In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve modified the look of the blog.

This blog is published using WordPress. I’ve been using a theme that was designed and released in 2016, and to be honest, it was a bit too simple and limiting. I liked the overall design but the old theme just didn’t provide me with enough design options for what I’d like to do down the road.

The new theme has a similar feel to it, but it gives me quite a bit more freedom in laying out my blog. I’ll probably be dinking with the look of the blog a bit over the coming weeks, but for now, the basic look and feel is in place.

I’m always interested in reader feedback so feel free to send me a comment.

 

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

I picked up a used Sigma 105mm macro lens on eBay a few weeks back.

The one lens missing from my kit since I switched from Canon to Nikon has been a suitable macro lens. I had this same lens in the Canon mount and loved it. Very sharp, easy to manually focus and quite sturdy.

The one I got on eBay was a total steal for the price. I’d been watching the eBay action on these lenses for over a year and when they did come up for sale, and that was far and few between, they were commanding over $350 used in good condition. I found this one for $179 and it is in near mint condition.

So today, I decided to do the lens micro-focus adjustment on my D750 and D810.  The results were better than I could have hoped for, as neither body required an adjustment to the fine focus offset. Both cameras set to 0 offset on this lens. That means that I got a perfect focusing, near mint quality macro for next to nothing.

If you are exploring the lens market, I highly recommend searching for a used version of this lens. Sigma doesn’t make this model any longer and the folks who do own them hang on to them like they are gold. And for good reason.

Mandarin Duck

Sometimes good fortune lands upon you unexpectedly.

A couple of years back I suffered a major hard drive crash on my PC and it took out a large number of photographs along with it. I went through my backup files and recovered about 70% of what went missing, but I found out to my dismay, there were some directories that I hadn’t backed up and two of those directories were images from 2012 and 2016.

Last night, I fired up my old laptop PC which had been setting in the corner of the office for a long time, unused. The battery in it was dead, so I connected the charger and then booted it up in order for it to download all the current updates. That took about 3 hours.

I examined the hard drives to see how much space was left, thinking I’d reformat them and try to use it at the cabin this summer, saving me the hassle of having to drag my regular laptop with me when we went to Red Feathers.

Low and behold, on that laptop sat a number of photographs and I had directories for the year 2012 and 2016. Looking over the directories, the images covered from January through December. Everything I had lost, just sitting there on a computer I hadn’t used in 3 years.

I copied everything over to a flash drive, and moved them to the office pc and then backed them up on an external hard drive.

I’ve been kicking my own butt for the last 2 years for failing to be diligent about backing up my files and losing those directories. The loss caused me to redouble my efforts in making sure I have backups of everything at all times, resigning myself to the knowledge that losing those files was the price I had to pay for that reminder.

Last night, I got a refund. Today’s photo is of a Mandarin Duck from 2012, one that I thought was forever lost.

Enjoy.

Photograph of a mature bighorn ram.
Mature bighorn ram for Sheep Sunday

I skipped out on photographing bighorn this past rutting season. I just felt like I had enough photographs for now, as I’m still editing images from previous years. This brings me to today’s post, resolutions for the new year.

I don’t normally make these silly resolutions, but I’m growing older and the road ahead of me is much shorter than the road behind me and I figure I want to make the best of the time I have left on this earth (no, I’m not dying or anything, no more so than anyone else.)

One of my new year resolutions is to quit taking the same photographs over and over. The bighorn come to mind. I’ve been trekking out to look for these animals every year in the autumn, and for the most part the images are all relatively the same. I’ve had to ask myself the question, “do I really need more bighorn photos right now?” The answer was no.

How about those moose? Well, it’s sort of an annual ritual for me to photograph the moose and I have close to a hundred thousand moose photos. But, I do love them so. No, not gonna back off the moose. And besides, I have a lot of social interaction with other photographers and friend with the moose. It’s a different world. I’ll keep working those photos until I can’t get out there any longer.

Same with autumn photography. I can never stop exploring the mountains in search of autumn color. Regardless of the fact that the last two seasons have been pretty much the same and underwhelming too, I’ll keep putting that subject on the schedule.

A photographic resolution for this year. Concentrate on not repeating the same subjects. I need to expand the portfolio. I need new adventures. I need to find something different.

On the personal front, I suppose all of us at one point or another resolve to be more healthy. For me, it’s a no-brainer. My health has been in decline for the past 15 years. I noticed that my body was in full tilt boogie protest a year or two before I retired from The Wall Street Journal. Years of long hours, no sleep, poor eating habits and living in a high stress environment have played havoc with my body. I’ve addressed the stress. Life today is far less stressful than it was 20 years ago. Retirement has been beneficial to me in that regard. Still, I’ve neglected my physical condition. As a younger man, I was always fairly skinny. The day I got out of the Navy I weighed 175 lbs. Today, I’m close to 220 lbs and at my age, that’s too much. My spine is shot, my arm is shot, my body is falling apart. If I want to live to the average age, I better straighten up and fly right. My doctors are turning me into a lab rat and I have so many potentially health and life threatening conditions I best be making myself more healthy.

I have to modify my diet. Blood sugar and weight being the main concern here. I ordered a fitness watch to keep track of my physical activity. I know I spend too much time sitting at the computer and that doesn’t burn very many calories. Diet has to change too. I now find myself looking at the amount of carbohydrates in everything I eat. Quit eating the carbs, get more exercise, that’s the ticket. I do better when I get feedback, it’s sorta like having test equipment to use and stay in calibration. My mind works very well that way. The problem is avoiding the comfort food I’ve been gobbling down like a hog over the past 30 years. Seafood, more seafood. I’m removing red meat from my diet and substituting sea food in its place. Doughnuts are now forbidden. Snickers candy bars are now off the menu. I eat almonds and cashews when I need a quick snack.

It’s been working. My blood pressure is totally under control. My sugar levels are down. I’ve lost about 10 lbs in the last two or three months. I’m exercising more, but probably not enough.

My resolution is to get my weight down to around 200 lbs. That’s where I was when I retired from my regular job some 13 years ago.

I can’t do much about the crows feet and bags under my eyes and my hair thinning out and turning grey (what’s left of it.)

As for stress. Not really an issue these days. I’ve found ways to get stress out of my life and for the most part it’s gone. If someone in my life is constantly delivering stress to my front door, I keep them out of my life. It works. I won’t let stressful people control my emotional well being. That’s not going to change. It’s been the hardest lesson I’ve learned over my life and I’ve paid the price. I don’t like paying for the same real estate twice. Don’t let other people rent space in your brain.

But I can grow old gracefully. I’ve lost the delusion that I’m a 30 year old, good looking young man in his prime, no matter what my mind wants me to believe. One has to accept the fact that one is growing old and the time left is more important than the time that’s passed.

Did you make your new years resolution?