Front yard pics

We put up a bird feeder in a tree in our front yard this year. Because of that I’ve been noticing more wildlife wandering around. I’ve started keeping my camera out of it’s bag, on my desk, with my telephoto on it, just for occasions when something has decided to stop by. The other morning I got a nice shot of one of the bunnies that decided to take advantage of the free seed that dropped.

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Quick Review: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

This past weekend the family finally got out to see Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2. We all really enjoyed the first movie and we were looking forward to seeing what would come of its second installment. The plot picks up a little bit after the end of the first movie with the Guardians using their newly found fame to get jobs being heroes around the universe.

The opening credit sequence is a hilarious battle against some type of space slug, but you don’t see much of it. Instead the action focuses on Baby Groot dancing around to the music as the battle rages around him. It’s a fun and creative way to start out a movie with a big battle, but not really make it about the battle. I’ll keep this review spoiler free, but suffice it to say, from there, the plot quickly jumps into a story about family, specifically Peter’s dad.

One of the key components of Guardians movies that makes them unique is the humor. It was obvious that fans loved a funny movie and the first Guardians movie was given high marks because of how it didn’t take itself too seriously. Once again we find ourselves in a world where laughter is just as much a part of it all as the action. There are few moments that pass without some kind of humorous remark or sarcastic comment. For the most part I laughed a lot at these, however, if I had one complaint about the movie it would be that it almost seemed too much. There were moments where I wanted the movie to stop with the sarcastic humor, for just a moment, and be serious. Yet it seemed like it just couldn’t. There was one scene in particular towards the end where I felt the humor just got old and tiring, yet it still kept coming.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie. I very much found this to be a great comic book action flick. It was filled with amazing special effects, a fun plotline, and great acting. You get to see the Guardians gel as a team and as a family, and that makes for an entertaining 2 hours.

A little running break

I’ve been having some issues with my knees lately, and it’s gotten to the point where I need to take a short break. Last year I developed Osgood-Schlatters in my left knee. It was uncomfortable, but eventually it all settled down. Now, I’ve started developing it in my right knee, and this time it’s downright painful.

In layman’s terms (my wife can get into all the details), Osgood-Schlatters is when the spot where the patellar tendon connects to the shin gets pulled too tightly and causes a ton of discomfort. It can also result in additional bone growth in that spot resulting in a painful lump just below the knee (as seen in the pic above). A lot of what causes it are from the quads and hamstrings being too tight and not being stretched properly while being very active.

Needless to say, I’m working on stretching things out better, but it still takes time to heal properly. So I’m going to take a couple weeks off of running to let everything settle down better and then get back at it in June. I’m thinking this is going to be one of my low mileage years, but that’s OK. They can’t all be 1000+ mile years.

A nice view

Despite my rantings about living in the suburb that I live in, there is one really cool feature that I like. There’s a gas station that I’ll walk to, about a mile away, and on the way back I get an amazing view of the Minneapolis skyline. I happened to have my DSLR with me today and decided to snap a shot of it. Sometimes in the evening the sunset will be magnificent as it bathes the buildings in golden hues. Even now though, it’s a beautiful sight.

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End of my Pentax?

My first digital SLR was a Pentax K100D. When I was a retail camera salesperson I loved selling the old K1000 to aspiring photography students. It was one of the iconic workhorse cameras of the 80s, along side my personal camera, the Minolta x-370. These were fully manual cameras that forced you to learn about shutter speeds and f-stops, and how light creates images on film. I must have shot thousands of images on my Minolta.

Others I knew had the Pentax K1000, and when it came time to get a DSLR I decided to give the Pentax K100D a try and re-live some of those classic shooting days. For years I’ve shot with my Pentax, even partaking in some “photo-a-day” communities that forced me to get VERY creative. However, as the years passed by I found myself using it less and less. It was a large, heavy, camera, and I found myself opting for the convenience of my smartphone more and more. As the old phrase goes, the best camera in the world is the one you have with you when you need it. My cell phone was always with me, and I started shooting with a DSLR less and less.

Fast forward a few years and I decided to get a Sony a6000. Sony is the spiritual successor to Minolta, and their mirrorless camera line was nice and light. I’ve made concerted efforts to use it more often and I’ve been mildly successful. Having this blog as a way to output my work has helped as well. However, my Pentax has still been sitting there collecting dust.

Recently, my wife has shown an interest in using a DSLR and so I handed her my old Pentax to take on a recent trip. She got some good shots, but ended up being frustrated by slow response time, difficulty focusing. Then, when I plugged it in to download her photos, I ran into more issues with the Pentax having timeout issues, forcing me to restart the imports. All this is leading me to think that it might be time to retire a tired old workhorse. It’s served me well, but as with many things in the early era of DSLRs it just didn’t age like the old manual cameras of yore.

I might still keep it around for things like portraiture or still-life, but I think that if my wife wants a DSLR I might need to look at another Sony body, or something that can keep up with the type of shooting we like to do such as nature and wildlife.