Sunday, February 28, 2021

Blogshoot After Action Report

Man, that was fun!   Thanks to everyone who came - final turnout was over twenty which is pretty awesome.  Big Country has a good AAR posted already but here are the highlights from my point of view:

  1. The range was awesome, and a big upgrade from the first blogshoot (bird dogging the reservation paid off).  We had basically three different stages: 150 yard rifle, 25 yard pistol, and a second 25 yard section of the pistol range for Miguel's El Presidente drill.  All ranges were covered (Miguel has a great picture of him sighting in a rifle on the pistol range), protecting everyone from the unseasonably warm Florida sun.  Yes, readers up north have our sympathy - come down for the next shoot.
  2. El Presidente is a ton of fun.  You wait for the shot timer to go off, draw your pistol, put two shots into each of 3 targets 6 feet apart, reload, put another two shots into the same three targets, show clear, and re-holster.  Col. Cooper (who devised the drill) considered 10 seconds to be par for the course.  I was 28 seconds, with a 5 second penalty for a missed shot (a "Mike", or a hit outside the black).  My groupings were OK other than that, but yeah - I need to work on my tactical reloads.  Huge thanks to Miguel for running this as it was clearly the most popular event there.
  3. Well, except it's tied for most popular with Divemedic's superb "First Aid for the Gun Range" talk.  Everyone thought it was outstanding.  On the drive back The Queen Of The World even said that the three takeaways were (1) put QuickClot on the wound with hard pressure; if that doesn't do the trick in 10 seconds put a second one on, (2) if after 30 seconds it's still not doing the trick put a tourniquet on the extremity (if it is an extremity), and (3) put a chest seal on any torso wound (and don't forget the exit wound).  Crisp, actionable, and to the point.  Hopefully he'll post a list of stuff to put in your first aid kit.  Oh, and IIRC, Divemedic had the best time on El Presidente and Mrs. Divemedic kicked my butt on it.
  4. The shooting was great fun, and the social time was even better.  This is our tribe, and it was good to get together in meatspace.
  5. The Queen Of The World organized everything to the nines, getting everyone checked in and doing a nice lunch spread.  I simply could not have done this without her.  Thanks also to Divemedic and Mrs. Divemedic for bringing even more food which all seemed to go to a good home.
  6. The consensus is that it's best to do this meetup twice a year, rather than every 3 months since we're coming into the burning hot summer/hurricane season.  I'll start planning the next for October/November.  Leave a comment if you would like to meet for adult beverages in the Tampa/Sarasota area.
  7. A tip o' the chapeau goes to JayG whose New England blogshoot got me blogging in the first place, way back in 2008.  I thought about you (and Mr. and Mrs. Doubletrouble, and Libertyman, and Lissa, and all the crew) more than once yesterday.  Thanks, buddy.  Gonna try to keep carrying the flame.
Once again, thanks to everyone who came, and mega thanks to TQoTW who got this working like clockwork even with a broken wrist.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Southwest Florida Blogshoot - lock and load

We are confirmed for the SW Florida blogshoot.  The Queen Of The World is flying with one broken wing but will be there.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

When you get to the gun club on Logue road you will see the covered ranges, a parking lot, and a clubhouse.  Keep going on the road past the clubhouse.  At this point the road is a dirt road.  Keep going all the way to the end which is where the private range will be.

There will be a form to fill out when you arrive, so see The Queen Of The World who will get you checked in.

Remember, bring a pistol and at least two magazines if you want to try Miguel's El President drill.

Friday, February 26, 2021

What I Learned With My Olympus OM-1

 I will return to the Kodachrome in upcoming posts. I want to consider photography in general for a moment. There are some lessons I learned with that Olympus OM-1 that I think apply to photography with any camera.

The first one is to know your equipment. Understand what it does well and what the limitations are. 

The second is to figure out what you are taking a picture of and then get everything else out of the frame. 

These two rules apply whether you are taking a picture with an antique film camera or $10,000 worth of modern digital camera and lens.

The following pictures all have something in common. I will leave it to you to guess in the comments.

Click each one to biggify.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Kodachrome Nostalgia IV

 Moving along, I couldn't take the bicycle to the Philippines, but I did the cameras, lenses, and flash. By this point, I was carrying one camera body with B+W film, taking pictures for the Squadron cruise book. The other body was carrying the Kodachrome.

