Category Archives: Random Thoughts

A Little Something New

Relative size of tripods in folded configuration.

I just bought myself a new toy tool. It’s hard to believe it was over a year ago, but I had written in March 2022 about having rented the Peak Design Travel Tripod. I liked it a lot but couldn’t justify spending $600 (at the time – it’s now $650) on a part-time tripod. And I wasn’t sure it was good enough to be an only tripod, so I had lots of excuses to not buy one.

Relative size of tripods in their storage cases.

There aren’t too many cases where I really want a compact, highly portable tripod. I had a Gitzo, that while wasn’t designed for travel was sort of portable – it would fit in a large suitcase with the center column detached, but just barely. My only tripod lately has my big and beefy RRS TVC-33 with the matching BH-55 ballhead. An excellent and steady base, but really overkill for my relatively light Fuji equipment. While it is great for car travel, it’s just a little too tough to jam into a suitcase. It was just the thing when I was shooting with the big-a$$ Canon equipment. Of course a too-big tripod to a photographer is sort of like a too-big diamond to a lovely partner. No such thing, right? But I had been looking for a suitable travel candidate, albeit not too hard. I had done a little research and identified a few likely candidates, but the ones I thought would do the job were still a little pricey for comfort.

A couple of days ago I saw a post on a Fuji Rumors site that B&H was having a MEGA DEAL ZONE – 100s OF DEALS TOO GOOD TO LAST! sale. Included in the sale was a “Benro MeFoto GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit” on sale for $175, marked down from $365. The ad indicated that it was $300 off, which is a bit overstated, but it is still half the regular price. It was one of the “finalists” that I had on my Wish List, the price was too good to pass up, so I pulled the trigger.

FedEx delivered the package on Thursday, and while I haven’t had a chance to use it extensively, my initial impression is that it is quite a worthy tripod. The build quality appears to be excellent, and I have to say that it appears quite sturdy. Compared to the RRS model I have to wonder why they are so expensive in comparison. The specs indicate that it is designed to hold 26 pounds. I don’t know about that, but even my heaviest lens won’t come close to testing it. I won’t know how good until I have a chance to use it IRL (‘In Real Life’ as the kids say) but I have an opportunity coming up that should let me put it through its paces.

Side by side comparison with MePhoto center column down.
Side by side comparison with MePhoto center column extended.

Grammer, Speling and Other Pet Peaves

Sign in the bottling room at Makers Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky

At a restaurant last week, I overheard a Loud Talker telling his tablemates about some conquest or other, and he used “like” repeatedly. How many “likes” does it take to make a sentence? Like, literally, dozens!

Literally is another overused word. Literally.

One of our neighbors was recently talking about her new Infusion stove. Ummm, Induction?

When our neighborhood has a function involving food, the signs and flyers sometimes say “BYOB Your Own Beverage.”

A woman I used to work with said she went to “Evolution Church.” I think she meant “Elevation Church” and I don’t think they discuss Evolution there.

I worked with a woman who did marketing for a bank, and she talked about their “Veritable Rate Loans.”

A boss of mine would email me to find out what I was working on, asking “What’s in your que?”

When we’re getting ready to go on a cruise, we check out various forums and message boards to get information about the ship, the cruise line or some of the policies. People often ask questions about the “Dinning Room.” They sometimes ask about “Making Whoppie” (but hopefully not in the dinning room) but I wouldn’t know about that. 😉

Artwork in the reception area of Makers Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky
Artwork in the reception area of Makers Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky

Challenging “Murphy”

Inside the rick house at Bardstown Bourbon Company in Bardstown, Kentucky. One of the loveliest smells in the world! Processed using “Denoise” in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

As in Murphy’s Law….

Kathy & I returned Sunday from a few days in Bardstown, Kentucky. We met our friends Jim & Lisa there, and spent a few days exploring distilleries and horse country.

This morning we needed to go to the grocery store. As we are in the beginning stages of what looks to be a week long monsoon, we went prepared. Raincoats and umbrellas, leaving the sunglasses at home. As it turned out, no rain, and the sun was peeking through the clouds as we left the store. Perfect!

When we returned home I decided to leave the car in the driveway, hoping for a “free car wash” to dispel the layer of dust we had accumulated over the week. Several hours later, no rain. Finally we got a nice heavy shower, just enough to wash off the loose crud. Good for a few more days!

What Is A ‘Kodak Moment?’

Edison. Mothers Day 2023

Our grandson Edison visited recently, and one of the books he was reading described two characters on skateboards crashing into each other as a real “Kodak moment.” Edison looked up at Kathy and said “I don’t even know what that means!” Another idiom bites the dust!

