Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 Macro

The Girl is often my model, being the girl I have handy and being good-looking.

After months of hunting and waiting on the-bay, I finally bought a Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 macro lens — the Tokina build. This lens is called the “Bokina” for obvious reasons. Something spectacular happened in the optical design that resulted in very smooth out of focus backgrounds. Hence derives its nickname.

I bought mine in Nikon mount, which means it will work on all of my Nikons, be it a film or digital camera. I am going to enjoy working with this lens. It is a classic by numerous standards.

Riverview Ruminations

On this beautiful fall morning, the Girl and I walked part of the Riverview Park trail. The sky was so beautiful it took my breath away.

I have second-day DOMS today. I woke late, moved slowly, drank coffee, and fed us. Then we gathered our things (or rather, I gathered our things) and we drove out to Riverview Park, a nice area near the Carson River. I wanted to walk in a rural environment, take in the cool morning air, get a little sun, and give my legs a chance to warm up and work some of the soreness from them.

I listened to a walking meditation while the Girl explored the sagebrush. Then I put on some music to walk by, but I left the isolation setting of my Bose QuietComfort 20s turned off so I could hear the environment around me. I kept the volume low as well. I wanted the music, but I didn’t want to be isolated.

As I walked the trail, I thought about Wife. There remains a little sadness many days that Wife left so early, really just as life was starting to become more interesting again — the kids grown, approaching retirement, and spending some time together traveling. But, it is what it is; she’s gone and my life is completely different now.

I thought about what happened is Las Vegas. The blood isn’t even cleaned up and the left is already screaming. No good tragedy should go unused… It disgusts me. I don’t hate the left and do not want to see them hurt. I just want their ideals and policies to be buried.

I don’t call them liberals anymore. I call them communists because they think the answer to all problems is more government control. They will not be satisfied until there is no private property and no business is run by an individual or corporation; there will only be bureaucrats. We might as well institute the commissars here.

I don’t much care for my frame of mind today. I know I need to give my body time to heal after pushing it so hard. I know I need to give law enforcement time to figure out why what happened in Las Vegas happened. Regardless of that outcome, there remains evil at large in the world. It will strike again, firearms or no firearms.

Sigh… I really enjoyed the view at Riverview Park this morning. There are enough clouds to give the incredibly blue sky texture. The iPhone8 is quite capable at making panoramic shots and this one captures the essence of what I saw. So I have a memory of the morning, beyond the drag of my internal dialogues. I think I’ll focus on the images and let the rest go, at least for now.

Morning Walkies

Shot on morning walkies with the Panasonic G3 and a Fujian 50mm f/1.4 lens with a short extension tube. I like this lens.

I took some time on morning walkies to think about what just happened in Las Vegas. I will never understand what makes men do such awful things. And “awful” does not begin to describe the event.

The usual suspects will start screaming about gun control. There will be cries for the government to do something about this. Although it is certain that the government can restrict some of the tools used to perpetuate such awful acts, there is no way to stop mass attacks. It is possible that the use of firearms can be eliminated (although that is doubtful). But there will remain so many improvised weapons that cannot be restricted.

Life is short. A YouTuber I watch reminds his followers often to practice “spiritual fitness.” Be right with God, say what you need to say to your loved ones, every day. Because you never know when your last day will arrive. You might walk out the door on any given morning and not return.

That’s no reason to be paranoid. I don’t leave the house every morning expecting to never return. But I am reminded every now and again to be sure that my family knows I love them. Should I not return from the day, they will know that. Because there are no guarantees I will return. There are no guarantees in life, except that we will not get out of it alive.

Whatever. Life is good.

The Season Turns

These beauties will soon be gone. I want a few more captures before winter comes.

The Girl and I walked our in-town route this morning. I saw the light on these beauties and thought it would be worth the effort to make the capture. There was a north wind this morning, cool but not cold. But the hint is there that soon the colder days will come and the summer beauties will be gone, waiting for another year to show themselves.

I made the capture with the Fujian 50mm f/1.4 lens on my Lumix G3 body. This is a very good lens. It is not very sharp wide open, but the colors are good and there is a glow about the images that reminds me of old glass. The lens cannot be beat for these applications, especially at its price. It is a very good art lens. I like it quite a lot, particularly for close shots like this one.

