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Thursday, 07 February 2019


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I'd check out Craigslist for used treadmills. Worth a shot.

Hi Mike,
I started to write a response to yesterday's post but stopped when it grew too large (I have a lot of thoughts about exercise).

My parents purchased a treadmill to make winter exercise easier and safer. Due to their own space issues they put it in the basement, facing a blank concrete wall. As you might guess it takes a lot of motivation to exercise in that scenario and they don't use it as much as they should. So, if you get a treadmill I would strongly suggest that you place it in a location that will encourage/excite you with a nice view, or access to your music (whatever works for you), even if that requires rearranging other furniture. I don't think any visitor's will fault you for prioritizing your health by having easy access to a treadmill in your house.

You are certainly correct that a quality treadmill can be expensive, but if you are not running you can safely use a smaller, lighter weight, and probably cheaper option. For example, you probably don't need the 22 x 60 inch platform and "commercial" build quality that many of the newest treadmills advertise (i.e., you don't need the machines you'll see at the health club for walking). As others have suggested, check Craigslist and online classifieds; I have purchased many pieces of perfectly good exercise equipment on Craigslist for 5-25% of original price.

As far as outdoor winter walking goes, I would encourage you to keep at it if possible. Get some Yaktrax or similar for traction and maybe some hiking/trekking poles for stability. The poles will also come in handy for taking pressure off of your knees when coming down Welker Hill the rest of the year.

As for feeling bad about leaving your dog behind (I've been there too), maybe use a vigorous walk to get yourself warmed up so that you can handle the slower pace with the dog immediately afterwards.

Well, this got long too. Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Preserving knees and hips as we age makes an argument for some kind of stationary bicycle over a treadmill. As for the bleakness and darkness of Winter, I’ve been getting excellent results from the use of the “Aurora Lightpad” from Alaska Northern Lights (purchased from Amazon). SAD is a real mental health concern and light therapy is actually helping me.

Shortly after getting started with photography, I found an article from lens rentals about getting a lens back that had a fly in it. https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/06/i-dont-know-why-it-swallowed-a-fly-weather-sealed-lens-with-a-fly-inside/

I take care of my lenses and try not to get them gucked up and if I'm shooting toward the sun and get some flaring, I'll look to see if there are any smudges. Otherwise? Meh. But a few days later I watched a buddy obsessively dusting off the front element with a special camel hair brush. I didn't laugh out loud. But I wanted to.

I once had an interested buyer who had a threshold of 5 visible dust specs in the lens -- any more and it was no sale. I sent him Kurt's article. Apparently it was not convincing (still no sale!)

Very true, I have recently bought a nice Nikon 28PC. They usually go on eBay for €400+. Mine has a small nick and it cost me €200.

There is no visible degradation to the image quality.

The only problem is that I had to buy a FF Nikon to sit behind it. I found a nice D700 and the lovely creamy image quality of that camera left me unsatisfied with my present M43 gear.

Just added a D810 and a 24-120. I see expensive times ahead.

Maybe using Nordic walking poles will save your knees and they also help to avoid falling. A long (30 foot or so) extending lead will help with intermittent progress when dog walking. People (mis)use them to give the dog freedom whereas they can give the owner freedom instead. Two poles and a dog lead won’t work of course and you need to be away from traffic.

I totally get it about the winter blues and not walking in winter. I slipped on ice and fell on Xmas Eve. It laid me up for a month and I still hurt when I make moves my hips and knees don't like. There are ways to beat the high cost and space requirements of home gym equipment. One I'm trying this winter is 'opportunistic' exercise or one minute exercise. The idea is that you exercise for at least one minute every hour during the day. It doesn't have to involve any equipment although some free weights are helpful. There is even an app for that that has alarms to tell you when and suggests exercises. You can download it free for either iPhone or Android at http://1minchange.changeyourenergy.com/ Exercising for one minute/hour breaks up your none movement and keeps your blood circulating throughout the day. My alarm just went so off I go to exercise for at least a minute. Try it. You might like it.

Climbing poles for descending... takes a lot of pressure off the knees.

Hi Mike, this is so true. I've always been a bit of a prime lens person and although it never achieved the greatness that it's price may have lead some to believe it deserved, I still use a Nikon 18mm F2.8 AF-D for my wedding photography, complete with nasty scratches on the rear element. The pictures look great in the album, but the lens seems worthless to anyone but me!

[I took a pic of the scratches for you then realised that I can't attach images!]

