Monday, December 7, 2009

Climate-Gate for Dummies: Why you should care.

Climate-Gate for Dummies: Okay, for people who don't have the time to read up on what's actually going on, and perhaps to help the Mainstream Media journalist decide to get of their hands, here's my summation of what happened and why this is critically important.

1. Tree ring data. Why do we care? Because a wider tree ring can be an indication of a warm, longer growning season. What happened: The data gleaned from the tree core samples began to diverge from actual weather station readings in 1960. Weather stations were reporting warmer temps, while the tree ring data bagin to drop. What the scientists in this scandal did was to add MODERN temperature data TO the historical tree ring sample between 1960 to 1980 to "bring it in line" with the other readings. After 1980 they've disregarded the tree rings completely and have substituted other readings without stating this on their charts. This is the "divergence" talked about in the Mann emails. Once an estabilished historical methodology (tree rings) differs from something as straight-forward as temperature readings, we need to ask "Why".

2. The missing Medieval Warm Period. What is it? The area in history when the world was significantly warmer. Vikings FARMED Greenland, which is today covered in concrete-hard permafrost and ice. Grapes were grown in the UK, where we cannot grow grapes today. Alpine valleys were farmed in Germany and in the Alps where today, they can't be farmed due to snow.3. The Code. What is it? The source code, written in Fortran 90, which shows how that data has been artificially-altered to form a more dramatic "hockey stick". The "Little Ice Age" temps have been lifted artificially. The more recent two decades have been dramatically lifted using a parabolic curve, so that each year looks significantly worse (warmer) than the last. Why do we care? Any numbers you stick into this program will form a "hockey stick" when graphed. It's not scientific; it's a political tool generated in order to scare people into thinking there's a runaway greenhouse gasses warming trend. For the last 10 years we've been cooling, ever since 1998! Cooling for a decade!

And they can't explain why... Why do we care? The scientists, Mann, and even NASA's Hansen, have all "resampled" their data to remove, or minimize, the high temps of this period. This makes their "hocky stick graph" look more alarming, with a severe rise to 1998's peak. In actuality, 1998 as a single year was in no way close to thawing Greenland! Since then we've cooled dramatically.

4. The UK-MET. What is it? The national weather service of the UK. Why do we care? On Saturday, the UK-MET announce that they've pulled their "global warming forecasts" in order to "reexamine the numbers". UK-MET received all of their land-based temp data from, you guessed it East Anglia's CRU! That means they've looked at the Fortran code, and the emails and said "uh oh"! As they're an official agency within the Ministry of Defence (their spelling) , and as such directly inform the British government and the IPCC, this is a HUGE deal!

They expect this to take 3 years.

So what does all of this collectively mean? It shows that these scientists were pushing Global Warming at all costs. The emails show the pressure they were willing to level at ANYONE who wanted to publish a paper counter to their views. Anyone who wanted to be a "climateologist" needed to be "on the bandwagon" or face a blacklisting from peer-review journals. If you cannot get your work published, you could lose funding.

If the reports from the CRU, showing global warming, have been falsified, then similar-appearing reports from NOAA and NASA, PSU, and other universities, MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN FALSIFIED, or tainted with tampered temperature datasets.

NOAA and NASA have both been hit with FOIA information requests in order for the public to gain access to the raw temperature data used over the last 150 years. Neither agency has complied, in violation of Federal Law. NASA's James Hansen has been stone-walling for two years.

Hansen is possibly the biggest global-warming cheerleader, and argues for a ZERO-CARBON EMISSIONS plan starting immediately. Have a good laugh about that the next time you savor a Coca-Cola or a beer. They're all carbonated with CO2!

5. Conspiracy to commit fraud in the Media. 56 news agencies printed the SAME editorial today urging action at Copenhagen. No bias folks, move along now, nothing to see here!

6. ABC, NBC, and CBS, along with CNN have chosen to go along with the "hacked emails/don't mean nuthin'" theme song over the weekend, if they've even mentioned this at all. You'd think the network which gave us "false but essentially true" reporting would jump at the chance to use the Climate Gate data to "reprove Global Warming".

BUT... governments are taking notice. Australia, Denmark, Saudi Arabia have all tenatively gone on record now stating there needs to be an "investigation of the science involved". Bravo chaps! If the heat stays on, perhaps this will snowball, and we'll finally get an accurate and honest accounting of our global climate.

Still think I'm crazy? Read this:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Harry_Read_Me.txt Climate Gate Revelations

Okay, on first look Climate-Gate is like realizing your white wife of more than 10 years was once a black man, and wondering from where the hell your three red-headed children really came! I've started looking at the comments posted by the programmer "Harry" in the "Harry_Read_Me.txt" file (I've got it, and if you'd like it in a .doc form, just send me an email and I'll happily email it over) and some of them are pretty scary. It's amazing just how poorly written the code must be that Harry is attempting to fix. Harry's work on the CRU project evidently dates from 2006 to 2009, and this file is 274 pages of frustration, source code revisions, work-arounds, and data-manipulation.

Based on Harry_Read_Me.txt, none of the reports from the CRU could have possibly be claimed to be based on "fact". They're all 100% bullshit.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Digital Camera AF systems

First of all, these are my thoughts, based on my experiences, and are not to be taken as fact.

On third-party camera lens inconsistency: Are ya'll sure it's the lens? Here's the reason I ask. I own a Nikon D300. It takes a pretty nice photo. Sometimes. In examining its inconsistency I found that at f8 and above, the depth of field is masking pretty consistent back-focus errors. The sensors in the body are focusing, but the image generated at the imager focal plane is "pushed back".

Now the D300 is a wonderful body, and it has this feature called AF Fine Tune, where you can walk the focus point back and forth by up to 20 "points". I'll call them points because they've got no real equivalent in actuality. The distance of focal inaccuracy varies based on the distance away from the camera body. So... the body can be adjusted. This is a great idea BUT it doesn't solve the fact that it's the BODY which has a problem. It demonstrates this problem with my Nikon 18-55mm kit lens, and with my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX HSM Macro lens. One lens was $129, the other $899. You tell me which lens has the better engineering inside! Same issue with both lenses.

