Osprey Wars – The Process Of An Image

This image was actually created by layering three different images, the background sky and then two different images of the same Osprey then positioned in the image. The Talons on the Osprey at right had to be reconstructed in photoshop due to being obscured by a tree limb as the Osprey was landing. Each image had to be tone-matched and I also had to be careful with the lightening of each.


Bug Spray & Magical Mystery Tour 2017 Continued

Road trips, they are exciting and inspiring but preparing for them can be a real pain in the butt. I like having some method to the madness of my packing, some measure of organization so I have some idea where everything is at. This was easy when I had the converted van as most everything remained in the van and in the same location. But now I don’t have that van and I’m having to resort to totes and duffle-bags, etc., and I’m having to attempt to pack each of those with some kind of order. And just when I think that I’ve done it I find something else that I forgot to pack. Amazing how it seems to always workout that way no matter how much advanced planning was put into the effort. But alas, I think I’m finally ready to go.

Six hours north into Michigan, that’s the plan anyway, which is always subject to change and often does. That’s just the way we travel as we sort of hit the road with a plan and then end up going with the flow once we’re on the road. Our first planned destination is a small lake that we’ve not been to in a number of years but we’ve always done well there in the past. Our second leg of the adventure takes us to a different campground that’s near five old public beaches in the heart of a popular and busy tourist district. Again, we have had some great hunts here in the past as well. In the van this was no problem, changing camp sites was easy and fast, but, not going to be the case this time around given all of the packing and unpacking and camp setup and tear down. Still, I’m looking forward to the trip and I’m excited about the possibilities. Can’t wait to hit the road.

In prior years I never had to worry about a diet, I could eat all the fatty foods I wanted to eat. Now, not the case anymore so I have to take an entire kitchen just to insure that I eat healthier and avoid all that delicious cholesterol rich food such as beacon, steak, bratwurst, biscuits and gravy, baked potatoes with all of the sour cream and cheese and other fix’ns. Now I’m down to tuna, salmon, salads, pastas, oatmeal, jellos, turkey breast, chicken breast, fresh fruit and vegetables, and fig newtons for desert. Sure, I’m going to cheat and I’ve already bought that steak to toss onto the grill but that’s just for one special treat. Heaven forbid, a guy can’t go camping for several days without eating traditional camp style food. Believe it or not it will be the first red meat I’ve had in over a year. I smell it sizzling on the grill already, my taste-buds already setting up their dining room.

Cameras. I think we’re taking a total of six, but maybe seven, or even eight if I count the drone? When I traveled before I took only one and it hardly ever got used, much to my regret. Won’t be making that mistake again. When I think back to all of the moments I could have captured, and should have captured, it makes me very disappointed, to say the least. Today I have very little record of those past trips or of the many recoveries and special moments that occurred. Sad, very sad, indeed.

In truth all of this should have started months ago but we could never get away for one reason or the other. The weather was also an issue a large portion of this year as it seemed every time we thought had a window of opportunity it was forecasting rain by the buckets. Damn’it! I just realized that I forgot to get a new can of bug spray, that tote already packed and at the bottom of the pile, no less. Figures.

I got a new waterproof pin pointer the other day, the shape and appearance of the thing is actually a bit frightening. I tried it out and I think it’s going to work just fine though, that is if it doesn’t vibrate me out of my shoes? It’s also a little on the large size, but, a damn good club if I’d happen to get attacked by a school of northern pike or a rabid chipmunk. Don’t laugh, the last time we went up north a chipmunk raced into my lap while I was sitting by the fire and he stole my bite-sized Reese Cup right out of my hand, then he quickly ran away with it returning for more a few minutes later. At one point he had three of them crammed into his jaws, the last two coated with peanut butter. I just couldn’t help myself, poor little guy had sand and wood chips stuck to him everywhere…..lol

Geese, somewhere Mike has a picture of several geese that had managed to surround and corner me at the waterline, they were aggressive and threatening to peck me to death because I had invaded their private little beach. Detector in one hand, the scoop in the other, headphones on ears, I felt just like Sir Lancelot when they launched their hissing assault. Wouldn’t have surprised me one bit if we would have discovered a large wooden Trojan Horse made from sticks sitting at our camp door the next morning, armed and dangerous little chipmunks hiding inside. Suddenly we would have chipmunks overrunning our camp, geese conducting aerial assaulting from above, and…..oh, sorry, got a little carried away in the moment.

