Sunday, December 18, 2011

camera repairs

I've been kinda sick this week and last night I didn't sleep much. I was actually too tired to drive to church. Not cool. I did get some things done today. There's nothing like fixing something to make me feel better. Lately I've spent way too much time reading about photography. So I fixed my old camera today. My Nikon D40 has a stuck shutter mechanism problem that I've learned is fairly common when its wearing out. So I opened it up and oiled two gear shafts. Its the second time I've done this, so it may not last to long. First time was in Africa, a cactus thorn worked to reach inside to place oil. 60757 clicks so far, I've got to get a few more out of my first dslr! After that I finally got apart the two filters I had cross threaded a while ago. I was in a hurry and put a circular polarizer on top of the uv filter. Not smart! I took apart the polarizer, there is a retaining clip that holds the glass in, then pulling on it separates the rotating ring from the threaded ring. with just that cross threaded ring in the uv filter, I tried gripping it in various ways with padded pliers and a kitchen lid opener. Turns out the lid opener and my hand worked. The polarizer went back together and both filters still work. I sure am happy I didn't bend or crack something. These filters are 72mm, a Hoya HMC Super UV and a Hoya circular polarizer. Expensive filters and now they're back in service! When these where stuck I put on a cheap uncoated Quantaray UV I just happened to get in a box of misc stuff I bought on Craigslist. It was very obvious how much better a coated filter is, there was tons of flare with the Quantaray. I never use lens hoods, and multicoated filters make that work. After having the D7000 almost a year, I reacquainted myself with the D40. Its tiny! When I upgraded the D7000 felt odd in my hand, and now its the opposite. The pictures are smaller and lack the quality of the D7k, not that it matters for most pictures, I'll still be using it. The biggest difference was the three autofocus regions vs 39 with intelligent subject tracking. I set up a flash and was shooting the dogs, it was way easier to follow and frame the action. If I put in more practice the D40 would perform as well, a newer camera just has a lot more convenience. And the dials feel nicer. At the moment the D7k is the best balance of features and improvements though the more expensive pro bodies have a few things it doesn't. The next Nikon full frame camera will likely have the image quality and software enhancements to beat the D7k, but it will cost a lot more and doesn't exist yet. As all the best advice-writing pros say, go make pictures with what you have. One camera might beat another by some measurement, but it rarely effects the final product if you put in the practice to master your tools. My resolution for the coming year is to focus on practicing specific forms, mainly landscape and portraits. I'll keep working on editorial style shots of the farm as well. The other thing I keep looking at is making my own lenses. I made some measurements today, the Nikon f-mount doesn't look that hard to make!

Update: after using the D40 for a few days and thinking about why I chose the D7000, the only glaring deficiencies of the D40 is the lack of extra buttons for changing settings quickly and photo quality in low light. I'll probably just use the D40 for strobe work and as a secondary at well lit events. It still has the legendary 1/500th flash sync!

Can you tell which pictures came out of which camera? Lens was the same. A one year old camera doesn't make better pictures than a six year old one.
This was disappointing that I missed getting the focus right. I'm out of practice with the D40.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Finished a paperback novel. Its been quite a while since the time I read several novels a week. It felt about the same to read this one, since it was well written. What's different from highschool is my literary education that lets me see the construction and tropes within it. Read enough and you see the similarities between them. It was enjoyable. A world between covers, where I got to experience the emotions and actions of all the people. The experience is made by using compression, shortcuts, description. Its like putting ones consciousness into a box. The closeness makes everything seem more real. The author constructs the box, paints the scenes on the inside, but eventually you have used up the novelty and have to leave. Outside the box the world is not so trim. Looking back on a long term pursuit of fiction, I see the parts of reality I missed. Always climbing into a box, and too often using the methods of box interpretation out in the real world, which has not such walls and continuity. The world has its own boarders, entirely different than squared line-by-line pages. The world was not designed for our amusement and catharsis. My point is not that we should stay out of the narrow box worlds we create. Vacations have their utility. It is I who needs to inhabit a new set of interpretive constructs. The ones for out here. Because, I am coming to understand with my own warped methods, that this world is itself a box. A far more deadly and immersive one than fiction media. The world was created by someone with intentions and populated with characters. Where else would we have gotten the idea for our little boxes? Likewise there will be a conclusion out here. I have faith in the author of the truest of myths. Even my role here has meaning, and there is something within me more than a human who runs through his role and never exists again. There is wisdom encoded on pages. Wisdom that holds true across many a scene and worldly circumstance. Bits of wisdom, like math, are permanent qualities that had to exist outside of our knowing them. And so, even a misguided soul like me can pick up the wisdom I've found and use it on the straighter path. Our father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. For thine is the kingdom, the power, the glory forever and ever, amen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Alternate photo for drive poem

Driving tractor earlier this spring.

a driving poem

I switched to the classical music channel and wrote this on the tractor yesterday. I wouldn't rate this poem very high, but I enjoyed writing it.

     I can drive
until the sun falls from the sky
and boils the ocean dry
and is left,
a hard cold coal of sun
and an albatross carries it back in time -
to start the day again.
      I can drive
until all the aluminum is removed from
all the feldspar everywhere
and the stripes on the roads are
      I can drive
until you've learned every song ever wrote on piano.
and all the people
who ever existed have listened to it all,
live in concert.
every tear is cried
every tear, and all weeds are
gone from every field
with friends across every phylum.
all weariness is sated
and time is measured
as the space between then and now,
not from within
as we wait until.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Today I did white water rafting for the first time. It was fun and exciting, enjoyable to propel the boat as a team, and had those nervous bits when it seemed dangerous.
As we floated through smooth and rough water my thoughts where on the experience of being on uneven water, and how that is so often used as a analogy for the function of thoughts themselves. The water is singular in substance, a tangible mass made of a myriad tiny pieces, hard yet splashing to drops, swirling mysterious currents turning this way and that, yet all going downstream. There is power in water, but in most arrangements it is harmless.

After all the reading I do, it was grand to experience the foundation of a metaphor.