Picked up a new toy



This is an “Industar 61” lens and it came originally on a “Fed 3” camera. Doesn’t sound familiar? That’s because it wasn’t originally sold in the US. Now, thanks to the wonderful world of eBay, these things are coming out of the woodwork.

I picked this lens up because it’s got some nice glass and I needed a 53 mm focal length prime lens. The Russian copy of a Leica may not be quite as well built as the original, but it is surprisingly better than one might think. My initial tests show that the image quality is great and the lens is very sharp all the way down to f/2.8. I know, I know, I’m not a lab and I can’t give you test results that are scientific, but when a person like me can see how good the lens is, that must mean something, right?

And now the best part. The cost. The lens is an M39 Leica thread mount, so I needed an adapter. $12 dollars on Amazon. After a bit of shopping I found the lens on eBay for $32 shipped. $44 and I have a pretty nice little lens. Very cool. I’ll take some pictures this weekend and post them up for you to see for yourself.

Some camera talk

It’s been a while since I talked about cameras, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t really talked about what I’m even using now!

After my Canon started acting up on me, I decided to make a switch to the Fuji x-e1. Canon makes great cameras, but it was pretty obvious to me that size and some other things were becoming more important to me. My plan is to keep my Canon lenses and maybe someday buy a full frame 5d or something similar, but for now it just wasn’t in the budget.

The advantages of the Fuji are pretty awesome, too. The thing is just the right size, not so large it’s a pain to carry, not so small it’s hard to hold steady. The sensor is incredible. I’m very impressed with the capabilities of this body, and it out performs my old 40d by miles.

Previous attempts at mirrorless cameras had given me quite a few “legacy lenses” or old film lenses to play with and since the Fuji has a viewfinder I can focus the thing much better than the Olympus I had previously. In fact, I’ve grown to really love the electronic view finder, even more than the SLR type.

Like I said before, currently I have only adapted 35mm film camera lenses, my current favorites being a Minolta 28mm f/2.8 and a Carenar 50mm f/1.8. Both have produced great results and with the Fuji’s ability to assist with focusing on manual focus lenses I have been very happy with this kit. At some point I’ll start to by Fuji lenses, but for now, I’m ok using the old guys. The first fuji lens on my list is the 10-24 due out in march. Wide angle legacy lenses aren’t so easy to come by, and if I’m going to pay a bunch I would rather buy new.

I’m fairly sure that cameras will all be mirrorless in the coming years, and that’s fine by me. As the technology gets better and better more folks will convert, and sooner or later the DSLR as we know it will be history. All for the better.

Top 10 places to photograph in Nevada County, CA

Here’s my list of favorite places to photograph in the Nevada City and Grass Valley area.

1) Empire Mine state park
2) Malakof Diggins
3) Weaver Lake waterfall
4) Sawmill Lake
5) Nevada street in the fall
6) Summit Ridge road in Cascade Shores
7) Bridgeport
8) Greenhorn Creek and Red Dog road
9) Victorian Christmas
10) Grass Valley’s Thursday markets

If you’re looking for some new places to photograph, check these ones out. Do you have any others to share? Let me know, leave a comment!

Tire conversion chart

I can never find this easily, so I figured I would post up my own for easy reference.

Metric tire size conversion chart

15 inch tires sizes

Width Aspect Wheel Diameter Section Width
205/70 15 = 26.3 8.1
245/70 15 = 28.5 9.6
205/75 15 = 27.1 8.1
215/75 15 = 27.7 8.5
225/75 15 = 28.3 8.9
235/75 15 = 28.9 9.3
245/75 15 = 29.5 9.6
265/75 15 = 30.6 10.4
215/85 15 = 29.4 8.5
245/85 15 = 31.4 9.6
275/85 15 = 33.4 10.8
315/85 15 = 36.1 12.4
325/60 15 = 30.4 12.8

16 inch tires sizes

Width Aspect Wheel Diameter Section Width
305/65 16 = 31.6 12.0
345/65 16 = 33.7 13.6
245/70 16 = 29.5 9.6
305/70 16 = 32.8 12.0
225/75 16 = 29.3 8.9
245/75 16 = 30.5 9.6
265/75 16 = 31.6 10.4
285/75 16 = 32.8 11.2
295/75 16 = 33.3 11.6
215/85 16 = 30.4 8.5
235/85 16 = 31.7 9.3
255/85 16 = 33.1 10.0
265/85 16 = 33.7 10.4
305/85 16 = 36.4 12.0
255/70 16 = 30.1 10.0

The above numbers are computed values and some rounding has been done on the computed values. The actual tire sizes can and will vary depending on the tire manufacturer.

To compute the values in the table above, use the formula of:

HEIGHT = ((width * aspect-ratio * 2) / 2550) + rim size

WIDTH = (width / 25.50 )

For example, a 235/75R15 tire is ((235*75*2)/2550)+15) = 28.8 inches of tire height. The tire width is figured by 235/25.5 = 9.21

Metric tire sizes are stated as three numbers. The way it reads is:

width / aspect ratio R tire rim size
235 / 75 R 15

Tire Size Calculator

P-Metric Size Actual Tire Width Actual Tire Height
15-inch rims 205/70R15 8.7 inches 26.2 inches
215/75R15 8.46 inches 27.6 inches
235/75R15 9.25 inches 28.8 inches
265/70R15 10.4 inches 29.6 inches
16-inch rims 245/75R16 9.64 inches 30.4 inches
285/75R16 11.2 inches 32.8 inches
315/75R16 12.4 inches 34.6 inches
395/70R16 15.5 inches 37.7 inches
17-inch rims 235/65R17 9.25 inches 29.5 inches
265/70R17 10.4 inches 31.6 inches
255/75R17 10.4 inches 32.0 inches
285/70R17 11.2 inches 32.7 inches
315/70R17 12.4 inches 34.3 inches

Advanced Fire Fighting Class

I’m all done with the Advanced Fire Fighting class at Fremont Maritime and I thought I would say a few things about it.

