Gardening and Broken Blades

I spent a lot of time in the garden today, mostly cleaning up, creating bamboo trellises, and rearranging things.

Worm composting doesn’t get hot, so seeds don’t die. When I opened up the bin that holds my “finished” vermicompost, I laughed.


I have two types of beans, two types of peas, strawberries, onions (a stretch), and various spring bulbs going right now. What you can’t see in these photos is the hummingbird feeder I put up.

After I took these photos, I moved the pea plants so that the onions are a buffer between the peas and the railing. If they grow against the railing, I won’t be able to pick them easily.

Left Side

Right Side

A few days ago, my dad called and told me he found a Nikon camera while cleaning and he wondered if it was mine. It wasn’t, and we don’t know where it came from, but he sent me the body and lenses.

Both lenses are metal (how I miss actual metal), and one of the lenses is essential the same as my prime lens. It works with my camera, except I need to manually focus and change the f/stop. No big deal, and it’s great to have a backup lens.

The second lens is a zoom with a macro setting. Unfortunately, the blades (to change the aperture) were stuck. And they were at a very high f/stop, although I’m not sure if it was f/16 or f/22. Shooting with the f/stop that high would be great if all I wanted to do was use the camera for landscapes on very bright days.

We don’t know how long this camera has been at my dad’s place, but he lives in the desert. It’s dry, dusty, gritty. Although the lens appeared to have been well-protected, I thought maybe dirt or sand had gotten into the lens.

I Googled a bit. One site said it could be a lever problem, another a moisture problem, another an internal something-or-other problem… I decided the lens was old enough to risk killing, and grabbed some pliers. I used the pliers to wiggle the lever on the back a bit and the blades popped about halfway open. Success! I wiggled it a bit more and they popped open all the way.

But the aperture still doesn’t change.

So now I have nearly wide open blades to deal with. I like a narrow depth-of-field, so that’s OK with me. Of course, now I need to change only the ISO or shutter speed to expose properly. That’s one advantage to shooting digitally, though. With film you couldn’t change the ISO shot by shot.

The photos below (and the wide shots above) were all taken with this broken lens. Considering how windy it was today, and that I wasn’t using a tripod, I’d say it worked out pretty well, but I need to try and reshoot II.

Macro I

Macro II

Macro III