July is here, that means 80-degree days/70-degree nights, bbq, and crowded beaches - despite the whole pandemic situation.
Positives: bacon-wrapped hot dogs, monthly cheese delivery. Negatives: zonies at Scripps, amphibious assualt vessels.
The nice weather does make me want to get one of these, though.
"All I know is some people keep asking me for career help and review feedback..."
The last item on the media room renovation is curtains. At long last I ordered a set from RH to replace the Ikea junk (er, 10-year interim solution), but wasn't super-excited about the curtain rod options. The natural choice was, of course, carbon fiber. It's a man cave after all.
With a little searching I found Rock West Composites and some Dragon one that was less up-front with their pricing. A unidirectional carbon tube came in under the RH pricing and since it's non-extendable is better looking and better for not snagging curtain rings.
Ha! Think of the acceleration gains with that strength-to-weight ratio.
I've steadily built up a collection of unorganized bolts over the past decade. With the recent murder room improvements, it made sense to pick up some steel drawers. So evenings are now Netflix and bolt sort. I started with the pretty terrible Dune movie (the one with Sting).
In support of my uber-nerdy X-Wing miniatures post, I wrote some graphics code to downsample images to 640x480 and ye-olde VGA color. There wasn't much code, you just have to mask off the low order bits for each channel to get the desired color depth.
Covidland has taken a turn for the worse. Not only are we getting that second wave promised by July 4 celebrations, but people are starting to politically entrench. It's kind of like the opposite of 9/11, which sounds weirdly optimistic.
Somehow, masks have become more or less only issue that people talk about in the news and social media. On the one hand, you have people who think their civil liberties include not wearing certain articles of clothing in public. On the other hand, you have the mask police who fixate on that issue alone, thinking that shouting at people without visible masks is peak morality. The true path is definitely not in the middle, but rather observing the dichotomy and pretending to be better than them.
As the memes get more and more serious, I try to focus on the nutjobs. A guy's gotta have hobbies.
... even going so far as to create some OC.
Seems like the market ran off the cliff a few months ago but hasn't looked down.
I'm definitely not an economist, but it's hard to imagine any situation where tanking GDP, employment, and consumer activity don't lead to at least a correction.
Maybe work from home daytrading will keep financial services strong (except for Wells Fargo, of course) and they can prop up the economy. #Kanggang
Still, was pretty happy about my first ITM position - which was of course a call. Three Twitter contracts on the expectation of a pre-election pump (seemed to happen in '16). The stock surged almost immediately (not related to elections) so I sold the calls and took the gains. I felt like a genius when Twitter then gave admin access to sim swappers who scammed some people and prompted a service outage. But of course in this economy it meant TWTR would be up a few percent by week's end, probably because Elon's account was one of the ones used for the crypto scam.
SNE did pretty well too; I expected a pump in the lead up to PS5 (especially with 'rona), but cashed out early. On the other hand, my bear moves that expect a rug pull haven't yet worked out. It's all fun budget though, I've moved enough into bonds that I'm getting a decent chunk of the mortgage payment from bond divvies.
Gage linked me to an video Q&A that (I think) his local Patagonia was putting on with surf photographer Todd Glaser. It was a neat stream with some good technique insights and talk about pro surfing personalities.
I was a bit concerned when I jumped in and saw an image of an awesome lip turn where the camera was focused at infinity (well past the subject). He even went so far as to make the verboten statement that he often uses a narrow aperture so "more things are in focus". But then he moved on to some insane shots from Chopes and stylish small wave photos and I was quickly convinced that he's legit.
For reasons unrelated to being hyped from a cool photography talk, I did some ebaying for the gear items that I've always had an eye on. I happened upon some listings for telephotos, and here's what my research yielded:
Like with cameras, the prior generation model goes for about 20% less, new or used.
Similar to how B&H used to offer grey market items (imported from Japan with no warranty), ebay has a lot of used equipment dealers based in Japan. The consensus seems to be that they're considerably more reliable at evaluating quality than their domestic counterparts and tend to be a ~10% cheaper. But for new and new secondhand equipment, there is no warranty on the grey market.
I'm not sure if it's supply or demand, but most of the Japanese listing were for D-type lenses - pre-2005 models with the aperture ring. They also went for $1,500-$2,500 on what was probably originally a $10,000 lens. Being wary of moving parts with sensitive optics, I avoided the D lenses.
People either take these things on safari and scuff them up, or they leave them in their basement.
500mm f/4 vs 500mm f/5.6.
I decided to test how motivated one seller was, given the unemployment numbers and lack of people traveling or generally going outside. My $300 underbid was rejected, but not right away. Oh well. Having no other attractive options (and not wanting to bid the asking price out of pride), I was about to call it, but found one of those generic electronics houses on the east coast selling new-in-box for just a bit more than the used-but-perfect prices.
I'm - of course - wary of internet retailers, but third party reviews looked good and I'm pretty confident my financial institution will go to bat for me if the need arises.
Regardless of the final disposition of the telephoto, it seemed a good enough reason to look into monopods. And what is a monopod but a curtain rod with a camera stuck on the end? Like a curtain rod, they most often telescope, but in the case of both, in use they're always the same length.
Simplify and add lightness. - Colin Chapman - Michael Scott
That is, other than transport and weird situations where you're shooting from a chair, you're pretty much always using the monopod at a fixed length - especially in the case of a super telephoto. Since 90% of my tele-shooting would be local and there's a substantial benefit from minimal moving parts, I thought I could come up with something at least as good as a commercial product.
At its core, it's a single tube that I expect to be about 60", depending on the final height of the lens mount. Fortuitously that meant a 78" tube could be chopped into a standing monopod and a sitting or prone monopod. BOGO.
The 1.406" OD pipe (see above curtain rod) should fit nicely in a 1.5" ID standard pipe foot with a bunch of epoxy. In a sense, the foot isn't necessary, but it'll protect the pipe and maybe make swiveling a bit smoother. Since I expect to do some shooting from the shallows, having a nonmetal monopod base is good.
The single dynamic part of the design is the release mechanism - it has to be not-onerous but also support heavy, expensive equipment. I ordered a carbon fiber block to affix to the Nikon lens mount with the standard hardware. Using a marine-grade rail flange and an interior pipe from Rock West, the mount portion will slide snugly into the main monopod pipe.
The ferrule should ensure a stable fit, secured by two safety pins.
Having not shot with a tele or monopod before, I'm fearful of accidents (one of the ebay listings showed a dented lens with "mint optics"). With a ORV light clamp, I think I can leash the monopod to a nerdy photographer vest.
Hopefully the lens thing works out and I can go shoot some surfing from the shore/jetty. Warm water also means I'm due for another nightsurf session.
... before I just used an Ikelite strobe and sometimes a flash-triggered SB800.
What if you wanted to use something larger?
I know getting in the water with high voltage and homemade waterproofing sounds like a bad idea.
But hear me out.
What if you could do like a really good homemade waterproofing?
I made a sub editor info video. I must be really bored.