“This bow is so accurate” – really?

I’ve often heard product reviewers of traditional archery bows, or enthusiastic new bow owners, exclaim “… this bow is so accurate …“. I’m guilty of the same thing myself. But recently I’ve been mixing up the bows I shoot on a rapid rotation, and it has prompted me to question what appears to be the underlying assumption or suggestion – that some bows are much more accurate than others, for any given archer. Really?

Shooting the Szimeiszter Tatar bow #43@29

I confess, for a little while I’d been thinking that provided the bow and arrows you have in hand are passably well made and matched (to each other and to you), surely they’re all mais ou menos accurate if your shooting technique is solid and consistent. What changes though from one bow to another is that some seem to make being accurate feel easier. In other words, archers are accurate, bows are just tools …

Grozer Biocomposite Short Turkish bow #48@28

I have six different bows in regular use, and I certainly have favourites! But it feels to me that on most occasions if I’m taking care of form when I shoot, and practising a lot, that at least in the 20-40m range I’m about as accurate with any one of those bows. [And before you say “… that just means he’s lousy with all of them …” 🙂 … don’t be cheeky.] It definitely feels easier with some more than others. Some are just easier to shoot, but they are all capable of producing accurate shots in my hands. It might take a couple of ranging shots to adjust if I’m moving from a 47″ Turkish bow to a 71″ Viking longbow (and I thumb shoot both), but it doesn’t take too much adjustment. Though make sure you stand well back, because I do side-down khatra with the longbow too …

Shooting the Vegh Sipahi bow #34@28

That’s how it feels anyhow, but is it true? Sounds like an arbitrary, non-scientific experiment is called for! Six different bows over the same distance with the same arrows. Bow shape varying from Ottoman Sipahi to Assyrian, Tatar to longbow. Poundage from #34 – #48, mostly in the mid 40s. How much will the accuracy vary? And will it be according to my bow bias, or something else?

Planning to set up a test this weekend if the weather is cooperative. Watch this space …

And harking back to an earlier blog post, the presence of a camera sees me short-drawing in both those images above 🙂 https://mikrokosmfotos.art/2021/10/29/making-videos-is-bad-for-my-archery-form/

On the list for evaluation, the following:

Most likely I’ll use some Sarmat 30″ bamboo arrows, or maybe the Kelemen’s pine arrows, or both. Probably either a leather Ottoman thumb ring by Bekir Büyüksındır or a bronze Ottoman ring by Zack Djurica – that’ll depend on the conditions and how inflated my thumb gets …

Making the digital tactile, rev2

A year or so ago (pandemic time – could be either really?) I self-published a small photographic zine of mostly night-time images taken in Kyneton when I lived there. I think I printed about 50 and half are gone.

Now it’s 2021, we’ve had two years of rolling COVID lockdowns, and my computer’s hard drive is groaning under the weight of images captured in or near Castlemaine during that time.

Inspired by something that Sean Tucker said on one of his YouTube homilies, I decided recently to make a ‘fancy zine’ or a ‘little book’ rather than a monograph, with a fairly loose theme around ‘what I saw in that year’.

So here we are. It’s the end of 2021 and the COVID lockdown strictures are being stripped away with rude haste. I think it’s time to look back.

Using the somewhat ostentatious Latin title ‘CASTLEMAINE – DUPLEX ANNUS HORRIBILIS, PARS I – 2020‘, it’s basically part one of the double horrible year. But despite all of the horror of a pandemic, of which I’m in no hurry to trivialise, the landscape stayed beautiful. Occasionally terrible and raw, but always beautiful.

Stay tuned for when it goes on sale! 🙂

Making videos is bad for my archery form!

I enjoy the process of making cinematic looking videos with traditional archery as the focus. Facts of the matter though, for the last 20 months of intermittent COVID lockdowns, the only regularly available archer has been me. Almost inevitably, one of the first things I notice when I watch back video of me shooting a bow, is that I short draw whilst looking slightly sideways at the camera to make sure I’m in picture. In other words, I’m so distracted by simultaneously being a cinematographer and an archer, that something has to give. I’m sure the images could be better, but I know for sure the archery form is suffering.