A Nikon body has a hex-head screw inside the mirror box which serves as a "stop". Actually, it has two of them, one for the viewfinder mirror, and another one, farther back, which sets the position of the AF system mirror. Ah HA! Now, as my camera has aged over the course of a year, and I've shot with it professionally, that little mirror has slapped countless times against its stop screw. I think it has moved the screw slightly.

Here's why this is important: even if you adjust the system using AF Fine Tune, you cannot manually focus properly. The eyeball result at the imager (from the big mirror) does not match the result from the AF sensor's mirror, and the AF sensor mirror controls what the lens thinks it should be doing. Nevermind that the stock D300 focusing screen is woefully inept for manual focus precision, it's simply impossible to come away with a manual focus setting which is "correct" at the imager plane when the system is out of whack.

With the AF Fine Tune you can set an overall camera "default", and you can set a plus/minus position for each lens. you can also set it to "On" or "Off". If it's "On" then it uses the stored lens setting. If it's "Off", it uses the system default. Since this setting behaves like a percentage, and not a physical distance, not only does the focus error change for every distance range, it changes for each lens' focal length too! 18mm behaves differently than 55mm which behaves differently than 200mm. General rule of thumb is this; the greater the distance, the larger the focus error. At least this is true with my D300 camera body.

So why is this important? Third party lenses are retro-engineered, based on the examination of OEM MFG's camera bodies and lenses. Physically, they need to be spot-on, or as close as possible to accurate. Now, given that the AF system's mirror can be misaligned quite easily, where the elements in a camera lens cannot (if they're properly installed and within their limits inside the lens' internal mechanism), does it make sense to blame the third party lens manufacturers, or the mass-produced camera bodies?

To sum it up, I feel if there's a sharp area somewhere in your photo, blame the camera, not the lens.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Death of Predictive Auto Focus

Sony had it. They bought it from Minolta, who developed, as some might remember, the first Auto-focusing cameras. The Konica-Minolta 7D was a marvel. You could point it at an oncoming car, at speeds up to 180 KM/hour, and it would nail the focus. Not on the windshield, not on the rear of the car, but on the nose. The front bumper. On any point where those big sensors could find good contrast. It wasn't the fastest focusing camera, but for motion, it was amazing as it could calculate the speed an object was traveling, and adjust the AF to stay ahead of the object. It could even calculate whether the object was accelerating or decelerating! Nice, eh?

So how do the others I've tried stack up? Let's see:
Sigma SD-14- AF not fast enough, no predictive focusing.
Sony A700- AF is lightning quick-but no predictive focusing means that the front bumper is soft while the driver is sharp. Disappointing really, as they now own the patents to the predictive AF algorythyms.
Nikon D300- AF is even faster than the A700, especially with Hypersonic Focusing, or Wave Motor focusing, BUT... it doesn't predictive focus either. The noses of cars are still soft while the driver is sharp. For panned shots the focusing speed is amazing, but it cannot calculate speed and trajectory at all like the old KM 7D could.

I've not tried any of the Canon gear, but the photos I've seen posted online indicate that their AF system doesn't do predictive focusing either. With modern lenses reporting distance when focused to the body, it's not difficult to calculate how far a vehicle has traveled in a set amount of time.

Will Sony ever use this technology again? They'd earn my business if they did!

The Islamic Conundrum

Here's how I see this issue; Islamic Supremists would like nothing better than to stage a massive new attack against the United States. We are, after all, in the words of the Iranians and others, "the Great Satan". However, the United States buys oil. Lots of oil. From the Saudis, from Egypt, from other Middle Eastern countries steeped in Islamic culture. So even though the radicals would love nothing better than to kill us all, wiser heads in government know this wouldn't be a great idea.

Splinter groups like Al-Queda and the Taliban are not beholden to any government. They practice hardcore Sharia Law. Therefore, their actions are NOT restrained and represent the greatest threat possible against our country. They are funded through donations from radicalized mosques around the world, or by sheer terror and confiscation of local property and possessions. They actively supress every form of freedom we cherish. They hate us for our love of freedom. No matter what we do, no matter what Obama says, nor how many leaders he bows to, these groups will not stop hating us. Period.

Best Buy has chosen to wish everyone a "Happy Eid Al-Adha" on their Black Friday ad, yet they won't use the word "Christmas". They're instead referring to this as the "Holiday season". You know what? I don't need anything from Besty Buy as badly as they need to sell stuff. The Eid al-Adha is the celebration of sacrifice, as in they go out and sacrifice goats, not as in Lent traditions.

The day Muslims go out of their way to wish us a Merry Christmas is the day I'll shop at Best Buy again! I see no need to wish a "Happy Anything" to people who declare that I should submit to their religion or die.

Obviously Best Buy can't see that connection.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sony to unveil Alpha A700 replacement soon?

Now, anyone who reads this blog at all knows that I'm into photography. Here's the short version: Sony has 5 consumer DSLR bodies below $1000. They have two full-frame DSLR bodies at $1999 and $2699 respectively. The Alpha A700 was their "in-betweener", coming in initially at $1599, the was dropped to $1299. Last month they hacked the price down to just $899, a sure sign that camera's going away. So what are they going to do for a "prosumer" body?

Here's my guess... Sony makes both the 12.8 MP full-frame sensor in the Nikon D3 and D700 bodies, and the 24.6 MP sensor in the Nikon D3X, and their own Alpha A900 and A850 bodies. They've already undercut the D3X by $4500, and undercut the D700 by$300 (with their top-of-the-line A900 no less). BUT... they don't have a mid-level full-frame 12.8 MP sensor camera body, with the pop up flash like the D700 has, and the out-going Sony A700 had. That flash is a wireless flash system controller, so unlike the A850 and A900 bodies, you don't have to purchase an additional flash to serve as a wireless controller. This is a big feature to prosumer buyers.

I'm thinking that Sony has not one, but TWO bodies on the way. They'll have an APS-C sensor body at the $1299 price point, probably with the newer 14.2 MP sensor they're using in the A550 body, with their "Live View" stuffed inside like the A550, and image stabilization. AND... they'll have a full-frame, image-stabilized body with built in flash, right at the $1599-1799 price range. Personally, I'm hoping for the $1599 price. Call them the "A750" and the "A800" bodies.

Possibly they'll both be full-frame sensors... Currently the A850 is the cheapest full-frame sensor camera from anyone in the market today, but it's not fast enough to entice the high-speed sports photographers from Nikon/Canon systems. Many of them are still shooting D3 bodies, and are completely happy with those. Not many takers for the $7999 D3X, even though it boasts incredible resolution from it's massive sensor.

