Who are we? We are our stories.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Taps for Terry

 A random memory:. My classmate Terry Nelson played the trumpet, majored in music at the U of M. He played well enough that he served his country playing in the Navy Band. When we lived at the corner of Valley and Giles, Terry lived two doors down to the north. On summer evenings he would sit by a fire in his backyard, drink a beer (or two?) and softly play his trumpet, always finishing with taps.

Olive, the elderly woman who lived between us complained. She complained about soft, professional quality trumpet music. She also complained about our stainless steel chimney stack being too shiny. Olive complained. It is what she did. It validated her existence
Terry's wife Deanna died far too early and it seemed to take the wind from his sails. He died about 15 years ago at 64.


Wednesday, January 24, 2024


 Taken with a Nikon D7500 DSLR and NIKKOR 300mm f/4 prime. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Photography Thoughts and Lessons:

 I am losing the race with my aging body.
As my eyesight continues to decline I am still working on my photography. A blind amateur photographer?   Oh, what the hell. 

Facebook is fine, but posting there is ephemeral, here today, gone tomorrow. This posting is for that handful of pre-Facebook folks who periodically monitor this blog, but probably more for myself as a milestone marker.

When taking photos of small flitty birds there are really two options:

1. Be very, very good.
2. Be very, very close.

I am old, half-blind, with failing memory. No. 2 is really my only option. I would add a No. 3 - hang the best optics you can afford on front of your camera body.

At one time I carried a long variable-zoom lens. Every year it got heavier. I still own that lens for tripod situations, and also a close-up lens for bugs and butterflies, but for everyday shooting I use an old tech Nikon D7500 DSLR body with a NIKKOR 300mm f/4 prime lens.
I suppose eventually I could replace that with a modern, gee-whiz mirrorless camera, but I love it. Does a man put down his loyal dog simply because it is old? 

These are all fall plumage birds shot from my garden bench in the past few days.

Your loyal dog,

Friday, January 27, 2023

Old and Obsolete Camera(man)

These photos were taken on 01/26/2023 on South Padre Island. I am posting this to remind myself of the joy of shooting photos with an obsolete, heavy Nikon D7500 camera and equally obsolete and even heavier Nikon 200-500mm lens, the combination of which weigh a boat anchor. Previously I had a Nikon D5600 camera which ... which I dropped :-(. The lens survived quite well; the camera body seemed okay, then acquired a mind of its own, randomly changing settings before commenting suicide. 

Nikon has embraced mirrorless camera technology to the point where the D7500 is the last Nikon DSLR in current production. It shares the sensor and processor as the previous Nikon "flagship" D500. It has the basic internal guts only in a crop format.

Lorna has a marvelous new Canon mirrorless camera and I was having a quite a bad case of camera envy. Yesterday I got my settings tuned in and got my photo groove back. I have come to the realization that I too am old and obsolete. When I die they may have to pry my rigor mortis stiffened fingers from this howitzer of a camera.

Obsoletely yours,
Gunnar Berg

Addendum: Although I still possess the 200-500mm zoom, day-to-day it has been replaced with a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 prime lens and 1.4x teleconverter.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Heimdall the Watcher

INorse mythology Heimdall, watchman of the gods, dwelt at the entry to Asgard. He required less sleep than a bird, could see 100 leagues and hear grass growing in the meadows. Heimdall kept the ringing horn Gjallarhorn which could be heard throughout heaven, earth, and the lower world to summon the gods when their enemies approached. 

Over the ages, one by one, the old gods eventually retired to the south of France. Heimdall fell on hard times, eventually retiring beside the spring which is the source of the mighty Oakwood Rivulet, where he landed a job as a watchman protecting 1410 from all evil. 