But isn’t this what camping and adventure is all about, letting our hair down a bit and going with the flow of things, having some fun and enjoying environment surrounding you. Sure, we want to find some quality stuff while we’re at it but metal detecting isn’t the only reason we’re there. I’m going to laugh and cutup and completely forget about all of the negative bullshit that’s going on daily in the world. I’m going to enjoy my surroundings and I’m going to enjoy the nature and all that it has to offer, with exception of those pesky mosquitoes, of course. Bug spray, I have to remember to get some bug spray.

Cheers! And as always, good luck and be safe out there! Should have some pics and video for you when I get back.


Magical Mystery Tour 2017 – Camp #1 Hunt Summary

It had been a long time coming, my first solo road trip and camping adventure since my widow-maker back in February, 2015. On top of this I no longer had the converted van so I was looking at having to do the tent thing for the first time in many years, what to pack and how much to pack, etc.? So this first trip was something of a test run to a moderate distance away from home but not too far away, someplace I could camp either right on the lake or not too far from one or more of them.

I was going water detecting so I needed access to water, old water preferably, someplace that held a good mix of both new and old items and a lot of water to hunt. After a little research and a few quick recon trips I found exactly what I was looking for, a busy lake area that had a history dating back to the late 1800’s, much of the shoreline shallow with an accessible bed of target supporting stone, clay, and gravel.

Hunting smarter, something I have to do now since the widow-maker as I can no longer endure all day hunting so I have to pick and choose select locations that I can comfortably and strategically hunt in a couple of hours and then grid-work those smaller areas as efficiently and as methodically as I can, maybe get away with doing this a couple of times a day until the fatigue starts setting in. This was my plan when I finally pulled away from the house and hit the road towards my chosen destination.

Lake hunting is just like coastal beach hunting, those layers of soft sand just being replaced with layers of deep muck and/or silt and if there’s too much of this soft overburden then I won’t be able to access those firmer layers of stone and clay and gravel where all of the older and heavier goodies reside. No doubt these older and heavier goodies were there but I really wouldn’t know just where or how to go about trying to access them until I finally got in the water. But I was loaded for bear, a selection of coils and the modified Excal so it was just a matter of figuring the lay of the lake bottom and that could only come with a lot of trial and error until I got a little more familiar with the general scope of things.

Setting up camp was a hoot, a lot like taking things out of storage and then redecorating the house with it one room at a time. Picnic tables have to be in just the right spot, as does the tent, the folding easy chair, the grill, the cooler, and the tote marked, “Kitchen.” Inside the tent is no different, the air mattress and sleeping bag has to be in just the right place, another low profile folding chair so I can kick-back indoors, my small tote full of spare clothes serving as a bedside table. The tent I bought was actually a little bigger then I needed but I wanted something I could stand up in and the extra space was rather nice. With all of this now done it was time to start thinking about hitting the water.

The lake crowd, how did it move about the shallows and where do people gather and how long have they been gathering there? I spent much of the first day just observing the weekend lake routine, the day being Sunday with evening sending most of this traffic back to work and back to school and out of my way for the most part. So this is how I spent Sunday, the crowd not thinning out until after 8:00pm, as it turned out. But when they finally started to leave the place quickly became something of a ghost town, nothing but ducks and seagulls and a lone bald eagle hanging around. It was, “Perfect!”

Aside from recent drops and mountains of pull-tabs and bottle caps the trick turned out to be keeping the coil over those accessible layers of firmer bottom, be it stone, gravel, clay, or any combination of these. This doesn’t mean that I wasn’t walking in the muck and silt, it just means that I was periodically checking with my scoop to make sure that those firmer layers were still within reach, say no more then about 12” x 18” down depending on what size coil I was swinging. In some places I could wade to chin deep and still remain with reach of those firmer layers, in other places maybe only waist deep, lake bottoms varying like this quite often.