Does this make it a good time to buy into the Sony/Minolta lens system? I think so...

Of elections and conservatives...

So... for ya'll non-political folks, the special election in NY-23 has become very interestin this weekend.

First, a little background: Dede Scozzafava (I think I got her name right) was picked by the local GOP committee to run as a Republican, though she supports Democrat proposals and is married to one. Doug Hoffman didn't think this was a good idea, so he decided to run as an "independant conservative". The national RNCC gave $900,000 to support Dede, Doug's been fending on his own with donations from normal folks. Newt Gingrich endorsed Dede, Sarah Palin endorsed Doug. After polling came out this weekend (Friday) which indicated she was going to lose badly, trailing even the Democrat in the race (in a district which has voted R for 140 years!) she decided to drop out. Late Saturday night, she basically anounced she was throwing her support behind the Democrat still in the race! She's supposed to be a Republican and she's supporting a Dem! WTF? Her reason? Because she wants someone committed to bringing the pork back to her district!

So now the pollsters are up in the air. Some say Hoffman, who has valid conservative creds, wins in double digits. Others say it's too close to call (+ or - one point either way at the moment). Which way will the 20% who supported Dede go? If they go conservative, they'll vote for Hoffman. Dede's name remains on the ballot, even though she's dropped out. Although she threw her vote to the Dem, her campaign manager supports Doug Hoffman! What does that say?

This is an important race if only because Doug's been supported nearly completely by us, the grassroots conservatives around the nation who want to send a message to the GOP. The message is simply: we won't accept RINOs as candidates. We won't support the GOP if you continue to run RINOs. This Election Day could be a precursor to a huge 2010 uprising, and I can only say it's about damn time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Building a guitar

I turned 40 this month and that got me to thinkin' about stuff I'd always wanted and never owned. I don't think I'm ever going to have a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but I can say I've owned an old Porsche once. I bought a Gibson Les Paul last year after flirting with the idea for nearly a decade. I found one which simply sings; I didn't want to put it down in the store, and I still don't want to put it down when I play it today. I brought it home and even though I'm still paying on it, I love that darn thing!

Many of the things which top my list of Items to Own are guitars: I've had a vintage Charvel Model 1 (when they weren't considered "vintage" or "exceptional"). I've owned a Jackson Soloist and though it was a made in Japan model instead of a USA-built one, it was a great guitar all the same. But, until recently, I'd never owned an Ibanez guitar. The problem was, whenever I found a nice one, I never had the money to get it, and when I had the money, no nice ones were to be found. I decided in July, that I'd simply build one.

EBay has some great deals. Someone's junk is another person's diamond in the rough. I found a seller offering an old 540S body, also known as "Golden Age Sabres". These were made of mahogany in the Fujigen factory in Japan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I've played several nice examples over the years at stores around the country, including new ones in 1990 or so. I even own a 1990-1991 Ibanez catalog! So... I began my "40th Birthday Guitar" with an old Ibanez body.

Lipstick Red wasn't really my color; I stripped it with a chemical stripper which revealed a thick polyurethane semi-transparent coating underneath. Evidently the Japanese didn't bother with filling the grain in the mahogany with proper woodworking skill. They simply dipped each body (or sprayed) in a thick plastic coating and sanded it smooth. Over this base a silver flat was sprayed, then a glossy red, then a clear coat. The chemical stripper peeled off only the paint. It took hours of sanding to remove the sealer coat! Ugh!

Once stripped and sanded, I cleaned it thoroughly with compressed air, then with a tack cloth. I managed to salvage my old can of tung oil finish from my garage, and used the last of the gooey contents to stain the mahogany darker. It's a very rich-looking finish. From there I assembled it with Ibanez pickup rings and a factory cast-metal neck plate, a nice Carvin maple neck with an ebony fretboard, and a set of Seymour Duncan Dave Mustaine Signature Live Wire pickups I'd purchased at the Seymour Duncan clearance sale for $44! Yup, the pickups only cost me $44. They're an amazing dark chrome finish, and are low impedance; powered with a 9 volt battery. I used a Switchcraft stereo pin jack to complete the Live Wires circuitry, and brought my little beastie to life. I still had to get a bridge though...

Well, it took me almost a full month to scrimp and save and beg editors to pay me for outstanding invoices. I got paid, and bought a chrome Gotoh Floyd Rose bridge. They're wonderful pieces of metal, and quite possibly the best locking bridge ever created. When it arrived last week I eagerly assembled the final parts. I pounded the studs into the body (the Gotoh studs are exactly the 11.3mm, identical to the Ibanez holes), threaded in the posts, and test fit the bridge. The spring block stuck out of the back of the guitar approximately one quarter inch! Whoops. Off to the machine shop went I, and off went 10mm of brass. Thankfully, gotoh drills the mounting screw holes 21mm down into the top of the block, so trimming it down is a cinch! Thank you, Gotoh!

Finally, all assembled, everything clearing properly, tuned up and intonated, and it's everything I hoped it would be; a vintage-aged 20 year old mahogany Saber body with a modern neck and hardware. Grover locking tuners, active pickups, best bridge ever, and Dunlop straplocks complete a best-of-everything screamer.

Hmmmmm, that almost seemed too easy! What should I build next?

Covers Everywhere!

Okay, so as a freelancer, I don't get to choose what a magazine will run on the cover. I take it as a matter of pride and accomplishment when I manage to get a car onto a big magazine cover. This month, August 2009, I've got TWO covers out simultaneously! The first is from Performance BMW, the magazine which gave me my first shot at writing a story. Thanks Louise! Go there, check out Issue 119. That's an order!

The second mag is Banzai. I've written for them nearly as long, and Joe Clifford there gave me my first cover many years ago. It was a half cover, but I won't hold that against him! Issue 94 at . Of course, I didn't build either car, but I was responsible for creating the photos.

Big props must go to the Unity Media art department (both are published in the UK by Unity Media) as they take my photos and work magic on them to bring out details I couldn't even see through the view finder. If you don't believe me, grab a copy of Banzai at a Barnes and Nobles or Borders and just marvel at the details captured in the G35 headlamp assemblies! Unbelievable!

