The Girl and I went on evening walkies Thursday just about the peak of the magic hour. The wind was a bit stiff and it was a bit cool (about 50F), so the sun felt really (really) good. I carried the Nikon D300 with the Nikkor 135/3.5 mounted. I framed and captured a number of images, but I’m still learning the camera and most of my high-contrast captures had blown-out highlights. That means I haven’t grokked the metering system of the camera yet.

This little ravine in the Indian Hills is a favorite. There is a geocache down in that mess, if you can believe it. The Girl and I retrieved that cache in the summer. (That was a mistake — hot and skeeters!) When fall comes, though, the rabbitbrush (chamisa) blooms and there is a bit of it in this little ravine.

Thursday evening found the sun brilliantly backlighting the chamisa and hint of tree color. While the Girl sniffed around, “hunting wabbits” I framed and made three captures. I like the composition of this one best.

This inexpensive little Nikkor 135/3.5 is a great lens. I’m quite impressed with it. I think I’ll have to do a shoot-out of the Nikkor 135/3.5 against the Hexanon 135/3.5 and 135/3.2 lenses. Those are probably my best lenses in the 135mm focal length.



I’ve been walking about with the Nikon D300 and some lens affixed to it. I bought a Nikkor 135mm f3.5 from KEH early this week and it arrived a couple of days ago. Ken Rockwell recommends it as an underrated lens. For what I paid for it, it was an experiment.

I’ve been carrying it on the D300 for the last couple of days. My shoulder bag usually has a couple more Nikkors in it, but I enjoyed shooting this lens so much that I did not change out.

It is razor sharp, even wide open. It’s small and light and at f3.5 is only a half-stop slower than the much more expensive f2.8 versions. The bokeh is good as well.

A lot of folks don’t care for Ken Rockwell. But he was certainly right about this lens.

The Girl

The Girl

Yesterday evening the Girl wanted to walk. So did I. So I grabbed her things and my things and we headed out. We walked around the subdivision for about a half hour and found ourselves at the public land near the cul-de-sac south from the house.

She really wanted to range out. But it was getting late and so I wouldn’t let her. I got the look a few times. I also managed a couple of captures with a Nikkor 135mm f3.5 short telephoto lens. I bought this lens on recommendation as an inexpensive but very sharp performer. It is certainly sharp, shot wide open.

Seimar-Donnex 200/3.5 Telephoto

Chew ToyMy friend Jimmy loaned me a Seimar-Donnex 200mm f3.5 telephoto lens in Konica AR mount last Saturday. It’s a beautiful build and in wonderful condition.

I decided to put it on my Sony NEX-5N and give it a whirl. Late Monday morning, the Girl started asking for some attention. One of her toys was sitting in the floor outside my workroom. So I grabbed the NEX and shot the frame. I immediately noticed some magenta fringing in the high-contrast area of the image. That’s not unusual for telephoto lenses, particularly if the optical formula doesn’t specifically correct that aberration.

FlagA bit later we went for a short walk to check the mail. The neighbor’s flag is a favorite subject. I like to shoot it through the front-yard vegetation to get a bit of framing.

The light was pretty flat so there wasn’t a lot of contrast. The lens is plenty sharp, even wide open. I was impressed.

FlagMy final image for the day was a small flag one of my other neighbors has in his front yard. There was a little more contrast for this shot. I noticed just a hint of magenta fringing in the edges of the flag. It’s not a lot and could easily be corrected in post-processing. However, the lens has really nice bokeh when wide open. The background is smooth with just enough texture to provide some interest.

For me, this lens is not a keeper. It’s an interesting lens alright, but I have several in this focal length that provide equally interesting image quality. So I think I’ll let this one go. The build quality is excellent and the bokeh is quite nice. If I didn’t have some better lenses, this one would be worth the investment.

Besides that, I love odd lenses. It’s from a maker I’d never heard of.

G&L Fullerton, Reprise

G&L George Fullerton Signature ModelMy (new-to-me) G&L George Fullerton Signature model guitar arrived this morning. The FeDeX deliveryman looked at me as I signed for the parcel, “A Guitar?” “Yep,” I responded.

