Foodie Break: Hamburger Art

Though the origin of the “first” hamburger is, and has been, in hot dispute for over a century, there are reports dating back to 1885 of 15-year old Charlie Nagreen who served a meatball between two slices of bread at a fair in Wisconsin.

Western BBQ Burger
Western BBQ Burger

There are two reports from 1891 claiming the distinction of a hamburger, while the first “news coverage” appeared on July 5, 1896, in the Chicago Daily Tribune regarding a “hamburger sandwich.”

Bleu Cheese Burger
Bleu Cheese Burger

Regardless of exactly when and where the beloved hamburger originated, at the 1904 World’s Fair, held in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), it seemed to have become a rage, being sold by numerous street vendors. And the rest, they say, is history.

Manhattan Burger
Manhattan Burger

White Castle restaurants, which began in Kansas in 1921, were the first fast-food chain to serve a burger, though their offerings were the small versions (2.5 inches square), also known as “sliders.”

Kobe Burger
Kobe Burger

While there are some fast-food establishments that serve a good and tasty hamburger (In-N-Out Burger comes to mind) there are countless restaurants selling burgers ranging in cost from $10 to $25 (and much, much more if you search hard enough) in an effort to satisfy the American palate, adding several types of other foods/vegetables on top of the patty in order to win the ever-present flavor contest.

The Big Baja Burger
The Big Baja Burger

And, of course, it must be served with an order of fries for this Foodie to qualify it as Hamburger Art.

Foie Gras Steak Burger
Foie Gras Steak Burger

For Foodies, being able to sit down, relax and truly savor a world-class tasting burger becomes something akin to a highly satisfying and sacred rite.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Favorite Flowers – The Parrot Tulip

The exotic plumage of the Parrot Tulip is unlike any other of the species, as it is quite scalloped with fringed edges and most often appears multi-colored.

Parrot Tulip Orange Favorite

So named due to the beak-shaped buds resembling that of the tropical bird species, the Parrot Tulip features petals that are flamboyant and dynamic.

Parrot Tulip FantasyThe stems may range anywhere between 12 and 18 inches in height and, in full bloom, the petals open to four or more inches in diameter. Coloring varies widely among the Parrot Tulip. Some of the more common are: yellow, peach, orange, red, purple and white.

Parrot Tulip Orange FavoriteThe various color combinations of the Parrot Tulip are, quite simply, striking, making this flower an excellent choice for gardens, weddings, or, virtually, any special occasion.

Parrot Tulip FantasyThis late-blooming species is, however, quite vulnerable to harsh Spring occurances such as a very heavy rain or strong wind.

Parrot Tulip Orange FavoriteLast, but not least, the Parrot Tulip also poses quite well for any photographer.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens Review

As is the norm here at Main Street One, tech specs are not really discussed when products are reviewed. The thought process is that a prospective buyer is more than likely knowledgeable, to some degree, with all or most of the specs. These reviews deal with experience in working with a product, how it performs in the real world and are compared, at times, to similar products from the same or another manufacturer.

The piece of camera gear reviewed here is the Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18–300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens. Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mmNikon USA refers to this glass as, the “most powerful all-in-one zoom lens ever.” There is absolutely no argument here, only supporting evidence.

This lens was purchased to take the place of having to carry both a Nikon AF-S 18-200mm lens and a Nikon AF-S 55-300mm lens and then needing (or having) to switch them out in order to capture certain shots (and oft-times missing the shot due to the time it takes to change them). Another reason is that each time a lens is removed from the camera body that action opens up the possibility of contaminants infiltrating gear during the change-out. What a dream! With this lens neither of the two mentioned issues is a even a remote concern.

True, the 18-300mm is not classed (nor priced) as a pro level lens and it will not outperform a prime lens but it certainly is great glass.

The 18-300mm focuses faster than either the 18-200mm or the 55-300mm. There have been zero issues with the lens hunting for a focal point in low lighting situations (unless there is absolutely no contrast, but that happens with virtually every lens manufactured).

The sharpness at all focal settings, between 18mm and 300mm, is very good. The color and clarity of images are both quite good. Well, no, they are better than quite good. Nikon has done a very admirable job in bringing consumers an excellent all-in-one carry-about lens.

