Guest Contributor – TomD – 09JUN2024 – Guns for Home Defense (Updated to 12JUN2024)

Tom | Flickr



What you need to do is to go buy a suitable pistol for home defense. Then you can practice your photographic skills by composing shots of your new weapon in various backgrounds.

Learning to shoot it well is a rewarding challenge.



reply by photog

I’ve been thinking about it. I wanted something that Camera Girl could fall back on when I’m out of the house. Some people have told me to get a shot gun for her because of its ease of aiming. As far as the photographic opportunity I see what you’re saying. Pistols are beautiful machines. The gun show isn’t a very photo friendly environment. No control over lighting or camera support.


reply by TomD

I’m not sure I would recommend a shotgun as a first and only weapon for a female who has absolutely no prior gun experience. I’ve got a shotgun for home defense but I got my first shotgun 65 years ago, at the age of 9. I’ve hunted and shot competition skeet, trap and sporting clays, all extensively.

Shotguns have significant recoil, enough to intimidate, probably scare, a first time shooter. And you really don’t want to start training a new shooter by scaring and intimidating them.

I’d like to see you buy a .22 pistol for learning how to shoot, practice gun safety and taking to the range. There’s no recoil to speak of and the noise is just fine with ear plugs. You’d need to get around 500-1000 rounds each to get comfortable and learn the fundamentals. ESPECIALLY GUN SAFETY! Get someone to teach you. I’d love to take you to my home range but it’s about 900 miles SW of you.

And your home defense weapon would be something like a Glock in 9mm. Maybe a revolver.

Below, my Benelli Nova 12 ga, it’s chambered to accept all 12 ga up to 3-1/2”. With 3” OO buck, it recoils hard enough to intimidate the devil out of me, approaching retina detachment levels.

Benelli Nova.jpg
Benelli Nova.jpg



Comment from War Pig

Working the slide on an autoloader can be a problem for women who may lack hand strength. Especially mature women. Milady’s 25 auto is easier but as far as I’m concerned the 25 is a cap gun and highly likely to malfunction. I always recommend a revolver for women who lack significant experience. The .38 is fine. Deadly at close range and a lot less recoil than a .357Sig. Since she’d likely be firing at very close range she can use a shorter barrel. I would recommend using special personal protection ammo. Say, Winchester Defender for the .38 special. The expanding defender type bullets maximize torso damage and she needs less accuracy. With a torso hit with defense ammo she would likely not require a second shot.

There are revolvers in .410 shotgun but they are very loud and flash a lot. Okay to intimidate the bad guy but the inexperienced shooter may drop it after the first shot.

Personally, I prefer a knife first, then a 45 ACP. But most people don’t like up close, look them in the eye and smell the adrenalin that fighting with knives requires.

The absolute worst thing about teaching women to shoot is their female reaction of closing their eyes in anticipation of or in reaction to, a loud noise. Teaching marksmanship to female officer cadets I had to overcome that first. I kept a length of 50 caliber cleaning rod on hand. I had them dry fire. Every time they closed their eyes I’d smack them on the top of the helmet liner they wore and shout “WRONG HOG”. Then when I broke them of that I’d do the same during live fire. Getting them to keep both eyes open was almost as bad.

Now, you can’t do that to Mrs. Photog unless you want to sleep with one eye open for the rest of your life and hire a food taster. So a mildly recoiling revolver is probably the best bet.


Comments from photog

Thanks Tom and War Pig for your very helpful advice for my home defense decisions.  Hopefully this will also be valuable for other readers on the site.


In reply to War Pig.

I tend to advise revolvers for limited experience people. In extreme high stress situations, people with little to no training to fall back on tend to brain lock. In that situation, chambering a round and flipping a safety needs to be every bit as thoughtlessly automatic as going for the brake pedal on your car. No think, just done.

That takes practice and experience.

Revolver? Just point and pull the trigger, no boom, pull again.

Here’s a revolver I bought sometime back. It’s not exactly up there with my S&W’s and Colts but it performed it function as a VERY light and small carry piece. At that time, as a structural engineer, I commonly found myself alone in old powerless and boarded up buildings in downtown Atlanta to see if they could reasonably be repurposed. I didn’t do that for long unarmed.

