Tuesday, February 11, 2014




Figured I had better get me a little painting done before it gets too hot so with a can of paint & brush in hand I painted most of our new shed doors this morning.  Might finish them up Wednesday.  Still trying to decide on a color for our front door.  So many suggestions, so many neat color combinations & I think any one of them would work.


About 3 years ago I picked up a gallon of something at the ‘Big Tent’ in Quartzsite called, ‘The Solution’.  A waterless wash product.  I tried it a few times but wasn’t that knocked out by the results.  I brought half a gallon of it to Congress a year ago & this morning I remembered it was here.  Used it to remove more chlorine infested water spots on the rig’s chrome today.  It worked well for that.  Also had a brainiac idea that if I had two step ladders & a sturdy plank I could rig a kind of scaffold over the hood of the truck cab to stand on to clean Winnie’s front cap & upper windshield area.  I do have 2 aluminum step ladders back in Bayfield so I’ll rig that up when we get home in a few months. 


There are perfect weather days & there are perfect weather days.  Today was one of them for me.  I’m guessing low to mid 70’s with a gentle warm breeze.  Maybe too warm for some & too cool for others but for me the day was perfect.  Kelly headed off to Wickenburg for groceries while Pheebs & I basked in the day’s sunny warm finery.



Donna from the CAVE DWELLINGS had a comment question in which she asked, “Do you have more than one camera..one set for "fast action" and one for landscape”?   The answer to that question is ‘yes’.  I decided early on when I switched from 35mm film to digital I would do so using 2 cameras.  Knowing the type of photography I was interested in I did not want to be continually changing lenses.  Lot of dust in the air out here in the South-West & every time there is a lens change there is a good chance of dust entering the camera.  Especially on those often windy days.  And wildlife doesn’t often wait around while a person fumbles about changes lenses.  Lens changes would also mean constantly altering camera settings & I knew I did not have a chance of remembering to do that each time.  Yes it is more cumbersome to carry 2 heavy DSLR’s but it is the way I much prefer to do things.  (DSLR means Digital Single Lens Reflex)


I change camera & lens combinations around from time to time & right now my 55-300mm telephoto lens is attached to my Nikon D-40.  It’s my oldest & most favorite camera.  This is the camera I do all my bird & wildlife photos with.  And this is the set-up my recently posted about BlackRapid camera strap is on as well.  My Nikon D-90 carries my 18-55mm lens & this the one I use for most of my photos which include landscapes.  My newer D-3100 right now is my back-up camera sporting a 200mm lens.


Donna is right when she also said, “  It would take me so long to change my camera setting for "birds in flight" that they would all have flown the coop by the time I was ready for the picture”.   Donna is right of course.  Because I have the advantage of a DSLR camera I pre-focus my auto-focus lens for distance & I will sometimes set the shutter to rapid fire .  I have my D-40 set for ‘center focus’ & ‘center metering’ as well which means it focuses & meters only on a small area in the center of my screen because that is where my subject will hopefully be.  


And remember, wildlife is not going to sit still & wait for you to get your camera out of your camera case so leave that camera bag at home or in the car.  Get that DSLR around your neck with the lens cap off & in your pocket.  Have your camera turned on & pre-focused out about a hundred feet or so.  Now if a Quail or a Deer suddenly pops out of the bushes you are all pre-configured to get a fast few shots off at your subject.  Remember to pre-set your ISO number as well.  I generally have my D-40 with 300mm lens at either 800 or 1600 ISO.  My D-90 is usually set at ISO 200 or 400. 


And for best results you really need to have a DSLR with a viewfinder if you want to get yourself some reasonably nice flying bird photos.  And heavy emphasis on ‘viewfinder’.  If a bird is flying overhead you have to be able to pan with & track along with that bird.  You have to get your eye into the camera’s viewfinder & onto that moving bird target.  


