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2 years, 11 months ago 0


One of the things that I love about being a Nikon shooter, (yes, I do work for them, but I’d say this anyway!), is that we have never changed our lens mount, the tried and true Nikon F mount is still going strong.  So what’s the big deal?  Well if you were a Canon shooter in the 60′s – 80′s or for that matter a Pentax shooter or Olympus shooter, and you saved a bunch of great old glass (lenses) they wouldn’t work on your new DSLR!  That’s a big deal because Nikon made some sterling manual focus glass for many years and virtually any of them can still be use today on our current, higher end DSLRs.   if you own a D7000, D700, D3s or D3x you can still enjoy all that old great glass.  To the right are four lenses I really love, left to right, the 50-135 f3.5 Nikkor, the 80-200 f4.5 Nikkor, the 105 f2.5 Nikkor and the 24 f2.8 Nikkor.  All of these lenses are legendary in their optical performance and work wonderfully on our current cameras.  Now you may be thinking but they are manual focus!!!!  Actually for some kinds of photography and for video the older manual lenses are a perfect fit.  The older lenses have depth-of-field scales and that is very handy when your shooting for maximum depth-of-field using Hyper-focal distance.  It’s an old trick from old guys like me, but it really works and when working slow and carefully it can give you wonderful results.


In the next few months I’m going to start a project of shooting with the old glass and try to show some examples of just how terrific this classic glass can be.  the great news is that many older manual focus lenses can be bought for a great deal less than current lenses.  Now don’t get me wrong, I own and use a number of the current, latest, greatest Nikkors, but it’s fun sometimes to step back and remember how tact-al photography was in the old days.  I bought the 80-200 above some years ago for $120., the 24 f2.8 for less than $150., I’ve seen mint condition 105 f 2.5′s for under $150.  These are great lenses and the smooth focus makes them also perfect for video work.  If You’re a Nikon shooter you can make these lenses available to yourself, if you shoot other brands….. not so much!

I look forward to wringing them out for you.


the pilgrim


2 years, 11 months ago 7

This mornings devotional was a wonderful reminder of the vital importance of obedience.  The scripture below tells a wonderful story of obedience and it’s wonderful result.


Luke 5:1-7

The First Disciples

 1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.



Simon Peter was tired, he had fished all day, and caught nothing.  Then this man came along and asked him to let him teach from his boat, even move it further out in the water.  Peter was busy washing his nets, but he said “Yes”.  The result is that  many were fed spiritually.  Then Jesus turned to Peter and said go back out and lower your nets again.  Peter was pretty sure this was not such a good idea, after all he had fished all day and has had no success.  In spite of his doubts, Peter and his crew went back out and cast their nets, again.  The scripture above reveals the result, they caught so many fish that their nets began to tear.

What does this have to do with us today?  If you are in communication with God through prayer and through an active attempt to listen in you spirit for Him, He will speak to you.  He will reveal what He wants you to do.  Obedience is nothing more than saying,  ”Yes” when He calls.  Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes a lot harder, but it never comes back void!  God has a plan and He wants you to get to be a part of it.  Could He do it without you?  Of course, but then you would miss His incredible blessings, and He doesn’t want that to happen.


Listen for His voice, and say “Yes Father!”  It will lead to incomparable joy and blessings…….


the pilgrim


*Photo Note:  D7000, 24-120 AF-S VR lens   Sponge boat in Tarpon Springs, Florida.


2 years, 11 months ago 11



Join me for the search for the elusive perfect cheeseburger.  Follow the pilgrim as he scours the country side for that best greasy delight, the All-American Creation – The Cheeseburger!


After years and years of travel, I decided I had to find something interesting to do!  Since I truly do love cheeseburgers, I started to wonder if I could find the “Perfect  Burger” So the search was on.


To name a perfect burger you must have a standard and a rating scale so first here is my standard, notice I said “my”!   You can make your own standard.


A Cheeseburger must be several things:


1.  The meat should be hamburger meat not “lean ground beef”.  Lean means less fat and the fat is what make a great cheeseburger, juicy and greasy.  Avoid places with pre-made frozen patties.  * I never said this was a healthy article!


2.  A great Cheeseburger must be cooked on a flat steel top grill.  Even more important the cleaning process for the grill should be nothing more than scrapping it off with a steel spatula.   The taste of the burger is highly affected by the grease build up on the grill!


3.  No matter what the health department says, if a burger is well done it is best used to delight the stray dogs that hang out around the garbage cans out back!  Medium only – Remember Juicy!