Winter has its own appeal, the season when life regains strength for the coming burst of spring. I like the cold and the snow and the starkness of the grays against the cold blue of the winter sky. The warmth of the sun on my body on a cold winter morning reminds me that blood still runs hot in me. The reminder that there remains life to live and love to share with those close to me. It is a good reminder.

In a few more minutes, I’ll go do my first lower-body routine in a long time. Leg days are the hardest… the big muscles generate a lot of lactic acid and the burn is real. But, this is necessary and the results are worth the effort. Nothing good comes easy. But it is worth the effort and struggle. This body has to carry me along for as long as I live. I need to invest in it as well as the inner work.

Locust Leaf Bokeh

Shot with the Panasonic Lumix G3 and a Fujian 50mm f/1.4 at about f/2. I’m not completely happy with the result, but it is a capture for the day.

While on evening walkies, The Girl puttered around looking for the dreaded bushy tail while I played with the light on the leaves of this old locust tree. It is nearing the end of a good day.

I determined it is time to get back on my strength training. I’m unhappy with my level of strength and my annual numbers were not the best. So it’s time to get after it again.

The Soloflex is setup in my bedroom where I can use it. I did my first routine this afternoon. It was hard and I will be sore. It is a good thing. It will help me be healthier (particularly because I’ll mind my diet as well). I will be stronger. I’m glad to be back after it again after being off for too long.

Life is good.

Macro Roses

Shot with my iPhone 8+ and an Olloclip macro lens.

My old Bluetooth headset, a Plantronics Legend Pro, was giving me some trouble. Callers reported that my sound broke up or that they could not hear me. A reset of the headset by switching from the headset to the iPhone (my old 6S) and back might temporarily fix the problem, but it continued to give me an issue. The phone and headset were at least a couple of years old, the headset probably the older of the two units.

I decided to abandon both my phone and my Bluetooth headset. After talking about a larger iPhone for months (I really wish I had the 6S+), I decided to upgrade my iPhone and try a wired headset. So I bought a new iPhone 8+ and I love the bigger screen. I can now read incoming email without squinting. The new headset is working well and has very nice sound (for music as well as voice calls). But the camera of the new iPhone is much improved over my old unit.

While walking my favorite in-town route, I paused to let The Girl sniff about while I made a macro-photograph of one of the roses. I used an Olloclip macro lens on my iPhone and the result is very pleasing.

I think the upgrade was worth the cost. I know that I can hear much better and I think my callers can hear me better as well.

Wollensak Six Inch F/4.5 Cine Lens

I captured these willow berries along the linear park near Governer’s Field in Carson City. We were walking and the image reached out and grabbed me.

The Girl and I walked this morning, as we usually do. The only time we don’t walk is when one of us is not feeling well. That is not often.

This morning I carried the little Panasonic G3 micro-4/3s camera and a pouch full of C-mount lenses. The 25mm f/1.9 is an interesting lens. I made a few captures with it as we walked the rosebush hedgerow near the old flume. One of those is on my IG feed.

I decided to take a longer walk and we walked the linear park that crosses Roop Street and passes along the north side of Governor’s Field. It’s a favorite route. The Girl can run off-lead, there is a wetland there, and there are plenty of fat ground squirrels to chase.

In the winter the sun shines brightly along the path and the willows provide a little shelter from the wind. In the summer the cattails are full of blackbirds (and others) and the sound is pleasant. We like the path.

There was a hawk sitting atop one of the field lights. I mounted the Wollensak 6-inch f/4.5 lens on the camera body and made a few captures. But I’m not entirely satisfied with them.

But this old willow gave me some interesting contrast. I thought the highlights in the background might provide some bokeh-balls. So I made the capture and we walked on.

When I opened the images this evening, I liked this one. The contrast is good. The image is sharp. And the background is just fun. It’s a good memory of a good morning spent with the Girl.

Fujian 35mm F/1.7 TV Lens

This shot presented itself on morning walkies. Shot with the Panasonic Lumix G3 m4/3s body and a Fujian 35mm f/1.7 at about f/2.8.