I’m not really up on the technical end or finer points of cameras & photography but I do enjoy sharing the little bit of practical knowledge I do have about a most enjoyable hobby which has been with me now for many years……………


Ever wonder what a PLB was & more importantly, do you have one.  Could save your life as it has already done for many people.  Chinle over at SPOTTED DOG RANCH has one but is hoping she will never have to use it.  This device makes a whole lot of good sense & especially for outdoors people.  Click on the Spotted Dog Ranch link & Chinle will tell you why a PLB is important.



A year ago now Aunt Jean from Sarasota Florida was here.  Of course we had promised Jean sunny Arizona days & warm weather.  The temperatures plummeted & it snowed less than 24 hours after she arrived:((


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GROANER’S CORNER:((  A Catholic, a Protestant, a Muslim and a Jew were discussing business during a dinner.

Catholic: "I have a large fortune... I am going to buy GOOGLE!"
Protestant: "I am very wealthy and will buy GENERAL MOTORS!"
Muslim: "I am a fabulously rich Prince... I intend to purchase WALMART & MICROSOFT!"

They then all wait for the Jewish fellow to speak...
He stirs his coffee, places the spoon neatly on the table, takes a sip of his coffee, looks at them and casually says: "I'M NOT SELLING!"


  1. Just wondering, do you ever use film or did you get rid of all film cameras? The groaner tonight gave me a good laugh.

  2. Excellent photography and I just learned a few things from this post.
    Also the info about PLB is just perfect timing. Steve and I are looking into one as we hike a lot. Thank you.

  3. Good post, Al. Thanks for sharing so much practical information about your cameras and how you use them. I need to remember some of those things, for sure! Your photos are always super.

  4. Too bad Aunt Jean did not come this year instead of last, she would have loved it.
    Thanks for info on the PLB.

  5. The first photo is so beautiful. I think I would frame it and put it up on the wall. Great job!

    I love the GROANER’S CORNER...hehe


  6. Love the picture from Elfreda. It is a shame that your aunt had such crummy weather, this winter has been

  7. We've considered buying a PLB for a few years now but never seem to get around to it. After another recent hike where we almost needed to get help, we think it's time.

  8. I hope lots of folks who read your blog pay attention and get one of the PLB's. Jim and I aren't hikers so when we get lost it's usually in the truck around town.

  9. Thanks for the info and practical guide for catching photographs. I have a Nikon D 7000 with a 70-300 AF-S lens. I rarely ever change it and it stays on auto all the time...I am so not in the know about photography!

    Your pictures today are very peaceful! Thanks Al....


  10. I don't have a DSLR, only point & shoot cameras. Unfortunately, they have only one strap lug, so I can't wear it around my neck like my old film cameras. I am thinking of making a wire holder that would attach to the tripod socket and give me two attachment points for a neck strap. Have you seen any such device?

  11. Thanks for the advices.
    I hate having the heavy camera around my neck, but what will you do. Usually the best photo chances crop up if your camera is sitting on the counter at home...:))

  12. Commonly known as the Mohave Green Rattlesnake, Mohave Diamond Rattlesnake, and the Desert Diamondback, the Mohave Rattlesnake is a venomous pit viper, best known for its especially potent venom.
    It is the subject of many unfounded myths, including that it is some sort of unusual hybrid, has no rattles and a reputation for being particularly aggressive; however, the scientific literature does not support these common beliefs. Although no more aggressive that other rattlesnakes it is a most dangerous snake worthy of respect and caution.

  13. I'm behind on reading blogs, but I want to thank you for the camera lessons...Of course, you lost me a few times, but I get it that you need more than one camera...Food for thought! Thanks for the shout out...very informative blog!!

  14. OK, now we are confused. We were told that rattlers are not out in the heat of the day and wait until evening and early morning when there is not so much heat.

    Ahhh, I see the problem....you three go out in the early morning hours to avoid the heat...just like the rattlers.

    That locator is on our list. With John's health and my getting my head caught in the rocks, we think this is a wise decision. Found some on Amazon.com