Wednesday, July 28, 2021


It's been years, maybe decades, since I bought a new lens. But this month I decided I would like to have a fisheye lens for my new D500.

I did a brief survey of what's available and finally settled on a Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens for about $220.

It arrived yesterday and I did my first shoot with it for publication today in The Lebanon Reporter - a photo of the county jail to accompany a story about an outbreak of Covid among the jail's population.

I'm still learning the new lens - I find I need to under-expose by about 1 f-stop to avoid blowing out the image. I'm puzzled by that, but I'll figure out why over time.

The lens is kind of a one-trick pony and should be used sparingly, but it's a fun toy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Tucker is visiting

Tucker, our granddog, is spending a few days with us while his family is on vacation.

He's a red heeler, a kind of Australian Cattle Dog. He's stand-offish with strangers and came from an abusive owner when my stepdaughter rescued him six years ago. It took him awhile to warm up to his new extended family, but now he likes to cuddle. He seems especially happy to see me and jumped up onto the couch to be petted shortly after arriving last night.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Rain jacket and Lexus problem solved

My Duluth Trading Co. No Rainer rain jacket arrived today, just in time for a lengthy dry spell.

But that's not what I want to write about on this, Skip Hess's 83rd birthday.

Our 2004 Lexus RX330 looks older than it is because of a crappy clear-coat application. The peeling clear-coat makes the car look like it has feathers and is molting.

A newish battery refused to hold a charge. Since it was under warranty, the shop replaced it for free.

Fast forward. It sits idle a lot because we prefer to drive our 2017 Subaru Forester. Lately, whenever I go to start it, the new battery is dead. I jump start it and drive around a lot, but come the next morning, the battery is dead again.

The odds of getting two faulty batteries in the space of a few months are pretty long, so I figured something else must be at play.

I came to the conclusion that some circuit in the car is draining the battery, even when the car is idle. Especially when it's idle.

So I jump started it and took it to the shop where it sat for 3-4 days until it finally refused to start. I asked the technicians to trouble shoot the wiring system with an eye to finding a current drain.

They did and that's what they found - a ground wire with worn insulation. They fixed it for $59 and the problem appears to be solved.

I'm pleasantly surprised that I could intuit the problem.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Changing the fridge water filter

One of my least favorite household chores involves replacing the water filter in our refrigerator.

The installation is easy, but then the manufacturer advises to run 4 gallons of water through it before you use it.

The water pressure is low enough that it takes about 20 minutes to run that much water, making it a mind-numbingly tedious process.

Never mind, is has to be done, so I pulled up a kitchen chair and did it this morning.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Back in the saddle again

 Photos from my new Nikon D500 dominate the front page of today's Lebanon Reporter.

I did the pictures and Maria did the words. The A-Team is back!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Upgrading from my 15-year-old D200



It's been a long time since I was intimidated by a camera, but much has changed since 2006 when Maria and I bought a pair of Nikon D200 digital SLRs.

I'd been hankering for a new camera for several months and, with the sale of my BMW K1200GT, I found myself with the funds to make a purchase. The D500 is the flagship of Nikon's FX digital SLRs and it very well may be the last camera I ever buy.

There are enough features to fill a 400-page user's manual, so I have plenty of reading before I can even consider myself competent with the camera.

The D200 is still more than adequate after 15 years - I shot photos with it for a couple of stories in the local newspaper last week and was pleased with the results. I may miss its simplicity, but the D500's features, including the ability to rip off 10 frames/second, are pretty seductive.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Adios K1200GT. You served me well for more than 79,000 miles.

 I said goodbye to my 2003 BMW K1200GT this afternoon, having sold it to my brother-in-law, Raph Bayless.

He texted me later to say he hit 120 mph on I-74 on the way back to his Brownsburg home. It was a considerable step up from his BMW R1100 and I'm happy the bike I've ridden since early 2003 has gone to a good home.

I decided to part with the bike because, at 75, my balance is iffy - possibly due to the diabetes and blood pressure meds I'm on - and I've ridden very little since we got back from Arkansas more than 3 years ago. That's a consequence of finances that forced me to forgo long trips and the effects of the Covid pandemic that deprived me and most other motorcyclists of places to go. As a result, I'm way out of practice and my confidence is severely impaired.

Besides, I dread the prospect of a broken hip - the slippery slope that put my dad into a nursing home, where he died. Fuck that.