Close up, tight, bright and shiney

... I bought this new f1.8 lens ...

from Don Norris

Some of our readers will recognize the gist of this story from the last issue of "The Melrose Mirror", in which I confessed that I have never been a baseball player, never wanted to be, and ain't going to be in the time I have left.

Never the less, I do support the Red Sox, ever since we moved to New England in 1947. Before, everybody in the world (I was told) rooted for the New York Yankees. But then everybody in the world lived in New Jersey.

Since that time, I have been branded a non-athlete just because I don't -- and never will - play baseball.

Anyway, to get to the point, I bought a new lens for my Canon 60D a year or so ago; the ad said it had an f1.8 lens, which up until that time had been pretty darned expensive. So when I saw this lens on sale at Amazon for only a hundred bucks, I grabbed it.

You get what you pay for.

When the piece arrived, I discovered that the lens was in fact an f1.8 diaphragm -- but that's all it had. It was (is) f1.8 -- no diaphragm at all. Just a pretty much solid lens that admits light at one level: f1.8. Normally you get a new lens and it has a diaphragm that lets you vary the amount of light the lens admits -- but not this one.

So, if you want to vary the exposure, you change the speed of the shutter, or the ISO (sensitivity) -- which causes some limitations. But what the new lens DOES do is to admit an awful large amount of light. Period. Like if you use it on a sunny day, and there's light like mad, you had better be able to speed up your shutter like mad, and run down your ISO.

Anyway, the lens turned out to be pretty good anyway. It produced sharp pictures, was light-weight, looked pretty -- and worked okay. The benefits: It is very light. It hand-focuses easily and sharply. And it weighs only a small portion of what my telescopic lens weighs.

And it shoots good. It is sharp, light, focuses quickly. But it has no diaphragm. F1.8 is it. One shoots midnight at F1.8, and at noon at F1.8.

Enough complaining.

So last week I really gave the new lens a workout. Working in the living room, I shot all sorts of things: glasses, books, newspaper, my paintings on the wall, stuff ... and three baseballs currently resting on the mantel. Until September 8, there were two baseballs there, but I got one more that day when I won the Boston Globe contest and got to throw out the first pitch of the game between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.

The honor won me four seats to the game, but also the new ball I pitched that evening. That's ball Number One, at the left.

The second ball was also obtained at Fenway Park. It was back in 1952 when Lorry and I, as college students, went to a Tuesday afternoon game -- against whom, I can't remember. In the bottom half of the third inning, second-baseman Johnny Pesky popped a high foul ball back behind third base.

There were two parties in the seats by third that day. Me, Lorry and her classmates, and some other fellow -- who was about one step farther away from Pesky's pop-up than me. Bare-handed, I caught the ball, but it popped out and rolled under the seats, three rows down. I leaped over the chairs and managed to find my ball before the other guy. So, that was ball number two.

Number Three Ball came pretty much from the same source, but I can't remember the details. But I know I got the ball at Fenway because I never, ever, would have purchased a baseball.

So there we are. Proof positive that I am a Sox fan, even though I can't hit a curve-ball, even though I grew up in Jersey, even though I'd rather run a hundred miles rather than play a game of baseball.

And in the meantime, I must point out that the colonial lady in the photo was created by my mom, Ruth Norris, of Cochrane Street. She cast it, fired it, painted it -- and put it on my mantle.

And so ends my story about baseball. I have yet to reach first base.

December 5, 2014

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