04/01/2012 – Not a Sunrise, but Rainbows are Pretty Rad
03/28/2012 – Lomosurnise
03/08/2012 – Whoa, Sun.
02/05/2012 – A Sunny Sunday Sunrise on Ruston Way
02/03/2012 – Sunshine, on my Fridays? IMPOSSIBLE!
02/02/2012 – It’s a Great Day to be Outside… Too Bad it’s Thursday
Words go here.
One of my preferred clients found out that my father has been teaching me how to operate his milling machine in our spare time. They decided to aid me in my efforts and donated a small pile of scrap aluminum to be mangled. Included in the pile was an AR-15 forging that had been destroyed when an end mill broke off and wallowed out a few pin holes. Their attempts to salvage the lower failed so they destroyed the fire control potion of the lower which was partially milled out and then allowed me to use the sacrifice the solid aluminum magazine well to the milling machine gods.
Not wanting to waste a totally cool looking piece of aluminum I decided to convert it into a business card holder for my office. Who wouldn’t want half a gun receiver for a card holder, right?
It’s not a particularly hard project and it was the perfect choice for learning about feed speeds and listening getting a better understanding of how the whole process of metal mangling works. In fact the exercise demystifies a lot of what goes on in in a proper CNC Mill. It’s a shame that most high schools don’t have full metal shops anymore. Even my local community colleges have fairly restricted manual machine shop courses. Everything is about learning to input G-code into a computer these days.
Being able to shred and mangle metal with your bare hands (ok not actually with your bare hands, but they are involved in the whole metal mangling party) will is really really really cool. Even if you’re horrible at it.
Every year, just as spring’s precipitous grasp begins to take hold over the Pacific Northwest the the Sea Scout ship Charles N Curtis is hauled out of the water for it’s yearly service and inspection. It’s crew of 14-21 year old Sea Scouts devote a portion of their spring breaks just to do their part to keep the Charles N. Curtis in the water for another year. That means at least one day of pressure washing, scrubbing, sanding, and painting the bottom of the ship for most. Other, more senior kids are expected to perform even dirtier jobs, like major head (toilet) repairs, packing the grease fittings for the rudders, or climbing through the bilge chasing through hull fittings.
It’s no wonder they’re told to throw their clothes away when they get home.
Generally I avoid wildcat calibers but occasionally something incredible comes my way. Today’s wildcat loading was graciously sent to me by B4CTom1 along with a few goodies for my AR of Very Poor Decisions project. This new round, .50 ACP, takes a 655 grain projectile designed for the Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun (M2HB) and a casing designed by John Moses Browning himself and mates them into some serious subsonic excellence. No more will we rely on measly 230 grain projectiles to save us from the [insert popular culture threat here].
While no firearm currently exists that can handle this extreme loading with a reverse taper/rebated neck I am confident that I will find a hammer large enough to encourage round into the appropriate firearm.
Thanksgiving is a time to be shared with family, but sometimes we just can’t make it back to our families or we want a good reason to gather with friends. That’s what pot-lucks are for! On November 28th, a few friends and friends of friends got together for a Paleolithic Thanksgiving Potluck. Most of the folks who arrived were paleolithic lifestyle enthusiasts, while some were just curious about the whole “dairy, grain, legume, refined everything free” lifestyle.
Many of the people who subscribe to this “cleaner” style of eating (and living. There is a heavy exercise component to paleolithic living. Something about cavepeople not being couch potatoes.) tout it’s health benefits and claim that their branch of the low-carb movement is different.
While I can’t report on it’s health benefits since anecdotal evidence is anecdotal evidence I will say that quite a few of their dishes are quite tasty. If eating like Fred Flintstone is always like this I think I could give up bread. Just maybe.
