February 23rd, 2014


The Second Week...

Sigh. I had great intentions of posting every day about the Olympics, as much as for my own recollection and reflection later as anything.

Oh, and Bob Costas? Saying that everyone was talking about Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan twenty years ago... No, you're STILL talking about it right now AND just threatened to cudgel us with it tomorrow night as well. This is 2014. It's the Sochi Games. Give. It. A. Rest. I'll be taking a nap at 7pm Sunday and miss the circus.

Ahem. Where was I?

Ah, the glory and excitement and drama of THIS Winter Olympics. Figure skating. Bobsled. Biathlon. Giant slalom. Slalom. Cross-country. Team speed skating. Short and long track speed skating. Curling. Hockey. Parallel snowboarding. More difficult skiing and snowboarding. Too much to keep track of without notes. (grin)

The American women's hockey team seemed disappointed to take the silver against a great Canadian team - four straight gold medals for Our Neighbors To The North. The American men today seemed deflated after losing to Canada and they played like it. I caught the live feed of the Bronze medal game at the beginning of the second period -- it was scoreless. Eventual Suomi got a goal. Bronze medal not good enough? Don't worry, the Americans played like they were kicking their cat and next thing you know it's 2-0 Finland. USA finally got skunked 5-0.

Sounds like it's traditional for the set of the second slalom run to be faster. Instead they got diabolical technical and a number of skiers wiped out. This is the Olympics, guys.

The 2-man bobsleds were fun. It's a great sliding venue. But is it strange that after so many years I miss the East Germans? (grin) Then today was the first two runs of the 4-man bobsleds. After the two-man, the fours are monsters. Huge. Fast. Yikes! Canada-3 wipes out, they roll the sled on a turn. Only the second crash after 700 practise and competition runs -- this is a safe track. Fortunately all four got out and were standing at the end of the track.

Team Canada took the women's curling gold over Sweden. Great match. Eve Muirhead's Scottish British team won the bronze with a last shot that glided nearly perfectly onto the button. Through the random draw of the NBC coverage, I saw far more of the women's curling than the men. That worked out because I could follow their tournament much better. I think Scotland GBR took the men's gold? Haven't even looked at the BBC app in a couple of days. Work, you know.

Much, much more.

It's the Olympics. I can let it flow over me and root for everyone. Medals are not preordained, they are earned. And so many competitors seem genuinely happy for each other's successes.

The Olympics are hard. One shot every four years. And one more day to go...

Dr. Phil


Last week I went out in the sunshine and shot some pictures. This week I went out in the sunshine and shot some more. What a contrast.

It was 26°F today, getting ready to go to deep freeze this week and into March. More clouds today -- I was going to go this morning, but went late in the day to get more Sun and stronger shadows. The snow looked a lot worse today. We've had enough snow this winter, that mainly all the fields and even most of the piles have been brilliant white. Not today. Rotted snow is dirty and exposing the layers of dirt that got covered up the last couple of weeks.

Oh, and last week the Grand River was iced over at M-45. Clear today, though the Grand and the sloughs are still iced over at 68th Avenue in Eastmanville.

Last week I went lightweight and digital with the Nikon D100 and an incredibly lightweight 80-200mm f4.5-5.6D AF-NIKKOR.

This week I went old school. Wendy's Nikkormat FTn and a really heavy Vivitar 85-205mm f3.8 zoom. Shooting black and white -- Kodak BW400CN a black and white film that is C-41 process, so it can be developed with color film. Didn't quite finish the roll, can't show you anything today.

As for being spolied... When autofocus works, it's very handy. Back in the old days, I preferred single ring push-pull zooms, so you could zoom and focus at the same time. Not that I owned any zooms. With AF, two rings offers more control. The 85-205 is a two-ring zoom. Still easier to think of it as a multiple focal length lens, set it and then concentrate on focusing and composing.

Vivitar, like Sigma, was too cheap to make focusing match. So their lenses focus the wrong way for Nikon and Pentax, the two brands I grew up with. You'd think it wouldn't make a difference, but it is irritating. And the Nikkormat has a J screen -- central microprism for focusing. But at f3.8, or worse at f7.6 with the Nikon TC-1 2x teleconverter, it's dark and hard to use. Exposure is manual, too. Another reason to use the more forgiving black and white film when shooting. Most all of the shots today were at 1/500th f11 or 1/1000th f8, which is about right for bright sunshine and ISO 400 film.

And then there's the whole thing about third party lenses, even good ones. The 85-205 is forty years old and the aperture ring is stiff -- no doubt it's the grease -- and it doesn't have much ribbing to get torque with. The rubber on the zoom ring fell off years ago. I need to wrap it with something. In the cold, both are hard to work. I've got fifty year old NIKKORs that are still silky smooth. Buying top equipment isn't snobbery if you plan to use it forever.

Still, it's funny to use gear I used in the 70s. Familiar. And so very different.


Dr. Phil