At first, I resisted opening the box. But the need to confirm condition overwhelmed my desire to continue work. So, I cut open the end of the box and removed the tweed case carefully packed therein. I opened the latches and had a good look. The guitar is not perfect, but is in my kind of condition. That is, whoever had it before me cared for the instrument and took care of it.

I removed the instrument from its case and found the vibrato bar. The G&L vibrato bridge is one of the best I’ve ever used. I use a vibrato bridge when playing. That’s what it’s there for and it allows the player to drop and raise pitch, unlike bends, which can only raise the pitch.

I sat on the arm of my chair and played the instrument a little. The wave of emotion that washed over me was palpable. I was completely devastated by the intensity of my feelings. I’m still shocked at the strength of those emotions.

I suppose I repressed my feelings about music and guitars for some time. They jumped up this morning and bit me in the ass.

I put the instrument back into its case and returned to my worktable to try to work. That was a laugh. Instead, I sat in my chair and wept, nearly sobbing, for a half hour. Grief has a funny way of working itself out. My grief returned to me this morning and pummeled me for a half hour or more.

Although I’m still not sure what it was all about, I think my soul is telling me it’s time to pick up the instrument again. My first Fullerton was a marvelous instrument I should not have sold. It reached me at a deep level and was the first electric guitar I bonded with. It was an extension of my body and soul and allowed me to express myself musically in ways that I didn’t expect.

The timing is good as well. I’m nearing the end of my first purge of the house. The garage is nearly done so that project is coming to a close over the next few weeks. I have been wondering what will be next. In fact, I’ve been praying for guidance on what is next. I know when this big project is done I’ll be left hanging in that way that always happens after I am heavily invested in a big project and then it’s done.

My friend and master guitarist Scott told me to find a Fender Deluxe, either a ’65 model or the ’65 reissue. It’s not too powerful, has tubes (and tube tone), and will be a good match for my style of playing, my preferred music, and the Fullerton. I am not going to rebuild the pedalboard I once had, but intend to have only a few effects. They will be a delay, a drive, and a chorus/phaser/flanger.

What will I do with this? I have no idea yet. I think that for awhile my intent will be to permit myself to experience making music again as well as listening to it. Beyond that, I have no idea what will happen. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

The Test

A few years ago, well many years ago, I moved as the point man (of my family) to Lubbock, Texas. I was a new assistant professor of civil engineering. After I got myself settled in to an apartment, I began searching for a church.

This story reminds me of my search. Go read it, then come back.

Did you read it? Good. A long time ago I reflected on my search for a church in Lubbock, Texas. I arrived early in 1993, got myself situated in a small apartment, and got started on my duties. Wife and kids worked in Mississippi to ready for the remainder of the move. As point, I started a search for a church.

My modus operandi was to dress in my not best jeans, an old flannel shirt, and go visit a church on my list from the telephone book. I had a big-ole ponytail and a neatly trimmed beard. I would enter the church a few minutes before the service and watch how people treated me.

Mostly I was ignored. I would find a place near the back to sit and then participate in the service. I was evaluating the teaching and music as well as my reception.

Again, I was mostly an invisible person.

After a few weeks, I visited Lubbock Bible Church. We like Bible churches because they tend to stick pretty close to the Bible. They can be a bit intellectual and a little less practical, but that’s sometimes the risk of solid teaching.

Before I could get out of the church my first visit, I was literally grabbed by the pastor’s wife. I was also greeted by a number of congregants. This was a unusual in my experience and a positive sign.

The pastor’s family took me to lunch and we were acquainted. I found our church. We were there for more than ten years before the pastor retired and things changed, and not for the better. We left soon thereafter and bounced around there in Lubbock and then again once we moved to Carson City.

I haven’t been searching for a church here. I’ve been focused on dealing with the things left undone before Wife’s death. Once I get through all of that, maybe. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

The object lesson of the pastor-as-homeless-man is well-taken. It’s an excellent lesson and needs to be learned by anyone who says they are Christian. I remember.