Left to right: Three Hungarian hand-made laminated traditional bows, inspired by the broad Ottoman Empire historical genre. Végh Sipahi #34@28, Szimeiszter Crimean Tatar #43@29, Grozer Biocomposite Turkish Short #48@28.

So what to do about it?

What I chose to start doing this last week was to go back to basics somewhat (with archery – the movie camera can wait until there are other people to put in front of it, for now).

I started a few days ago with the lowest poundage bow I have that is in the traditional archery type and shape a lot of western archers know as a “horsebow”. That generalisation is inaccurate – these bows can be shot from horseback of course, but also for all the other ground-based situations that any trad bow can be put to – that’s a discussion for another time.

This bow is a laminated Asiatic reflex bow inspired by an Ottoman Sipahi bow from around the 17-18th century. This particular bow is the Végh Sipahi, made in Hungary by Robert Végh, draw weight of 34 pounds at 28 inches. I should be drawing 30 inches at full draw, making the draw weight maybe about 37-38 pounds. The draw experience with this bow is very soft and smooth, so drawing 30″ is a doddle if I’m paying attention. Assuming my draw and release are on song, it can deal with arrows of variable weight and stiffness easily. And despite it’s low draw weight it can propel those arrows accurately out to 60-70 metres with no difficulty at all. It is a complete delight to shoot.

So an evening spent stump shooting in the pines with the Végh Sipahi got my draw length comfortably back to 30″. No problem. Khatra (bow hand movement at release) with this bow is completely natural – side down in my case, and I sometimes employ a little bit of string twist too. Effortless accuracy. It’s a gem.

In case I forget to mention it later – all of this is thumb-shooting. No fingers were harmed in the making of this blog …

Tonight I decided to speed the process up a tiny bit. I took two bows, and shot for about half an hour with each of them.

First I braced the other soft and smooth drawing bow. Also a laminated bow, hand made, bespoke in this case, in Hungary by István Szimeiszter. Check out those beautiful pear wood laminations … but I digress. This bow looks a little similar to the Sipahi shape, but is slightly longer, and the grip/riser bulges towards the archer rather than away. It’s based on a Crimean Tatar bow from around the 18th century, and so also broadly from within the Ottoman universe. This one draws 43 pounds at 29 inches, so if I’m drawing 30″ should be about 45 pounds. Another delightful bow to shoot, but it punches the arrows out with a little more authority than my Végh. Again, being so soft to draw, and concentrating just on archery, full draw is easy. Very accurate with side down khatra and a smidge of string twist. I seem to be back on track.

The last bow in this series of three is very different. It is a modern take on the ancient hi-tech Ottoman composite bow. Traditional composite bows going back centuries are made with a wood core, a layer of horn (buffalo, goat, etc.) on the belly and a backing of sinew. Typically the sinew also has a protective layer of leather. The bow is strongly c-shaped when not strung. Like the other two it has bending limbs, but static tips. Widely known in Asiatic reflex bows by their Arabic name as siyahs (ears), the tips act as levers on the bending section of the limbs, so that the load is felt by the archer as soon as the draw starts, but gets softer and easier to hold towards full draw – thus facilitating the use of very high draw weights in a very short bow, and propelling lightweight arrows at great speed. Spectacular organic high technology developed to a very high level by the Ottomans, from basic designs harking back across the steppes to Mongolia and thereabouts centuries before. The horn and sinew impart compression and stretching tolerances far superior to bows made of wood alone.

Traditional composite Ottoman bow

The third bow is a Grozer Biocomposite Turkish Short bow – 48 pounds at 28 inches – around 51-52 pounds draw weight at 30″. Another made in Hungary, this one by Csaba Grózer. This bow looks much more like a historical composite bow, with its compressed horn plate on the belly and leather backing over a compressed sinew plate. The string nocks on the siyahs are leather lined and reinforced with sinew. The transitions from limb to handle are also sinew reinforced. The Grózer haters will be on my back if I fail to mention that all of these traditional looking materials are reinforced with modern adhesives and fibre. The modern tweaks make the bow much simpler to use and maintain, despite the shooting experience being close to a real composite. Unlike a typical fibreglass modern bow though it is nearly as lightweight as a genuine hornbow.