I don’t have many lenses for the Panasonic Lumix G3 body I own. I have only one native lens and I don’t use it often. I prefer prime lenses to zooms. I have a few C-mount (cine body) lenses in my collection and am adding a select few to that collection. A pair of the more interesting lenses I play with are the Fujian TV lenses. I have the 35mm f/1.7 and the 50mm f/1.4. For the prices, these are very nice. They are not the sharpest lenses I own. They are both subject to front element flare, so a hood is needed if there is any back light.

They have an interesting bokeh and the out of focus areas are pleasant, at least to my eyes. So, I carry them when I carry the Lumix. They are used more than one would expect.

On this morning, we walked past our usual stomping area, the old lumberyard flume. The hedgerow there provides much interesting material to photograph. While the Girl sniffed about (quite happily I would say), I played around with this shaded flower. I think the pistils and stamen of the bloom are in focus, but there is not much else that is. The capture highlights the bokeh of this lens.

I’m going to take it downtown one evening and play with some bokehlights, I think. The casinos should provide some interesting images.

I like these lenses.

My Best Friend

I don’t believe a dog is owned, at least not by me.

The Girl is ready to go. She’s on overwatch for invaders, namely the neighborhood cats who enter the yard to tease her. She’ll tell me if they come into range and will be ready to go.

This dog is my best friend and constant companion. Young Son and I were talking about her just last night. There is so much that could be said about the impact of this dog on my life.

I tell people (probably too many times) that “we rescued each other.” Those who know me know the backstory of how she came to live with us. There is no doubt that she offered much comfort to Wife during her illness and treatment. There is no doubt she was, and is, there for me every day. We are there for each other.

Some people think dogs are property. Perhaps they are in the view of the law. But my understanding is much different now. They are not livestock or pets; they are partners. We work together as a team when we are out and about. I trust her implicitly. If she doesn’t like someone, neither do I. If she leads me away from something, there’s a reason.

In the same way I watch out for her. There are many dangers out there that she does not comprehend or foresee. There are things I know are dangerous that she does not. So I am also on overwatch for her.

We are a team. We are partners.

Roses

One of my favorite testbeds, shot with the Fuji X-T1, a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, and the Metabones Turbo Booster.

One of my favorite testbeds is the hedgerow of rosebushes that bounds the old Carson Lumberyard flume and the vacant lot south from the DPS/DMV building. In the morning there is plenty of sunshine on the bushes and flowers and the Girl loves to play in this area. So she doesn’t mind if I spend a few minutes playing with the flowers.

I think the Fuji glass is very good. I’ve written about that before. In fact, the glass is the reason I abandoned the Sony cameras and moved to the Fuji platform.

However, the experimenter in me lives on. I have a deep affinity for the lenses I used to use on 35mm film cameras. Forty years ago, as a young man, I lusted after Nikon bodies and Nikkor glass. Many professionals carried a couple of F-series bodies and a pouchful of Nikkor lenses. I could not afford one then.

Now every thing is digital, except for a few diehards. I find digital images sterile. They are often technically perfect (or nearly so), but they feel dry to me. At least, many of them do. And those that are heavily processed might be very interesting as art, but there is something missing from an image that is assembled from a variety of parts. I find art in seeing the subject, determining that there is something interesting/moving about it, and then finding a way to capture that image in the camera. It is a different process than much of what I see and is definitely old school.

In playing with these old lenses on a digital body, I can recover some of what I looked for with film. It isn’t perfection; it is a mood conveyed by light, subject, and composition. The capture doesn’t have to be perfect (this one is not). The post-processing is limited to making minor adjustments in exposure, contrast (global and local), and a bit of sharpening. That’s about all I do. (The exception is conversion from color to monochrome.)

The Metabones adapter is interesting. It converts the lens to an equivalent angle of acceptance of a lens 0.62 times the focal length (which makes the angle of acceptance the same as the original on full frame). But it also adds a stop of additional light gathering power and I think it makes a commensurate change to the perceived depth of field.

I’m still working that out in my head. I have an article drafted that contains my analysis of the differences in sensor/film size, lens focal length, lens speed, and depth of field. I need to finish that one day and publish it here.

In any event, the legacy Nikkors are very good lenses. I like them a lot.