Since April of this year I’ve been “on assignment” with the Dockyard Derby Dames of Tacoma, Washington. Things started with a feature writing project for a course at the University of Washington and quickly spiraled out of control. Now the scope of my work includes, travel, video production, and of course – photography. The photos below the fold are some selections from my eight months of work with the Dockyard Derby Dames with just a smidgen of commentary.
This feathered steel work of art was crafted by ABS Master Smith, Michael Vagnino. If you look closely you’ll notice that the feathering in the hilt of the knife matches the feathering of the blade when the knife is fully extended. The blade is made out of folded 1024 and 15n20 steel which is cryogenically frozen to remove some of the stresses generated by the forging process. By relieving the stresses on the grains of the steel the blade becomes more resistant to cracking and chipping. Michael finishes the knife off with checkered cocobolo panels that give the knife’s grips gorgeous grain and excellent wear resistance.
Also found in two of the photographs is a Belgian made Fabrique Nationale Herstal Browning Hi-Power. More photos are below the fold.
In the late 1970s my aunt was given a small H&R revolver for her wedding day. My grandfather had purchased it used from a friend for a few precious dollars as a wedding gift for her. When he handed over to my aunt explained to her, “This pistol is for your new husband. You use it on him if he ever tries anything.”
While my aunt never had to use the little H&R to keep him in “straight” it still lives on her night stand.
For the past two years I have been working with Police Departments in the Pierce County area on various projects. Generally I perform documentation, promotional, and training photographs for events that they host. Most of the time the photographs are pretty mundane documentary photos. People at podiums, crowds, group portraits. Pretty standard photographs.
Every once and a while they throw a curve ball at me. This time the curve ball was Simunitions training session at a local college.
For those who aren’t familiar with Simunitions – they’re soap filled plastic bullets that are fired out of highly modified or dedicated firearms. They’re setup so that is almost impossible to chamber a “real” cartridge, but they’re realistic enough many of the firing aspects of a “real” firearm. Unlike commercial firearms replicas, like airsoft, Simunitions replicate everything from the smell, and feel of a real firearm to the techniques required to repair a malfunction.
These training scenarios are designed to put pressure on the officers, and pit them against a wide range of hand selected volunteers. Some of these volunteers are highly trained combat specialists, while others are individuals who only have a basic level of firearms handling. This wide playing field allows the participating officers to experience the different types of active shooter scenarios that they might encounter.
I was looking for an decent quality general purpose monocular to keep in my hiking bag. Originally I had considered using a set of binoculars but when I was shopping around a friend paraphrased an old maxim, “Good, Cheap, Compact. Pick two.” I found some truth in his pithiness. I just couldn’t seem to find a halfway decent pair of binoculars that would be small enough to keep at hand while being of good optical quality.
Then I stumbled across this relic of the Cold War. It’s a Hendsold-Wetzlar Z28 Panzerfaust sight. It’s only 2.5x magnification but it’s a bit smaller than a Surefire G2 flashlight. Plus it’s optically fantastic, and it’s (forgive the pun) built like a tank. The only problem I have with it, is the anti-tank reticule. It busies up the optic, but according to the internet removing the focal plane the reticule resides on is an extremely easy process. Perhaps I’ll build up the nerve and remove it one of these days.
Who would have thought that a piece 1960s of hardware intended for an anti-tank rocket would be the the perfect pocket magnifier?
Special thanks to Jon Vanders for this clip of my Mega Arms Monolithic upper receiver advertisement.
I normally keep my non-commercial portraiture private and share it only when I’m meeting with prospective clients but I just couldn’t help but share this photo from David and Shala’s wedding. It’s so cute it hurts.
This is a perfect opportunity to remind you that on top of my commercial photography I just love working private photo shoots. That means I’m available for senior portraits, children’s candids, on-site studio, and just about everything else you could imagine. Rates vary on the season, and shoot complexity. If you’re interested in a free quote, just shoot me an email!