But did I easily get full draw back on this heavier bow? Yes, of course. It’s made for it, and I was paying proper attention. Easy.

The Grozer Biocomposite Turkish Short is an intoxicating bow to shoot. It’s very fast, very accurate, light to carry, and brutishly handsome. This one is shaping up as my overall favourite bow these days, but stump shooting in a stony area where I live does lead to a few broken arrows because it propels them so fast and flat.

Now I just need to see if I can remain focused!

The pendulum might eventually settle near the middle again – photography and archery

For a while there in 2018-19 I got completely obsessed with putting vintage lenses on the front of a modern digital camera, and everything was fair game to be photographed. At that time my Falco Storm flatbow was getting a lot less attention than it deserved, and consequently I was getting a bit less archery/meditation than I needed.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, and as I’ve written about here before, archery was back on the agenda, and I took on a brand new archery project in early 2020. I decided to give eastern thumb-draw traditional archery a try, after shooting the more familiar (in the west) 3 finger draw for decades.

Cutting a long story short, in typical western trad archery (and for a right hander), the arrow goes on the left side of the bow and one uses 3 fingers to draw the string back to a fixed anchor point – often the corner of one’s mouth. For me being a short chap, that meant I was drawing about 26″ (yes, everything in archery is in Imperial units) and never realising the full power of the bow, typically rated for a 28″ draw. Typical modern trad bows (there’s an oxymoron for you) have a shelf cut into the handle area where the arrow rests, and also giving a bit of a sight window. I’d being doing it this way since childhood, and that’s a while ago.

Me drawing the typical western way with 3 fingers, arrow left side on a rest.
Image by @benmaher73

In eastern styles the string is typically drawn with the thumb, and depending on the style and the circumstances it can be drawn back to a similar anchor to the western style around the mouth, or to a point further back such as the ear lobe, or in some West Asian styles back over the shoulder. There is usually not an arrow shelf cut into the bow – one shoots off the hand. And the arrow is on the right hand side of the bow (for a right hander).

Me drawing in the Ottoman Turkish style with my thumb and to my ear lobe.
Image by @nocturnal_archer

So switching automatically gets me from around 26″ draw length to a shade over 29″. For once I get more than the advertised bow power!

After the initial learning process for a completely new way of drawing a completely different kind of bow, it quickly became apparent that this style suits me biomechanically much better. It feels stronger, more powerful and controlled, and on a good day more accurate. So rather than being a flirtation with another style, I shifted over completely, and now I only really thumb shoot.

There are a few other advantages of shooting this way, for me. There’s a lot less paraphernalia, and that appeals to my minimalist tendencies. I no longer need an arm protection bracer on my bow arm, because the string doesn’t get over there during release. The thumb rings (zihgir in Ottoman Turkish) are quite small compared to the gloves and tabs of western trad archers, and also a bit on the attractive bling side in many cases. The bows are small and light, so carrying them around for hours in the field is really easy.

In a kind of cross-pollination exercise, I have recently started thumb shooting a Viking style longbow. Most people these days would shoot it the modern way, with a split finger Mediterranean draw – but Vikings may have used thumb draw, and also possibly so-called Slavic or Sassanid draw. So I’m not really being so radical, but folks still see it as a rather odd. I get most of the technical benefits I mentioned above of thumb versus fingers, for me.

Sarmat Varang Lux longbow – and me thumb shooting it

One thing has not changed though. Archery roving or stump shooting is still my favourite form of archery. Shooting informal, inanimate targets at varying distance and elevation, out in the forest. I do shoot formal targets sometimes though, and even though they are a bit more predictable, it can still be challenging.