I never had to pull it on anyone, thank God. But one time, it may have saved me some serious trouble. A couple of the “residents” came upon me in some dark hallway. They were almost certainly measuring me when I put my hand in my pocket, a decision was instantly made and they left. At that time, I had 5-6 projects going in the area and the Mexican workers who usually kept all of their earnings with them were being robbed too many times to count.

This is a Taurus Titanium Ultra Light, .38 Special +P. It’s no larger than my hand and weights less than a pound.

Downside is when firing +P, it has a pretty sharp bark and recoil. It is ported, so that helps with muzzle flip.


War Pig In reply to TomD.

That’s good. Hammerless can be good but the trigger pull is heavier than cocking and firing. But, it removes another step so that outweighs the extra trigger pull. As you said, point and pull. Keep pointing and pulling until he goes down and stops moving. Yeah, plus-p does bark a bit. My late wife had a pistol. I started her out with the 38 and she progressed to the Python in 357 mag. Back then defender type rounds were mostly just hollow points. So she had 6 hollowpoints. Never had to fire it and only pulled it once to chase away the idiot. Actually not quite true. She did use it on an overbold coyote once. Made mincemeat out of him. Another advantage of a revolver is you can leave it fully loaded all the time with no worries. No magazine spring to fade if left loaded at max over time.


Chemist In reply to War Pig.

Look into the Shield EZ. It is a semiauto .380 where the slide is very easy to manipulate.

Camera Girl, Guns and Glory

So, today Camera Girl and I attended a gun show.  Well, no.  The guy there told me it wasn’t a gun show.  And it was described as a Shooting, Outdoor, and Military Expo.  And he was right there was other stuff for sure.  They had World War II vintage trucks and jeeps and lots of veterans were there like the guys from the Geronimo Foundation who had details of the reenactments they do of D-Day and other paratrooper deployments.

There was a lot of interesting things besides guns.  For instance, what the heck is this?  I’m sure it made a lot of noise and blew up a lot of stuff but what is it called?


But there were a lot of guns, so to me it was a gun show.

There were all kinds of antique guns and there were a lot of rifles from the World Wars.  But there were also countless modern weapons that ran the gamut from hunting rifles to self-defense to just enthusiast favorites.  I think most of the machine guns were from World War II but being completely uninformed I couldn’t really say for sure.

But I got a whole load of shots mostly with my Voigtländer 10mm f/5.6 manual focus lens.  In tight spaces such a wide-angle lens helps out.  Of course, the manual focus aspect is not so helpful but it was still manageable.

I’ll be processing all the files and then I’ll add them to the Photo of the Day rotation to give everyone a break from my close-up documentation of my corner of Dunwich.

And I had some very interesting conversations with the denizens.  One fellow was Vietnam era Army and he was telling about his time on the logistical side of that war.  He said that if someone made a requisition for any kind of supply it had to be provided.  One day someone came in and ordered three helicopters.  And they had to provide them!

Well, it was a very interesting time and I enjoyed it.  But I’m still as ignorant of gun knowledge as I was before I entered the hangar (it was at an airport).  I asked Camera Girl if she wanted to try the helicopter ride that was available.  She gave me a very squinky look and I let it go.

I’ve been meaning to get a gun for the house for a long time.  I’ve only delayed this long because Camera Girl has Sicilian blood on her mother’s side and providing her with a firearm always seemed like stretching my luck.  But now that we saw so many exciting choices, who knows.  Some of the young guys at the show were playing around with guns that had the light or laser aiming assist.  Suddenly I had the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger showing up at the compound and I thought maybe I’m better off building a panic room instead.  Well, maybe I should do both.  After all, in the upcoming cannibal interregnum you can’t have too many precautions.

Guest Contributor – TomD – 03MAY2024 – Guns

Tom | Flickr


Gun shows aren’t the best place for gun photography. I say this knowing your environment is totally alien to mine but do you have gun clubs there, competitions? The competitors usually love talking about their weapons and showing them off.