Mike - If you like treadmills you might look at the folding type. I had one several years ago and spent about $2000 for it because I wanted something sturdy and nice. I just hated treadmills... if I’d liked them I’d still be using it today. You don’t exactly seem like the chit chatty health club type.

I like 2-3 hour hikes in the Maryland woods, even in winter. A few weeks ago I was a good distance up and over a few ridges and at least an hour into the back woods of a county park. So I’m taking a photo and a woman comes up the trail with a dog. Nothing odd was my mistaken first impression. The woman was approaching 70 years, and she was totally blind, with her guide do leading the way! My ego was dampened by her strong determination to be walking sightless in the woods with her dog.

Before you hit the gym look into cross country skiing. It's easy on your body and you don't get cold.

Check out a book called "Younger Next Year" by Crowley and Lodge. Essentially, the book argues that you don't have to lose much fitness as you age, but notes the most people do. To fight off the problem, you need dedicated exercise of two kinds -- cardiovascular (which is what you're talking about) and muscle-building work. They say (I'm boiling this way down) that cardiovascular will keep you alive and thinking, but you still wind up old-man weak with much lessened ability to do things that were quite ordinary when you were younger. That's why you need the muscle work. They also say the muscle work will help with things like balance (avoiding falls) with joint flexibility, and so on, and they explain why.

They suggest at least an hour of pretty heavy exercise a day -- cardio work almost every day (six days a week, anyway) plus two weight workouts a week. I've done a lot of research into this, because I'm at the age where I am losing it. I've found opinions different than theirs (the Mayo suggests thirty minutes of cardio daily is enough but also agrees muscle work is necessary) but nothing authoritative that says they're off base.

As people have pointed out, a home machine can be had fairly cheaply, if bought used, but you can bore yourself senseless. If you go daily to a gym, you'll have machines that both provide the cardio and the weight work, and also some social contact with other people who are working out. I have two friends who go to gyms, and they both have developed a circle of acquaintances who encourage each other and thus have become an extra draw. So that's a plus. I am skeptical of most diet/exercise fad books, but "Younger Next Year" seemed quite sensible to me, doesn't seem faddish at all, and is well reviewed.

Roger Cicala has a similar demonstration of the "scratched lens test": https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2008/10/front-element-scratches/

Are you using hiking poles for your walk up Welker Hill? They reduce a lot of strain on the knees and help give your upper body a workout when walking. You don't need fancy carbon fiber poles, although I picked up a carbon pair for <$40.

Craig's List...
Buy a used treadmill. You'll find a good one cheap if you are patient. You'll find room for it. Good luck and stay healthy.


Those exercise machines: Whatever you do buy used off of Craig's List. That way when you get rid of it it will not be a loser. I have never known anyone who purchased an exercise machine used it for long. It probably is in their garage thinking they will return to the machine later. Much later they're still saying they will get back to the exercise machine.

Here is one that probably is in it's appropriate place: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkrill/32413387144/in/datetaken-public/

I'd go for joining a gym over a treadmill at home. The gym will offer variety, and maybe even classes. Make some friends and "workout partners" and the social aspect will pull you back to workout when you don't really feel like it, similar to your pool hall friends. The variety of equipment will help keep things less boring.

Let the gym own and maintain the treadmill. I like the elliptical a little better, it's like running place and has no impact, and you can adjust the angles of the thing to get range of motion going in the knees and hips.

Good luck!

My wife is a writer and is at it all day. She set up a simple rig on her reclining stationary bicycle to hold her laptop and regularly puts in 3-5 hours a day biking while she's writing. She's currently looking into getting a treadmill that could be set up in a similar way.

I don't know how she does it (typing and peddling at the same time) but I'm not one to argue with success.

Hi Mike, a different take on the exercise dilemma - maybe try talking to a physiotherapist about what is suitable for you, given your existing health issues.
And one absolutely critical aspect - find out the correct technique in whatever it is. Don’t assume - ask, even for long distance walking! Dare I say it, correct technique in exercise is even more important than correct technique in photography (ducks for cover).
Re knees and downhill walking - I seem to recall some posts about walking poles. How did that pan out?

I have been active most of my adult life but have had to scale back activities based on physical issues. I ran marathons until I had low back surgery, Switched to road biking until the arthritis in the neck got too bad. The one constant has been walking: in the neighborhood, local trails, distant cities,or mountain paths. I can't stand to do it inside. I'd rather bundle up against the cold and put on ranger when needed. Of course, I am in north Georgia, not northern NY. The surprising thing is that none of my lost activities have decreased my happiness. Instead, they have pushed me to focus on what is truly important in life - family and friends.

