Recent Posts
5 years, 9 months ago 17

For the last 43 years, as a photographer, I have been obsessed with lenses!!  There, I said it, admitted it, and owned up to it!!!!  Nothing in photography has consumed as much of my time as trying to determine if the lenses I had, or the ones I wanted to buy, were sharp enough, distortion free enough, or color correct enough to allow me to make the images I hoped to make.  Last night I said good night to Sherelene and let her go on to bed while I sat on the couch and read about, you guessed it, lenses!!!!!


I discovered something very important, and it won’t affect my photography much one way or the other, I’m obsessing about the wrong things!  I came smack up against the realization that I don’t obsess as much about my relationship with God as my lenses……  Bummer, what an awful thing to come face to face with.  I do love my Lord, and I read the Bible, and pray, and call on Him every day. I try to serve Him, and adhere to what I believe He is revealing to me.  But I get obsessed with a small metal tube filled with glass!!??


It is a bad habit, one that the enemy helps us cultivate, to find anything that will take us away from considering what is most important in life, our relationship with Him!  I know how much He has given to me, how fortunate I am to be forgiven, to have a wonderful family, great friends, and a profession I really enjoy, but I need to not let anything supplant my worship and attention to my time with Him!!!!!


I am committing to seek release from such obsessions!




the pilgrim



5 years, 9 months ago 7


It’s actually really simple, there are a lot of choices, and you can’t buy it all, so with 43 years of photographic experience, I will share my thoughts!  Keep in mind that very few manufacturers give me products, when they have, I will be up front about it.  I will not review any product that I have not first purchased with my own hard earned money!  What I’m trying to say is you can rest assured that I’m being as honest and open as possible.  It is always your decision to buy and use what you believe is best for you!  I will welcome and post your comments!  As is always the goal here, to help, not harm !


This Review:  The Guru Gear Bataflae 18L  Back Pack


As you know if you read this blog, that I’m a proud member of the “Bag of the Month Club”, I never met a bag I didn’t like and very few I didn’t’ buy!!!  Having said that, I do have a few that have become my favorites and this Guru Gear 18L is certainly one of them.  It is extremely well made with sensible, but excellent materials.  Equally important it is very well designed and a pleasure to use.  It keeps my gear well protected and very accessible!

I’ve seen these bags for a while but was honestly held back by their higher price, until my good friend Jack Graham expressed his respect for the company!  Though they are often 25% to 35% higher in price than direct competitors! I think they are worth the premium, and I appreciate the solid advice from Jack!


A quick note on my philosophy of how to use various bags.  Everyone is different, some photographers are relatively young, athletic folks that a carry a great deal of weight if they need to!  Some of us simply cannot comfortably do so!  I see this backpack and similar products as “Transport” bags.  By that I mean these bags are what I use to get to the shooting location, at which point I use a different way to carry the gear I remove and use in-the-field!  If you were younger and more energetic, you might well be able to carry this bag everywhere,  If I am flying, I use one of the Think Tank’s excellent rolling airport cases, if working out of my own vehicle, I love this moderate size bags and this is a really good one.


What I Like:


Top quality construction. Made with the best materials, attractive, and highly functional.


Very well designed with a wealth of zippered compartments, and an ample, well laid out, interior layout!  Compartment sizes, are perfect for the gear I carry!  Lens and body pockets have ample too for the use of protective wraps.


Perfect size ( for me), holds everything I need with a couple of extra spaces that will be filled in the near future!!  ( but not too many, it’s expensive to fill those compartments!)


Carry on legal, though I wouldn’t personally carry it through airports on my back, those days are over!


Will hold an iPad or 13″ laptop or net book, which is very handy


Excellent backpack strap system, though once again, trips to the SUV will likely be my longest hikes with it on my back! For stronger shooters it’s an easy carry!



What I didn’t like:


Slightly pricey, but, for me, worth the extra money.


Zippers are of the water sealing variety and the pull is a little tougher, but the excellently designed zipper pulls make up for the slight extra effort.  This is one plus of Think Tank bags, super smooth zippers.


The stretchy water bottle pockets on both lower sides, while appreciated, seem like a cheap addition on such a wonderfully designed bag!  The tripod straps however are first class,  If you carry a small tripod that way!  I don’t.



The Bottom Line:  If your looking for a great bag for a smaller DX type DSLR, or even better, a mirror-less system, I can highly recommend this bag, it earns my TOP RATING an F 32,


My Rating Scale:


F 32.    State of the art product, exceptional value, you won’t be sorry!


F 16.    Excellent product,  capable of professional results, a good value, a good buy!


F  8.     Good product, good results, reasonable value.


F. 4.      Only fair product, better alternatives exist.  Think twice before this purchase!


F. 2.      Poor product, expect poor results, not a good value, avoid this product.



* Also check out The Think Tank Airport Essential Back Pack, it is very similar but with slightly less exterior pocket storage on the outside front, but a about a hundred dollars less!

Also extremely well made!  I have not rated it yet, but expect it to be Highly Rated, almost all Think Tank products are!


** A word about my carry systems once on site.   I like the diminutive Think Tank Retrospective 5.  Mine’s the Pinestone color! Love that color!! It’s perfect for a body and a few lenses and accessories.  When I need to carry more, I love Think Tanks belt system with the appropriate pouches for the gear I need to carry!



