Month: July 2013 (page 1 of 3)

Heavy Kettlebells

Power Systems had a sale last week.  I got a 48kg (106lb) gold colored competition style kettlebell for 50% off with free shipping.  A couple of days later, they had a 70% off sale with free shipping, so I got two of the black cast iron 100lb kettlebells.  I might have gotten some more competition style bells, but the 70% off sale didn’t apply to those.

I’m using the pair of 100lb kettlebells for farmer’s carries.  The two inch diameter handles make it a very grip intensive exercise, but farmer’s walks are an excellent conditioning exercise too.

I got the 48kg kettlebell for working on heavy swings.  The handle is supposedly around 33mm in diameter, making it less taxing on the grip.  I’ve done some two-handed swings with it and it’s not too bad, but that may be because I’ve done some double bell work with (a pair of) lighter bells having a greater total weight.  I haven’t tried any one handed swings yet, though I did do a clean just to see what it’d feel like.  I’d like to some day be able to do Turkish Get Ups with a 48kg kettlebell too.

In the photos below, the gold colored kettlebell is heavier even though it’s smaller.  I’m told that they’re filled with lead in order to keep them at the correct size.  Competition style kettlebells are all the same size, regardless of weight.  This means that some of the very light ones are mostly hollow and that some of the heavier ones must be filled with a material that’s denser than iron or steel.

2013-07-28-DSC04149-medium 2013-07-28-DSC04152-medium 2013-07-28-DSC04159-mediumHere’s a look at the 100lb Power Systems kettlebell next to a 40kg AOS Kettlebell and a 36kg Lifeline USA kettlebell.  The AOS and Lifeline bells are of comparable quality and both are of much better quality than the Power Systems bell.  I like Lifeline USA bells the best of all of the kettlebells that I’ve tried.  Though very similar to AOS bells, I like the texture of the Lifeline bells better.  The AOS bells have a somewhat rougher texture.  It should be noted that AOS and Lifeline USA kettlebells are both made in the USA.

2013-07-28-DSC04165-mediumThis is what the bottom of each of these bells look like.  Note that the Power Systems bell does not have a perfectly flat bottom.  Even so, I’ve had no problems with them tipping when doing Renegade Rows with them.

2013-07-28-DSC04167-smallI have only one other competition style kettlebell, a 28kg bell from MDUSA.  As expected, the 48kg Power Systems kettlebell has the same size and shape as the one from MDUSA.

2013-07-28-DSC04169-smallThe bottoms of both bells are reasonably flat, though the MDUSA bell looks smoother.






Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike met at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, where we hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail.  The hike started off rainy, but cleared after perhaps twenty minutes or so.

Amy composed this group photo, which I shot from my tripod.  From left to right are Linda, Kevin, Amy, Janet, Teresa, Marilyn, Mary, and Jerry.



A bird’s nest in a chain fruit cholla, with Sven Slab in the background:


Linda sent me this photo of me photographing the nest.



More chain fruit cholla:


Sven Towers III, and II.  (Seven Tower I is only partially visible at the far right in this photo.)



A spider web among some barrel cacti:


Linda took this photo of the web from above:



We saw a mule deer, but the wide angle lens that I was using didn’t get me very close:


Marilyn got this photo of the deer with her camera.



The Granite Ballroom with the Thumbnail Pinnacle off in the distance.

2013-07-26-DSC04026-mediumBroken mushroom rocks:



We spent nearly all of the hike in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Some of us did, however, take a few steps into McDowell Mountain Park.  Here, Amy and Teresa pose by a sign on the Boulder Trail.

2013-07-26-DSC04050-mediumThe trail leads up a hill formed from the slide mass:

2013-07-26-DSC04053-medium Linda took this photo of me at around that point.


The trail goes past a lichen covered slab of granite:

2013-07-26-DSC04056-mediumAmy makes her way up the slide mass.  Rock Knob is in the background at the right.


We stopped at the interpretive viewpoint which shows the locations of various landmarks including Four Peaks and Weaver’s Needle.  I took this photo from that view area.

2013-07-26-DSC04077-medium Taking a break near the view point…


Submarine Rock:

2013-07-26-DSC04093-mediumWe returned via the Caballo Trail.  Along that trail is an old feeding trough…


There’s also an old water tank nearby.  Tom’s Thumb can be seen just left of the water tank.


On the drive out, after the hike was over, Teresa took this photo of caballos crossing the road.







Marie’s Fisher Tower Photos

Marie took these photos while hiking at Fisher Towers in early June.

Marie’s self portrait:



2013-06-02-Marie-DSC00777-medium Kevin, a long way off and high up!



Marilyn let Tiger spend a few minutes in the back yard today…




Gandalf is Grouchy


A little less grouchy here…


The reason he was grouchy was because Big Tom came and challenged him for his favorite sleeping spot on the wall.

2013-07-23-DSC03791-medium 2013-07-23-DSC03797-mediumI shot these with the Sigma 50-500mm lens.  I’m liking this lens better now.


Saguaro on the Fountain Overlook Trail

Another photo from Thursday evening…


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the horse staging area near the entrance to the park.  I took this photo of the sunrise while we waited for everyone to arrive.


We walked across the road to the competitive track parking area and started by hiking part of the Technical Loop.  We branched off onto the Long Loop and then hiked up to Pemberton via Stoneman Wash.  We went through the Trailhead Staging Area on our way to the Scenic Trail.  After about a mile on the Scenic Trail, we turned right onto the trail taking us back to the Horse Staging Area.

Note: I do not recommend hiking the loops in the competitive track area.  They are one way tracks and mountain bikes take them pretty fast.  I warned everyone on the hike to listen for bikes and to be prepared to step off the trail quickly.


A view from early on the Technical Loop:


A view of Red Mountain in the distance.


One of the steep downhill sections on the Technical Loop.  It appeared in pretty good shape.  It often has a lot of loose rock on it.

2013-07-19-DSC03566-medium On our way to the tunnel going under the Sport Loop.


The tunnel…


Another view of Red Mountain.



Linda took this photo of me taking a picture.

2013-07-19-From_Linda-002-mediumWe had some cool clouds on Friday.

2013-07-19-DSC03652-medium Sarge leads the way, followed by Bob, Janet, Teresa, Marilyn, and Linda.


Chain Fruit Cholla on the Long Loop.


We saw this horny toad near the end of our hike on the Scenic Trail.


Horny Toad

We saw this little critter on our hike today.  The end of my lens was six to eight inches away from him when I got this shot.  Being a 24mm lens, however, I still needed to crop away a lot of the image to get this close-up.


The Fountain at Night

The Fountain Hills Fountain just after 8pm…


2017-04-10 update:

When I revisited this photo, I felt that the sky (and nearly all of the darker tones) were far too blue. I did another edit which is not as blue. This version also has more definition in the sky.

Below is another version – I liked the color of the fountain in my original edit from 2013, so I did a new edit in which I tried to get closer to that color. When I was done, I did a blend of my two most recent attempts with the following result:


Saguaro Blvd & Palisades Blvd / Panorama Drive