Next month, Nissan Sport magazine will be running an R34 Skyline story of mine on their cover, and Mustang Enthusiast magazine will serve up APR's wide-body, turbocharged S197 Mustang! This year started slow but perhaps it will end with a BANG!

Oh, and my third child is due in January! If my wife follows the trend set by the first two kids, this one will arrive by Christmas! No better gift in the world, really...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

God speed, Mr. Polsfuss!

Les Paul died today, at 94 years of age. A good, long life he had, full of hit music, wild inventions, and a true "verve" for living. We should all be so lucky!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Painting fools!

My wife's "nesting" again, pending the birth of our third child in January, so we've been painting rooms. Did the living room, the kitchen area, the dining area, lots of borders and edges, and now she's attacking the wallpaper border in the eldest child's room with an intensity normally reserved for rottweillers eating steak. Needless to say, I've been busy. I've also been tackling a "birthday project"; rescusitating an old Ibanez 540S Saber guitar with all new parts. I've got a Carvin neck, Seymour Duncan "Dave Mustaine" Live Wire pickups, and just need to earn more money so I can buy a Gotoh Floyd Rose bridge for it. I had to strip the old Lipstick Red finish and then sand away the clear sealer/polyurethane finish underneath in order to reveal the wonderful mahogany wood. It's looking nice so far, better than my painting skills!

My birthday's this Saturday and I'm certain my guitar won't be finished by then, but the house sure better be! LOL

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lazy Dog Days of Summer

Well, we've finally reached the heat out here in the Desert Southwest. It's been so hot lately all we can do is sit inside and hide from it. As a result, I'm editing photos for, and finishing up the last few stories in my laptop. I'll have to head out onto the road again soon for some fresh cars.

40 years ago this week, Mankind first walked on the moon! That's a fantastic achievement! What have we done since then?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I didn't say it over the weekend because I was busy enjoying it. I strutted around in an American flag button-down oxford by Redhead. It was a Father's Day gift from Cabellas on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona. Everyone needs one of these shirts!

A big Thank You to all of our armed forces for defending our freedom while we're out shopping! Hoo-rah guys! Kick ass and take names!

Cover of August 2009 Performanc BMW Magazine!

Heh, I've got to say it! I am one happy camper right now! As a freelancer I don't get to pick which cars become cover features. I'm always pleasantly surprised later. In this case it was Louise Woodhams, the editor of Performance BMW magazine from Unity Media in the UK who made the call to feature Gromafab's very cool (and very powerful) car smack-dab in the middle of their August 2009 cover (my birthday month!)

Now, if that money for the story would arrive... LOL

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

End of month crush

Being self-employed has its benefits, but it also has a few downfalls. The largest one is pretty simple; if you don't write anything, you don't get paid. It never ceases to amaze me how much time it takes searching for cars and getting editorial approval. There are countless phone calls and emails I have to make each month and then, by the time I reach the last couple days, I always notice I haven't written much. Yikes! This month has been the same as it always is, with my wife at home to help with the kids now that school's out for the summer. This has left me free to write, so the income level will be a bit better down the road. We're not doing the "BIG SUMMER TRIP" this year to visit relatives back east so perhaps we'll save a bit of money. I doubt it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Les Pauls and Red Maple tops

Okay, here's one of my favorite discussions... Gibson wants you to believe that all Maple-topped Les Pauls sound the same. The original, highly-valued Les Pauls were built using soft Red Maple from the Michigan area. This tree's grain is substantially different than the much harder, denser Eastern Rock Maple and Western Bigleaf Maple varieties.

In no way can Red Maple sound like the other two. The flamed maple used on the '58, '59, and '60 Sunbursts wasn't even the best flamed maple that Gibson had. The best stuff went to their acoustics and semi-acoustic guitars!

When I asked Gibson if they're using "Red Maple" specifically on their very expensive Custom Shop VOS guitars they replied "we buy maple from all over". It all gets lumped into their drying facility with little distinction paid to the species. A Custom Shop builder can select whatever they want, but they're not forced to use any specific variety. I believe this accounts for the variation in tone that can be found in production Les Pauls today. Some sound like "strings over concrete". Others, like the 2008 Les Paul Standard I own, sound amazingly full and rich, with softened highs which simply sing. My guitar has the reddish "mineral streaks" in it common to the softer Red Maple, which grows in the mineral-rich soil of the Northeastern United States and Canada. Red Maple is known to have more inconsistent figuring than Eastern Rock or Western Bigleaf. In fact, if you see a guitar with wide, "quilted" figuring, it's almost a sure bet that it's Western Bigleaf!

You can do your own research online now, if you don't believe me. There are density charts which have been created by woodworker supply chains and conservation/management groups which indictate the density of Red Maple is several orders below that of the other main species.

Or, you can head to a guitar store which carries PRS guitars, and check out a McCarty model. The McCartys were supposed to be built with "Michigan Maple" as that's what Ted McCarty told Paul to use. And if Ted likes it, that's good enough for me!

Gettin' down to it

The time has come once more to write... not on this blog, but on the stories I create for magazines. I've been busy here at the beginning of June pitching story ideas to editors. I've picked up a few new ones which will have to be shot in LA and Vegas in the next week or so. This is what I do; the life of a freelance photojournalist.

We (the family) are also heading to LA for a mini-vacation next week. We've got two adult passes to Knott's Berry Farm so we're going out for a couple days. I've got a Volvo to pick up and review for and I need to pick up one more car to shoot while I'm there. I hate to waste the trip and return without having done at least a little work. I'm just that way.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Second Amendment

Okay, I hold this amendment near and dear to my heart, though I don't own a powder-burning weapon. I fail to see how anyone can misconstrue the phrase "...the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The first portion of the sentence "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state," only applies to militia service. At the time of the Bill of Rights (in 1791), our Founding Fathers knew that the service of a "standing army" would be needed from time to time. Said "militia", comprised of young and able-bodied men from around the country would, by necessity, need to be "well regulated". I.E. they needed to be organized and armed. Let's not forget though, in 1791, that staffs, walking sticks, swords, and knives were all considered to be acceptable "arms" whenever the need arose.

Today, try carrying a sword around anywhere! You can't. It's forbidden. Need to carry that bid hunting knife on your belt? You can't. It's forbidden. Where in the hell did the federal government and state governments get the idea that they could forbid any weapon they chose?