O. K.  Review number 1 is in the bag, sorry about that, hope it was helpful!





the pilgrim


Photo Note:  Images with Nikon D700 & 24-120 AF-S VR zoom

5 years, 9 months ago 7

Thanks for letting me get my rant off my chest, life will go on, and God truly is in control, obviously we’re not!!!!


O.K.  I ran down to the lake yesterday to check on the progress being made on cleaning Sherelene’s and my pontoon boat so it can be covered for winter, we’re expecting our first freeze next week.  I drive by an old garage buildingI pass often, and noticed the lock on the steel door and the rusty hinge, I decided to stop and make an image.  Nothing special except it’s hand held.  I had long stopped trying to hand hold almost anything years ago and then I started shooting theFuji X system and the noise is so absent, I can now run the ISO all the way to 6400 (for gritty subjects), and 3200 for almost anything else, and get myself some additional shutter speed.  I still shoot the vast majority of my images on a solid tripod, (I’m addicted to sharpness), but it’s great to be able to hand hold when I need, or want to.


I little further up the road I saw a wonderful fern that was turning fall brown,  and I stopped  to make a few images.  I shot the initial image below with the Fuji X-E1 and the 18-55 lens.  I then processed it with Nik Color Efex 4.0 Glamour Glow, and the last shot was the original image with Topaz Spicify added.  Of course all three are the same image, but each has it’s own character.  Which is best?  You decide and then get going experimenting with some digital filtration yourself!



Hey, it’s o.k. if you didm’t like any of them!  But use the information to inspire yourself to go try some new things!




the pilgrim




5 years, 9 months ago 20

WARNING:  if you don’t like to talk about politics, join the club, neither do I, but every six months, or so, I need to rant so if you don’t want to hear my rant, shut down the site NOW and come back tomorrow when I will be, most likely, talking again about photography and our Heavenly Father!


I’m fed up, fed up with all of them, o.k. maybe a few honorable people are in Washington trying to do what is best for the American people, but my estimate is that about 95% are self serving, thieves bent on only one thing, remaining in power.  They rob from those that work to support those that won’t, yes some folks are having a tough time and out nation has always offered a helping hand up to those in trouble, but we now offer a helping hand into the hammock for anyone that will vote for the offering party or politician.  Too few are pulling a wagon too filled with those unwilling to help shoulder the load.


To make matters even worse they lie about everything, “we are drowning without the funds to run the government!!!!!”  The day after an agreement, all back pay is paid to everyone who helped take part in the scam on the American people.  We’re broke, we owe more than we can possibly ever repay, and yet the government continues to create new programs that are impossible to fund, and by the way, none of them are willing to live under that same laws of the people.  I get Social Security and Obamacare, a Senator or Congressman or the member of any Union in America get a Cadillac system and a pension that equals almost what they made in their best years of working. Hey good for them, but wait, there is a problem, we can’t pay for it!!!!!!  Let’s see…… if we take all the wealth of the wealthy that still won’t put a dent in it!


The people we elected and sent to Washington to serve us, have only served themselves, and they have done 98% of the damage necessary to destroy this country.  I believe in the American people, and I hope we are waking up and will start demanding that the needed changes are made.  If we don’t kiss goodbye to the life in America you remember as a child!!


My Solution:


If I had a hundred trillion dollars I will tell you exactly what I would do!


I would call a meeting of all the elected and appointed folks in Washington.  I would meet with them all at once, in one place, and tell them the following;


I will do the folllowing if you will meet my demands:


I will pay off the National debt, every penny.


I will  fully fund Social Security for the next 40 years with an untouchable Trust Fund.


I will provide funds for a safety net to be extended for 6 more years, after which every person that can work, will have to be self supporting, and become a tax payer.


I will write the checks right now if you will:


Leave Washington, and never return, resign from your offices, and cut all ties with government.


Each and every office holder will be subjected to a forensic audit, if you are found to have stolen embezzled, or gotten gain in any illegal manner, it must be repaid to the American people. If you have broken the law you will be prosecuted.  These same IRS folks that harass the citizens will audit you!   After the audits are completed and they will be time limited, the IRS will be disbanded. After a thorough study is done on what the government (really needs) to meet it’s obligations a flat tax will be set that applies equally to every citizen.


The government must run on a balanced budget, without borrowing one cent to fund the operations of the U.S. government.   As promised by President Obama, and not delivered, every bill must be on the internet for anyone to see for at least 10 days before it is voted on, and no bill can be longer than ten pages in length.  If it takes more than that, it must be separate bills. Adding unrelated items to any bill will be punishable by expulsion from office and a 1 year prison sentence.


Every single regulations must be studied and determined if it has had any positive affect on society, if it is just red tape, it shall be taken off the books.  If it cannot be determined, it will be voted on by the American people.  Because almost everything will be done via computer, anyone caught rigging any vote in the system will be punished with a 25 year prison sentence, not eligible for parole.


When new elections are held, the elected will have term limits, and all will have a audit before taking office and can gain no more than 10% greater wealth than the day they took office. Lobbying will be outlawed and severely punished when evidence is found that it took place.


Every law passed must apply to the congress and the federally elected officers that applies to the American people.  We all go on Social Security, and whatever our national health care turns out to be.  If it’s not good enough for them, it;;’s not good enough for us.


We will go back to a strict adhering to the U. S. Constitution.


Much more will need to be done, but it will all be approached from a single perspective, what is good for all the people, not just the few!


Now if I could just scratch up that 100 trillion!!!




the pilgrim


Wow, I feel better!!!!!!