Good luck and do whatever works best for you and good luck going forward.

Glad to hear you’re getting a series of all-clears on your health, Mike. I hope whatever steps you take work out. As you say, exercise equipment takes up so much space; there are arguments in favour of going to places where there is space, i.e. a gym. (But there are arguments against, as well.)

I’m with you in thinking that self-directed exercise in the outdoors is the best solution, as long as you do it routinely, and in that regard I’ve come to realise more and more how fortunate I am. Here in the UK it’s hardly ever too hot or too cold to go outdoors - heatwaves and cold snaps never last long, and in any case our extremes don’t actually equal your regular. You’re probably more likely to get wet here, however!

Exercise is important. But I do wonder the modern lifestyle where people drive everywhere and never walk. Even drive to the gym and then walk or run there on a treadmill.
Wouldn't it be easier, and better, just to walk more? Especially for a photographer...

I cannot know if what works for me will for you, but my regime is to climb stairs (real stairs) with a pack and gradually increase pack weight and flights of stairs. That nearby hill you like to climb could be a biweekly routine, and since you first must walk up, the knees will have warmed up. Do less than the full height and less weight, such that the knees are OK, and then build up slowly. I am in my mid seventies and have been doing this for 25 years, and knock on wood my knees are fine (and my doctor says its OK).

May I suggest snowshoes? Used then when I lived in Vermont. After half an hour you can do a few miles in your underwear and still feel warm. I loved the the silent stillness of the air when I did it. It was in a forest behind my house and I was the only guy on the planet.

My advice, for what it's worth, is forget the health clubs, kit yourself out with proper cold weather clothing and microspikes and get out there. In my experience the problem with health clubs and home exercise gadgets is that they are boring. To keep up the regime you need to look forward to doing it. The great outdoors is immensely more mentally beneficial than the gym too.

"Preserving the knees and hips is very important for continuing exercise in older age—in fact I'd say "pushing yourself" is for young people; "preserving yourself" should be the mantra for us older folk."

OoooK. But is there evidence that correctly done exercise damages the knees and legs as one gets older? Well, yea, rumor has it cycling damages the knees. Rumor has it running damages the knees. These are entertaining, but I mean real, up-to-date evidence that show that properly done exercises on knees and legs healthy at the start damages them?

Don't push yourself, you say? Well, don't push yourself to the extent that you injure yourself. Know your limits and work up gradually. Don't take off running for the first time in decades to impress your gal and wonder why things hurt afterward. (Once read something like that somewhere, but sorta forget where. Anyone know?)

I once read on a photo forum on the internut that getting your heart rate up after 40 was deadly. Or so a doctor told some old guy there. Horse pooky. If so, the doctor was a borderline quack. (Actually, for endurance sports---and perhaps others----you must workout harder as you age for same or similar results.)

If I may be a smart ass, try to find something you can learn to enjoy, ideally, something that if you miss a workout you feel guilty. Something that gives you a hunger to improve. That will work. Searching for some machine, diet, or fad program that will somehow get you in shape, will likely result in disappointment. The "thing" ain't as important as you and your effort and motivation. Sorta like photography.

Plainly stated, I think a successful exercise program is one in which you do something you enjoy, or develop and insatiable urge to progress in. Finding something close to that is more important than anything else.

End of rant. Thank you.

Good luck with the health club, Mike. This past year I hooked up with one of the wellness gurus here at work and managed to drop 25 lbs by drinking lots of water, being mindful of what’re and when I was eating, and “walking it off”. I love to walk, and hate treadmills, but you’re right about the ice: I’ve had too many close calls with it.

So I joined a local franchise club with the intention of maintaining my progress. I got a really good deal just before Christmas— $100 for the year, paid up front. My health insurance even reimbursed me.

I still hate the treadmill, and can’t wait for spring. I’ve also started a some strength work outs in a little area they call the “30 Minute Circuit”. My knees are not in great shape and I find the the Circuit and some time on the elliptical don’t stress them much at all.

So far I enjoy it more than I thought I would. Mostly I think I just enjoy feeling better than before.

You might try a rowing machine if they have them. Do have someone who knows how to row explain the motion to you though.


Results from the dirty lens test may look a bit different if he was photographing at f/11 or f/16 as many landscape types do. I can see dust on the front element of a 14mm lens when stopped down. Same with the 24mm. Longer lenses aren't as bad for this. Then we have the "magic glass" of big, fast SuperTelephoto lenses like 400mm f/2.8 and the like. I don't get obsessive about it but do keep them clean.
Good test, but would like to see his results with the lenses stopped down.

