2017 Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Show

We spent a wonderful, if wet, day yesterday at the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Show at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  In addition to the boat show, which featured a dozen or so restored and/or working Chesapeake Bay boats, there's a really neat little museum in Crisfield with displays showing the history of the town and its importance in the history of America's seafood industry, the Bay, and the region.

All photos taken with a Fujifilm X-E2 and XF18-55mm lens in JPEG mode with Astia film simulation applied, and then edited in Snapseed on an iPad Air 2.

We didn't take any pictures around town in Crisfield this visit -- I have in the past, and we'll probably go back down, but we were left wondering how much longer the "town" of Crisfield will survive. Many of the buildings on Main Street are vacant and dilapidated, as are a huge number of the residences. It's definitely not the quaint-if-smelly town I remember from when I was young, and you could still find huge piles of oyster shells around.

On the way from Crisfield to Berlin, we came across a really neat old building that we may want to go back and photograph. I did manage to grab a quick iPhone picture before "traffic" forced us to move on. I didn't even try to shoot that with the Fuji, because I was more interested in getting the geotag so we can go back -- the whole town there is begging to be photographed. 

Too Late for Fall Color? Catoctin Furnace, Thurmont, Maryland

I've been in a slump and a funk for quite some time because, other than my recent trip to New York for PhotoPlus Expo, I haven't made a photograph in months. I've barely even taken a picture! So it was decided that, no matter that I played a gig last night and didn't get home until after three, I would be getting up early to go make some photographs. I decided, too, that the direction headed would be west, to the area around Thurmont, Maryland, and one of my subject choices would be pretty uncharacteristic for me: fall color, assuming there was any left. The other "target" was to try to shoot some of the waterfalls in the area.

I managed to get up by 7:00, with surprisingly little difficulty. After I got myself ready to go, I dragged Donna out of bed, informed her that she would be "kidnapped," and that she needed to get ready to go. And, we were out the door by around 9AM. We stopped a couple times along the way to Thurmont, but once there, we spent our time at the Catoctin Furnace, and on the nearby walking trail.

Here are my results from the day:

A few shots are of particular interest:

First, it seems to be a requirement of nature/landscape photographers to get a picture of a yellow leaf. Maybe it's even the law. I don't know. At any rate, here's a yellow(wish) leaf:

_DSF3906
_DSF3906

It's heavily backlit, so it looks more orange than yellow. But orange contains yellow. So there it is. Really, though, I think that being limited to only yellow leaves is somehow discriminatory against other-colored leaves. So, in the interest of at least a little bit of equality, I felt it important to include a red one:

_DSF3966
_DSF3966

For the purists, it should be known that I did not place the red leaf. That's just how I found it.

Seriously, though, we saw a gorgeous Pileated Woodpecker at work on a dead tree. Of course, neither of us had the correct lens at the ready, and by the time I even got my bag open, the bird had ducked into a hole in the tree. Apparently, Sunday is interior decorating day for woodpeckers, because he/she/it commenced to banging away inside the tree. When we held our hand on the side of the tree, we could feel the banging! Very cool, and something we'd never experienced before!

After leaving the furnace, we took the road up around the State Park in search of places to shoot waterfalls. While we saw a couple of likely candidates, there were no places to pull over. So, we decided to head into Cunningham Falls State Park. Apparently, everyone else in the area had the same idea, because the place was mobbed! We decided that we'd save waterfalls for another day, and started home, sorta, by way of Blue Ridge Summit and Gettysburg, PA. We had a nice drive, but didn't stop anywhere else to shoot. And, by the time we got close to home, I was beat! Getting only three-and-a-half hours of sleep and finally caught up with me.

For the techies: Of course, everything was taken with my Fujifilm X-E1. For most of the shots, I used the excellent XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens, although I did use the old Mamiya-Sekor 55mm f/1.8 on a few. For a lens made in 1968, there's still a lot of magic there! Everything here was processed in Lightroom CC 2015.

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.