Minolta 100mm f/2

Just beginning to play with my recently acquired Minolta 100mm F/2. It’s an amazingly sharp lens and the IQ is on par with anything I have ever shot with. Considering this lens was made in 1987 it holds up well when used with the modern day digital Sony Alpha 700.

I would go so far as to say that this lens is easily as sharp wide open as my Sony Zeiss 135 f/1.8 is when stopped down to f/2.0. Similar in focal length (100mm vs 135mm) this lens is considerably smaller and more light weight. That means it’s easy to carry around in my small bag with a few other lenses where the Zeiss requires a bit more of a commitment to lugging around some heavy gear. A huge plus.

I can easily see this lens becoming one of my heavy rotational favorites, espeically for low light portrait work

Backyard Birding Report

The baby Mockingbird I reported earlier is getting big enough to fly and turns out to be one of two babies living in the bushes in front of the house.

Still has some of his downy bird fuzz, but should be grown and on his way soon. We’re pretty tired of the incessant peeping. The mother Mockingbird does keep a watchful eye on the youngsters and goes to the backyard frequently for food.

Distressing that the Grackles have been showing up in greater numbers. We’ve even seen some babies being fed by their parents. They love the suet and the bread we put out and gunk up the birdbath dunking it.

I put out a larger feeder that is filled with a seed and corn cake. The bigger birds love it and the Blue Jay finally has a feeder that can accommodate his size.

Ricky the Cardinal was putting on a an odd show as I sat in the backyard this afternoon. Leaning from one side to another and making an insistant chirping noise he seemed to be confronting me.

Or showing off for the lady Cardinal…

Speaking of Ricky…a few weeks ago I noticed these two dark birds I had not seen before. Dull brown heads and smallish. About the size of the Cardinals and definitely not Blackbirds, Crows or Grackles. I didn’t really think much of it until this weekend when I saw this

It was obvious to me that the black bird was doing that little wing shake open mouth thing that baby birds do when they want their parents to feed them. Certainly Ricky was not going to feed this guy…WRONG!

What the heck? I watched Ricky feed this guy on and off all weekend. On Friday when I mentioned it to Cynthia she said “Oh, that’s a Cowbird!”

Turns out that Cowbirds lay their eggs in Cardinal nests and if the Cardinal doesn’t detect that a strange bird’s egg has been added the Cardinal will hatch the egg and raise the Cowbird as it’s own.

Poor Ricky! I can just imagine him thinking “Boy this kid’s ugly…and what an appetite! Guess he takes after his mother’s side of the family….”


We hung a suet feeder in the tree outside the front windows in hopes of attracting more birds. Of course the neighborhood squirrel was interested and was perched on the branch checking it out. When we went to shoo him away he just looked at us. He seemed to know we were not a threat behind the glass. We banged and yelled and he just looked at us as if to say “neener neener neener! you can’t get me!”

Shot through the window with the Sony 100mm macro lens.

Chango Man

Having a Friday off allowed me to stay up late on a school night and finally catch Chango Man at the Houston Continental Club on Thursday after Beetle.

I’d heard good things about Chango Man, mostly from the members of Chango Man but still, I wanted to check them out. Described as America Cumbia music it is a fantastic blend of Latin sounds that really sounds great. As front man El Fausto (Tino) Jackson likes to say: [paraphrasing] “There’s no reason Latin music can’t rock” and rock it does. It was a great show and definitely worth the time to go see.

Tino is great front man. I’ve seen him play with Beetle and Disco Expressions but when he is out front and taking charge is when he seems to be at his finest.

Additional photos in the Chango Man Gallery

Noisy Neighbor

There’s been a baby Mockingbird outside the front window and for the last few days he’s been cheeping and cheeping. He’s not in a nest and he’s super hard to find, especially since he stops cheeping when we go outside to look for him. I finally located him and was able to shoot the above picture using the nifty Sony 100mm Macro lens. He was pretty fearless and just watched me as I put the lens within a few inches of him. If you click to see the larger image you can see the intrepid photographer reflected in his eye.