You might want to consider the SpaceWalker walking treadmill by Bodycraft. It's relatively attractive, compact, and "affordable". I purchased one a couple of years ago and am extremely pleased with it so far. At first I was concerned that the deck might not be long enough to accommodate my stride (I'm 6'1") but that that wasn't the case. https://www.bodycraft.com/spacewalker.html

First thing I've learned about any health machine is 'the space they take isn't worth the health they make'.

The second thing I've learned is walking with my dog in any weather makes me stronger overall. Learning to overcome the obstacles helps you learn to adjust to different situations. Don't be afraid to slip on the ice for Christ-sakes, buy some ice trackers for your boots.

Mike - See if your gym offers a spin class. I've found that camaraderie is the fastest way to burn calories and is one of the best ways to get your cardio workout. Don't worry you'll get used to the saddle quickly because most are padded well and its low impact on the knees! All you need is 40 minutes 2x - 3x week, add the walks or treadmill, throw in some weights and it will make a great weekly routine and keep your cardiologist happy. -from a 2x MCI, quad CABG, and afib patient. Note: if you're on a beta-blocker and you want to follow heart rate, then you should discuss max HR with cardiologist before you start because it will keep it low.

Good luck with the health club, Mike! For me, exercise became easier when it became a social activity. A friend of mine, a triathlete, broke her foot on an obstacle course competition. This meant that I could keep up with her pace in the running track, so we started to run/jog together. Now I regularly run 10 km, and have done half marathons (I finish last).

By the way, if your joints are troubling you, swimming might be an option. Perhaps there are public indoor swimming pools in your area.

(I hope you find these comments concerning your health helpful, and not intrusive.)

Way back when, I bought a used Contax 645 55/f3.5 lens for about half of the going market rate via eBay because of its poor cosmetic condition.

Even though I'm a bit of a bottom-feeder, I hesitated a bit, but the seller insisted it was the best performer of the three lenses he had ultimately bought and resold, because he foolishly believed a lens in better cosmetic condition would perform even better still.

I fell into the same trap he did and ultimately bought (and resold) three lenses as well, only to confirm that Yep, this scruffy one was by far the best performer of all.

As a result of this experience, I am no longer concerned about the cosmetic condition of a used lens so long as it's priced right, since not every potential buyer is so enlightened and I may want to sell it someday.

P.S.: And Yes, I still own and use this lens today!

Re the Munger article; My Canon 24-70 f/4 IS which I knowingly bought for a discount because it came with with a small front element coating mark. Seemed to do just fine on the 50MP sensor on my Eos 5Ds!

Another vote for walking poles (two of them), especially downhill.

I have no experience with dogs, so can't help there, or comment on pole/dog compatibility.

But at 75, I'm not cycling or XC skiing much any longer, and I'm assured that load-bearing exercise with modest shock loads (walking, but not cycling) will help to keep my bones strong.

I get most of my exercise and a lot of pleasure out of dog walking. Obviously the dog likes it too. True the start and stop is annoying especially if its cold and you want to keep moving. I would suggest you start when you have a nice day and you just want to get out and enjoy the walk. Once you do it for a while you will get in the habit and the dog won't let you forget. Makes for great motivation.

One thing that works for us is when I can let her off the leash. True the park frowns on this but if I get there and there are no cars in the parking lot then I can let her go. She can go at her pace and I can go at mine. I'm lucky that my dog will stay in the same relative vicinity and I can get her back on leash when I need to.

I find in lenses, haze is as bad or worse than fungus and harder to spot. And I hate it's effects and photoshop cannot really fix them. I remember buying a lens on auction and being surprised that when I put it on a camera there was essentially no image. I hadn't noticed the haze but once I checked, there it was. I sent it off to Nikon to be cleaned but 6 months later I was reviewing the day's photos and there it was again! Again I didn't see the problem looking at the lens.

I know why Leica lens buyers carry a pen-light with them when buying used lenses. Everybody should.

Unlike dirt and scratches, haze that's hard to see will ruin photographs pretty quickly.

That reminds me, I need to check the two lenses I will be using for a job next week. I recall having to take apart and clean an 80mm Hassie Planar one evening before a job. The pressure to get the job done was quite awful, but what else could I have done? I don't mind taking apart simple Nikon and Leica manual focus lenses, but Hasselblad lenses have a reputation for being complex and demanding due to the way they are fit with leaf shutters. I don't want to have to do that again.

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