Goal reached for October 31, 2021. Happy Halloween!!!

Well...we pulled it off. We just hit the official 28,000,000 mark for 
individual page views here at VSL. That doesn't count re-posts elsewhere
or the ubiquitous blog feeds. Add those numbers in and we've crossed over the 80,000,000 mark. 

We also hit 5200+ completed blog posts with 99 % of them being about 

Over 25,000 photographs posted. Lots of letters typed. Many paragraphs indented.

I'm celebrating by stealing a Snickers candy bar from the trick or treat candy by the front door....

More to come.


Late Afternoon Cloudscapes.

There is a short little season in Austin when the temperatures drop down into the 50s and 60s, the sun sets earlier and the clouds scoot through in an interesting way. Late afternoons on these days are my favorite times to get out and walk. No excessively fabulous gear is necessary or even desired. Just decent shoes and a functional camera, with even a pedestrian lens. 

I was out walking on this particular day with the little Sigma fp and Panasonic's 50mm f1.8 lens for the L mount. There's nothing particularly striking about either of these images but they do remind me of the reality (largely ignored around here) of a season change between Summer and Everything Else. The cue is when the highs in the afternoons drop into the mid-70s instead of staying pegged at the mid-90s.

The 50mm lens is almost always a fine companion. The Lumix version is mostly thermoplastic in construction so it's very light even though its footprint is fairly big. It's a modern 50mm construction so there are more elements, and fancier ones, than in the older Gauss lens designs that were a standard in standard lenses for decades. Now, instead of expecting a lens to be soft everywhere but in the center when used wide open, lenses like the Lumix 50mm are satisfyingly sharp across almost the entire frame even at their widest apertures. Stopping down improves the overall performance by small percentages and even close up performance is excellent. 

The 50mm f1.8 Lumix is one of the few real bargains I've found in the Panasonic L mount alliance catalog. When I bought mine it was about $450 (new) which, if you factor in inflation, is probably less in real dollars than 50mm normal lenses from the heyday of film cameras. The Panasonic "bargain" line-up of recent f1.8 prime lenses seems like a good place to put together a modest and minimalist system. I'd consider the 24mm, the 50mm and the 85mm f1.8 lenses and then stop and catch my breath. It's an interesting alternative to a zoom-based system.

In a month we'll have even lower temperatures and the sunset will be earlier. The light in winter comes in at a more interesting slant and is generally more dramatic near the end of the day than our summer and mid-year light. I'm looking forward to it. The changing seasons also means a lot less sweating on walks but, conversely, more stops for coffee. A nice trade.