Nov 24, 2013

Squirrel hunting - Patuxent River State Park

Sometimes squirrel hunting can be more about staying awake than stalking.  Yesterday, I brought Debbie along with me to hunt squirrels at the Patuxent River State Park.  I carried my Ruger Mark III pistol and she used my Winchester '94; both are .22s.  We didn't see anything, perhaps because it was so chilly and windy but we enjoyed sitting out in the woods talking and joking.  We shot a few cans we found laying around and called it a day after only a couple of hours.  At one point, I was so comfortable, I nearly fell asleep.  This wouldn't be the first time this has happened.  I've fallen asleep in the woods quite a few times.  I think its because the forest is the most soothing and peaceful place I can imagine.  The constant rustle of leaves, warm sunshine and contemplation just put me right out.

Nov 17, 2013

T Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Friday, I stopped in to a local antique shop.  I pass this shop almost every day and decided I might as well have a look around; you never know what might be in there.  Sure enough, there was something there.  This old shotgun is nothing special.  The owner asked $75 for it, but I ended up talking him down to $50.  It is Belgian made and it's an oldie (Imported by the boatload between 1890 - 1910) but its nothing more than an old hunting gun.  Stamped on the top of the barrels is BELGIAN LAMINATED STEEL and stamped into the sides of the receiver plates is T PAKRER.  The barrels are made of Damascus (twisted, laminated) steel which makes it unusable.  The way these barrels were made back in the day, was by twisting strips of iron and steel together, heating those strips red hot and welding the pieces together. The strips were then heated again, wrapped around an iron bar called a mandrel and welded by heating and hammering. The resulting tube was finished into a barrel. Never as strong as a barrel bored from solid steel, those barrels were quite attractive. But the welds were never absolutely solid. Over the years, corrosion from the old primers, and from black powder residue was forced by the pressure of firing into the tiny cracks and crevices between the strips that make up the barrel.  Essentially eating away at the metal from the inside out. A Damascus barrel can look good on the outside, and the bore can appear shiny and like new, yet the metal inside can look like orange lace from the years of rusting away, unseen.

But, it is a pretty gun, its a simple old hammer gun with a nice shape.  Perhaps it was a gun that regularly put food on the table or perhaps someone's absolute favorite gun.  For me, it will be a wall hanger and a neat piece of history.

Nov 14, 2013

Farm house revisited

Nature using synthesized nature as a habitatual asset?
As I mentioned yesterday, I am working nights this week. Yesterday I got a little stir crazy and decided to grab my camera and head over to the old farmhouse I had walked through, back in July of last summer. I didn't stay long but I was challenged with a particular scene for quite a while. On the second story of this house, at the staircase landing, is a window that illuminates the 2nd story hallway. Its window pane has been broken out, but the curtain still hangs neatly, with no idea that its intended job is no longer needed. Quietly; mute, it sails with each intruding breeze and mimes congenially, in eerie oblivion. I like how the stationary red curtain top contrasts boldly against the dingy interior of the house. This scene just begs to be photographed but I grew frustrated trying to best capture it. If you were to shoot this window, straight on, the extreme difference in exposure (bright outside & dark inside) would produce what I call an "exorcist style" image where the window is completely overexposed and white, and the interior would be underexposed and dark. The technical way around this issue is to create an HDR image (a combination of multiple exposures taken at extreme EV stops). Not a huge one for HDR, I opted not to shoot it head on. I played around with different wide angle perspectives up close, from the floor and from the ceiling, as well as some long shots of the window, set up at the other end of the hallway. I walked away feeling like there was something I was missing; not in terms of the exposure, but in the composition. I'll just have to go back and give it another shot sometime!

Nov 13, 2013

You might be a redneck if you...

I'm working nights this week. So, I'm fixing little odds and ends that go untouched during the regular work week. Yesterday I patched the hole in the deck of our push mower before wheeling it out to the shed for its winter slumber. (Rest well my little mower. ... I'm, most likely, taking you to the dump in the spring!) We bought this push mower, used, for $50 this spring. It's really on it's last legs. I thought pop-riveting a Natty Boh can patch to its side, was the least I could do, as a sign of respect, for this "keep on truckin'" mower.

Nov 11, 2013

Thank a veteran

I woke up at 7:00am this morning and stepped out side into the cool morning air.  It's a beautiful Monday morning in Westminster, Maryland.  The sun poked through the row of pine trees in my back yard and long narrow swaths of sunlight stretched out across the dew soaked lawn.  A stiff breeze lifted and rolled our flag perched on the side of the carport and I suddenly realized how fortunate I am to live in this country.  I'll probably never fully agree with the way the country operates, or who's really in charge, but I will always be grateful to have been born an American.  Moreover; grateful to those who have fought and who still fight to protect our freedoms (however fast those with power try to remove them from us).

So, this Veterans Day, I'd like to thank my brothers, my father, my grandfather, my uncles, my cousins, my coworkers and friends that have served our country, putting it all on the line, so that I can walk outside and be at peace and enjoy the life of a free American.