To be perfectly honest I wasn’t trying to kill it during this first trip to this lake, a mistake I think a lot of hunters make when hunting new territory. What I was looking to accomplish was A; get familiar with the lay of the bottom, and, B; I was hoping to hit enough good targets to offer me some idea of the lake’s true potential. I think I was able to accomplish both on this trip as I now have a much better feel for this lake and it’s true potential.

Yes, it is a lot of high-traffic water and bottom and not all of it had much to offer due to the deep layers of muck and silt, however, it does have seemingly endless areas where those firmer bottoms can be accessed and I did manage a few telling recoveries from those locations. To sum things up, give me a small houseboat or pontoon boat and I could easily see myself spending a lot of time on this lake hunting for all of it’s old and new hidden goodies!

(All the signs are at this lake, a vintage 14K diamond ring, an assortment of old coins, and an old sterling silver “Infant of Prague” pendent.)

Cheers! Hope this article helps and inspires, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

When Threshold Kills

Yesterday I drove north to a large and very popular old beach, my expectations not all that high given the placed is routinely slammed by experienced detectorist using everything from 3030’s to modified Excals and even deep PI machines, but I like the place so I made the drive anyway, Excal and 12×15” SEF accompanying me.

This is a large freshwater beach where swimmers can roam more then 100 yards from shore, the area outside the ropes having a long tradition of moored boats and offshore parties, the participants tossing their bottle caps and pulltabs and whatever else over the side, so it is also rather trashy in spots, though the sand and silt is also deep so much of this trash sinks quite a ways. Out here it is only chest deep water, that depth of water where the adults gather, play and swim, just the type of area I’m always looking for.

So we have deep sand and silt, a lot of trash, a lot of adult swimmers, and this has been going on for at least 80 years or more. Just imagine what is laying on that firmer bottom below all of that sand a silt. This is what I was focused on, those really deep targets. If I had an 15×18” coil I would have certainly brought it, another item that’s still on my wish list but just not called upon enough to justify the expense, at least not yet.

The competition, hardly a scrap left in the first 10-12 inches of bottom, a few starting to show up here and there in that 12-14″ range, “a lot” showing up in 14 to 18” range, especially in those areas where the bottom has become so contaminated with deteriorating debris that these areas send the threshold into immediate and continuous convulsions. Most hunters simply walk away from these areas or they attempt to battle these areas by turning the sensitivity down, both of these practices just being self defeating in the end. There is a better way, a very effective way of dealing with this contaminated bottom. “Get rid of the threshold all together!”

Deep targets generate weak and/or faint returns, their signature being very small, often very-very small, quick, and quite faint. When your threshold is going crazy these very small and faint returns are too easily lost among all the chatter and instability in the threshold, this having the same effect regardless what mode you’re applying, pinpoint or disc. Adjusting the machine sensitivity has no effect on the threshold, all you’re accomplishing here is the filtering out of the those very small and very weak returns that you’re hoping to locate. Turning machine sensitivity down is a big mistake as this will only cost you many of those returns. Instead, just turn the machine threshold down to just below audible, this allowing for those really faint/weak/quick returns to stand out more clearly in your headphones. If you’ve not tried this then, literally speaking, you don’t know what you’re missing?

Nearly all of the targets in the image below were beyond the 12-14” range, this including 1 sterling ring, a 46 Rosie and a 42 wheat. No gold yet but it’s out there and I will find some of it. I’m sure of it. In a prior hunt I nabbed the 1896 Martinique coin in the other image. All of these targets, and more, passed over by those who routinely hunt this same freshwater beach. No doubt the place is still loaded with deep goodies and I’m going to continue to go after them. Here’s a link to the video detailing this strategy: https://youtu.be/32RyexwmVrs

Hope this article helps, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

How To Clean Your Really Cruddy Coins

Notice I said “cruddy” coins, as this isn’t something you’ll probably want to do with coins of any value. However, if you’re like me then you have accumulated several cruddy coins that you can’t even see any detail in, the years of exposure to the elements all but deteriorating those details. “V” nickels are especially pron to this deterioration due to their poor alloy composition so let’s use a couple of these as I happen to have a few in this deteriorated condition.