Now you’re probably asking yourself “what have you gotten yourself into this time, Ben?” Well I’ll tell you! As part of Chris Demaske’s Feature Writing course at the University of Washington, I am expected to “embed” myself into a group that I have zero affiliation with or prior interest in. Identifying a group was easy thanks to the posters hanging in the commons area that read “Dockyard Derby Dames Flat Track Roller Derby.”
I’ve never even heard of Flat Track Roller Derby, and I thought the whole concept of the Roller Derby died around the time I was born. I guess I couldn’t have asked for a better group to build my project on.
Not wanting to be the creepy guy sitting in the corner watching the skaters practice, I offered my services as a photographer. I must have left a good impression because I’m totally doing some team photos for the Trampires (the team I’m following).
This is just so cool.
If you’ve been thumbing around my blog you’re probably familiar with my camera stock project. The latest iteration of my camera stock system incorporates an AK-47 thumbhole stock with a quick release shoe system. This particular system lacks the trigger system of the first camera stock rig, but it’s also considerably more light weight (due to the lack of the auto-focus assist light, I’m sure) and is quite a bit easier to assemble.
I’ve received quite a bit of criticism about the utility of the first system, but I can happily report that I can squeeze around an extra stop out of my gear without camera shake effecting the sharpness of my photographs. I can also happily report that using this in public at large events has not resulted in my “death, or arrest.”
While I can’t say if other people would be able to pull off a camera stock and not end up with a felony record I will definitely continue to use and refine the system.
I recently came across an original m1911 Magazine Assembly (1989 Production, P/N 5508694, NSN 1005-00-550-8694) at the local gunshow and I couldn’t help myself from parting with $15- to make it mine. It’s obviously new old stock as it’s still in it’s original plastic and foil wrapping and the plastic appears to be somewhat well worn. As I understand it, these magazines are becoming less common and new old stock like this specific magazine is becoming increasingly hard to find.
Not wanting to pop the seal on an military contract 1911 without documenting the ordeal I grabbed a suitable backdrop and began snapping away. My goal was to tempt Chris Kaukl of How-I-Did-It.org and 230Grain.com who has become quite enamored with the USGI Feeding system after writing a relatively detailed article outlining the differences between ‘traditional magazines’ and ‘enhanced magazines.’
I am, by far not a decent landscape photographer but I’ve had an itch to shoot panoramas for the past six months. I finally got around to playing with Hugin, an open source photo stitching application, and have found it to be quite powerful although a little clumsy. All in all I would expect to see more of these turdtacular landscapes from me in the near future as I train myself on my app.
As I’m sure many (I have readers?) of you have realized that I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to old military stuff. I really enjoy reading about military practices and markings from times that have come and gone; particularly European militaries. The British Empire had one of the greatest militaries of the 19th and 20th centuries. They had adopted the broad arrow as the marking for all of the property belonging to the crown but over time the mark became used mostly to denote property of the various war departments and colonial defense ministries. As many of you anglophiles might know these property marks (broad arrows) were often specialized or accompanied with letters to signify the colony that issued, or manufactured a good so it would be known who originally owned it should some property book officer be bothered to find out. They also signified that whatever good that was stamped was ready for service at the time of it’s acceptance and that it was the property of the British commonwealth and not a private individual.
By the end of the Cold War the major assets of the British Commonwealth were granted their independence and like the British Empire the use of the Broad Arrow has waned. Unfortunately I do not know what (if anything) has come to replace it in the British military but I would hazard a guess that it, like the counterpart in the United States, the Flaming Ordnance Corps Bomb has become mostly abandoned from regular use.
This abandoning of their ordnance marking has made them a perfect candidates for etching onto my set of double shot glasses. I had Kitsch Stickers make up some custom vinyl masks so I could get perfectly symmetrical broad arrows and crisp, uniform text. Of course she held up her end of the bargain and you can see for yourself how well it came out.
For more useful information about broad arrows, check out Wikipedia, and if you see any discrepancies in my post please send me an e-mail or leave a comment.