First off, yes, I passed the class.

The teachers were all top notch. They were all very thorough and great at delivering a topic that they are obviously both knowledgeable and passionate about.

The school and training facility is perfect. Nice, new classrooms and a great mock up of a ship to fight fires in. This couldn’t have been better in my opinion.

The course material was both informative and exciting. There was enough information about each subject matter to make it easy to retain, and we put our fingers on most of the subject matters as well.

Would I recommend this class to others? Most definitely. How about the school, for other classes? Yes, they are top notch.

If you’re in need of a class and Fremont Maritime has one available, I’d recommend you take it there.

Fires and some more pictures

My Advanced Fire Fighting class is going well. Today we got to put out a couple fires, which I totally loved! It was really incredible to witness and be a part of. It really is amazing how quickly time goes while you are on a self contained breathing apparatus, 15 minutes of air goes VERY quickly. I’m really glad at this point that I chose this school to take this class. Fremont Maritime is top notch, and the “classroom” is really great for training purposes for folks like me that work on ships. When I took the basic fire class it was in a training facility for land based students, and while I did learn the basics, it wasn’t really geared towards the dynamics of working on the ship. This has not been the case here, and I really appreciate that.

After class I went up to Dr Jose Rizal Park on the East side of town to take some pictures. I think that they turned out ok, but it’s really hard to shoot something one time and get it just right. I could probably go back and get a much better picture tomorrow, but unfortunately I won’t be around for it. I did manage to go back up to Kelly Park after my visit to Rizal Park and those pictures were much better than the first go around a couple days ago. I plan to put all my photos from this trip on my flickr page over the next couple days. I’ll let you know when it’s done.

Columbia tower

Tonight I decided to go check out the Columbia Tower in the downtown area. I saw from the net that it was the tallest building in town, and that they have an observation deck on the 73rd floor that looks out over the city. The cost is $12.50, which is almost half what the space needle is, plus it’s higher up, so you are actually looking down on the space needle.

While I was up there, I took some notes on the construction of the building, I thought it was pretty cool. The fun facts that I saw were:

-Construction began in July 1982 on the corner of 5th street and Cherry street.

-The window frames alone required 650,000 pounds of aluminum.

-Originally designed to be 1,005 feet tall the FAA shortened the building for flight paths into SEATAC airport.

-July 1983 steelwork begins on the 1st floor.

-Three interlocking geometric arches lend to the appearance of a three tower design.

-August 1984 the structural steel work was completed.

-The Columbia Tower is twice the height of the space needle.

-Last beam was placed on September 30, 1984.

-The total force of wind on the structure equals approximately 15 million pounds.

-January 12, 1985 the building was completed.

-March 2, 1985 was the grand opening.

-The tower is 76 stories, the tallest structure west of the Mississippi.

-The tower is 932 feet tall at the roof and 902 feet at the observatory.

Now you know everything you ever wanted to know about the observatory. Oh, actually. One more thing. Take a tripod up and take some pictures, it’s really a great view. The only problem I ran into was glare off of the glass, but after a bit I figured out that I could make a cover over the lens with my jacket.

Go visit this place, it’s worth it.

Seattle, WA

I’m up in Seattle for the week, taking an Advanced Fire Fighting class at Fremont Maritime Services, and I’m hoping to have a little bit of time each day to sneak away and go see some of the sights. The class is pretty intense, but I think can make this work. Tonight I went over to Kerry Park, which has a really nice view of the space needle and the night skyline.

Tomorrow, I’m thinking about a walk around the market and a trip up the space needle. I have been up the needle before, so I’m currently looking into other alternative spots. Does anyone have a suggestion for nice places to take pictures after dark?

Life gets so busy

How is it that I can go for weeks without even thinking about the things that I normally do? There’s been little time lately for photography, blogs and four wheel drives, but I wanted to let everyone on the interwebs know that it’s not because I don’t care. Actually, I’ve been working on some new stuff, plus I was lucky enough to score a REALLY good deal on a new camera (which I’ll talk more about later), and I’ve been getting ready to head up to Seattle for an advanced fire fighting class at Fremont Maritime.

Over the next few days I’ll talk a little bit about my new gear, and also about the fire fighting class. I’m also working on a page for folks who are going for their designated duty engineer or DDE. Oddly enough, there is not a whole lot of info out there about this Coast Guard license, so I plan to contribute everything I know here to help out the folks that follow behind me.

I do have some pictures in the works as well, and I hope to get some of those posted up within the next few days. Stay tuned….

New Years resolutions


Being the goal oriented person that I am, New Years resolutions have always been something I’ve done and something I like to do. Since it’s that time of year, I’d like to offer up my resolutions for the new year here.

1. Get an engineers license that allows me to work on other ships, so I can continue on with the “get paid to travel” theme. Designated Duty Engineer 4000 hp here I come.

2. Figure out a way to finally get the full frame digital camera I’ve been dreaming about all these years. My skills are ready for it.

3. Take my family to three places they haven’t ever been before.

4. Get smarter about finances so I’ll have more money to play, both tomorrow and 30 years from now.

5. Set up the home office so that I can attain a goal previously stated, being able to sell prints on a local level. I need to create a bigger following through some better marketing.

Sounds pretty doable, right?