The Grammarist describes a Kodak moment:

“A Kodak moment is a moment in time that is so precious because of its sentimental value or its beauty, one wishes to preserve it on film. For instance, a baby’s first steps may be considered a Kodak moment.”

And further:

“The expression Kodak moment came from a popular advertising campaign for the American Kodak cameras in the latter half of the twentieth century, produced by Eastman Kodak. Kodak cameras such as the Brownie and Instamatic cameras were reasonably priced and easy to use, so even the most inexperienced or busy people could operate them.”

A (Nearly) Perfect Headline

Frog and Onion Pub and Restaurant. At Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda

I suppose if I were a Twitter-er I could post a comment about it there, but since I’m not, I’ll post it here. I love a good headline, especially in this era of meaningless “clickbait” headlines. This one is pretty tough to beat:

Clichés to Avoid Like the Plague

I kinda don’t even care what the article is about. But I love the headline!

You’re Pointing Your Camera The Wrong Way

Tourists taking selfies on the Ponte della Paglia bridge, with the Bridge of Sighs in the background. Venice, Italy

This New York Times article has been shared on a number of forums already, but I thought I would add it here for anyone who might have missed it. Further discussion of the pros and cons of our “selfie society” is pointless and tiresome, but as photographers the history, as well as the ideas, in this story have special meaning. If we take the time and spend the money to go to a special place, let’s be sure to look at and take pictures of that place, and not just take pictures of ourselves!

“I keep thinking of what it might be like if we all took the time to photograph such commonplace miracles. What it would be like if all the people with cameras in their pockets transformed themselves into documentary photographers — like Dorothea Lange, like Baldwin Lee — to make a collective record of a truth about the world that most people haven’t yet troubled themselves to see?”

NYT: You’re Pointing Your Camera The Wrong Way



New Arrival


This is Ben, the son of my brother’s oldest daughter. He arrived about a month ago, and Kathy and I came to Ohio to meet him. He is my brother’s first grandchild, and my first grand nephew.

It’s pretty cold up here, although not as cold as it could be! We start back south in the morning, with a little bit of a detour on the way. ;

Tiny Hand

Happy New Year

Sunrise in Cozumel, Mexico aboard Norwegian Prima

We had dinner with neighbors last night, and during our conversation we talked about the past year. My comment was that “my weight went up, my investments went down. Let’s hope that trend reverses in 2023.

Best wishes, good health and safe travels to all. Happy New Year!

Coordinates vs. Location

Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

“Knowing your latitude and longitude is not the same as knowing where you are.” From The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

I loved this statement as a stand-alone quote, but it is also interesting in the context in which it appears.

I just finished reading this fascinating book by Jennifer Egan. It is the second of hers I’ve read, the first being “A Visit From The Goon Squad.” As “alternative world/dystopian future/reality-fantasy” (my definition, strange as it is) it is outside my usual crime fiction subject matter but something I’ve been exploring more lately. It’s a lot better to me than non-fiction gloom and doom stories about failed and/or corrupt politicians, end of the world climate change or crappy economic news!

The premise of the book is a society where a huge social media corporation run by a super tech demi-god whose name everyone knows (sound familiar?) has developed a technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others. Think about that. Of course not everyone chooses to participate, and whole companies are formed, both to promote and profit from and also avoid this (over)sharing of information.

Egan’s writing style can be a little hard for me to follow, as she changes characters, points of view and subject matter seemingly at random. I found it to be a good exercise of my reading and comprehension skills, as its important to pay attention to the story lines as they bob and weave.

Fun stuff, for anyone interested in this kind of writing!

All We Really Need?

No, this is not our patio!

Yesterday our 6 1/2 year old grandson Edison visited, along with his dad Scott, our oldest son. Prior to their arrival I had been outside cleaning the patio – the usual chores, scrubbing cushions, washing off the grill and hosing off a summer’s worth of rain and environmental residue.

Edison came outside as I was hosing off the floor, and asked me if he could help. Why of course, why not? I let him wield the floor brush, then the hose, then the broom ( I really need to buy a squeegee!) and we both had a blast – him giggling all the way and me just generally enjoying the company. Of course I had to go back and “touch up” a few spots. At some point Scott commented that the job was going to take twice as long with Edison’s “help.” Kathy told him she didn’t think either of us minded, and she was right!

As I thought about it later, and Kathy & I talked about it, I came to realize that a little respect, a sense of belonging, a feeling of contributing, and sometimes a whole lot of fun, is all we really look for. Whether we’re six or sixty-something, our needs are really pretty simple.

We all had periods of laughter and fun throughout the day, interrupted occasionally with Edison’s “grumbellies” and 6-year old orneriness, but overall it was just a few people who love each other enjoying a gorgeous almost-fall day and life in general. After they left, Kathy & I took a nap. Sometimes we need that too!