On our way back from Colorado we decided to take a little detour to the Devils Tower in Wyoming. I hadn't been there in quite a few years, so it was fun to go. Fortunately, as well, it was beautifully clear on the day that we drove, but the day before was near-blizzard conditions and the day afterwards was also near-blizzard conditions. Perfect!
The light just kept getting better and better as we got closer and closer. Unfortunately we weren't right there for peak light, but we did have some very nice late afternoon light. There isn't much more to say, so I'll just put up a quick gallery. While I did have ALL of my Nikon gear in the car with us, I decided to take my Fujifilm gear out with us on a little walkabout. Definitely glad that I did. I used the X-T1 and X-T1 Graphite with the 50-140, 23, and 14mm lenses. Didn't really feel any need for mid-range lenses. Also all of these were shot in the "Classic Chrome" film simulation mode, which I am quite liking.
And the difference between 23mm (top) and 14mm (bottom)
Of course, as always seems to happen, the light got crazy good as we were driving away.
Thanks for reading!
So I have shot a couple hockey games now. Going from probably a few years without even seeing a game to trying to take photos was pretty difficult, but I think I did all right.
Hockey is definitely a different sport than Basketball or Football or Swimming (obviously), and from a photographers perspective you have to get used to it, coming from those other sports.
First off, the puck is a lot smaller and harder to follow around the arena than a basketball or a football. I used to have a pretty good "double vision" where I could watch the game with one eye (my left one) and have my right eye looking through the camera viewfinder, but I have sort of lost that so that is something I have to work on.
Secondly it is extremely fast action. With Basketball it is a bit easier to predict the action than in Hockey.
Third it is difficult to shoot through glass/Plexiglas, since the arena here in Bismarck doesn't have any photo holes cut in the glass at the ends. I think I made it work all right, though.
I have done a couple Bismarck Bobcats games at this point, and while they aren't a professional league team it is still really fun to watch and take photos at, and I hope to get more great pictures! Especially once I figure out what I am doing...
I'll have a couple galleries here from a couple different games. Yeah, lots of photos...
From the January 10th, 2015 game vs. Brookings
And from the January 17th, 2015 game, also against Brookings
So a couple games in, I'm having a good time. Taking photos keeps me watching the game the whole time, actively engaged and excited! And I'll leave you with a Portrait of their Mascot, Scratch!
Until next time!
Each year, wherever my family ends up celebrating on Christmas Day, once lunch is done and everyone has sat around in a catatonic state for a bit, we end up going for a little walk. This year was down in Fowler, Colorado, a small farming town that I pretty much am related to every one there. Man am I going crazy with the run-on sentences.
Anyways, the past few years I have taken a camera with me (usually whatever full frame Nikon Camera I have at that point), but this year I decided to take my 2 X-T1's with me instead, mainly because the Graphite and the 50-140 were so new to me and exciting! We generally walk around some of the irrigation canals, since they generally have more trees that grow around them.
While Fowler isn't the best in terms of landscapes I still love it nonetheless, and I still think I got some very good pictures. I shot in RAW+Jpeg with Classic Chrome, so all these photos are SOOC JPEG with Classic Chrome, which I think is lovely.
From what I can remember, apparently some of the trees here on their property have been registered as some of the largest and oldest in the County/state/etc, maybe?
You can see a bit more from this photo the extent of the trees in the landscape. The Rocky Mountains are way in the distance there on the right.
In the left photo above they are walking on the road by the irrigation ditch, but on the right we were actually walking in the ditch. There is a bit of a water shortage down there, unfortunately, so this is what a lot of the canals look like down there. In this next photo you can see both the road and the sandy path. It was very dry.
And of course Dog!
And a return to the house.
Thanks for reading,
So this post might actually end up being more timely than my regular posts (I am still working on a post from after Thanksgiving...).
Anyways, my Wife and I went to Colorado for Christmas, and of course we had to make it into the mountains at least once while we were there, since that is an area that North Dakota is strictly ... lacking in. Since Rocky Mountain National Park seems to be my go-to (since it is relatively close), we headed up there. One thing we weren't really counting on, though, was the cold and wind. We were watching the thermostat in the car and it was hovering neatly around -14 Fahrenheit (-25 Celsius). A bit chilly, but I guess it was a good time to test the cold resistance of my Camera gear, especially my new Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite and 50-140mm. I will also have some photos taken with both my Nikon D4 and D800 in this post as well, and a couple taken by my wife with her D7000. So it will probably end up being a long-winded, 5 camera post. Off we go!