Olongapo, in the P.I., 1983. Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies. 

Here's a few. Nothing special, except that I had the camera there and ready, managed to get the exposure close and the picture in focus.

Why are we still in NATO?

NATO Secretary General wants solar powered tanks. [rolls eyes]

The comment there sums it up:

The stupid, it burns … an M1 tank gets 0.6 mpg. A gallon of diesel contains ~ 40 kWh of energy. A solar panel puts out ~ 1 kWh per day. A solar panel is about 17 sq. ft. You MIGHT fit four of them on an M1 tank without impairing the weapons and sensors. Then you’d need four Tesla Powerwall batteries, weight half a ton.With that setup, every ten days you could move your tank 0.6 miles …

Here's your sign.

IMPORTANT Southwest Florida Blogshoot update

Last night The Queen Of The World fell and broke her wrist.  The break is bad enough that she'll have to have surgery next week.  So far the Blogshoot is still on but I'm pushing the start time to 12:00 noon.  This will cut the day a little short but I'll have to set up by myself and so it will take longer than planned.

Please check this space on Friday evening for any changes - I don't think we'll change anything but life sometimes speaks in its Outdoors Voice.


On the plus side, the local Doc-In-A-Box was actually a 24 hour ER, with X-Ray and all that sort of thing.  They got her right in and splinted up.  The splint is very cool - it is a big gauze pad that they put on her arm and bandaged over.  in 15 minutes it was hard as concrete.  The doc said that the moisture in the air is what causes the chemical reaction to stiffen it up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Southwest Florida Blogshoot - Now with Moar Col. Jeff Cooper!

Our very own Miguel has graciously offered to run the El Presidente drill at Saturday's blogshoot.  For those of you not familiar with El Presidente, Pew Pew Tactical has a good overview:

“El Presidente” is a shooting drill originally developed by Jeff Cooper (remember the 4 firearm safety rules) when he was training security for a South American president.  The name came about when it was incorporated into USPSA/IPSC as a standardized stage.

Click through for more detail, but this looks like it will be a lot of fun.  Miguel says to bring your sidearm (and holster if you have one) and at least two magazines (as if any of all y'all would bring only two ...)

Here's the venue info - if you haven't RSVP'ed , please leave a comment.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

Facilities:  Some of our readers are bringing their betters halves (as am I) and the fairer sex will be relieved to know that there are proper, civilized facilities in the club house.   

Cost: $20 per person to cover range rental and sundries.

11 years of blogging

The Silicon Graybeard has been dishing up awesome free content for 11 years now.   He's a daily read for me (heck, maybe he'll come to a blogshoot sometime, too, hint hint).  Go give him some commenty love.


How did the kleptomaniac treat his condition?

He took something for it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Kodachrome Nostalgia III

 Hiroshima was about 30 km north of the base I was stationed at. I took the train a couple of times, but riding up the coast on a bicycle gave you mobility once you got there. I had saddlebags and a rack so the camera gear went with me.

Rocky and I would explore the city, wander the ginza (the shopping district), and sometimes stay late in the bar district before cycling home. Peace Park was one of our regular stops and I kept trying to take the definitive photo. 

I finally took this one night.

I remember a lot about it. It was late at night and quite dark, although there is always some ambient light in a city. I was up near the museum, shooting through the cenotaph. The eternal flame is visible and then behind that is the Genbaku Dome. This is not an unusual spot to take a photo and you will find similar compositions in a Google search. What made it special was the effort put into making a night shot work.

I was on a tripod, with a 200mm lens stopped down to F16, and the one you see here was shutter open for 2 minutes and 30 seconds using Kodachrome 64. I tried several time exposures as it was all guesswork and this was the best outcome. The light and color of the sky is a result of the long exposure. There is no light inside the cenograph, so after I opened the shutter, I trotted down, and while continuously moving so I didn't leave a shadow, I fired a hand held flash unit set for the correct distance repeatedly around the arch and on the stone in the center behind the flowers.

When the roll of film was complete, I had to send it off and wait for the results.

I have never taken another image with a set-up that complex. It was a one off project born out of my frustration at my inability to get a unique picture in the park.

Dad Joke XXXVI

If I could be any superhero I would be Aluminum Man so I could foil crime. 

