Kite-boards at Assateague

We wandered over to Assateague this afternoon to see if we could see any birds or the new pony, but the throngs of people had most of the wildlife scared off. We did see some ponies, but they were off in the distance, and really weren't posing well. The wind was up, though, and the crazies were busy flying around on their kite-boards. I took it as an opportunity to make more pictures you're not supposed to be able to make with the Fujifilm X-E1 and the XC 50-230mm lens. I also make a couple of pretty "marsh-scapes," and, since it is the "unofficial first day of summer" here on the eastern shore, I made the obligatory "pretty girl on the beach" shot.

I used the "back button focus" technique, and all manual exposure (mostly, the good old "sunny sixteen" rule).

All images taken with a Fujifilm X-E1, and processed with Photos, Perfectly Clear, and/or Snapseed on an Apple iPad Air 2.

All images by and copyright (c) Geren W. Mortensen, Jr., All Rights Reserved.

At The Zoo

They tell me it's all happening at the zoo,I do believe it, I do believe it's true...

On Sunday, we went to join an iPhone meetup group for a photo walk at the National Zoo in Washington. While  I did shoot with the iPhone, I also shot a lot with the Fujifilm X-E1.

Here are my iPhone shots:

There are a lot of times I find using the iPhone camera(s) to be really frustrating. It's great for shooting when you can get in tight, or when you're looking to get a landscape, or for quick grab shots of friends in a pub, or for quick documentation. And using it to take pictures and "mess them up" is a lot of fun. But, dang it, there's a reason for interchangeable lenses -- or cameras with decent in-built zooms.

Here are my shots with the Fujifilm X-E1:

All of the shots were with the XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS, although I did use the XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS for other shots where appropriate.

Shooting at a zoo can be a significant challenge, as often, the animals are far away. In a lot of zoos, especially for smaller animals, the old-style barred enclosures have given way to natural barriers and fences with a relatively tight "weave." This is especially true for birds. While we can tend to look through without noticing, our cameras cannot. The trick is to get the lens as close to the fence as possible, and hope for some good separation between the fence and the subject. Even so, the fence or screen often has the effect of reducing contrast in our pictures. Finally, in a lot of cases, the backgrounds for the enclosed animals is, necessarily, less than attractive.

I continue to be impressed with the quality of the 55-230. The sharpness and contrast, coupled with its superb image stabilization, make it a great go-to lens for me. The only gripe I think I have is that when moving in and out of aperture priority mode, I have to scroll through all the aperture to reach the "A" setting. It's a little more cumbersome than on the XF lenses with aperture rings, because the control is not as readily accessible. Maybe if Fujifilm could release a firmware update that allowed the scroll wheel "push" to be set up to jump between the manually selected aperture and "A", or maybe allow it to be set on another button...

Common Ground Roots Music Festival 2014

Our weekend was spent at the Common Ground Roots Music Festival listening to lots of great music and visiting with some of the people Donna met during her Common Ground classes a couple weeks ago. It was a great weekend. For me, the musical highlights were Professor Louie & the CrowmatixNew Riders of the Purple Sage and Réveillons!, but all the performances were outstanding. We missed seeing Guy Davis, who we saw at the Northeast Blues Festival in Rockport, ME, a few years back. Of course, I did take a few snapshots...

Common Ground Roots Music Festival 2014_DSF1524

And, from the "you can't do that" files, I offer up the shot at right. "They" keep saying that the X-E1, especially when paired with the 50-230mm lens, is not a camera for fast action. I always take statements like that as a personal challenge. Looks like it did alright to me. In fact, all but the last eight pictures here were taken using the XC 50-230mm lens.

Weekend on the Shore

We spent this past weekend on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Saturday was spent on the upper shore, in and around Easton and Oxford, and on the road to Berlin (near Ocean City); Sunday we went over to Assateague, where we spent some time in the National Park (we took the opportunity to re-up our annual parks pass). I haven't had a lot of time to work on the images, so they're presented here "straight." I'll select a few to work on in OnOne Perfect Effects and post them over the next few days.

Saturday's Shots

Most of these are from Oxford, although I poked around a few other little towns as well.

Sunday's Shots

Mostly at Assateague, though I did shoot a few on the boardwalk at Ocean City, and a couple on the drive back to Berlin.

The pictures of the birds are particularly fun, because the Fujifilm X-E1 is just not supposed to be good at that kind of thing, and a 230mm lens is typically far too short to do anything decent with. I'll admit, getting the bird shots was challenging with that camera, but then again, getting good shots of birds is always a challenge!