A Jim of All Trades

Posts Tagged ‘K-r

Autocross Pictures

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Last weekend marked the end of the autocross season for the local SCCA chapter. I didn’t compete in any of their events this year and hadn’t even gone to any, so decided to go for a little bit on Saturday to take some pictures. Aside from taking some pictures I said hi to some people and had fun being there, but didn’t stay very long because I had other things to do. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to do some more driving and can make it to a few events.

Here are some of the pictures I took. I mostly stood in one place and shot pictures as the cars went by, but also walked around and took some of cars that weren’t driving. Hope you enjoy!

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Written by Jim

November 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Summer Autocross

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It was over two months ago, but I did do one autocross this year. While it would have been nice to do more, I was more focused on training and working on my bike this year, so didn’t devote much time (or money) to the car. The local Corvette Club hosted some autocrosses just a couple miles from my house at a nice big parking lot, so I went to one. It’s nice when they’re so close, I can put my racing wheels and tires on in the comfort of my carport and just drive there on them (rather than packing a ton of tools and the tires and doing it at the event). I was considering going to more than one, but when removing my tires I realized that cords are showing on one of them (meaning they’re extremely worn) so thought it wasn’t safe to keep using them. I’ll have to replace the tires before doing any more racing. In any case, I had a lot of fun and was pleased with how I did.

Here’s a video of my best run of the day.

I finished roughly in the middle of the pack overall, which I was happy with since I hadn’t done it for over a year. I messed up a bit at the end so know I could have been faster yet. Like anything else, you only get better with lots of practice, so I can’t expect to be too competitive unless I start doing it more often. If having fun is your only intention though, it’s still well worth it.

I brought my camera along, too…

Some friends of mine that lived close by stopped to watch and one of them was kind enough to take some pictures of me while I was driving.

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It’s fairly common that some cars will have a rear tire come off the ground during extreme cornering at autocrosses. Some cars are notorious for it; Subaru’s, for example. In a hard turn while braking all of the car’s weight shifts to the front and outside, and all of the travel is used up in the suspension at the lightest inside corner – the rear. These aren’t the best pictures, but look at the rear tire… there’s space between it and the pavement.

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It can look pretty funny. The softer the suspension the more the car will lean in a corner and the tire can lift up pretty high. LIKE THIS!

I mostly tried to practice taking panning shots. I didn’t do as well as last time. I just couldn’t get the timing of the cars right and ended up moving the camera a bit too slow or fast, resulting in blurry pictures. Using an auto focus lens (the 70-210) this time, I think the second it takes to find focus could be having an impact as well. It was still fun to shoot and I know I’ll improve with more practice.

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Thanks for reading and happy driving!

Written by Jim

October 12, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Speedwell Forge Lake

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Speedwell Forge Lake was a man made lake in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, just a bit north of the town of Lititz. A few years ago the dam that retains the water for the lake was damaged and the lake was drained due to safety concerns. Here’s an article from when it was originally drained, if you’re interested. (Some websites apparently didn’t get the message and still advertise it as existing) There are plans to fix the dam and flood the area again, but until then, it makes for a pretty unique piece of nature. I went last weekend with a friend to take photos. I had actually never heard of it before, it was his idea, and I’m glad we went. It felt like we were trespassing while we were there, but the area was very accessible and I didn’t see any posted signs at the entrance.

It was a 106 acre lake, so the photos don’t do the size justice. All of this used to be under water…

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There’s a bit of a dam made from loosely laid stones that creates a small pond, I assume for the wildlife. The following two pictures were taken standing on the dam, first up stream where the lake used to be, then downstream.

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The original dam is still there, too. Apparently the original water path has been diverted.

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Nice water at the bottom…

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We did see a Blue Heron, a Crane and some ducks, though I wasn’t able to get very good pictures.

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It’s a really neat area and fun to explore. If you’re in the area I’d recommend checking it out before they flood it again. The following are just a few random pictures from around the lake.

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Thanks for reading, and happy shooting!

Written by Jim

September 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Hawk

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There are a couple of hawks that hang around my neighborhood and they chose one of my trees to build a nest in. I’ve only ever seen them high up in the sky flying around the neighboring houses, but my neighbor has told me that he’s seen them coming and going from the nest, often with fresh catches from hunting. I’ve been a little disappointed that I’ve missed out on seeing them up close, but was surprised to look out my kitchen window the other day and see one about ten yards away in my yard. It was sort of jumping up and down and flapping its wings, but not taking flight. I figured it had either caught some prey or was hurt and couldn’t fly. I grabbed my camera, put the longer zoom lens on (70-210 — not that long) and went outside around the side of my house. The hawk noticed me right away but didn’t fly far, it perched on the edge of my neighbors inflatable pool!

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(zoomed in the whole way…  oh well.)

I inspected the pool later and there weren’t any signs of it having landed there, it didn’t dig its talons in at all. It would have been unfortunate, though funny, had it deflated the pool. The neighbor probably wouldn’t have believed me… “sure Jim, a hawk ruined my pool… whatever you say.” Anyway, it hung out there for a bit as I tried to creep closer, before relocating to the fence around another neighbor’s garden.