Nikon D5100 with Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm lens
Nikon D5100 with Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm lens

The 18-300mm performs at least as well, if not better, at 300mm than the 55-300mm lens, and at the lower end of the spectrum, in the 18-24mm range, it has out-shined the 18-200mm. That is exceptional, to say the least.

The AF (autofocus) works superbly and coupled with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction II (VR) technology makes for perfect everyday shooting. However, this lens can also be used for close-up nature shots producing excellent clarity and bokeh (background blur). 

The 18-300mm has been used on both a Nikon D90 and a Nikon D5100 and it performs great on both bodies.

The lens lock comes in handy to avoid the dreaded lens creep.

The glass is definitely heavier than the 18-200mm, but that is to be expected with the added focal length. The build quality seems quite good. There is no cheap plastic feeling that one sometimes experiences with certain lenses. The reversible lens hood is engineered well with the camera’s IF (Internal Focus) and, when reversed, does not interfere when focusing, as it does on the 18-200mm.

Overall, this is a very impressive lens. The Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18–300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is definitely recommended as a one-lens solution for those photographers wanting (desiring) glass such as this, especially when travelling and for day shooting when taking a few pieces of glass is either not wanted or not an option.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Sigma AF 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO Aspherical Lens for Nikon Review

Preface: This will not be a technical review, such as the ones Ken Rockwell writes, but simply my experience using this great lens. Unfortunately, Ken did not write about this lens. There are some tech specs at Sigma Imaging UK.

I was fortunate and able to purchase a truly mint condition used Sigma AF 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO Aspherical lens for use with my Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR camera at, what I consider, an exceptional price. It came in the box with everything one would receive when purchasing a new piece of glass, for only $500. It has been much more than just an excellent investment. It is a joy to utilize this lens due to the fantastic focal range, ease of use, and quality of results.

As a note, I have not tried any other brand of lens in the 300mm to 500mm range, where I use this lens the most (primarily for wildlife and nature), so I cannot compare one versus the other.

What can be said is that, when using a tripod with a remote shutter release, the results of images – throughout the focal range – has far surpassed my expectations, especially considering what I paid.

Even hand-held, the percentage of shots that were perfectly in focus was pretty good, though nowhere near the almost 100% when using my tripod. For information, this lens with my D80 and Multi-Power Battery Pack is weighty, so I use a Manfrotto Bogen 3221W tripod with 804RC2 pan/tilt head. On that subject, the Sigma tripod collar is excellent and operates smoothly.Sigma AF 170-500 lens with Nikon D80

Admittedly, at times, the lens can be a bit slow focusing, when compared to, say, my Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens, but the difference has not been that much to make me dislike the lens in the least. I am quite sure that the Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED IF VR II lens would surpass this Sigma lens in every way, but for the price I would expect that to be the case. and, the Nikon still only gets to 400mm.

The colors rendered are very nice and crisp. There is a good contrast in the images. The depth of field produces a sharp and clear main object and a great Bokeh (blur) in the background.East Indian Lotus - Rosea Plena
The above photo was taken from a distance of approximatelty 30 feet (9.14 meters) at 500mm, sitting on the Manfrotto tripod, using a remote.

The zoom operates very smooth throughout, no stickiness or hang-ups. It can suffer from chromatic aberration (CA), though that usually occurs only in very high-contrast situations where the background is quite bright and foreground objects are dark.

There is definitely lens creep, no way around that unless you decide to use a band. For me, I simply have the strap around my neck and hold the camera in my palm, with the lens pointed up, when walking. Keep in mind that this is not a light weight lens.

This lens will work in both AF (auto focus) and MF (manual focus) modes with Nikon camera bodies that have the motor to drive the lens, such as a D80, D100, D3, etc. It will only manual focus on entry-level models such as the D40, D60, D3000, D5100, etc.

I cannot give it 5 stars for honest all-out performance, only 4.5.

For the money, however, I am very pleased with my Sigma 170-500 and would recommend it to anyone who needs (or wants) to have more than a 300mm focal range and does not want to, or cannot, lay out four figures for a solid performing lens with this focal range.