Here’s one of my competition rifles, the others are bolt actions. I’ve used this one for F Class matches. Shot from the prone (laying down) position at 600 yards. The target is the size of a paint can lid and, to be in the running, you have to hit it every time, 60 times in a row. No matter what the wind is doing.

Most rifles like this are chambered in .223 or 5.56 Nato (essentially the same thing) but this one is 6.5mm Grendel. It has quite a bit more “punch” than a 5.56, especially at range.


Pistols too.

S&W version of the 1911

SW 1911 3.jpg
SW 1911 3.jpg

This one is for home defense.

I live in farm country with no visible neighbors but you can hear them shooting every Sat and Sun afternoon. With the nearest neighbor being a good piece of a mile away and 911 a good 15-20 minutes if you’re lucky, I do admit to a certain degree of comfort of having something like this handy but reality is that I don’t need it.

Everyone here is armed. A burglar would have to be suicidal to try breaking into homes around here and since, burglars don’t tend to suicidal, they don’t.

About 12 years ago, some druggie in Pensacola killed a couple of his “co-workers” and dumped the bodies a couple of miles from my house. The only crime here originates from family members of people known to the victim. And it is exceedingly rare.

The home invasion robbery, the kind that gives people nightmares, does not exist here.

The Benelli Nova shotgun below is modified to contain 7 rounds up to 3-1/2 magnums. I keep it loaded with 3” Buck. I hope I don’t have to shoot it, the recoil is brutal, even to someone not particularity recoil sensitive.

Benelli Nova.jpg
Benelli Nova.jpg

Guest Contributor – Glenn W – 16APR2024 – Photo-Expedition – 2024 Eclipse

Editor’s Comment:

Glenn was kind enough to allow me to publish a private e-mail he sent me.  As some of the regulars know I set up this website originally because I resented the left-bias that permeated most if not all of the photography websites.  So I am always excited when someone on the site has a photography-based post to share.  And going on a trip to get a special photographic shot is near and dear to my heart.


Hi photog,


Since you were kind enough to give me photography advice for the eclipse I wanted to get back to you and let you know how it went.

First off, I purchased a Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 lens. Rather than buying brand new I decided to buy a “good as new” lens from MPB. I think it was a good choice and I like the lens. I don’t know what reputation it has in the photography community but the non-solar images I’ve taken seem really sharp and I like it.

Leading up to the eclipse I was practicing by taking pictures of the sun. I felt like I was having problems getting sharp focus (you can’t use auto focus when using a solar filter, there’s not enough light). I found a tip by a solar photographer that you can get a good focus for solar photography by going out after dark and focusing on a far away star at the f-stop you will be using for the photographs. I did that and marked the spot on my focus ring using a marker.

I took a lot of photos of the eclipse but in the end I am disappointed in my photographs. I am not surprised that they weren’t as good as I hoped but I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world, I still had a great time. I made a newbie mistake that I only found out about after the eclipse. I had my shutter speed set to 1/30 sec in order to get good color and detail. Well, I found a page on reddit where some experienced folks were chatting and they say that the minimum shutter speed for photographing the sun should be 1/250 sec otherwise motion blur will be induced. Sigh… I never imagined the earth and sun could move that much relative to each other in 1/30 of a second.

I still had a blast and enjoyed trying my hand at the photography. My wife and I sat on a berm on the edge of a Walmart parking lot in Decatur, IN. We ended out chatting with a bunch of fellow eclipse watchers and had an all around good time. The sun moving from partial eclipse to full eclipse in the blink of an eye was one of the most dramatic things I have ever witnessed. It was sudden and dramatic. Many people in the crowd let out a gasp when it happened. I witnessed a solar prominence moving with my naked eye from over 90 million miles away. It’s one thing to read about such things and another thing to see it in person.

Once again thank you for the help!


photog’s reply:

Hi Glenn. Thanks for sharing your experiences during the eclipse. The point of totality must have been very impressive. Very exciting.

I’ve always wanted to see a total eclipse. But life intervenes.

I know what you mean about photographic mistakes. A couple of years ago I went on a river trip to see bald eagles. I had the right lens and the camera was adequate but what I failed to notice is that I had the exposure set too slow for the focal length and it introduced too much shake into the shots. Out of more than a thousand files barely a handful were truly sharp. But you live and learn.