In fact, where does it say in the Constitution that either the State or Federal government is in charge of "public safety"?

Here in California, you can have a gun in your house, but you can't store it loaded. You can have a gun at your place of business, but it can't be stored loaded. If you need to shoot it in order to protect your property, in most municipalities, it's ILLEGAL to discharge a firearm. Pull out a sword for your own defense and a lawyer somewhere will have kittens! You're allowed the option in CA to apply for a "concealed weapons permit" but, because decisions are left to the office of each county sheriff, in Riverside County, where I live, they haven't granted a CCW permit in decades. In Orange County, they're granted almost automatically. This can't be "constitutional". When will someone challenge it using the 2nd Amendment and the 10th Amendment?

The 10th Amendment

Currently I'm a bit fascinated by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. More specifically, I like the part where it says "The powers not delegated to the United States", meaning our Federal Government, "nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

If Congress passes a law enabling nationalized health care, can I sue to refuse to pay into their system? Can I sue to refuse taxation on an employer-provided health plan if they term it "additional income"? If there is no Constitutionally-granted "nationalized health care" amendment, then any action taken by Congress on this matter, as I see it, is null and void on a personal level.

What if, collectively, the people actually PAYING taxes all signed on to the lawsuit as plaintiffs? If we all refuse to participate and let people not paying any taxes join up as they want, would that simply force the Federal Government into the direction of bankruptcy faster than they're already charging on their own?

I'm afraid I do not see where the actions of our elected Federal officials in any way benefit our great nation.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Diminishing Marginal Returns

This past week I sold the very nice set of Enkei RPF1 wheels I was running on my RX-8 for its magazine stories. I liked them. They were lightweight, looked fantastic, and most importantly very durable. Unfortunately, they're 19" wheels, and all of my spare tires were for 18" wheels. Buying new tires simply to drive around on fancier wheels is the very epitome of "diminishing marginal returns". The more the price goes up for the tires, the less of a return you get on your money (in this case miles traveled). Since I'm no longer showing my car at events, it's not necessary to have the 19" wheels...

On the other hand, the money has been recycled into another "writing hobby"; a new airgun! Not just any air rifle, mind you, but a new-to-the-market Benjamin Marauder! Suffice it to say that the boys at Crosman were tired of hearing how the US simply couldn't compete in the manufacturing of a quality PCP (pre-compressed propellant) rifle. The Brits, the Germans, even the Koreans were simply cleaning our clocks, at all sorts of price points. First, the introduced the very-affordable Benjamin Discovery which looks like a boat oar with two metal tubes attached to the narrow end. It's an impressive hunting rifle with good accuracy, no recoil, metal construction (except for the trigger area) and great velocities. It as sold, as they say, very well! Released just last year it's out-sold all other PCP models. Instant classic! I'm planning a "Discover-M" project with a stock from James Linthicum and a Discovery I'll have to obtain later. When I somehow finally get paid more money...

In the meanwhile, Crosman listened to what users said they wanted (better stock, adjustable fill pressure, adjustable velocity, match-grade two stage adjustable trigger, floating barrel, multi-shot) and this May kicked the doors down with the new Marauder. Since everyone was nearly out of the first batch, I grabbed a .177 Marauder today from They've still got one left if you hurry! I don't have a pump at this point, and when it arrives, I won't be able to do anything more than simply look at it. Heh. But I'll have one... It's like a quadraplegic buying a limited-edition Harley-Davidson... he can't ride it now, but hopes to one day! Carrot in front of the horse, that sort of thing.

If you're into air rifles, and you're American, and believe in tryin' to buy America-made products, THIS is going to be your next major purchase. I'm anxious to see if it lives up to the hype. The Discovery did so I have my hopes for the Marauder.

At the same time, more of my reviews have been posted at Cruise over there and take a look at "Hammerin' Hank", "Wadcutter Weapon", and "Weapons-Grade Fun" for examples of my writing, if you're curious. If you happen to learn a little about air rifles along the way, well, that's not a bad thing, is it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day thoughts...

This should be renamed "Hug a Soldier Day". We go about our insulated daily lives, worrying about when our kids have to be at soccer practice and what to eat for dinner while they, the US Armed Forces, worry about keeping people at bay who would like nothing better than to kill every American they could. All because we, Americans, offer the freedom to everyone to believe as they see fit. No restrictions based on political party, religion, race, or gender.

In the case of the ongoing Western Civilization vs Islam undeclared world war I have to wonder just how long it will be before there's open armed conflict similar to the Crusades. There are two competing systemic world views here, one which offers freedom, and the other which only offers tyranny and oppression disguised as a religious edict. Can you purchase an Islamic sports car? Can you fly in an Islamic airplane? No, and no, because there's no innovation in Islamic countries. There's no tolerance of "difference" and it stifles creativity to the point where, were it not for oil wealth, life in most Islamic countries would be only little better now than they were in the 11th Century. As it stands now the stingiest nations as far as contributions to foreign natural disasters are all Islamic countries, in spite of the massive wealth. Would the really be the case if the "Religion of Peace" were truly a religion at all?

On today, of all days, we should remember those who have fallen while fighting this fight for us. This conflict isn't going away anytime soon...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sigma lenses good, SD-14 not so good.

Sometimes you swing at a pitch and hit a home run... sometimes you don't. Here's what I've learned this weekend about cameras;
1. The Sigma 180mm f3.5 Macro is good. Very, very good! It's the only thing which kept me from sending the back-focusing SD-14 body back to Cameta Camera immediately.
2. The Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.0 lens is also a very nice piece of glass, for a standard-use zoom. It's solidly built with internal focusing which makes using a polarizer a snap. The dual-barrel extention for the zooming is smooth and precise, and best of all, unlike my cheap Nikon 18-55mm lens, the barrels don't flop up and down! I might have to buy one of these...
3. The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 is solidly built too, but can't match the sharpness of the 180mm Macro. In fact, it's soft enough to make telling the difference between a properly-focused photo, and an improperly-focused photo difficult. Again, this illustrates just HOW GOOD the 180mm Macro really is in terms of sharpness, contrast, and definition.