For more bite-sized chunks about eastern style archery with Asiatic reflex bows, I do post a lot on Instagram as @flatcap_archery …

And so to close the loop. Archery and archers are really photogenic, and great cinematographic subjects … so cameras are back in hand but without displacing bows and arrows …

So I finally got around to using a Micro Four Thirds camera for something it unarguably excels at … video

I’ve had the right gear sitting here for years now, but there have been myriad other distractions.

I had a Lumix GH3 for years, and people have made feature films with that camera, even without 4K video and other bells/whistles. I upgraded recently to a GH4 – still trailing the pack by half a decade as Lumix will soon launch the GH6, and the GH5/GH5S are rusted-on staples in the videography world.

I also have the trifecta of old Russian lenses that are commonly used for making cinematic-looking video – the Helios 44-2 58mm, the Mir-2 37mm, and the Jupiter-9 85mm.

I’m over the steepest bits of the learning curve with FOSS video editing suites Shotcut and Kdenlive. So what’s next?

Here’s a recent ‘proof of concept’ exercise. Archery is, in my humble opinion, the perfect subject matter for poetic style documentary film-making. Maybe there’s even a niche for archery doco’s that aren’t just blokes with veins popping out of their foreheads while they grunt and haul back on some way over-powered reflex or compound bow?

I’m hoping so.

Start here … just a minute and a bit of your time, with the Helios 44-2 lens showing just how beautifully it can render a forest scene near dusk. Watch it on a phone if you have no choice, but much better – watch it on a nice big computer screen with 4K resolution selected in the YouTube options, or a big tablet/iPad I guess. Check out the earthy colours, the crisp resolution in the narrow band of focus, and the nicely smeared edges and background.

Talk about subject separation …

Out with the old, in with the new – traditional archery bows for sale

This blog is about transition, but if you read on, that’ll probably be obvious and I most likely didn’t need to say so.

For a few years now, more or less since childhood but with breaks of varying duration, I’ve been an archer. Always with relatively simple stick bows of one sort or another. Broadly speaking in modern terminology a “traditional” archer (there are a few historiological flaws in that terminology, but that’s maybe for another day). That is, someone who uses a simple longbow, flatbow or recurve bow, but without any mechanical aids to drawing the string (like the pulleys on a modern compound bow) or aiming (no sighting aids of any sort). Typically wood or wood-mimicking carbon, and often feather-fletched arrows.

I can remember making bows in the back yard at home when I was about 11 or 12. A branch from a tree or a piece of cane or bamboo, simple twine bowstring, and improvised hardwood dowel arrows or some such. Later on there was a very simple commercial d-shaped bow – can’t remember much about it other than it was short and painted black. Around that time my father noticed when he was in his garage with the lights off, that a series of holes in one wall allowed tiny pillars of light to stream through the dusty interior. My aim wasn’t that great! Late teens or early twenties, after a brief archery retirement, I went along to a few sessions at an archery club in my home town of Geelong. Some kind of basic recurve bow was their weapon of choice. On and off over the years until about 2010 I retained a background interest in archery, but just dabbled here and there.

Some time around 2010 I decided it was time I had a real bow and got serious about archery. I had just moved to a regional area in Central Victoria, so the setting was right. I was determined not to join a club – self-taught, as usual, would be the way to go. The big bonus was that since my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, the interwebs had arrived, and there wasn’t much you couldn’t learn about from YouTube. Archery was no exception.

Long story short. I settled on the style of bow I wanted (modern longbow, a.k.a. flatbow) and had narrowed down the search of which one to a bowyer based in Estonia. Falco Archery were making excellent bows, but at a fraction of the price of the more well known producers in the USA. Archers using Falco gear were winning international competitions, but I could actually afford one of their basic bows. The Falco Legend, 45 pound draw at 28”, and at 70” long when braced truly a long bow (if not technically a longbow). The Legend, YouTube and I made a hell of a lot of progress in a short time. It was a forgiving bow to learn on, even if I was a bit over-bowed at the start. Not long after that I met Ben Maher and was introduced to the magical world of archery roving or stump shooting. Immeasurably more fun than shooting at circles on static paper targets, and with the accompanying banter from other like-minded archers, more fun than it had previously seemed possible.

