35-70mm macro lens

I love op shops.

In January I wandered into my local Vinnies (actually my local Vinnies is in Wingham; this was the Taree one. But close enough) and idly perused the front display cabinet, to see (among other things) a camera case. “Ooh! I need a camera case,” I thought. And this one had the enticing words “Canon EOS” and “Working”, not to mention “$10″.

So I had a look.

The EOS in question was a film camera with a 35-70mm lens on it, which looked like it would fit my beloved EOS 600D. Fortunately I carry my camera around almost everywhere with me, and the lovely Vinnies staff were quite happy for me to try out the new lens. It fit, but there was some kind of issue with the connection, so they knocked $2 off the price and said I could bring it back if it didn’t work. Did I mention I love op shops?

I cleaned the connections about 100 times (estimated) with isopropyl alcohol and an eraser, and managed to get it working at the widest aperture. I could then increase the aperture value, except for the random occasions when the camera would chuck a hissy and refuse to recognise it.

Then one day I looked through the viewfinder and everything was very dark. Unfortunately I was out in nature at the time and didn’t have another lens (I don’t have a proper camera bag and I’ve spent the past few months with only one working lens anyway, so I’m not used to carrying a lot of kit). Back at home I investigated and found the aperture blades were stuck on what I estimate to be about f/22. Judicious whacking and use of the depth of field preview didn’t help (and the camera sooked out when I tried using anything other than the widest possible aperture anyway) so I put the lens aside to be used only in very bright conditions.

Then I discovered that on some lenses you can remove the front element and get a macro lens. This was relevant to my interests. I spent many fruitless hours trying to find a tutorial or at least a set of pictures for the 35-70mm, but all I could find was “here is a detailed description on how to take your 28-80mm lens apart, and btw it works for 35-70mm also”. So I dithered. And dithered. And then there came a day when I was in a bad mood and felt like taking things apart, so I took it apart. And shamefully I forgot to take photos of the process.*

But it worked!

The focal length is about an inch, which is really fun when you’re trying to sneak up on bees, and there’s no autofocus; apparently the front element has three lenses in it, and if you remove the outer two and put back the inner one then you can get autofocus, but I haven’t tried that. For now I’m having fun (for some values of “fun”) improving my manual focusing skills.

Here’s one I prepared earlier:

A picture of a plastic ruler taken with my macro lens.

I love my macro lens <3

I still don’t know if the film camera works…

(*) There’s a grub screw on the side; I’m not sure if it’s an actual screw and mine was stripped, or if it’s just a plug, but I ended up pushing mine into the lens body. This allowed me to unscrew the front plate. Then you have to do some other stuff that I can’t remember because I was in a bad mood and didn’t document it, and the lens surround doesn’t come out of the lens but it does pivot, and you then have to undo three screws and the front element will screw out and you can ease it past the pivotty bit if you’re careful. If you put it somewhere safe you can undo the process. Hope this helps!

Presented without comment

Well, not much comment.

My travel clock showing a temperature of 42.5 degrees C at 6.30pm

42.5°C is 108.5°F. This clock is inside a caravan. Also inside the caravan: my bed.

The official maximum temperature yesterday was 42 degrees at Taree Airport (although I was in and around Taree all day and believe me it was over 42 degrees, and if you don’t believe me then ask the dog, who required emergency full-body dousing under a tap for afternoon tea, an hour after which he was totally dry).

It didn’t cool down in the van until well after midnight, but by then I’d had a four-pack of cider and a voddy ‘n’ orange or two, so I wasn’t as upset as I might otherwise have been.

I am so over summer and it’s barely halfway through it.

The biggest paralysis tick you will ever see

A very large paralysis tick on an index card.

Paralysis ticks: another in the long litany of Things In Australia That Will Kill You. Late last year the dog had two ticks on him, neither even remotely close to this size, and he spent two nights in the vet hospital. The Flatmate was laid up for two weeks after contracting rickettsia from a paralysis tick in 2011. I myself had to have a microscopic portion of mandible removed from my collarbone in September.

Fortunately this one was on a goat, and as we all know goats are badass, so she was perfectly fine and suffered no ill effects. The tick also survived removal, but was fed to some chickens shortly after the photo shoot.

Play counts

Every year I reset the play counts of my entire iTunes library, so that I can have a snapshot of what I’ve been listening to every year, and also because it’s not fair on songs that were added to my library in, say, 2011 to have to compete with songs that were there at the beginning in 2003 (I have a very strange relationship with fairness)

This process involves creating a new static Top 50 of 20xx playlist from my Top 50 Right Now smart playlist, and then saving it in 5 different formats to preserve the number of plays, because I can never remember which format actually includes the play counts.

A couple of years ago I had to add a condition to the smart playlist to include only songs that I’d played more than once, because otherwise it got too cluttered in early January. Which explains why my current Top 50 playlist is three songs long and comprises vaguely embarrassing 80s pop, death metal, and weird experimental drummy stuff.

Actually that’s not a bad summation of my iTunes library. Rock!