR photography…”real” photography. In another blog (http://hochspeyer.blogspot.com/2013/10/lets-hear-it-for-autumn.html) I had mentioned a desire to purchase a DSLR. As of this past week, this desire has come true: we now have a Nikon D3200 with a pair of zoom lenses- an 18-55mm and a 75-200mm. The entire outfit was quite the bargain, considering I probably wouldn’t have been able to get a 35mm camera body, 50mm lens and 35-70mm zoom for the same price back when I was shooting film. So as Norbert would be quick to remind me, my latest  “dream-of-the-week” has come true. I’m very happy and feel blessed to have this camera- as little as six months ago we would not have even considered purchasing it… that’s another story for another time. For those who don’t know me, I believe the proper time to close a blog is when one runs out of words… and here  we are.

Until next time… I am hochspeyer- One f-stop short of a six pack.