I think it is safe to say

that Carl Zeiss was the John Moses Browning of optics.

He revolutionized optics in the way Browning revolutionized firearms, and he did it without any equipment more complex than pencil and paper. They didn’t even have Curta calculators then, you had to do actual- you know, MATH. And Calculus. And in fact, Optical calculus didn’t exist at the time, so you had to INVENT it.

And Zeiss wasn’t just an optics guy. He saw the work of other optics makers and became a mechanical engineer; any engineer who looks at monstrosities like the Archenhold Instrument can see why they had so much trouble. There’s a damned good reason there are no more instruments that look like that- the counterweights were insane, the weight of the tube enormous, and the overall design something that looks like it was built like an armorer and not an optician.

No, Zeiss decided nobody would look through his lenses and be disapointed so he designed stable mechanical platforms to hold them, and a large number of the finer refractor scopes in the world bear his mounts or mounts based on his designs. You only have to put your hands on a Jena microscope, or telescope, or camera lens, to realize what a driven perfectionist he was, and the team at Jena is a who’s who of the pioneers in the field.

Just as well made firearms still command a premium in the industry, anything with Zeiss optics, particularly early Jena stuff, is sought after just because of it’s precision design and enduring quality. No example ofd this is more prevalent than used cameras. You can get a really nice film camera on Fleabay for about $10 without trying. A camera that I would have given teeth for in 1974. Put a Zeiss lens on that camera, and it all changes. You’d be hard pressed to touch one in perfect shape for less than a hundred bucks, still, and finer examples still command original retail prices and above.

When these cameras were new, they were expensive, but talented amateurs could still scrape their nickles and dimes together and afford them. hell, even a nanny could put her hands on a Leica.

Now, of course, the same thing has happened to all things that have an innate quality. They have become status symbols for people with more brains than sense. Sure, you still find a real enthusiast who puts the scratch up to put a BMW in the driveway just to be able to scrub expensive rubber off the tires and drive it like a hooligan, but most are sold to people who will never know nor appreciate their capability. Same is definitely true of cameras; Contax (Zeiss’ house brand camera, basically) and Leica are marketed to people who can afford to spend stupid money. And who use them to take snapshots. You can buy a selfie stick for a Leica now. What’s that clip-clopping I hear? Oh, yeah.


Reportedly people thought the genius of Charlie Parker was a result of his heroin use, and a lot of jazz musicians figured if they used heroin too, they would acquire his genius. Well, heron doesn’t make you a genius any more than owning a BMW makes you Bill Caswell or carrying a Hasselblad makes you Ansel Adams- or, a finely tuned expensive rifle makes you a sniper. A powerful lot of really good photographers used some pretty cheap cameras.

I have liked digital because it has allowed me to take literally thousands of pictures at infinitesimal cost. And I like to hope that this is helping me to improve my skills. So when I pick up my old Argus or Contaflex, I can make the shots count, which is, in the end, the difference between a shutterbug and a photographer.

I have been up to my eyeballs in alligators.

And the swamp still needs draining. And there is only me.

The episode with the freezing water line has had some repercussions, I have developed a vitreous detachment. So my right eye is like a snow globe. I have lots of new floaters there, which is like looking through the fog at the beginning of an Ed Wood movie. Apparently this happened as a result of hanging upside down in the pit.

I can still see pretty well. Everythingnis just foggy. And I don’t know yet if this will affect my shooting, as far as “being able to”. I can probably still suck just as much as I used to. I don’t think handguns will be any kind of an issue, but I like to shoot big boomers. Technicaly, since the damage has been done, there may be nothing else to worry about, but I’ll know in six weeks. At least there’s zero retina damage, and it looks like other than the persistent fog I’ll be fine.

Apparently there’s a doctor that removes the vitreous and installs a synthetic oil. This sure sounds like fun. I won’t be jumping on that bandwagon, not too quickly, anyway.

it isnt bad enough

That my bowels have taken over from my bladder as alarm clock. Or that the hour they choose is 2 am no matter what i eat or when. Why is it i can only go BACK to sleep when i hear the wifes alarm go?

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