I dabbled briefly with a takedown ILF recurve as my second bow (TradTech Titan), but during a financial rough patch I sold it on again. Things settled down, and my second bow was another Falco – this time the short, fierce flatbow called the Falco Storm – #55@28 and just 54” long. Designed to be used as a horsebow and for hunting or roving. High arrow speeds, but compact shape making it easy to thread through the undergrowth in the bush (the 70” Legend wasn’t so nimble that way 🙂 ). It was the perfect roving/stumping bow for me, and I had a lot of fun and success with it.

I passed on the Falco Legend to another beginning archer in 2020, and I look forward to seeing it work its magic on another traveller.

The Falco Storm is now also for sale (see below for details).

So what changed?

Early in the COVID pandemic of 2020, during one of the lockdowns, I decided to give eastern style thumb draw archery a try, to see if I could master it. What is unsaid in all of that history above, and it usually is in the western context, is that I was using a typical western method to draw the bowstring back – three fingers on the string, and as a right handed archer the arrow was on an arrow shelf on the left side of the bow. Every depiction of archery in the west shows it this way (reversed for left handers of course, but still three fingers). So all my muscle memory is for what is generally known as the Mediterranean draw – what would happen if I tried to learn what is often called the Mongolian draw?

By the way – thumb draw was dominant in much of the east – Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, Middle East, Persia, Himalayas and the subcontinent, China, Japan, Korea, etc. – and still is in most of those places where an archery tradition persists. Mediterranean draw was definitely in the minority historically. Most western archers have overlooked this reality – evidenced by “you have the arrow on the wrong side” and similar comments.

In the beginning it was very difficult to try such a different method after so many years of doing it another way. A bit of persistence paid off though, and when I got my ego under control and used a low poundage training bow the “a ha!” moment came relatively quickly. It’s a more complicated method than the three finger draw, and there are many more parts to the sequence to get a grip on. Getting the drawing hand, thumb and fingers correctly aligned (it’s 90° rotated from the western method) took a while, but then started to feel natural. Having the arrow on the other side of the bow felt odd, but once I adjusted my sight picture for “aiming”, that was no big deal. No shelf on the bow – that was a bit of an adjustment. Shooting off the hand seemed a bit scary – feather cuts and all that – but correct nock height setting on the string fixed all that. When it all came together though, wow, it felt so much stronger and more intimate than shooting the western way. As a short guy with short arms I’m used to getting less than the measured draw weight of a bow – usually the bow poundage is given at 28” draw, but I could only draw to a bit over 26” with three fingers – with thumb draw I could get around 29” draw.

So it’s fair to say that since I started trying to teach myself thumb draw in May 2020, I have switched over completely to that method. It suits me temperamentally and biomechanically in ways that the western draw can’t match. And because I’m practising more, I am basically a much better archer than I was in May 2020.

The next journey then was “which Asiatic reflex bow?”.

Of the styles that I have tried I like the Ottoman Sipahi and Crimean Tatar pattern bows, and shooting methods, the most. I also have a modern interpretation of an Assyrian bow, which is superb, and I shoot it in pretty much the Ottoman way. I’ve bought and sold and destroyed a few bows in the last year. A Hungarian style bow just didn’t work for me – I didn’t enjoy the physical character of it and I sold it on. Some of these very lightweight bows are rather fragile, and if not expertly made can self-destruct in normal use – I’ve had one Chinese-made Tatar bow completely delaminate, and a less expensive Indonesian-made fibreglass Sipahi style bow had a limb crack and fail. Full refund on both, so I kept experimenting.

Despite laminated wood bows attempting to replicate the historical composite bows (wood, horn, sinew) with these extreme reflex limbs being at the performance limits of the modern materials, and vulnerable to mechanical failure, they are for me the most satisfying to shoot. Some of the fibreglass and hi-tech polymer bows get closer to some of the historical parameters of shape, weight and so on, but feel lifeless compared to either a real composite bow, or a laminated analogue.

