Home Blog  
Education / Training What this blog is about

What this blog is about

This report covers:

  • Mac
  • Three images
  • So, what?
  • Oh, boy!
  • Because…

Behind the scenes BB has problems like all of you. One of the things I am happiest with are the photos that I put in the reports. Every so often I put in a slightly blurry image, but mostly I get it right. It wasn’t always like that.


My good friend, the late Earl McDonald, was the lead photographer at the National Archives. I met him at my Monday evening 10-meter pistol shoots and soon discovered his background in photography. This was back when I was still writing my monthly newsletter and still using film, because quality digital cameras just weren’t affordable. Mac was shooting pictures with Hasselblad medium format cameras (the price of a new car, with lenses that often cost much more) and large format cameras that I know practically nothing about.

I told him what I wanted to do and it turned out that I stumped him! Or at least I wasn’t able to communicate my desires very well. He could take the shots I wanted to get, but why would anyone ever want to? As good as I am at communicating things, I apparently wasn’t able to get my thoughts across to him. Let me show you.

Three images

Here are three images. The first two were taken by a budding airgun writer who was writing about a Crosman 38T revolver. He wanted to show his readers the markings on the barrel.

38T barrel
The airgun writer used his flash (doesn’t that make everything brighter?) when he took this picture. The markings he wanted to show his readers were still too small…

38T barrel enlargement
…so he used his free photo software to enlarge the pic. This is as good as it gets.

BB Pelletier has a special point-and-shoot camera that is actually cheaper than the one the budding airgun writer uses. And BB knows that to get a good image of this subject he needs to take a macro shot.

38T barrel writing
And this is the pic BB took — hand held at 1/20th of a second. It can’t get much better because the letters are so muddy from being cast in pot metal a hundred thousand times. This is what I wanted, but until you know how to take good pictures it is impossible to photograph this sort of stuff.

That last image was what BB Pelletier wanted back in the day, but was unable to communicate. Mac was used to taking pictures of people (presidents and foreign dignitaries) and of documents like the Declaration of Independence. For the latter he used a large format camera whose film was 8X10 inches. You could enlarge Mac’s photo to full size and sell prints in the gift shop, though the map on the back wouldn’t show up. That’s a joke — from the movie National Treasure that Mac photographed while it was being filmed.

I have whole photography books on using shadows for artistic purposes. But I don’t want shadows. I don’t care about art. I want to peer into the shadows, to see some obscure detail that I feel is important.

Sure, you understand what I’m talking about because I just showed you. But what if I was unable to do that? What if I had to tell you that I wanted to see details in the shadows. You would have to know to over-expose the shot so the dark things became lighter. But to over expose you would have to hold the camera still for a longer time with the shutter open. Otherwise the pictures would be blurry. And, instead of photographing something far away, you would have to “frame ” it, so it filled the entire image area.

So, what?

Well, that’s the subject of today’s report. My Canon G11 camera that I use for general photography and for macros finally conked out about two weeks ago after 10 years of use and over 11,000 photos. So I went online and bought a used one for $135. When new this camera cost over $500, but they haven’t been made for many years. The state of the art for digital cameras has advanced, but not so much for macro photography. Modern cameras are great for gluing to the top of a crash helmet to take action videos but they are about where they always were if you want to photograph the finer details of a coin.

Canon G11
This Canon G11 is one of the best affordable macro cameras. It may be old and obsolete, but with it I can out-macro many professional cameras.

What I’m saying is that, like my my Marksman model 70 breakbarrel air rifle that may be 40 years old, but is far from obsolete, this camera still works for the stuff I do. In fact it works very well. However, I noticed that I wasn’t getting good macros with the new/old camera. So I read the manual. Manuals can tell you lots of things, like how to reduce redeye and where the batteries go, but not so much on taking good macro shots. Like an airgun manual, they don’t know what you want to know, so they just tell you stuff. So I did the same thing all of you do when that happens — I went online.

Oh, boy!