I'll start off by saying that the Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 lens might just be the best zoom lens I have ever used, when regarding sharpness and color rendering and focus and build. It is beautiful. And it looks awesome when mounted on either my Graphite X-T1 or my black X-T1. Also, something strange that I noticed while editing my Fujifilm photos was that they are recorded in a very specific focal length. The photo that follows was apparently taken at "87.1 mm." A bit odd, but I'll take it.
For sake of comparison I probably should have used my D4 with my 70-200, but as this excursion was more for me to just take photos I opted to use my 200-400 instead, since I had hauled it all that way anyways, I should use it. Unfortunately we didn't really encounter too much wildlife (with the 200-400 being mainly a wildlife lens at this point for me), so I decided to just see what landscape images I could get at 400mm. It is a fun exercise, since usually I think in terms of 14mm when doing landscapes. I did somehow manage to get a usable shot of a Coyote, though, so that's nice.
Since my wife was using my 70-200 for Nikon, I decided to break out the Fuji kit once I started feeling that the 200-400 was a bit long, and I am quite glad that I did. my 2 little X-T1 kits handled brilliantly in the cold weather. I was wearing some lighter gloves, but they still handled quite well with my prime lenses (14.. and 23mm) and the 50-140mm as I have been saying.
I guess it is time to talk about the handling of the 50-140 a bit. I'll put it into a little list here, mostly for my own organization so that I don't go on too long of a tangent.
1. Autofocus: I haven't really tried using the tracking AF on this lens, but the single point AF was ridiculously fast and accurate. There were times when it literally focused faster than my brain could follow, it was just sort of "there," if that makes sense. There was no focus travel between what it was focused on before.
2. Build: All metal construction, and nice large aperture ring which was easy to use with gloves, but didn't move on its own when I was zooming. The zoom ring has a very nice rubber finish to it, as well, making it easy to use with gloves as well. With the blowing snow and cold I wasn't really worried about the conditions, either. I felt confident in the lenses weather sealing.
3. Operability with the X-T1: I don't have a battery grip on either of my X-T1 camera bodies, and I feel that the lens balanced out nicely. It is an excellent little fast zoom package when I want something smaller. I do have the MHG-XT1 metal hand grip on both of my Fuji cameras, though, and I feel that that does help with the handling tremendously, especially for someone with extra-large spider hands like I do.
I think that is enough words for now. More photo!
Now would be a good point to talk about the Electronic shutter on the X-T1, as well, as two of the above photos were taken at higher than its 1/4000 maximum mechanical shutter limit. The first time I took a photo that used that (I generally shoot in Aperture priority with Exposure Comp), it was slightly off-putting. I wasn't entirely sure I had taken a picture until I actually looked at the photo on the memory card. It is a sort of strange thing after being so used to a big mechanical shutter on a D4 to have something with such great image quality that can be completely silent. And for still subjects the electronic shutter worked brilliantly.
My wife, brother, and mother were all up with me as well. My wife (in black) and brother (in orange) are both working on learning photography for fun, and are both using Nikon D7000s! One of my favorites!
Of course I also had a brand-new Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8 lens, so I had to take some photos with that as well! For not being a weather sealed lens it handled the cold and wind and snow like a champ, and I ended up taking one of my favorite photos of the trip with my black X-T1 and this little lens.
And of course no landscape-seeking trip would be complete without an entry from the lord of landscape lenses, the Nikon 14-24mm on my D800. Detail! If only Fujifilm had a lens that could compete with it in terms of sharpness and wide angle and weather sealing. I haven't tried the Fuji 10-24mm lens, though, so I might have to try to get my hands on one of those before too long here. During the whole trek up there I pretty much used the Nikon cameras for the extreme ranges, ultra-wide with the 14-24, and ultra-telephoto with the 200-400, and let the Fujifilm cameras fill in the range in between. It worked out pretty well, I think. I would just like to have those equivalent lenses for the fuji system.
And I will definitely end up getting a print of this next shot. The lighting was beautiful and this little valley/gully/gulch was just perfect for the 14-24. I tried with my Fuji 14mm lens, but it just wasn't wide enough to get in everything that I wanted.
All in all I really liked taking my Fujifilm gear up there, and I feel that I wouldn't have needed my Nikon gear if not for the 14-24.
Thanks for reading,
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Kevin Fedde, Photographer