The laminated Vegh Sipahi (#34@28) is my favourite general purpose bow – it is very light, small, responsive and supple, and feels alive when in use. In contrast the Şimşek Hybrid+ (#45@28) that I’m offering for sale below is a technological marvel – it’s moulded resin shape is as close to the size, shape and weight of real composite bows as can be made at the moment – but it feels efficient like a well made tool, and doesn’t speak to me at all. A technical masterpiece, but for me somewhat inanimate and soulless – many others don’t share that problem with me, and put its technical excellence to use with great shooting.

My Grozer Biocomposite Assyrian (#45@28) feels alive in my hands when I shoot it – and I’m not referring to handshock or vibration. I’m still struggling to find an adequate description in words to explain how beautiful it is to shoot with. Maybe the look on my face after I’ve hit a distant target with it does better justice than the words I’m grappling for …

So, now down to the business. I have two beautiful traditional bows for sale. Surplus to my needs, but with much to offer their next owners.

FALCO STORM FLATBOW (SHORT MODERN LONGBOW) #55@28

It is a particularly beautiful and deadly bow. If I thought there was any chance I would be going back to western archery, it would not be up for sale.

The visible wood types in its construction are ebony, cocobolo and curly birch. Curly birch back. Ebony belly. Both of those with cocobolo layered in the riser. It’s very pretty. The limbs have a bamboo core, adding more to the already high energy nature of the bow to generate high arrow speeds from a compact bow. Draw length maximum is 28”.

From the Falco web page:

“… The Storm was first created to be a hunting/horsebow and the first prototype of it was ordered by our long-time test-shooter Marko Suhonen.

At creating Storm, we aimed to engineer a very quick and fierce bow which would at the same time be comfortable to handle while on horseback – hence it had to be short. However going the easy way of making a classical Hungarian Mongol horsebow did not satisfy us either so we looked further and ended at a model more similar to the horsebows used by Indians in the prairie.

We have never had such a rush of feedback which followed after Marko launched his test videos of The Storm on Youtube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o4nS9prPJ8 ) and right now it seems The Storm has filled the space of a short bowhunting longbow …”.

Bit of an irony about the rejection of the Mongolian horsebow as a model for a new horsebow. 🙂

Never dry fired or left in a hot car, etc. Stored with my other bows on a dedicated rack in the house. It will come with its original Fast Flight Flemish Twist string, a string keeper, and a bow sock.

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Currently selling from Falco Archery for €280 (plus shipping) in the configuration that I’m selling here (first generation Storm) … it could be yours for €185 (plus shipping) – approximately USD$225 or AUD$285 (plus shipping).

http://www.falco.ee/products/falco_longbows/storm

ŞIMŞEK OTTOMAN HYBRID+ #45@28

Let’s now talk about my Şimşek Hybrid+ #45@28 Asiatic reflex bow (renewed 3rd generation with leather covering).

We’ve been together since November 2020, and as wowed as I am by its technical credentials and excellence, we have never really become friends. I always shoot better and more happily with various kinds of laminated Asiatic reflex bows like my Vegh Sipahi, or the Biocomposite Assyrian from Grozer as fraught as they are with the risk of delamination on a humid day, etc. I know many others are much more than happy with the Şimşek bows, reflecting as they do probably the closest and most authentic experience of shooting with real composite Ottoman bows.

I don’t have a single bad word to say about either the technical, sales or support aspects of the Şimşek operation, which are all top notch, but the bow just doesn’t suit me and my way of shooting. I think it’s time the bow went somewhere to find a real friend!

It is the latest iteration of the Şimşek Ottoman Hybrid with leather wrapping (Hybrid+). There is abrasion of the leather at the arrow pass, but the bow is in otherwise fine condition. Never dry fired or left in a hot car, etc. Stored with my other bows on a dedicated rack in the house. It will come with string, string-keeper, bow sock.