4.  The bun needs to be buttered (not margarine), and slightly toasted.  Hey this is serious stuff!


5.  The only acceptable toppings are; Mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, or pickles.  Bacon is for breakfast, chilli is to be served in a bowl, mushrooms are to top steaks, o.k. you got it, this is a purist thing. In fact,  I take mine with cheese and mayo only  ( Hellman’s REAL Mayonaise! No substitutes! )  Light Mayonnaise?  ” Come-on’ Man!!! ”  Do you really think mayo with 20% less fat is really going to help you out here????!!!!  Health wise, this is a lost cause already……..  Disclaimer, I don’t eat burgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  Sometimes, I have something else for breakfast……


6.   American Cheese only – Hey this is an American Creation.


O.K. keeping these requirements in mind here is some of my ratings so far, based on my ” famous ” 5 Pickle Scale.


Five Pickles  =  Perfect (Not yet found)

Four Pickles  =  Truly wonderful…A testament to the craft!!!!!!

Three Pickles  =   A good  solid burger, just not what it could’ve been!

Two Pickles  =   Just so-so,  only if you’re really, really hungry!

One Pickle  =  Shame on them for calling it a Cheeseburger!


The Ratings:


CURRENT # 1 Williams Campus U-Tote-Um in Ellenburg, WA, 4.96 # 2 Smash Burger in Las Vegas, NV, 4.95 # 2 ties Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico  4.93       Move Over Bobcat Bite, believe it or not, I just had a burger in Henderson, Kentucky at Five Guys, yes that’s right Five Guys, I love Five Guys, but they are not usually up in this rarified atmosphere, this one was, so for today  Five Guys ties the number three burger  4.93…….




CURRENT #4  S & L Restaurant, Lakeland, Florida  4.92 


CURRENT #5  Three way tie:  4.91 Pickles:  T-Rays Burger Station, Amelia Island, Florida  FLASH a new Tied for Number five Alcoa Tennessee’s Hot Rod’s 50′s Diner comes in at 4.91 as well, so we have another tie, 4.91 pickles for Burger 21, in Tampa!  That’s three tied for the number 5 spot!!!




CURRENT #6:  4.9 Pickles:  Fred’s Texas Cafe, Fort Worth. Texas



CURRENT #7:    4.87 Pickles:    Shake  Shack, Times Square, New York City, New York  



CURRENT # 8 & 9   4.85 Pickles:    Milt’s Stop & Eat in Moab, Utah and Fava’s in Georgetown, Kentucky.  These are two truly great burgers!  *Just went back to Fava’s (1/20/12) and confirmed they are still a solid 4.85!!! FLASH another 4.85 Pickle burger was found today in Bar Harbor, Maine!!!  Jordan’s is best known for, and deservedly so,  their fabulous Blueberry Pancakes and great breakfasts, but I had their burger today, and it was very, very good!  Way to go guys, join the ranks of the top  5 burgers in America!  Tied with Fava’s!


CURRENT #10    4.7 Pickles:  Hut’s Austin, Texas  -  Pappa’s Burgers in Houston, Texas     Among the best!


CURRENT #11    4.65 Pickles:  The Camellia Grill, New Orleans, Louisiana


CURRENT #12     4.65 Pickles:  The Urban Stack, Chattanooga, TN 


CURRENT #12 (tie)      4.65 Pickles:  Bartley’s Burgers, Harvard Square, Boston, MA.


CURRENT # 12-17 (group)     4.5 Pickles:  Cheesburger, Cheeburger in Sanibel Island, Florida  -  Billy’s Giant Burgers, Jackson, Wyoming  -4.6 Pickles - Top Notch Cafe  Colfax Washington, the “most beautiful Place” to have a burger, The Palouse region! Five Guys (Varies) I’ve rated Five Guys Burgers and Fries, burgers, anywhere from 4.0 to 4.5.   Bill’s Bar and Burgers, Rockefeller Center, N.Y  N.Y. 4.5 (with Sherelene along it’s a 4.6!)   Rotiers in Nashville, Tennessee a solid 4.5 and maybe a 4.6 if eating one with Ricky Skaggs!  *Rotiers makes a patty melt, but it’s still great!!!   Latest 4.5 burger from The Backyard Cafe’ in West Columbia, South Carolina, great folks and a really good burger.  Another addition to the 4.5 pickles club;  Smashburger!

THAT WAS THE TOP Seventeen!!!!!  


The Best of the Rest all the way to the Worst!!!!!



4.4 Pickles:  Believe it or not Steak &* Shake (anywhere) usually very consistent!  The best Fast Food burger that’s easy to find!!! –  Cheeseburger in Paradise in Reno (Sadly now closed) Also the one in Maui is excellent.