Well, going online to get information is like covering yourself with honey and walking into a slaughterhouse that’s loaded with flies! I waded through the shams of websites that “just want your registration information” before they show you their 2-minute video on taking macro shots — “here, hand me your wallet”. Yeah, and then prepare to shovel out your email folder for the next three weeks to get rid of the spams! And you know that you won’t get them all.

But I finally found a great little 4-minute You Tube video that showed me exactly what I needed to know, since my new/old camera had none of the presets that I had applied to my broken camera years ago and then promptly forgot. The guy who made that video just figured that I wanted to take macro shots, so he didn’t talk about anything else.

And that, my friends, is what this blog is about. Or at least that is the plan. I may not always get it right, but I think with the series on the HW 30S and the Marksman model 70 rifle, I have come close. And those who have gone to the effort of looking back over the past 16 years of this blog will find some other reports that are helpful in a similar way.

I want you to learn something about shooting and airguns in general and sometimes guns in particular. Why?

Stock Up on Shooting Gear


Because you don’t want to read blogs. You want to shoot airguns. And that is what I want for you and also what Pyramyd AIR wants.

The problem is, a lot of websites that are titled with what we want to read about have little or nothing to actually do with the subject. Or they treat the subject as an envelope to put around some other agenda they have. Or they are just trying to skim off as much of your information as possible before you wise up and shut them down. They are like the Facebook entry that asks you to share the first car you ever owned, concealing the fact that they use your answer to foil one of your security questions after they have stolen your identity.

I guess that would define a good 80 percent of what’s on the internet. They are trying to use the internet experience to broaden your horizons and line their pockets.

When I find a good website I remember it and return there again and again. So much of the internet is wasted time that a site that’s pertinent is worth remembering. I bet you do, too.

So, sometimes BB needs to know something so he can do his job of writing this blog. And he doesn’t have time to learn what others think he needs to know.

Anyhow, that is the mantra I keep in mind whenever I write a report.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

51 thoughts on “What this blog is about”

  1. BB,

    That is phenomenal to take take a macro handheld at 1/20th of a second with no visible camera shake! Most people can only manage that at 1/40th of a second. Separating wheat from chaff needs prior knowledge though.


  2. BB,

    I know you love your Cannon G 11 but there is a whole world of gear that might do the job better for you. Check out these folks: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/how-to-shoot-macro-photography/ci/32949/N/3607616143/sba#inspiration

    They sell used gear at good prices and in good condition that the Pros are dumping to get cash to buy the NEW stuff they need! Currently have a used Cannon G5X for a great price that has some features you would really like.

    Just like you want us to share in your knowledge of shooting airguns these folks are interested in helping folks buy the right photography gear…from them of course.


    • Shootski,

      The problem for BB will be if his present collection of lenses will remain compatible with the newer camera. I know that some of these companies force you to upgrade also the lenses by making slight changes in the lens mount.


      • B.B.,

        Yep, go with what you know.

        Yes, Shootski is correct, of course. My wife is an accomplished art photographer and retired corporate web developer, so when her digital camera of many years died last year, she bought a near top-of-the-line digital camera. It is amazing (and was much more expensive than any mass produced air gun). But she is still learning both what it can do and how to do all of it.

        B.B., you know your G11 so well, it is probably like an extension of your hands. The time (and money) you’ve saved by hunting down a G11 is immeasurable. Plus, it gets the job done.

        All of this reminds me to ask. Did you ever get a blue card? :^)


      • I’m actually a photographer by trade and I of course have far more invested in camera gear than firearms…both air and powder. Heck, I have a closed full of old camera bags that likely are worth as much as my firearms…any pro photographer will tell you the search for the perfect bag is unending 🙂
        That being said I totally get your G11. There is a huge ‘new car’ syndrome attached to cameras…gotta have the latest and best.
        But if what you have does what you need it to (and in truth for most people anything over an 8mp will do fine) go with what works and spend the money on a new airgun lol
        Example…I have an older version of PhotoShop…it does what I need it to, I’m familiar with it and it’s mine…purchased about 5 years ago on DVD. Why in heavens name would I upgrade and have to now pay a monthly subscription fee to get something that may have features that I don’t need.