The 180mm Macro lens on the SD-14 body, with an upsized pixel output of 4573 x 3048 is ALMOST sharper than the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 on my Nikon D300 body. Comparing JPEG to JPEG photos. Now, mind you, I was looking at other cameras because I considered the output from the D300 to be "soft". By comparison to the SD-14, and the other two lenses supplied from Sigma USA (thanks guys and gals!) the D300's output looks like it was rendered with a laser. The fault doesn't lay with the Foveon X3 chip though, but rather it's lack of pixels. Forcing the Sigma Photo Pro software to nearly double the size of the image just isn't going to work for professional use. At it's native-size output, it's an incredibly sharp camera! Upsizing every photo just won't work for magazine print use, I'm afraid. That's a bit of a disappointment for me.

Foveon, get busy on a full-frame sensor, dudes!

Townsend Bell takes 4th at Indy!

Okay, so Townsend's just a friend of a friend, and I've only worked with him once for a "drifting BMW" article, but still... I root for him whenever he gets the opportunity to drive a race car. This year at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 he went from 24th to 4th! Great job, TB! Of course the media all focused on Danica, Marco Andretti, Helio, Dan Wheldon, and all of the stupid rookie wrecks (rookies should be forced to race in their own race at Indy in rubber-coated cars!) rather than on Townsend's great achievement. They didn't plan on him being a factor and obviously had no background material prepared. That's a shame.

And NASCAR's been rained out for Sunday... Looks like I'll have to watch the F1 race from Monaco on my DVR now! :) Jenson Button supposedly won; the British will be insufferable now! LOL

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SD-14:It ain't fast!

Okay, it's also been said that the SD-14 isn't a camera for sports shooters. This is no lie! If you're shooting ANYTHING that moves with this camera, purchase the fastest Compact Flash card you can find! The write times for X3F RAW files are very slow. I think my old Canon D60 was better! Certainly every camera body I've used since 2005 has been faster. I've been using a 4 GB Hitachi Microdrive and I think I can watch the grass grow while the SD-14 writes data to the Microdrive! Switching to a SanDisk 512MB card was better. Possibly the Microdrive is idled in between photos, so it has to spin up every time it goes to work. I don't know, but it sure ain't fast.

I will say that focusing with the 180mm Macro's HSM has been generally quick, if it's already in the range needed. If it has to rack all the way to it's minimum focus distance and back out again, whatever you're trying to shoot will probably have grown bored and wandered off by the time the lens gets back to proper focus. Images are coming out slightly soft at nearly all ranges, unless I touch up the focus by hand, which leads me to think it's the camera's AF sensors which are out of whack. In particular, the far left sensor does an incredibly poor job of focusing. Or, I should say, it tells the camera's brain that it's in focus, when even to the eye, it's nowhere even remotely close to correct. The center cross-type sensor is much better, but will consistently "far focus" on cars, trees, fire hydrants, etc. In the case of my neighbor's truck, sitting across the street from my house, the tires and curbing on the opposite side of the truck are in better focus than on the side facing me. That's an error of four or five feet! Not good.

Again, I find I'm now waiting on the lenses from Sigma in order to determine if the fault is inside the camera body, or the 180mm f3.5 Macro lens (which I might add was a used, but beautiful, lens).

SD-14 Initial Thoughts

For better or worse, here's my .02: The SD-14 has the best pixel-per-pixel results in the industry today. Unfortunately it has too few. On the surface this might seem like contradictory statements, but let me explain.

As far as picking up details and rendering an accurate representation of the light at each pixel location, the SD-14's Foveon X3 sensor is the best. At it's native resolution of 2640 x 1760, I don't think there's a camera out there which can beat it for lifelike quality. However, that's a small number of pixels overall. Yes, there truly are 3 times that number when you count all of the red, green, and blue pixels in the 'stack' in the sensor. However... and this is important, the native image is only 2640 pixels across. If you print out 8"x10" photos, this will work at roughly 225 dots per inch for your printing. If you've got to "go big" the only solution is to use Sigma's Photo Pro software, and convert the X3F RAW file to its 'Super Hi' JPEG image output, which comes in at a whopping 4608x3072. For all of you pixel peepers out there, that's more pixels than Nikon's D700 and D3 full frame CMOS sensors can generate! It's extrapolated pixels though, which means the image grows softer when viewed full size on a screen. Will it print better? I'm going to have to talk to the wizards at Imagemark in Phoenix, Arizona to find out for certain.

This particular SD-14 body I received appears to have a problem with focusing slightly too far on distant objects, when used with the Sigma 180mm f3.5 APO EX Macro DG IF HSM lens I just bought from Nice lens though! When focused properly on something, the details it can resolve are amazing. When the loaned lenses arrive from Sigma USA early next week I'll have a better idea if it's the new SD-14 or the 180mm lens which has the problem. It could be that the lens is slightly out of adjustment too as far as where the HSM is telling the camera it's stopped when focusing precisely. Whatever the cause, it's more than a little frustrating.

I hate going out on a limb and saying that the output from the SD-14 doesn't quite match the Nikon D300. Pixel-per-pixel, at 2640x1760, the SD-14 rules! At 'full size', the D300 rules. Since I was mainly shooting photos of a car at a normal distance, the advantage went to the D300, which appeared to nail the focus, if having slightly less finite detail in the overall image.

Will the SD-14 be better with different lenses? I don't know at this point, and the suspense is killing me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sigma SD-14

Tell me how smart it is to have ordered a camera body with out any lenses for it? Well, the price was amazing at Cameta Camera ($349). So amazing in fact that they've raised it to $399 now. Adorama and B&H still have them listed at $709 and $719 respectively. Adorama doesn't have any.

Here's the good news; Sigma USA is going to loan me a few lenses (hopefully) next week, to try out for a few weeks! Yay! Looks like I might have a 10-20mm, a 17-70mm, and perhaps a "long zoom" to play with for a while. Mid-week I found that had a Sigma 180mm f3.5 Macro used for a whopping $599. That deal was too good to pass up, so that lens is on it's way here, but won't arrive until Monday the 18th! I'll be sitting out front waiting on the UPS truck all morning...

Camera looks solidly-constructed, if a tad slow at image capture. The SD-15 is supposed to be an improvement when it arrives shortly. I have yet to install the Sigma Photo Pro software on my Sony Vaio laptop, but I'm sure the 32-bit Windows Vista will handle it just fine. I bought that extra memory for a purpose! Yeah, perhaps it's not a s good as a Mac iBook, or whatever they're calling those aluminum-chassis notebooks, but it was also $700 less, uses the same Intel chip, and is just as fast. I can live with that for net price of my SD-14 body and one decent 17-70mm lens!

