Loved Pentax

090610-082226-2009 WV AlanI have had a lack of interesting things to photograph since I stopped traveling, and while that is no fault of the camera and lens, it has still caused me to think back to my days of photographing with many Pentax DSLR cameras when I did go to different interesting places.  I made this jpeg image with a Pentax K2000 camera with the kit 18-55mm lens in 2009.  I recently reprocessed the image to achieve this look.

I stopped using Pentax DSLR cameras due to their weight.  I had problems with pain in my hands and back.  My back is better now, but my thumbs are often worse.

I am now back to thinking about what to photograph and what gear to use.  What can I photograph, ideally with one camera and with one lightweight lens that is affordable and preferably weather resistant?  I’m still thinking and looking for suitable types of subjects that I can easily find close at hand.

No Grip Hold for Arthritic Thumbs

I have arthritis in my thumb root joints.  It sometimes bothers me so much that I have been refraining from using my cameras.  I finally decided that if I am going to continue with photography that I need to see how I can minimize the problems with my thumbs.

After trying various ways of holding my cameras I have decided that I just need to stop using my thumbs anymore than absolutely necessary when holding and carrying my cameras.  These images show my best option so far.

The number one solution is to let the camera and lens rest on my hand and not use any thumb grip on the camera backs.  Not having a rear thumb or front grip actually helps.  In the first case I show my grip using the X100F camera.  It has no grips and it has good balance.  The camera weight actually helps me to hold it still without having a tight thumb grip with either hand.  My thumbs just act as minimal guides while the camera weight rests on my left hand.

The second image shows how I hold the E-M5 III camera with the 14-150mm zoom lens.  In order to balance the weight I hold the combined weight of the camera and lens by supporting them under the lens.

It is far better to use this grip with a pancake prime lenses since zooming a longer lens does require the use of the thumb when turning the zoom ring.  A camera-lens combination with a prime pancake lens is also far easier to balance.   In both cases I need to mostly use a neck strap just to make sure that I don’t drop the camera.

This particular way of carrying and holding a camera necessitates that the overall weight of the camera plus lens not be too heavy.  That rules out larger heavier cameras with bigger sensors, heavier longer zoom lenses, etc.  For example no full frame sensor cameras with long lenses.


We only have bumblebees pollinating our plants anymore.  It used to be mostly honeybees along with other bees doing the pollinating.  The loss of honeybees is a very dire, disturbing sign of what the future could bring.  

The bees are like the canaries in the mines.  For those who don’t know … the miners used to take canary birds in gages into the coal mine so that they had a warning when the methane gases got too high.  The canaries would die before the miners and give the miners warning to get out immediately.

Plum Creek Pollution

Some of the problems with pollution along Plum Creek, which is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, are easy to see, like the eroding banks and debris in the water as shown above.  Other areas are not as easy to see, but are there.  A lot of trees along the banks are having their soil along the creek washed out from under them.  In some cases this is leading to situations like shown below.  This tree recently broke and fell from the wind, but the main cause wasn’t the wind.  The tree was hollow at it base and the hollow area was open all the way to the water.  The water in the creek had washed the dirt out from under the tree.  The last two pictures were made looking down through the broken stump clear to the water.

Reliving 30 Years Ago

Reliving and reprocessing scans from small prints made with a small sensor P&S film camera around 30 years ago in Hawaii.

Weird things I remember, like when Marcia and I were walking on a trail that had been closed to the public and we came across two young Russian girls walking with flip-flops that were not suitable for the terrain.  They spoke enough English to at least talk a little with us.

I wonder.  If I could go back with my E-M5 III camera, would I still process the images this way?

Trees Dying

The most prevalent thing around here is that the older trees are dying sooner than necessary, like the rest of us.  No mystery here; our planet is dying due to mankind’s greed, destruction of the environment, depletion of the natural resources, pollution of the atmosphere and creation of global heating, etc.

Why Zen Photography is B&W

“Why are Zen paintings done in ink? Zen philosophy holds the following to be true: “Spiritual awakening is transmitted outside of the sutras. It cannot be experienced through words or letters.” What this means is that the essence of Zen teaching cannot be put into words—neither written nor spoken. Zen painting is an example of this. Multiple colors are not used in Zen painting—only the single hue of the ink. The reason? It is believed that true beauty cannot be expressed through colors and that colors are an imperfect expression of the ineffability of beauty. And so colors are avoided. Each of us experiences the splendor of the setting sun differently. Even if we all describe the color as crimson, we might each perceive that color in a different way. By using only ink, the painter allows every viewer to experience the crimson of the sunset however they like. This is why it is said that Zen painting uses ink to express all five colors—green, blue, yellow, purple, and red. An infinite range of colors can be found within ink’s hue. Depending on the viewer, the ink takes on various tints and layers. What you can see is not all there is.”

— The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy by Shunmyo Masuno