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Spring has Sprung

My hiatus is over.  The break between Winter and Spring Sports has come to an end.  I always look forward to getting outside after spending four months in a dark gym sitting on a hard floor.  But, every year it seems, my optimism is squashed be ‘weird’ spring weather.  On this sunny April day, the wind was howling between 30 and 40 mph at times.  This lead to the occasional dust storm.  Not good for the eyes or the camera!  Shepherd had home games with Merrill in both Baseball and Softball.  Shepherd’s starting catcher had broken her hand in the first game of the season.  But, as you can see above, this hasn’t kept her on the bench.  She still gets into the game as a courtesy runner for the pitcher.

Merrill’s pitcher threw hard and mixed in a circle change up (see pitching hand in above pitcher).  Shepherd’s offense was unphased though and hit her up for 15 runs in four innings.

While on the other side of the diamond, Shepherd’s senior pitcher, Anna Kenny, tossed a shut out.

In the Baseball game, Shepherd’s AJ Travis also tossed a shutout as the Jay’s won this 5 inning affair 10-0.  You can see more pictures from these two games here.

I didn’t have my Nikkor 200-400 VR lens available today (or for the near future).  Not having used it since last fall for football, I dragged it out of the closet and used it a couple of times last week.  The Zoom collar on it had been dragging for over a year (the lens itself is about 4 years old).  I had put up with the tension by changing my grip on the lens when I used it on a monopod.  I moved my hand from the top of the lens (where I place it to reduce vibrations for the shutter) to under the lens.  I needed to do this to get enough torque to twist the collar to zoom in and out.  I no longer could move the collar easily from the top.  But, the thing that stopped me using the lens was that over 90 percent of my shots were soft focused.  I tried a variety of setups to check this, but nothing seemed to improve the situation.  I was forced to take the lens to Wyandotte, MI to a Nikon licensed repair center to see if they can fix the situation.  I’m curious to find out what they find wrong with the lens.  For the time being, I’ve put the Nikon 1.4x on my 70-200 lens to shoot baseball and softball.  The only problem this doesn’t seem to solve are plays on the opposite side of the diamond in baseball.

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