      • B.B.,
        Special relationships are important!
        My DAQs are “Old” but boy do they work well for me after the learning curve was behind me. I am going to keep my eye on the Altaros M24 however hope it pans out in production.
        The fact that B&H is your go to shop is all that really matters. Their Tutorials are worth it and the LIVE technical help can be fantastic.

        Good Shooting; Both kinds!


  3. Something that I really appreciate about you, BB is your ability to eschew obfuscation without excess hyperbole (I think that the word is pronounced “hyper-bowl”). I also know that you’d never use sarcasm when telling us what it is we want to know. I appreciate your lack of bull . . . and that’s the rest of the story. I always look forward to your blog and come out a wiser shooter. Thanks, Orv.

  4. Hi everybody…

    these photo issues sound *really* familiar.

    I like to play with vinyl records and sometimes I also digitize them. I have no trouble with the audio, but the record sleeves… that’s another thing.

    The best solution would be an A3 scanner obviously. But who has one of those at home? So I use a camera. No matter how I position the lights, I always get some more or less noticeable bright spots. One of these light boxes would probably help.

    With airguns it’s not that different. You think your gun has rich, shiny bluing and beautiful wood, but once you take a photo all you get is a bright spot and a highlight on any scratch, speck of dust, etc. that you didn’t even know was there…


  5. BB,

    I do not know if you part unto all the information they desire, but you fulfill mine to overflowing. I find that less and less I spend time with other reviewers as they tend to not give me the information I desire.

    Most have gone to the video world and there is a lack of depth in their reviews. Many are heavily dependent on what is sent them by manufacturers, distributors and dealers. What we see from them tends to be the “latest and greatest” which most of us cannot afford.

    Then there are those whose source of income is from the manufacturers, distributors and dealers. They tend to highlight the superior qualities of a particular “latest and greatest” and gloss over its failings.

    Almost no other reviewer provides us a place to question and discuss what is given to us and pass on what little tidbits we may have. For that we must go to some other site such as GTA and open a discussion and hope we are given what we are looking for.

    There are a few as yourself that do their best to give to us what we desire. More and more I find myself here. All y’all are jest gonna have to put up with me. 🙂

  6. B.B.,
    “And those who have gone to the effort of looking back over the past 16 years of this blog will find some other reports that are helpful in a similar way.”
    I’m on 308/4351. So far, there is a LOT that is helpful, and I look forward to reading more!
    Incidentally, Pyramyd AIR has some refurbished Beeman R9s for sale. I just grabbed one in .22 as a present for my father-in-law with a backyard squirrel problem.

      • I can’t wait to report on it for you all. Of course, I searched B.B.’s old blog articles for pellet recommendations. I also bought a fiber optic front sight because I want to see if I can combine it with a rear peep sight to mimic a red dot sight in effect and make it easier for my father-in-law to pop those varmints outta his pear tree. Also, my nieces’ boyfriend will take them for the pot, so its a win all around.

  7. B.B. and readership. I was shooting with the kids this weekend. My girls are quite good, I’ll attach a picture of my little shooting range. They were hitting the smallest bell and the lollipops along the top. But my one daughter was shooting our Umarex Embark (a spring piston break barrel), and a few times when she pulled the trigger, the gun sounded a much louder and sharper crack than normal, and I found that the pellet never left the breech. When that happened, I recocked the gun, and it would shoot normally. Any ideas what is happening? Is this essentially a dry-fire that will damage the gun over time?

    The only thing I have done to this gun is apply a modest amount of TIAT to the mainspring through the slot you can see after taking off the stock, to smooth the shot cycle a bit. The gun was logging pretty good groups until the peep sight aperature started moving around on its own (waiting for a replacement to be delivered from P.A.) and I put the rear open sight back on.

  8. This topic is a reminder to me of how important it was to learn how to take photo’s of airguns.

    Since I couldn’t own every airgun I wanted to try it became important to sell an airgun to buy another. Good pictures equal a good price when it comes time to sell.