4.3 Pickles:  Fuddruckers, most locations, varies from 4.0 to 4.3.   The Blue Goose, Hendersonville, TN  4.3 Pickles;   was discovered with the suggestion of Ricky again, Cheeseburger buddies forever…..



4.0  Pickles:  Hamburger Heaven, Palm Beach, Florida  -  Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico  -  Margaritaville, Key West, FL  -  Most Fuddruckers.   Applebee’s  -  Ruby Tuesday’s  * Latest 4.0 entry  Kodiak Jacks in Oshkosh.  New Entry CJ’s Bistro, Marco Island, FL 4.0



3.8 FLASH a new entry, believe it or not the new Wendy’s larger Hot and Juicy falls right under the Steak & Shake Steakburger!  This is an impressive comeback by Wendy’s, Dave must be proud!, up there!
3.4 Pickles:  White Castle (watch out for these little bad boys, they don’t call them sliders for nothing!


2.1  or less:   McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Backyard Burgers, Carl Jr’s


.25  Burger King, Clown Burgers, Big Top Burgers and any burger in a Marriott (Room Service)


.10  Shame on you Westin in Atlanta, you are now my worst burger ever, even a Marriott burger is better, Dry hard bun, cheddar cheese after asking for and being told American was no problem, meat tasted funny, not in a good way!!  To make things worse they had Kraft Mayo, ugh!!!!!  In fairness the hotel was great nice people, nice room, but their burger drive?!,  out of your way to avoid this one!!!!



























































A Cheeseburger Adventure in New Orleans

One of my favorie places to heck out a burger is Camellia’s Grill in New Orleans, a classic dinner style eating expeience with a high end 4.6 burger to boot!  Enjoy some images from this trip!  By the way having the right company for this lunch was the kicker!!!!










2 years, 11 months ago 2


Welcome to the very first Learning Center post for the new website.  This is an article that ran in the Pilgrim’s Chronicles blog back some time ago but I wanted to update and thought this would be a good lead off session.  I’ve struggled for years with how to be ready for any situation in the field and yet have a small enough package that I didn’t feel burdened with too much to carry.  First I want to keep my bag or pack to below 25 lbs., actually as far below as possible.  My current field kit comes in complete at 23 lbs.  That’s good enough for now.  the older I get the further down it will have to come.


To put together a kit you need to identify what you need the gear to do, here is my list:


1.  I need a camera body that has sufficient resolution (at least 12 mega pixels) and all the features I use like mirror lock-up, etc.. For me the D7000 at 16 mega pixels and all the needed features works fine


2.  I need to cover focal length equivalents of from 20mm to over 400mm.  With the Nikon 12-24 AF-S  WA zoom, the Nikon 24-120 AF-S VR Mid-range zoom, and the Nikon 70-300 AF-S VR longer range zoom I get everything from  18mm to 450mm covered in three lenses.  And of course my trusty Len Baby Composer with close-up lenses as well!


3.  I really want to be able to shoot close-up to 4 times life-size.  The handy, compact,  and very sharp (and reasonably priced), 85mm Micro-Nikkor AF-S VR f3.5 lens is perfect, add to that 3T and 4T diopters and you have a killer close-up system.  I also carry the Canon 500D for the 24-120 and Automatic extension tubes and I’m more than good to go.


4.  The Lowe Pro Stealth Reporter 400 AW or the Trekker 300 AW backpack each hold all this gear and stay in my weight range (the backpack is a hair heavier but is easier since you carry it on your back.


5. Tucked away in either bag is a Nikon Coolpix P300 for those grab shots when the gang and I are whoofing down a burger!


6.  In the illustration above the 85mm Micro Nikkor is replaced with the 85mm f1.8 lens when I need to work in low available light.


7.  Polarizers for all lenses, a Singh Ray Variable Neutral Density filter, a small table top tripod, charger and spare batteries, mini flash light, plus cleaning supplies and allen wrenches and you’re good to go!  To pad things in the bag I also stuff in a dozen or so micro fiber cloths.


8.  Of course a full size tripod and ball head are salted away in the back of the vehicle.


9.  A spare body, a D700,  and it’s dedicated wide angle, the Nikkor 16-35 AF-S VF f4 lens will be packed with the computer roll on bag.
So there you have it, a full compliment of lenses and a very capable body ready to tackle almost any subject.  Since I won’t be worried carrying it all I will get better images!  At least that’s the plan.  This is the system I will use in New England in two weeks, we’ll see how it does!