Currently selling new from Şimşek for €400 at this draw weight (plus shipping) … it could be yours for €295 (plus shipping) – approximately USD$360 or AUD$455 (plus shipping).

https://simsekbow.com/bows/ottomanhiybridplus

Email me at lconole@gmail.com if you want more details.

It’s not that I don’t care about photography any more …

I last wrote in this blog back in May 2020, when the pandemic was just starting to hit its straps. Nothing much since has happened here on the blog, or elsewhere on my website. Meanwhile, much has gone on in the world.

Photo by Ben Maher @benmaher73 on Instagram. Şimşek Ottoman Hybrid+ bow, VLBB Tabs quiver

Back then my archery practice had almost ground to a complete stop. Nine months later, that slide has definitely been reversed. I’ve moved from one neotrad archery tradition to one which is a little bit more actually trad. Out with the laminated American flatbows (a 20th century invention); in with things often (incorrectly) called ‘horsebows’ – Asiatic reflex bows made in the form of medieval Ottoman designs, but with modern material and techniques (laminated, some epoxy resin involved, reconstituted horn and sinew, etc.). Instead of the familiar Western (Mediterranean) draw with 3 fingers on the string and arrow on the inside (left side if you’re righthanded), now it’s thumb draw and the arrow is on the outside.

Végh Sipahi bow, VLBB Tabs quiver, Gold Tip arrows

Suffice to say the time spent in learning the new ways and reading the rich philosophical and technical literature, translated from Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Arabic, has well and truly reignited my passion for archery. The other major benefit, as an aid to meditation, has helped me not go crazy during pandemic lockdowns, etc. Massively beneficial.

Végh Sipahi bow, Gold Tip arrows

So now archery as a martial art with a philosophical and technical underpinning has paired up with the sheer joy I’ve always experienced of being out in the forest somewhere, at one with the bow and arrows, delighting in the sound of the bowstring as it launches the arrow. So simple, but so wonderful.

Image by Andy – @nocturnal_archer on Instagram. Végh Sipahi bow.

And photography hasn’t gone away. It just has to share the space … and the trad archery gear does look very photogenic … 😉

Grozer Biocomposite Assyrian bow, Bogar Archery quiver, Sungur arrows

Images by me, unless otherwise credited; taken on either a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 4a mobile phone (don’t tell my cameras !!).

ARCHERY AND FORAGING – GETTING BACK TO SOME NEGLECTED FOREST CRAFTS!

These last 2-3 years photography and roaming with the dogs have pretty much supplanted a few of my other outdoor passions. In beautiful autumnal sunshine, two of them got a bit of love today.

It’s a long Pine Mushroom (Saffron Milk Cap Lactaria deliciosa) season in 2020. This lovely harvest was in between where I stood and the old stump I was shooting at in my long overdue instinctive archery stumping session.
This is a frame grab from a video I shot this morning. I’m too much of a skinflint to upgrade my WordPress subscription to premium to load videos here! Pine forest near Castlemaine, Falco Storm bow – this is instinctive archery stump-shooting …
Another video grab – arrow frozen in flight – not bad camera resolution on an object travelling at over 220km/h …

But it works on YouTube

TRIPOD RENOVATION COMPLETE …

In May last year I blogged about replacing the head on my Manfrotto 055PROB aluminium tripod with relatively inexpensive Sirui levelling base and panning head parts. As opposed to junking the whole thing and buying a new expensive tripod. https://mikrokosmfotos.art/2019/05/04/upgrading-my-trusty-tripod/

That has proven to be a great improvement, and it’s such a better experience using it now for all sorts of photography.

The one lingering useability glitch has been the rubber feet. Unstable on carpet indoors, and on various soft surfaces outdoors.

Yesterday I replaced the rubber feet with retractable screw-out spikes.

The renovation of the 055PROB is complete. The Sirui head is wonderful, and now on spikes it’s rock solid, more than a match for my heaviest camera gear.