Bridgewater Cors, VT: Vintage Yuengling Cans at Long Trail Brewing Co. [Beer]

Took this while at Long Trail Brewery on a visit there during my birthday week last year. I immediately got a ticket on the way home, obviously. Anyways, they have an extremely interesting collection of old vintage beer cans on several of the walls in their seating area. I could pretty much sit there checking them all out and sip on their Double IPA all day.

Some Test Photos With The D80 [Photo of the Day]

Just some pics of the pooch and some random ass stuff I had around the kitchen. Needless to say, these are… rough. Definitely going to need a lot more practice with this camera to get the kind of shots I’m used to with my LX3. All of these pictures were taken with an old  Nikkor 50mm AF that got discontinued in 2001, exactly the reason I wanted the D80 since autofocus is compatible with so many of these older lenses. I don’t see need to get something newer (yet) as long as my shots get better. Time will tell.

New (to me) Camera [New Hotness]

I’ve been thinking about picking up a DSLR for a while now. I’ve been kinda on the fence about it. I much prefer the portability of a prosumer digital camera, and figured my next upgrade would probably steer me towards a used Canon G-series or possibly a Micro Four-Thirds to keep the portability factor. I like the idea of being able to switch lenses out to fit the needs of the situation. The zoom on my LX3 is laughable, again pointing in the direction of a M4/3’s camera. But my budget has been small and other than first gen Panasonic’s these types of cameras were out of reach. Even further out of reach were the lenses, which are astronomical and haven’t shown up much on the used market yet.

That leads me to the traditional DSLR market. I’ve had my eyes on a D90 for a while, and I’ve seen the used prices on these go down further and further. You can find them regularly in the 500-600 range for used or refurbs. But that’s still without a lens, so tack on a prime and a zoom and I’m close to the thousand dollar range. No thanks.

So the past few weeks I’ve been keeping an eye out for the predecessor of the D90, the D80. I don’t need the latest and greatest camera out there, and I’m just getting into photography and I’m not even sure this is what I even want to lug around taking pictures of food and beer everywhere. So I decided $300 was going to be my budget for the whole thing: camera, lens, etc. Plenty of D80s were available for body only at $250 but that wasn’t leaving much for lenses. I finally found one last week that was going for $300 plus two lenses, a Speedlight and a flash frame. The lenses weren’t anything to write about but overall it was a pretty good deal, but it was in Rochester. I decided that I was going to wait and if it was still around for my next paycheck, I’d grab it.

It was sold two days later. So I forgot about it for a while, and this morning decided to do a quick search to see if the market had changed. It was posted at 5:30 this morning: a D80 with the DX 18-135mm kit lens for $300 located right here in Colonie. PERFECT. I wasn’t going to be so foolish this time and let this one slip out of my hands. I sent an email at 6:30AM, called at 9AM, and arranged to meet him at 10. Awesome.

He takes the camera out of the bag and the first thing I notice is that it has the MB-D80 battery grip on there. Something I planned for a later upgrade, definitely not something thrown in. Between that and the extra battery (since the grip takes two batteries) you’re looking at over $200 in accessories. That plus the dual battery charger and a D80 field guide, there was no point in haggling. This was an absolute STEAL.

I plan on taking this to TAP NY next weekend and seeing how well drinking and DSLRs mix. Hopefully this is a great start to my next step into photography but if it not I can always resell it at a profit!

Ruthless Rye IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

This is Sierra Nevada’s new IPA, replacing the Glissade IPA which I was never a big fan of. I wouldn’t usually pick this up with Celebration still in stores but since this is new I had to grab a 6 pack at least. It’s good for a rye. Not as good as Hot Rod Rye from Bear Republic, but definitely better than that crap in a can, Righteous Rye from Sixpoint, both of which appear in this review. I’ll be sticking with Celebration until it stops showing up on the shelves.

My New Ride!

Haha…. yeah right. This is the sweet new whip I’m rocking while the JSW is getting worked on. It was either this or a Hyundai Santa Fe. NO THANKS! Anyways, can’t wait to beat the balls off of this for the week, and see how terrible (or not) it is living with this new gen of economy compacts. Maybe I’ll clean it up and take some decent pics later in the week. 

Pitch Black Pizza Stone [Kitchen Tech]

After my pizza post I got talking with Brad about pizza stones, what mine looks like and how well it’s seasoned. The thing with pizza stones is that, while they don’t need to be seasoned and you can use them as is, it doesn’t really hurt to accelerate the process. As you use it, the stone takes on a natural non-stick patina just like your cast iron , and it’ll get darker and darker with age. I’ve had mine for about five years now, and as you can see in the picture it’s almost completely pitch black, again, just like cast iron.

In fact, it’s totally fine to leave your pizza stone in the oven. For those with “hot spots” in their oven this can really help out with distribution of heat. Hell even putting your stone through a cleaning cycle isn’t going to hurt it. These things are pretty much indestructible. (Unless you’re Elise. Luckily hers was still under warranty.)

Seasoning your pizza stone is a simple as putting down a layer of oil on it and tossing it in as your baking other things; no need to turn your oven on special. After a few times through it should look like the above, and you’ll never have an issue with pizza sticking.

PS. Don’t forget that you’re not limited to cooking pizza on a pizza stone. The even heat distribution is great for baking cookies, breads and any other food you’d usually put on a baking sheet. The more you use it, the better the patina formed!