I don’t know all the latest tastes in lenses but my feeling is if the lens allows you to get the shots you want and provides a quality you’re happy with, then it’s the right lens. 500mm is a good long focal length. Birds, other wildlife and landscapes and cityscapes fit right in with such a lens. As you can probably tell from my daily photos I have a 90mm macro lens on my camera a lot. But when an interesting project presents itself it’s good to make sure you have the right lens.

Recently I was talking to a friend about a “walk-around” lens. He was enjoying a 24-105mm zoom. I told him that I used to have a 28-75mm f2.8 zoom that had been described derisively as kind of plastic-y. And it was made of a lot of plastic. But what it was good for was a walk-around cityscape lens. It was plastic so it was light but the images looked excellent to me. Now that was an a-mount lens so I sold it when I bought into e-mount. But I never forgot how much fun it was to have this light, versatile lens when I was walking around Manhattan for hours. So it’s great to learn all the places where different lenses serve their purposes.

Thanks for sending this message. This was the original reason I started the site. I was tired of the liberal bias on most of the photographic websites. They would ruin the fun of talking about photos by saying something stupid about politics and then because the moderators were also liberal they’d punish only one side for arguing. Very annoying.

Guest Contributor – TomD – 28FEB2024 – Gun Hobby Stuff (Updated 29/FEB)

Tom | Flickr



A picture of pistol extremes. Guess which is more often concealed carried.

The large pistol allows barrels of various calibers to be easily swapped. I’ve got five barrels for this from .357 Mag pistol to 30-30 Winchester. There are 45-70 barrels available but not for me. Those recoil so hard that I’ve seen them rip out of the hands of the shooter and almost literally brain him.


Or here is a target rifle chambered in 6.5 Grendel. This rifle is optimized at up to 600 yards. I’ve got other bolt action rifles that work up past 1000 yards. I used to compete regularly.


Or, for someone looking for a little more Omph, here’s a twin 40MM WWII era Borfors. By acclaim, the most effective anti-aircraft weapon of the entire war, all sides. The Germans, Brits and probably Italians also used it extensively. Examples are still in active duty in AC 130 gunships. Not bad for a 1930 design.


On the other end of the spectrum, here my all-time favorite .22 pistol, and I’ve own or owned an number. This is the target version, has an adjustable trigger and NEVER fails to feed. I’ve had this one for at least 25 years. That’s a red dot sight.


It is nice living in states that allow such hobbies as this.


As an older sniper I preferred the 300 WinMag. I am also prejudiced in favor of the good, old, 45ACP, M1911A1. The .50 sniper rifles are ok but too darned heavy. As for a backup I preferred the Walther PPK in 380 ACP with an external thread suppressor. For up close, the KA BAR or Applegate-Fairbairn.

I know a guy who has a D20 Soviet 152mm howitzer. Still works but pricey to shoot.


TOM D (in reply to War Pig)

There are some newer rounds common today that are more accurate and much better ballistic coefficients than the old Win Mag, but a lot of them lack the punch. I like the 338 Lapua.

I was Marine, but with the Air Wing, not in the muck with you guys.

Here’s one of my .45’s, from S&W Custom. There are differences, principally the extractor.

SW 1911.jpg
SW 1911.jpg




Guest Contributor – TomD – 27FEB2024 – The Best Camera is the One You Carry

Tom | Flickr


That looks to be a fossilized “rolly polly” insect. The ones that roll up into small armored balls. I ate one one, thinking it to be a chocolate chip fallen from my cookie. I won’t repeat that mistake, ever.

BTW: Below is a side by side photo of my new “carry around” Sony A6600 next to my “main camera” Sony A7IV.

A7IV Vs A6600.jpg
A7IV Vs A6600.jpg

Down here in Florida where self defense is considered to be a right, there is a maxim among the people who commonly carry weapons. That the best weapon for self defense is the weapon which you are most likely to have with you.

The same principle applies to cameras. If I’m going somewhere on a photo shoot, I’ll very probably have the larger camera with me. It is the more capable but not to the degree you may suspect. But the other 99.999% of the time, the bulk and cost precludes it as a constant companion as I travel about. But the smaller camera fits in my console or even a pocket with a smaller lens. And I constantly find photo subjects for which I wish I had a more capable camera than a cell, even my capable (for a phone) Pixel.

