Bum Summer

So far, Summer 2012 has been pretty boring in Michigan. I mean, sure, the weather has been great! Heat has been suppressed well, little rain. So outdoor activities are great and comfortable. But, if you’re a true weather seeker or lover, you have to admit its been a less than stellar summer. Things looked promising in the spring with a jump-start, but it’s really calmed down.

Pattern after pattern has brought us calm dry weather. When a new air mass does move in, scattered thunderstorms hit briefly, the next morning you have no idea it rained (unless you stay up until 2am shooting lightning).

Jack-O-Lightning

Later this weekend, a low pressure system will push North of the lower peninsula and bring a wide swath of precipitation.

Tonight, this system is out in the northern Plains and West causing some scattered squall lines. Nice outflow signature with this line near Goodland, Kansas.

Light blue outflow line preceding the main convective squall line. Most likely a nice shelf cloud is there. The stratiform region follows the convective reds and yellows.

Without much weather to document except great sunset after great sunset, I’ve busied myself with my grandfather’s old camera gear. He used to shoot with a Pentax, and has a bunch of neat old lenses from the time. Going to have a little photography moment here:

After salivating over new Canon lenses for my DSLR that are too expensive to commit to, the lenses are a great thirst quencher. A quick Google here and there, I found a correct lens adapter (9 whole dollars) so my camera can accommodate these old film lenses. The Canon series uses an EOS lens mount, while the Super-Takumar lenses have a M42 threaded mount. He ran an expansive lens set, at least 5 or so new ones to play around with and find the niches. A good hit for me has been the Vivitar 28-210mm f/3.5-5.6. This is a great range, getting some wide-angle feel, then zooming well.

  • Super Takumar 28mm f/3.5
  • Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 (was hunting for a 35mm earlier)
  • Super Takumar 55mm f/1.8
  • Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5
  • Vivitar 28-210mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Super Takumar 300mm f/6.3
  • Tamron 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5

Two things about backing up to these old lenses:

1. Heavy. I’m still relatively new to DSLRs, and don’t know how to compare lens construction. Of the lenses I’ve owned prior, they’ve been in a plastic shell with glass. More expensive lenses are well-built, and I imagine heavier. These Takumars are ALL metal and glass. They have a cool feeling as you glide to focus. Which leads to the other point.

2. No Autofocus! Right now, this isn’t too big of a deal. Like I mentioned, the feel of focusing these lenses is amazing. Plus, contrary to the Canon lenses which go further than infinity (yea, what?) these stop at infinity. So now I can swing the lens all the way over, and know infinity is going to be in focus (useful for night-time shooting, stars, lightning, landscape). Down the road, the manual focus may become a little discouraging as I take quick shots here and there, only to be discouraged at the lack of tack sharp shots. But, maybe the feel good feeling of focusing will train me well, and not have this issue. Time will tell.

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About gweatherc
Live in Michigan and enjoy observing the weather. Want to pursue it as a career! Currently taking classes at Central Michigan University.

One Response to Bum Summer

  1. Dad says:

    Nice report. This is Michigan, so the weather will change soon! Hang in there.
    Standing by, DAD

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