Speaking of... the MTF charts on for the 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 are really good! I'm surprised. At the 70mm end it looks like it might be sharper than the big 70-200mm f2.8 APO EX DG II at the short end! All wide angle lenses lose something in the corners. For the Foveon X3 chip this isn't a huge problem because the sensor is only 20.3mm x 13.8mm in size. This means MTF chart data only applies to just past 10mm from the image center. Within that range, many of the Sigma lenses are darn good! Will they work as well on a 35mm wide sensor? No. Will the ability to extrapolate data from the 2,652 x 1,768 "photosites" mean that photos can be upsized and saved to JPEG without nasty jaggy-edged artifacts cropping up? I'll find out... Monday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bayer Filter jaggies

Okay, it's time to get a little technical... My new Sigma SD-14 camera arrives today! They were $1,400 a year ago, but some retailers have been essentially wholesaling them this spring because the new SD-15 body is coming any day now. I bought mine for just $349 from Cameta Camera in New York. I've dealt with them before on the purchase of my Nikon D300 body, and they always have great prices it seems, coupled with fast service. Just don't expect to hold a conversation with them!

So why am I, a Nikon owner, thrilled to be receiving a $350 camera body I don't even have a single lens for yet? Simple. The Foveon X3 sensor! Right now, there are just three types of digital sensors; CCD, CMOS, and the Foveon. For the CCD and CMOS sensors use what's called a "Bayer filter", which is a screen of microlenses to split the incoming light into it's respective primary color frequencies, red, green, and blue. The internal software in the camera uses logic to deduce the exact average color value to assign to each "pixel photosite" based on the "brightness" at the red, green, and blue sensors. It does not actually see the color, just levels of brightness or darkness. In the process of recombining the data, sometimes there are these little bright blotches in the photos. I call them "bright jaggies". They typically appear at points where the sensor has a difficult time determining the exact color to assign to the pixel. I actually suspect they're a logic error in the extrapolation software, but that's just a theory.

Anyway, once you know what to look for, you can see them everywhere in photographs taken by CCD and CMOS imagers. The troublesome thing is this; they don't really exist. They're the result of camera error!

So why is the Foveon X3 sensor different? Because it doesn't use a Bayer filter! It senses light directly at each photo site, at three different depths in the silicon chip. Blue on the top, green in the middle, and red at the deepest point, because as the longest wavelength, it penetrates the farthest. The software required to output this information is far less complicated than the Bayerized method. Anyway, this "stacked sensor array" is extremely accurate for colors and sharpness, which is why I'm interested. The total number of pixels output from the sensor is smaller than other current imagers, but can be up-sampled in software like Photoshop very successfully.

And, it lacks those "bright jaggies" I hate... This is going to be an exciting camera to use!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cars and sunlight

Okay, one of the things I like to see in a nice posed car shot is wonderful sunset light. I don't always get it though. When I schedule a photo shoot I look in advance to see what the weather might be like. California does have a very high percentage of great sunsets but you'll quickly find that not every sunset will work with a particular location. In my photos below, you can see that my favorite spot has these great low rocky hills deep in the background. They catch sunset light perfectly, and are just short enough to allow for some blue sky in the top of the frame. This has been my "go-to" location when I can get people to drive to where I live. I'm currently searching for more striking areas in Los Angeles, but I haven't had much luck lately out there. Too many trees, telephone poles, and overhead power lines. It can help to head down to Orange County, but was just there a couple weeks back and really didn't get a location or a sunset I liked. As a result, an editor didn't like my photos and I'm going to have to reshoot that car. Reshoots are expensive and waste time. Thankfully this doesn't happen much to me...

Anyway, with a great sunset and some careful positioning, you can shoot a car with just one flash and have it look very natural. On the other hand, some editors prefer "flashed up" posed shots... no sense in arguing about it. I just shoot to satisfy their taste and everything's fine. I hope to expand my collection of flashes very soon, but first I've got to test out the Sigma SD-14 I just ordered. I've searched quite a few user groups but haven't found many car photos. Macros and portrait photography, and quite a bit of landscapes and buildings too. Hopefully I'll get to add to the collections!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tripods and Cameras

I always tell budding photographers to buy the biggest damn tripod they can manage to carry, if they're going to shoot low light photos. I use a hefty Bogen tripod with sturdy aluminum legs and a Manfrotto/Bogen pan/tilt head with the handy quick-release plates. Very secure... I could probably mount a howitzer on it and still have a steady platform! Having a camera with a mirror lock-up function also helps. I used to use this feature consistently with the Konica-Minolta 7D bodies I used (two of them, I liked them so much). I thought I needed to go to a newer, higher megapixel body, so I sold them off and tried a Sony Alpha A700. The stronger AF motor in that body immediately broke AF shaft in my Tamron LD 70-210mm f2.8 lens I'd used for years. On top of that, when I went to the track the next day, in addition to having to manually focus my "long lens" shots, there was a problem with the image sensor, and all of the photos looked "washed out". Finally, the A700's auto-focus system was no where near as good as Konica-Minolta's "Predictive Focus" system. Sure the 7D would only shoot 3.5 frames per second, but you got 3.5 excellent shots each time you pulled the trigger! A man can get used to that sort of treatment. It made photo selection much easier. Just pick the in-focus one with the framing you like!

So... the A700 went back to Best Buy... I bought it when it was new and couldn't afford the Sony 80-200mm f2.8 lens. All of the Minolta "G" lenses had been sold off already. Sigma hadn't released their updated version yet, and I couldn't find another 80-200 Tamron LD anywhere. I was screwed. Since I needed SOMETHING, I dove into the Nikon system. The D700 hadn't been released in March 2008, so I ordered a D300 from Cameta Camera in New York. The first "long lens" I tried came from Best Buy again... a Nikon 80-200mm f2.8D. It had an issue with close focusing.

I take that back... first I bought a D200 used from eBay, only to find out that it had "hot pixels" throughout the imager, and a chromatic abberation/focusing issue. While that camera went to Nikon Service, I ordered the D300 from Cameta Camera. The D200 eventually returned in all of it's 10.2 megapixel glory, but by that time, I'd been won over by the super-saturated colors the D300 had to offer. I couldn't go back... I sold the D200 on eBay and never looked back.