(Heimdall's face is a bit distorted. His boulder had a natural "face" which only I seemed to see, so I just liberated him a little. In most sunlight he is not visible.)
- Gunnar

Monday, July 4, 2022

Dust in a Baggie - Billy Strings

I am really not a huge fan of Bluegrass music, but even I can recognize genius level talent. We will see where the young man goes with it. Bluegrass music used to be about moonshine and corn liquor. He took that tradition to the world he grew up in.

Cellphone concert at a party before anyone other than friends had heard of him:


I ain't slept in seven days, haven't ate in three
Methamphetamine has got a damn good hold of me
My tweaker friends have got me to the point of no return
I just took the lighter to the bulb and watched it burn

This life of sin has got me in
Well, it's got me back in prison once again
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie

Well, if I would have listened to what mom and papa said
I wouldn't be locked up in prison, troubled in the head
I took that little pop and suck until my mind was spun
I got 20 years to sit and think of what I've done
This life of sin has got me in
Well, it's got me back in prison once again
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie
Sometimes, I sit and wonder where my little life went wrong
These old jailhouse blues have got me singing this old song
My life is a disaster, Lord and I feel so ashamed
In here where they call me by a number, not a name
This life of sin has got me in
Well, it's got me back in prison once again
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie

A few years later, Billy Strings and Marcus King. Strings with a '1936 000-28 and Marcus a '1954 Telecaster. Over time, guitars simply haven't gotten any better.


Still not 30 years old, selling out 10,000 ticket venues with a Grammy, nominated for two more, and older musicians - county, blues, jazz want to play with the kid. It will be interesting to see if he can stand the heat.

We'll see, 
- Gunnar

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

And on the third day God created...

I do not necessarily believe in a God Creator, but if I did I would imagine he is mucking around tweaking and changing things (evolution?) ... like moving Victoria Falls 102 feet to the left so it looked right to him .... or her (heaven only knows). 

I have an arriving order of sheet moss in transit. Once I lay that natural carpet the rocks become mountains and except for erosion and continental drift, the mountains, rivers and streams, are pretty much fixed in place.

So today I shifted the upper waterfall 5" to the right. Seems easy and straightforward, but everything is connected so I had to move a cliff of rock and dirt. 

And on the morrow I shall move mountains.

(The mountain range and gulch on the horizon should shift a corresponding amount.)

- Gunnar
P.S. I Googled to see what day God created the earth.

"On the first day - light was created. the second day - the sky was created. the third day - dry land, seas, plants and trees were created. the fourth day - the Sun, Moon and stars were created". 

Monday, May 30, 2022

WAY pedals for a 1950 M.Bonvicini

I have a vintage bicycle that has become difficult to ride. First, I can no longer shift it while mounted. This is not a major deal, people ride single-speed bicycles every day. Dismount, select gear, shift, remount. But I am 78 with an inoperable broken scapula and riding drop bars for any distance is "uncomfortable". But damn, I love this bicycle.

So I bought a set of vintage "condorino" style Italian upright bars. I did not want to totally bastardize the bike for the next owner, so I have two sets of cables and housings attached to the bars. I cut three 3/4" long pieces of thin aluminum tubing and rewrapped them under the top tube tape. If I want to switch, I can just remove the cables at the brakes and pull them through, and switch out the stem, bar, brake lever assemblies.

Then I was left with road peddles on a bike that would likely be ridden with street shoes. (The fenders are contemporary, but the frame has wear marks and threaded fittings so it may have been a street bike anyway.

Johnny Pergolizzi showed up with set of really clean Way-Assauto pedals. The original pedals (and stem) are the only original things that a little rough on the bike, so I bit.

While I was Googling Way-Assauto history, another set of vintage WAY pedals showed up on eBay, which are basic platform pedals. Man, I had no idea the animal even existed! They are currently on the Bonnie.

So I have two iterations of a 1950 Italian daily rider.

- Gunnar 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

1410 Migrating Warblers: 05-10-2022 & 05-11-2022

All taken from the same location on our garden bench with "The Beast", my heavy, obsolete old camera.