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(50% crop)

Finally it flew to a tree branch, where I wasn’t able to get a good shot of it. I was able to get fairly close but couldn’t get a good angle without branches being in the way.

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I finally decided to call it quits and to stop harassing the bird. I checked out the spot where it had originally been hopping around in my yard and couldn’t find any remains of another animal or signs of a struggle, so I’m not sure what was going on. It was pretty neat to see, anyway. As a side note, I do love this lens, but need to find something longer for birds.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!

Written by Jim

July 27, 2014 at 11:47 am

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Car Show

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If you haven’t noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any pictures. That’s simple because I haven’t been taking any. I’m not a fan of cold weather and the rough winter we had kept me from going outside to explore and shoot photos. Thankfully spring is here and I’m feeling more motivated to pick up the camera again.

Last weekend I went to a local car show and took a number of photos. It was an overcast day and in order to capture the cars correctly I had to crank the exposure compensation up quite a bit. This unfortunately resulted in washing out lighter areas of the sky and background, so the picture quality is so-so. Still, the cars turned out okay enough, so I don’t mind showing these. All were taken with the Pentax K-r using the kit 18-55 lens. Having grown up going to car shows with my dad, I find that I’m sort of burnt out on muscle cars and am attracted more to the rarer and unique cars at shows, which is somewhat reflected in the pictures I took…

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Neat upholstery (not from car shown above)…

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This 1975 Chevy Monza…

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…had this LS1 Vette engine in it…

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…awesome!

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Thanks for looking and happy shooting!

Written by Jim

May 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

A New Lens & A Tiny Bald Eagle

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I got a new lens!

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Well, new to me. It’s a Takumar-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 lens. It’s a late 80’s film (obviously) lens that still mounts and works on modern Pentax DSLRs. It is my first long-ish auto focus zoom lens and I’m excited about it. Takumar lenses were sort of off brand Pentax lenses. They sold for less than their Pentax counterparts, but often shared the same design and construction as the “Pentax” lenses. Pentax and Takumar sold duplicates of this exact lens, the only difference was supposed to be that the Takumar version lacked lens coatings. I’ve read many reviews says that the Takumar lens does have coatings though, and it looks like mine does too, so one has to wonder what the difference is between it and the more expensive name brand lens? Just some stickers and the price?

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Anyway, it’s an old used lens now, but is still really cool. The optics are great and it is capable of taking some amazing quality photos. I’ve read reviews that said, image quality wise, this is comparable to modern mid-level lenses (quality better than basic kit lenses but below top end professional) and I think that’s very accurate. It is very sharp, contrast is good, and colors are pretty accurate. And the price? – $60! (plus shipping from eBay) I admit, it would be nice to have a longer zoom range and a more modern design, but for something modern I would have had to pay at least double what I paid for this, and that still wouldn’t have gotten me that great a lens. That isn’t an insult to the Pentax kit lenses, their long zoom is very good and I still might get one someday, but for less than half the price and as good (if not better) optics, I’ll take this old film zoom, thank you very much.

I do have a few complaints. Mainly is that it’s HEAVY. By far the heaviest lens I’ve ever used. I’ve read before about how a heavy lens can throw off the balance of a camera and make it hard to shoot but I never grasped what that meant until now. It is harder to hold the camera steady and get a nice crisp shot and it takes more concentration and practice than shooting with the lighter lenses I have. Choosing the camera settings is challenging as well. When I have everything right the pictures turn out great, but the lens has a tendency to under expose images, so I always have to be careful.

Otherwise, aside from just needed to get used to it and shoot in more situations, I’m very pleased. This will be a lot of fun to use at autocrosses and sporting events, I can’t wait!

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It isn’t exactly a birding lens… I’m about 10 yards away in the following couple pics and as you can see am still too far away:

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…following is 100% crop of the above…

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Bird watchers.
Bird Watchers

Size matters.
Size Matters

There is a dam not far from my house where a number of Bald Eagles have been congregating. Apparently Bald Eagles always hang out around the dam but the numbers are up this winter since the freezing cold weather and excess snow we’ve had have made hunting harder for them. The local news reported that over 60 had been reported there, which seems a little unbelievable. I’ve never seen one before though, so I decided to go and check it out. Apparently half of the people in the county had the same idea, there were tons of people there, and more kept coming. There were six Bald Eagles, way out on an island, but they wouldn’t come any closer. My lens wasn’t nearly strong enough to get pictures of them.

Standing on the road looking at the island (70mm):

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Zoomed all the way in (think you could see the Bald Eagle if I didn’t circle it?):

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100% crop of the above:

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That island was very far away (the guy with the HUGE white lens (600mm) in the above image said they were still too far for him), but this still isn’t a birding lens. Oh well, that’s not why I bought it.

It’ll take me some more time to learn how to use it so that I get good images consistently, but so far I’m pleased and think this will work well for a practical longer zoom lens.

Happy shooting!

Written by Jim

February 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Random Photos

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Written by Jim

January 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Photography

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