First you’ll need a Dremel tool with a small polishing wheel, some Vaseline extra strength skin lotion, and a bowl of lightly soapy water and a soft towel. Now take the dry coin and put a generous amount of lotion on it, now use the polishing wheel at slow speed over the surface of the coin. This isn’t a quick process and you’ll have to repeat this process several times, rinsing the coin and drying it off between each polishing effort.

The first image is a 1902 “V” nickel that I just cleaned, prior to cleaning it was in pretty much the same condition as the 1905 below that I’ll be doing next. As you can see the 1902 cleaned up pretty good considering just how corroded it was in the beginning, at least now we can easily see the date and what detail was left on the surface of the coin. I have several other old coins that I’ll be cleaning as well that next time I stuck in the house with nothing else to do.

Cheers!….Hope this article helps, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

I Get Sore Just Thinking About It!

So I just got back from the local Coinstar machine for the forth time this year, my coin count once again right at 2000 coins, so this makes around 8000 coins for the year so far. Sounds incredible, I know, but it’s really not. Now stack the unknown number of other recovered items onto this count and it easily exceeds 10’000 holes in the last 7 months, (since the first of February, or thereabouts.) “Really! I’ve dug that many holes!” It’s a wonder my shoulder and knees and back don’t need replaced….lol

So when we do the math this comes to around 47 holes a day, or roughly 330 holes a week, now it’s not sounding quite so crazy as before as this is only about 6 holes per hour if we put in an 8hr day. But in reality this is more like 4 days a week and 6-8hrs a day, so say somewhere between 10-15 holes per hour, which is starting to sound rather high again, but is it, really?

I guess it all depends on where you’ve been hunting. Me, I’ve spent most of my time either in very populated environments with long and popular histories or in the water at either very busy beaches or over very old and once very busy beaches. So, in other words, I spend a great deal of my hunting time in areas where targets have had either a long time to accumulate or where targets are constantly being replenished. This helps to explain a great deal of the high recovery count.

Per example, tonight we have plans to go to two beaches, the first being a rather expansive beach with deep sand that is typically busy but also quite clean, ideal conditions for the larger coil. However, the second beach is just the opposite, very small, very old, very crowded, and very trashy, the type of place I find myself routinely hunting. At this type of an area I use the smaller coil and I’m often chasing those “might be” and “could be” returns that frequently turn out to be “darn’it digs.” But I have to chase these iffy returns due to all of the trash and the constant masking of potentially good targets, so in these environments I am constantly digging, often chasing and discovering and recovering targets upon targets, the reason why my recovery counts in these type of environments is so high.

Is there anything of value that one can take away from this article? Perhaps there is. I guess it just depends on how each hunter views things. However, I can tell you this much, when we consider all of the gas, batteries, entry fees, etc., my Coinstar counts have been paying for most of it. And what about all of those other recoveries that never see the Coinstar machine? Rings, chains, watches, tokens, pendents, older silver coins, etc., etc.

Cheers!…I hope this article helps, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

Why Good Coverage Is Important

Nothing but sand and water, and I do mean nothing. When the hunting is slow like this it can feel like we’re aimlessly roaming an expanse of endless desert, “is this thing even working?” A quick check and, yes, the detector is still working. So where’s all the targets?

One inch, that’s really all it takes to hide what we’re looking for, miss that one inch of sand and water and you might very possibly miss out on that hidden gold or platinum ring. I just experienced this again during yesterday’s morning water hunt, after several passes through a small area of water without so much as a bobby pin to show for it I passed through this same area once more on my way out of the water and BINGO! How I had missed the 10k gold and diamond ring during my prior efforts is simply because I had never gotten the coil over it during those prior passes.

Take a collection of desired recoveries and measure them, this should illustrate the importance of good coverage as nearly all of those desired recoveries are under 1 inch in diameter, turn them at an angle and they grow even smaller. This is why good coverage is always important, because it only takes an inch to miss those hidden treasures by a mile.

Cheers!…and as always, good luck and be safe out there.

Hard Targets

It’s been collecting targets for over 100 years, coins and jewelry and also the typical trash. In one area of this beach the tones can change with every scoop, the recovered target in your scoop often revealing yet another. Here there is frequently targets on top of targets, often something old and new in the very same hole. Chirps, barks, screams, tics, pops and little farts, all of these sounds frequently resonating from under, over, and between all of the shallower and fairly modern coins, bottle caps, pulltabs, nails, shell casings, lead fishing weights, old cans, metallic halos, etc., etc. It has taken us many hours of frustrating trial and error to learn how to effectively hunt these places but we’re oh-so glad we stuck it out, the fruits of our labors starting to fill our treasure coffers with greater routine.

