31 July, 2017

Vex in Brisbane's West End

"Vex" in Brisbane's West End - Sigma 85mm, f/1.4 Art, with the MC-11 Mount Converter

All other things being equal, I'd usually choose the 135mm over the 85mm for portraits. But on the footpath, it's just too tight and there's too much traffic for a 135.

In the case above (as a duotone), it's the Sigma 85mm, f/1.4. Sony's high ISO performance and in-body stabilisation makes the unstabilised Sigma an outstanding option.

26 July, 2017

The Rocks in Sydney

"The Rocks," Sydney - Zeiss Loxia 50mm

In Sydney, "The Rocks" is an historic area starting beneath the city side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and extending south.

23 July, 2017

Visited Sydney

Girl and the Central Station Clock Tower - Sydney
Zeiss Loxia 50mm

We visited Sydney over the weekend. I am always impressed by the number of buildings with a bit of history. Too many cities have turned into giant shopping malls.

19 July, 2017

The Sony A9 is great, but it's not for me

Alisha D - Sigma 135mm, f/1.8 Art w/MC-11 Mount Converter

Of course I've been watching the A9 reports and I'm impressed, but it's not the camera for me. It doesn't seem to me that the feature set would work better for me than the A7Rii. If there's an A9R in the future, then ask me again.

I have done the latest firmware update for the MC-11 (skipping an incarnation). Everything seems to be working well.

If you're not shameless by the time you're 45,
then you haven't been paying attention.
 —Yllib Ybnad (b. 1948–)

06 July, 2017

Sigma 135mm with the MC-11

Alisha D - Sigma 135mm, f/1.8 Art

The Sigma 135mm is the low-price, dark-horse. It's quite a lens, but it's slow and steady with the MC-11. I've avoided the latest firmware update, because of warnings from Canon lens users who ignored Sigma's warnings that the MC-11 was not designed for them. When I get a little time I'll do it.

I had to be close for eye autofocus. I'm not sure a firmware update will remedy that.

05 July, 2017


This photo was taken on one of the rare occasions when my mother's side of the family were (almost – my aunt Mary couldn't be there) all together. They had gathered in October of 1954 in northern Wisconsin for the funeral of my uncle Pete (the youngest of the siblings) who had died in a car crash earlier that month.

My grandparents are, of course, front and center. My grandmother, Hermina, emigrated to the US from Slovakia in 1907 when she was 15 years old; and my grandfather, Steve, in 1905, when he was 20. Neither spoke English when they arrived. Slovak was spoken in the family house all through their lives. My grandmother became quite proficient in English, but my grandfather was never comfortable with it.

All the kids started out bi-lingual — Slovak and fluent English. My mother, Margaret (front row, far right), for example, became a court stenographer for the Illinois Appellate Court. My aunt Agnes (Sister Benedict) taught school as a Dominican Sister. There were sons in all the services during the Second World War. 

My grandparents didn't come to America to see the Grand Canyon, enjoy the Florida sun, or sample Cajun cooking in New Orleans. They came for work and for opportunities to make new lives, for themselves, their children and grandchildren.

My family's story is just like those of immigrant Poles, Irish, Chinese, Italians, Swedes, Greeks, Germans (you get the idea). What astounds me is that so many Americans can think that the aspirations of immigrant Mexican, Iraqi, or Syrian families are any different.

I emigrated to Australia 27 years ago. (I can't speak Australian, but I understand most of what I hear.)
Top row (l to r) Steve, Frank, John, Philip, Rudolph, Tony, Carl, and Joe
Front row (l to r) Helen, Agnes, Hermina, Steve, Ann, and Margaret
(Only Helen and Frank are still alive today.)