I used to get really good early dawn shots while going to work, when I worked.

At one point, I had an earlier version of the A6600 but I gave it to my wife when she dropped and destroyed her camera. I asked for it back but was cursed at.

Guest Contributor – TomD – 11FEB2024 – Photo Talk

Tom | Flickr


I’ve done a LOT of studio type macro. If you want the easy way to do macro shots its with a lighting setup. I’ll attach a shot of my light box setup below. BTW: Important that the lights be 5000 kelvin color temp (daylight).

how to 1.jpg
how to 1.jpg

Light box (above). That’s my old Sony A850 on the tripod. I build the light holding framework around the box with PVC tubing. I’ll also post a shot of what I was mostly doing.

A Mexican coin shot using the light box. One reason straight on lighting alone won’t work is that it won’t create the shadowing that defines the shot.

Don Quijote.jpg
Don Quijote.jpg


Speaking of cameras, I’m about to acquire another body. It’s been about 6, maybe more, years since I gave my ASPC Sony a6300 to my wife and went entirely to full frame, full sized cameras. When it comes to photographic quality, you can’t beat them, but they lack in one really important respect: full frame, full sized cameras are too big and too expensive to carry constantly. I kept the A6300 with a Zeiss 16-70 f4 with me almost all the time. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket or console and be available. It wasn’t exactly cheap but but if it was lost, stolen or broken, it wouldn’t be like the $5K-$6K hit for one of my full frame bodies + a Sony GM series lens. And, frankly, you would would have to look very hard to tell the difference between most shots from my 6000 series cameras and the full frame cameras.

A significant portion of my favorite shots have been serendipitous.

The wife is attached to the 6300 so I’m about to get a newer A6600 for less that a thousand and I already have the big investment, the lens selection in hand.

Recharging the Batteries

I’m gonna talk about fun stuff today.  I need a break from Biden and his mush-brain.

I was watching a YouTube video by one of the guys who provides me with pep talks on photography and he said when you’re feeling uninspired the best thing to do is grab your camera and look for inspiration.  Well, Camera Girl has been haranguing me for the last couple of days about the return of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard to the swamp.  Now this is an annual event.  The same pair of mallards (I think) return every late winter to the local water and graze on the slime and ooze and raise up a passel of youngins.  Some of my favorite shots of the mallards involve heavy snowfall.

At the same time, they are very annoying because they tend to retreat from me and my camera whenever I try to capture them.  But this year the battle is stacked more in my favor.  I’ve got the Sony 200-600 lens and with its extra reach I can still get reasonably close up shots from what the mallards feel is a safe distance.

So, I went out this morning with my A7IV, the long lens and my monopod and picked my way between thorn bushes and mud holes until I was at a respectable one hundred feet from the ducks and banged out maybe a hundred exposures.  I used single shot autofocus and a comfortable ISO 1000 to get the short exposure time I needed with the long lens.

The ducks are kind of funny in that the male and female look totally different from each other.

And they have slightly different behaviors also.  The male is more confident while the female seems more cautious.  His head seems to be mostly underwater while hers is above.

He ranges around more while she is mostly still.  And interestingly, I’ve adopted the idea that they work for me and require my approval in order to feel legitimate.  Well today they got the official thumbs up from the king.  I provided them with the royal nod and now they can get on with perpetuating their species without fear of their charter being pulled.  I told them that I am following their careers with great interest and expect to review their progress sometime in the early spring when the latest cohort is swimming and quacking around the puddle.  After all Dunwich must be populated or duckulated or whatever duck increase is called.

I was looking for inspiration today and sure enough, it was fun.  And that got me motivated to download all the files on my camera and at least look at the mallard shots I just took.  And that is the evolution of a good day.  A little research, a little field work and a little work in the office and I have a few nice shots of the neighbors and a nice little illustrated post for the site.

All right.  Now I can stand to hear about what mush-brain has done today.  Hopefully something harmless like taking credit for the invention of shoelaces or something.