DIY Auto Repair - Sounds like a great idea. Maybe

Submitted by Ken Norton on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:45

Point of No Return

My daily driver is a 2004 BMW X5 with the 4.4L V8 and sport suspension. It is a fantastic vehicle in pretty much every way. We purchased it three years ago with 91,000 miles on it. Excellent condition, well cared for, mechanically sound, and so forth. It was also optioned up really nicely. Four months earlier, we had purchased another X5, but a large deer and 70mph don't mix well. Insurance company got me another one. The only repairs and service this vehicle has needed is sway bar link replacement, an alignment and a new battery. The original battery lasted two weeks short of 12 years. Just change the tire and oil and that's all it has required. It now has 165,000 miles on it and a several weeks ago, it started making a noise. A screeching and grinding noise under the hood. Ugh. That can mean only one of two things in this case. Either a belt tensioner has
gone bad or the water pump is failing. The positive news is that it wasn't a tensioner. The negative news is that it was the water pump.

I get an estimate for repair and wasn't too excited about spending four digits to get the water pump replaced. The wannabe mechanic inside of my head said "Hey, why not do it yourself?" I talk with a relative who does their own work on both BMWs and Mercedes and was highly encouraged. They would even come and help do it. I've done a
replacement on a Jeep Cherokee, so it's not like the concept is foreign to me. (insert hysterical laughter here).



Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior

Submitted by Ken Norton on Sat, 10/08/2016 - 22:54

Aurora borealis

Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior. This photo was taken from the shoreline at Union Bay Campground in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. An essentially moonless evening, and a few scattered clouds made viewing possible. I used the Canon 6D with the OM Zuiko 24/2.8 lens at F5.6 for this picture.

The critical lesson for shooting auroras is to use as short of a shutter speed as possible. Auroras are constantly moving and to get the structures, a shorter shutter speed is necessary.

Canon 6D, Olympus OM Zuiko 24/2.8. ISO 6400, 20 seconds, F5.6. Processed in Lightroom CC.

Canon 6D - Manual Focusing Ease and Accuracy

Submitted by Ken Norton on Wed, 08/10/2016 - 12:29


An issue with manually focusing with DSLRs is focus accuracy. With most DSLRs, there are two issues. One is the ability to actually discern sharpness with the eye on the focus screen and the other is the precise placement of the focus screen in relation to the sensor.

The Canon 6D's stock focus screen, in my camera, is both accurate and relatively easy to focus on. As a comparison to the Olympus E-System bodies, it's comparable to the E-1 for focusing ease, which is much better than the E-3 or the mirror design of the lesser bodies. As to positional accuracy, this has been an issue with the E-sytem bodies, where the plane of focus does not match. Not typically a problem with most focal-lengths and apertures, but is problematic with F1.4 lenses.

The Canon 6D, along with the focus confirmation, appears to be extremely accurate, as illustrated with this picture. I took this with the OM Zuiko 100mm F2 lens at or near F2. Handheld. Manually focused in the viewfinder, NOT with live-view.

While there may be issues with some lenses for focusing ease, as there is with the 2-series screens for the OM bodies, I consider the 6D to have one of the best focusing screens for DLSRs. I'm certainly not disappointed with manual focusing on the 6D in the viewfinder.