Fast forward to now, and with the Sigma SD-15 on the way any day, and retailers closing out the SD-14 at $349, I bought one. Sigma USA might give me a little lens support, and loan me a few of their nice lenses to try. I'm intrigued by the non-Bayerized direct-captue imager in the SD-14. I've been following it since I first started with my Canon D60 (it was in the SD-9 body then) and 70-200mm f4 "L" and have been intrigued by its potential. I can see the artifacts in the output from the D300, although it's very good. Sharpening is required to fix what the Bayer process "disassembles" from the incoming light, and unfortunately, leaves "sharpening artifacts" if you go too far. Perhaps these aren't as visible in print due to the nature of ink and paper, but they sure are visible on my laptop screen.

Will the SD-14 be better? My 7D bodies were only 6.1 MP and I was routinely earning magazine covers with the sharpness from those big pixels on that DX-sized sensor. What will the sharpness look like once I've got a mirror lock-up function again (the D300 lacks this) and the ability to directly sense all three primary colors at each pixel. To say I'm anxious is an understatement!

Nikon's wireless system has been good, but not quite as good as the KM 7D's wireless flash was. It's not as reliable. Who the hell at Nikon thought that putting the light-trigger sensor on the SIDE of the flash was a great idea? When the flash head can rotate, you put it on the front so that you've got maximum flexibility and rotation either way! Duh. I've made it work (see the Stasis Engineering Audi S5 for proof of that), but it sure could be better. Too many menus between you and the darn flash controls to be fast in the field! Every second wasted in a menu is at least one lost photograph you can't get back during the "magic light". At sunset, we really are "racing daylight" if we're to get all of our photos done during the magic hour!

Still, a good photographer can work what whatever tools he's given. Perhaps I'll buy a Sigma DP-1 if I like the photos from the SD-14, and I'll prove that it's "not the camera, it's the photographer who makes the photos"! Light, composition, framing, focus (LCFF) matters far more than the camera equipment... up to a point. I'll say this just once... a truly life-like photograph typically has impeccable focusing and resolution. If you're aiming to create "art", that's an entirely different story, and Bokeh begins to come into play. For a great PHOTOGRAPH, image resolution is key. If you want to subject to pop out on paper, it's got to be tack-sharp. Sharp enough to cut your finger on the straight lines...

I had that with the Konica-Minolta 7D bodies... but for some reason, not with the Nikon D300 I own. If I can figure out how to get the stupid image-in-post to work, I'll show you a cat photo I snapped with the kit lens the other day which meets my definition of "tack-sharp". In the meantime, check out the yellow Acura NSX below for an excellent example.
Current Equipment:
Right now I'm using a Nikon D300 body coupled with a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 APO DG EX HSM lens, a Nikon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 "kit lens", a Nikon 50mm f1.8D that I never use unless it's almost black outside, and a borrowed Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens I'm trying out as a super wide-angle solution for a low-angle motion rig I'm building. That seems to be one of the shots editors prefer, so I'm going to give it my own "low light" special twist.

I don't like filters. I try not to use them at all. Photos taken without them appear sharper and less-clouded to my eyes. I do have a UV0 filter on either my kit lens or the 50mm, and I've got a regular polarizer which really screws up the metering (I have to compensate manually, which is actually quite easy, just take the polarizer off and meter, then put it on a meter, then adjust and shoot!). A regular polarizer if much cheaper than a circular one, in case you're wondering. This method works, and is extremely cost effective, since I found the filter used on a clearance table at Tempe Camera in Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago. I've got another 72mm polarizer I use on the Sigma lens occasionally. Shooting at the right time of day (evening) helps to minimize the need to use a polarizer though. I don't use any neutral density filters. I think I should buy a few and try them on the low-angle rig though, so I can slow down the shutter speeds to the needed range during brighter periods of the evening.

more to come later...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Current Magazines

Currently I'm writing for these magazines:
Performance BMW, BMW Car, Banzai, High Performance Imports, Fast Fours, Hot 4s, Street Machines, Mustang Enthusiast, Mopar Enthusiast, Pontiac Enthusiast, Corvette Enthusiast, Japanese Nostalgic Car, Nissan Sport, Subiesport, Rotary Speed, and Forever Miata magazines.

Also for these two online websites: and

This doesn't mean that's all I'm limited too... if I feel the urge, I'll write about anything at all!

Past magazines include:
Modified Mustangs, Modified Luxury and Exotics, Bimmer, Roundel, Excellence, S3, Track and Racecar, Mazda Sport, and Grassroots Motorsports.

Magazine covers I've earned over the years as a freelancer include:
Banzai, Performance BMW, BMW Car, Mustang Enthusiast, HPI, Modified Mustangs, Subiesport, Fast Fours, and S3. Some of these were simply inset photos on covers, but hey, that's still a feather in my cap as a freelancer!

Hit the ground running

Okay, right out of the gate I'm going to show you some of my favorite photos from the last five years. This is going to take a little while. When I get a bit better at this whole blogging thing, I'll search for a "gallery" application so I can add it to the page, and perhaps host a bunch of photos up on Flickr, making it easier for all you nice folks to see these cars.

I promise you though, there won't be a boring one in the bunch!

BTW- "Racing Daylight" is a pun which encompasses both the challenge of finding that ever-elusive "magic light" at the end of the day, and a nod to the motorsports I love.

Racing Daylight- an automotive photojournalist's passion

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many interesting posts, reviews, and conversations on two of my favorite passions; automobiles and photography. I'm Eric Eikenberry, and this is my story. Back in 2004, after being canned from my semi-cushy job at the local car dealership I sold an old Datsun 240Z racecar (Did you know that "racecar" is actual "bottomless moneypit" in some languages? It's true, look it up!) I'd fixed up. I turned that money into a computer for my wife, and some decent digital photographic equipment, and I essentially launched my own career change. Yup. I was the "change I was seeking", I just didn't know it until I was fired!

Now, more than four years and numerous magazine covers later, I'm a well-published, relatively-unknown freelancer still in Southern California, and still doing what I love. Photographing and writing about automobiles.

I'll be adding information about all sorts of gear I've tried, including a small section on air rifles, and another on electric guitars. Stay tuned for an exciting ride!