Today we were both using small coils, much easier to separate and to isolate targets, much easier to work these coils IN the layers of muck and silt whenever it’s encountered, also much easier to keep working these coils further into the bottom of the holes we dig. Soon what started out as a tic or chirp or a curious bark becomes something else, a solid repeatable tone that we can easily pinpoint in the depths of our holes.

We employ large scoops, large enough to allow our small coils spacious entry into our newly created clay and stony pits. This is generally where the good stuff is found, the typically older and/or heavy. We begin our hunts in silent disc mode, those “edgy” chirps and barks and tics checked out further in Pin Point mode so we can attempt to count the number of those edges, Pin Point mode often allowing us the ability to do this, more then two edges generally a sure sign of a masked target generating the chirp, bark, or tiny tic. It is very slow hunting, methodical and extremely testing at times.


VDI will serve you no purpose here, the platinum diamond ring range up in the 80’s, the three gold rings range up in the 30’s, 60’s, and 80’s respectively. This type of hunting is all done with the ears, the matrix, dark patinas, rust and contamination causing all manner of false readings, this only being compounded as the depth of the targets increase. “Dense” and “sharp” target edges is what we’re focused on, regardless how faint those dense or sharp edges might be. Whenever these dense and sharp returns are encountered, regardless how small or tiny or faint or broken, we always go probing for the source. More often then not it is a target of value, be it a coin or piece of silver or gold jewelry such as a ring, pendent, or even a chain. Sure we also collect our share of junk rings like titanium, carbide, aluminum, copper, etc, but we get far fewer of these here then one might expect to find at today’s modern beaches.

This type of hunting isn’t for everyone and I readily admit that there were many days when we almost tossed in the towel but I’m glad we didn’t. Not everyone can cope with spending six-hours in the same 30′ x 30′ section of water, “for the third time.” However, once you get a feel for the true potential of these places and eventually see the rewards in your scoop, well, it’s much-much easier to bear. One of my early targets today was an early 1900’s “V” nickel and I knew right then that even more goodies were sure to follow.

Hope this article helps, and as always, be safe out there!

Want More Gold? Then Become A Student Of Your Beaches!

We beach hunters tend to toss the word erosion around rather loosely these days but the truth is that not all erosion is the same. Per example, if we see two foot of erosion over an area of beach and that remaining beach is still made up of several feet of deep fluffy sand then that erosion generally isn’t what we’re talking about unless it has invaded those generally dry dune areas, etc. What we are talking about is erosion that has left behind “firm bottoms”…bottoms that are firm enough to support items like dense gold rings, etc. So there is a significant difference in the types of erosion being sought. About the only time this may not be the case is during the height of the summer season when recent drops occur more frequently and even then these denser items sink pretty quickly.

Take a gold ring for example, it is very dense/heavy with little surface area to provide resistance, so unless it encounters something that will support its weight as it’s sinking then it’s generally going to keep right on sinking until it does. So think, “firmer bottoms,” as that is really what we’re after, these firmer bottoms either being dense enough to support the goodies we’re after or at the very least they’ll help to slow the sink rate of those denser items. Find these areas and you’ll likely start to encounter items like old fishing weights, rusty nuts & bolts, and this sort of thing. These are the areas we’re looking for.

If we could do a cutaway of the beaches we hunt we would discover that these firmer layers of beach don’t transcend along a lateral line but rather they appear much the same way as that little red line on a heart monitor that’s attached to someone with an irregular heartbeat. Find these spiked areas along the beaches you typically hunt and you’re far more likely to experience better consistent success there, especially when there is some erosion. And if these places are located behind those popular tourist locations and/or busier areas of beach then all the better. Two feet of erosion over six feet of deep fluffy sand doesn’t hold much promise, however, this same two feet of erosion leaving only a foot or two of soft sand, or less, above these firmer bottoms is quite a different story.

Cheers!….and as always, good luck and be safe out there!