Category Archives: Photographs

Support our National Parks

But do so conditionally.

I wrote about the need to support our National Parks here.

A recent new request for a donation from the NPS elicited this response from me:

If you believe, as do I, that this is how our National Parks should look, write them along these same lines:



How Yosemite should look.

Suggesting that reading and comprehension skills at the Park System are not the greatest, I got this stock reply:

Well, at least they got one thing right – the Parks are for Americans ….

Open House at MotoGhost

For two wheeled BMW men.

Omar Sayied, the owner of MotoGhost is not only a fine mechanic, he is also an astute businessman, putting his MBA to good use in running a successful business. That business caters to BMW motorcyclists who either own older machines in need of repair, ones which the factory dealers long ago abandoned, or newer motorcycles where the often outrageous dealer pricing is to be avoided. Omar ministers to my two airheads (BMW bikes with air cooled two cylinder motors and shaft drive, last made in 1995) when specialty tools or specialty expertise reside outside my garage.

Today saw the MotoGhost Open House and some one hundred machines were already there when I pulled up at noon, eagerly searching out the free bratwürsts! Needless to add, I was one of the youngest riders there. Honest!

I rode my 1994 R100RT, a fully faired machine perfect for the 16 mile freeway trek north, the motor humming along happily at 70mph and 4000rpm in fifth gear. This is very much the sweetspot for the 1000cc shaft driven, air cooled twin, with vibes at a minimum and everything as it should be. The electrics, whose charging system had started failing a while back, are enjoying a new alternator rotor installed by Omar. Thank you for bringing my steed back to full health, Omar! Other than that, the machine has been trouble free and its relaxed seating position and big fairing make for fine long distance touring, pannier bags and top case attached.

There was a broad variety of machines to be enjoyed:



MotoGhost is in north Phoenix, off exit 26 from the 101.


The showroom is small and pristine.


Entente cordiale.


My 1994 R100RT in the foreground. The aftermarket rear monoshock is by Progressive Suspension. 60 horsepower – all you need for day long touring.


Enjoying the free eats.


Ouch!


Parts, parts, parts.


Specialty tools do not come cheap. Not available at Harbor Freight ….


Vacuum gauge for carburettor adjustment.


Parts carousels in the workshop.


Alles in ordnung! Tools arranged just so.


Recent vintage machines in the workshop. The R1200R in the forefront is a nice ride.


An early 1970s R60/5. Note the drum front brakes. Larger capacity machines of the era sported a single disc brake in front.


Basket case. Cheaper to buy a good used bike ….


A lovely 1974 R90S, the first modern ‘superbike’.


A 1991 K100RS with a four cylinder, 16 valve motor. Lots of power …. and the personality of a washing machine. 95 buzzy horses, this one. ABS brakes are a nice touch


A late 1970s R100RS, the first motorcycle with a wind tunnel fairing, designed by Hans Muth. A machine much loved by autobahn cops.


Modern BMWs have grown along with American waistlines.


A Russian Ural with sidecar. The Russians stole the airhead engine design from BMW after WW2, and it’s hard to blame them. The quality of these machines is execrable, as you might expect.


A nicely restored 500cc R50 of the 1960s. Not really enough power for modern freeway speeds, and with marginal brakes, this machine nonetheless exudes period charm. The sprung saddles complement the near non-existent rear suspension. Badly in need of pinstripes!


Sidecar rig, this one with a 750cc R75/6 motor.


My 1994 R100RT backed by a modern R1200RT, a compact and surprisingly light tourer, with an oil and air cooled 8-valve boxer engine and almost twice the power at 109hp.


So, now you know.


If you are a Phoenix area resident, MotoGhost is unreservedly recommended for your two wheeled BMW needs.

All snaps on the Panny GX7 with the 12-35mm pro zoom; the interior images all at the f/2.8 maximum aperture.

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Power OIS MFT lens – Part II

Outstanding in every respect.

The mechanical aspects of the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 12-35mm zoom were outlined here.

This is a costly zoom and for the money you get a fixed f/2.8 maximum aperture, a far higher standard of construction than the kit zoom, with silky smooth controls, and bulk not much greater than the kit lens. The original 14-45mm kit zoom was a fine optic and you can read about it here. It has long been discontinued but affordable ones can be found on the used market.

What does the 12-35mm add? Outstanding micro-contrast and edge to edge sharpness even at full aperture, an f/2.8 which comes in handy in marginal lighting. And the extra width at 12mm is a good trade-off for the loss of 10mm at the long end.

Here’s a selection of images taken in Williams and Sedona, Arizona the other day.


In Williams, AZ: Boat. 26mm, f/5.6


No halos, right into the sun. 24mm, f/6.3.


Brando lives! 12mm, f/6.3.


Hot rod. 32mm, f/6.3.


Steaks & BBQ. 25mm, f/7.1.


Cruiser’s. 14mm, f/5.6.


Deserted. Note the Art Deco touch on the bank building at left. 23mm, f/5.6.


Western outfitters. 23mm, f/5.6.


Sultana Theater. 12mm, f/4.5.


Sultana Theater plaque. 33mm, f/5.6.


Tasting and Tap house, formerly an opium den! 29mm, f/5.6.


Santa Fe. 17mm, f/5.6.


Native America Trading Post. 35mm, f/5.6.


Halloween witch. 12mm, f/4.


Italian Bistro (what?), 22mm, f/10.


Grand Canyon Hotel. 31mm, f/10.


Grand Canyon Hotel plaque. 16mm, f/5.6.


The Carriage House is a separate three room building in back of the hotel. 31mm, f/10.


In Sedona, AZ: Tinplate display at the Son Silver West gallery in Sedona. 19mm, f/6.3.


Hot peppers and T Rex. 23mm, f/6.3.


Pottery pumpkins. 19mm, f/6.3.


More hot chili peppers.

Except for modest use of the Highlight and Shadow sliders in Lightroom for the Williams images – the late sun lighting means very high contrast – these are pretty much straight out of camera, my Panasonic GX7.

Proof of the pudding? The Panny 12-35mm has replaced three of my other MFT lenses – the 14-45mm kit zoom, the Olympus 17mm prime and its brother the Oly 45mm prime. All sold. Now my MFT kit is back to basics, consonant with the ‘small and light’ concept of the original design. I own only one other MFT optic, the excellent 45-200mm zoom, with its mighty reach for special occasions. It resides permanently on my other GX7 body.

Here’s the ‘contact sheet’ from the Williams outing; having grown up poor and using film, digital waste is not something I indulge in:


The two images with a ‘2’ in the upper left corner were roundtripped via Photoshop – the first to remove overhead wires, the second to fix verticals.

Yucca

In flower.

During the hot summers here in Scottsdale, Arizona plants go to sleep, saving the energy needed to flower for later.

The Yucca in my front yard just burst into bloom, here spotlighted by early morning sun.

Wikipedia’s description of the ecology of the plant approaches magic:

iPhone6 snap.