The Great Sorting

Peter posts about how Blue States are getting increasingly uncomfortable for folks of conservative mindset and recommends getting the heck out of Dodge:

As I've said before, if you find yourself trapped in such a "blue state", or in a blue enclave within a "red state", it's long gone time you started looking for a way out of there. You may lose money by moving, but you'll at least retain at least some degree of the freedom for which our founding fathers fought . . . not to mention your self-respect. Freedom begins locally, with citizens and their local government controlling their own affairs. From there, we can move upward and outward to take back levels of government that have been infiltrated by the progressive enemies of freedom - but it all starts locally.

 The Queen Of The World and I did exactly that last year.  Even though we lived in what I used to call "The United States of America portion of Maryland" it was still Maryland.  We planned our exit for about a year and yes, we had to pay for the move ourselves.  For us, it's been worth it - there's no State income tax, so in 4 or 5 more months we'll get to break-even on the moving costs, and you get a lot more house for your money down here.

And the air smells of freedom here.  And Peter is exactly right - freedom begins locally and people here (mostly) mind their own business.  Nobody cares if you have a Trump sign (heck, or a Biden one) in your yard - which absolutely would not have been the case up in Maryland.

We also had family reasons to move here - we're 15 minutes from grandkids which is nice.  I could see this as a big reason NOT to move if your family was all in a Blue State.  It worked out for us but won't for everybody.

Long term, there will be a LOT of this kind of sorting.  I think it's the prelude to the great national divorce that this Republic is headed for.  The Red areas will get redder and the Blue areas bluer until there's really not much common ground between them.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Kodachrome Nostalgia II

 To answer Libertyman: 

I scanned them myself. I bought an Epson V600 scanner that did flat bed images and slides. I chose the Epson because of the software package and the quality of the scanned images. I did not keep the paper images or slides when I finished. That was a hard choice, but having made it all digital, I knew after I pass, no one will care about the paper and the slides were starting to degrade anyway.

The first part was just sorting through everything and deciding what to keep. With early family photos, I kept most of them. I borrowed all my mother's albums and pictures. Some I had to scan through the glass in the frame, it would have destroyed them to try to get out.

 For my own pictures, I set some guidelines. The picture had to stand on it's own, no too dark, too light, blurry, or boring pictures made the cut. That took care of 80% of them, roughly.

Then there was weeks of time scanning. I would set up for slides, for example, preset all the settings including the folder the scans were dumped into, and then I could do something else on the other screen, just every time it finished four of them, I would push them out, put in four more, and hit the button. Call it semi-auto scanning.

Opening each one, editing it, and deciding what folder in the finished drive they belonged in was the next step. Most of the folder structure is family structured. For example, my parent's folder has them and inside that is a folder called children. My sisters and I get our own top level folder when we married/moved out, our children are in that. My folder is more complex, but it is built from my viewpoint. It has sub-folders for events, topics like camping or the Marines, etc.

There are some text documents in some folders explaining things for any future viewers. That part of the task is unfinished. I am still adding images occasionally as I either take or receive some that fit in.

 The resolution I used is about the resolution of the film. If I had gone any higher it would have slowed the scanning process, created bigger files, and not provided any better image quality.

The current folder is 6,600 images, 20 gigabytes.

I started this in 2015. When my son died, I shoved it all on a shelf for a couple of years. I picked back up in 2017. It wasn't as much fun, but I knew I wanted to complete it. 

One of the joys of it was looking at every single picture one more time. Evaluation was part of it, but seeing them and remembering some surprising details of the days I had mostly forgotten. No one will ever look at all of them in such detail again. 

I did not do it for posterity or for the family or because I thought anyone cared very much about them. I did it like a hobby, because it was meaningful to me, because I wanted to.

The surprising thing has been the slide shows I can pull together. I made one for my Dad's funeral last month. Because they were all scanned and catalogued, it went together quickly and it was very well received. 

There are copies in several family members possession. It would be hard for all of them to be lost. 

Here's one of the earliest. It was taken in England before this family came to the United States. All nine of the children lived to adulthood. The father lived into his 80s, and on his 80th birthday in 1907, someone wrote a history of  the family. I have that scanned as well. The young woman in the back center with the bow in her hair is my great-great-grandmother.

Dad Joke XXXV

What do you call a rock climbing band of pirates?

The Pirates of the Carabiners.