    B.B. was very patient and has written other articles on how to photograph guns on the blog. One of his tricks that has been a life saver for me is “painting the subject with light”.

    If you want to improve your photography skills to photograph guns and thereby improve the prices you’re selling your guns for, spend some time reading B.B.’s previous photography articles. They’re gems.

  9. BB,

    You have to learn industrial photography. It’s easy. You’ll need a few spotlights and a little device that calculates the amount of light at a certain location. You want the same amount of light at every corner. The ultimate purpose is to direct light from several strategical positions that there are no shadows. Check the photos of engines, motorcycles, and such from their official company sites. You’ll notice light is the same at every corner and there are no shadows – that is not a coincidence. Taken in front of a white background.


    • Fish
      Back grounds make a difference as well as the shadows. Backgrounds will highlight certian areas and take away. Another thing that needs a balance.

      Remember BB’s picture the other day he took of the spacer he made out of the yellow plastic and you couldn’t see the hole going through the spacer. He shouldn’t of had the spacer in the same picture with the darker object.

      One or the other object was going to develop right. No both.

      Photography is a tricky subject. BB Definitely made a wise choice replacing the broke equipment he knows. And it’s like air guns and anything else we do. There is always more to learn no matter what you think we know.

      • What I commented only applies for the photos of mechanical devices, where you want to show the details of a device. When a customer or client looks at the photo of a diesel engine for example, they want to see all the details; no details / parts / corners shall be shadowed or lost in a glare.

      • Yes, with post photo digital adjustments you can pass a few things, but a dark shadow or a bright glare from get go will always be there. Light meter is certainly not necessary, especially in your work where you need practicality, assuming you want the results to be good, not excellent. However, there are many photos on your blog, where the details are lost in glares and shadows. White background and such might be a little too much, but investing in a few spotlights is a must. Also, as I said to GF, “What I commented only applies for the photos of mechanical devices, where you want to show the details of a device. When a customer or client looks at the photo of a diesel engine for example, they want to see all the details; no details / parts / corners shall be shadowed or lost in a glare.”

        I brought this up, because this is where you have to work a bit. You don’t need to go too fancy, but you need a few ‘used’ spotlights, and the light meter comes handy deciding the locations of the lights around the product. As your photos won’t need the details of an engine and such, you can get good results with a little investment. There are a few photos on your blog, which I believe was taken with flashlight, a big no no for product photography.

  10. BB,

    Do you not use your Sony DSC-RX100 any longer?

    With its 1″ CMOS sensor and Carl Zeiss f1.8 lens, it’s a great low-light performer for a pocket camera.

    In HDR mode it really brings out details from the shadows.

  11. That little camera has been recommended to FM more than once, but of course he’s been using the phone camera/camera phone for years. Seduced by the convenience…

    It could be worse. You might have dived into the depths of retro film cameras. FM kept his trusty Fujica ST-801 purchased in 1975 even after digital cameras took over. Might just shoot some film with it one of these days. Like LP records, film is coming back to some extent.

  12. I feel there was a time when many private web pages and forums existed for the sake of sharing information, and they gave place to platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, where some people still give good advice, but the platform itself is revenue driven, and a lot of topics are dumbed down.

Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    Get the most out of your equipment when you work with the expert technicians at Pyramyd AIR. With over 25 years of combined experience, we offer a range of comprehensive in-house services tailored to kickstart your next adventure.

    If you're picking up a new air gun, our team can test and tune the equipment before it leaves the warehouse. We can even set up an optic or other equipment so you can get out shooting without the hassle. For bowhunters, our certified master bow technicians provide services such as assembly, optics zeroing, and full equipment setup, which can maximize the potential of your purchase.

    By leveraging our expertise and precision, we ensure that your equipment is finely tuned to meet your specific needs and get you ready for your outdoor pursuits. So look out for our services when shopping for something new, and let our experts help you get the most from your outdoor adventures.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.