Saturday, July 04, 2009


Pentax DA* 50-135 @ 50, F2.8, 1/45, ISO 100

I, my partner, and my Pentax K10D went on vacation on Thursday (I'll leave it to you, the reader, to determine if that is my partner, or my K10D in this shot).... :)

I was test driving a new wrist strap. She said it made me look like a Borg. The only thing I didn't like about it was that some of the clips didn't hold (that's easy to fix) and it tied up my right hand (that's harder to fix). It wasn't a Pentax strap, but as soon as I see one of those rare beasts here in Canada I will buy at least 4 (one for the LX, ME Super, K10D and K7).

We went to Kejimkujik National Park, here in Nova Scotia. First we went to the main park, and the Hemlocks and Hardwoods trail. This trail goes through a stand of old growth Hemlock trees. Some of the trees are upwards of 400 years old. I wanted to see it up close, because when the first Europeans arrived in Nova Scotia much of our forest probably looked a lot like this. Now a lot of it is scrub pine, with underbrush so thick a squirrel sounds like a herd of elephants.

After the main park, we went to the Seaside Adjunct and Historic Site. Its a historic site because Champlain camped within the boundaries of the park in, I think, 1604. Yes, that's 405 years ago. Some of the oldest trees on the Hemlocks and Hardwoods trail were seeds or seedlings when Champlain landed.

In each park we went on what was billed as a 6-7km hike. My pedometer registered over 20,000 steps for a single day. This is a good thing because the Rona MS Bike Tour approaches (end of this month) and I haven't done nearly enough biking. But I have been doing a lot of walking and hiking, so I am quite active.

All the pictures in the main part of Keji and the Seaside Adjunct were taken with my Pentax K10D and my 50-135 lens. Day two, the trip home, I put the 16-50 on. I'm glad I didn't take the 18-250 into the forest, because it was dim. That lens would've really helped bring in the seal in the Seaside Adjunct, however. Pictures are below with commentary. Most of these are very lightly edited, and no effort has yet been made to remove dust spots (there are a couple).

Pentax DA* 50-135 @ 50, F2.8, 1/30, ISO 100

This tree started its life as a seedling in the moss on top of this rock. Its a large rock. The stretch from the base of the tree trunk to the ground (where the root goes) is about 3 feet. This is a large old tree. It found the ground. It put down roots here. Pretty impressive.

Pentax DA* 50-135 @ 135, F8, 1/500, ISO 100

This little guy was shadowing a group of sea birds that were floating in the water. I didn't get the sense that he was really hungry (seals do sometimes go after birds) seemed more opportunistic or playful than that. If a bird had been foolish enough to let him get close he probably would've snacked on it. But he wasn't trying very hard. This was one time when I wished I'd had my 18-250 with me (it was in the car). On both of these hikes I traveled very light. One camera. One lens. As you can see, it was a bright enough day that the 18-250 would've worked very well. That's very much what it looked like. I, too, was surprised by some of the meter readings I got.

Pentax DA* 50-135 @ 135, F8, 1/750, ISO 100

The surf was breaking on the rocks constantly, and some of the waves were fairly large (> 3'). The Marblehead to Halifax Race starts this weekend. The weather here is unsettled and foggy. I've been threatening to crew in this race for a while. It goes every two years, and for personal reasons I wasn't able to participate two years ago. For work reasons I can't participate this year. But, mark my words, in 2011, I'll be there. I'll probably hook up a Pentax W80 to a troll line and tow it behind the boat, as long as no one thinks it slows us down.....Who knows, maybe in two years I'll have my own boat. That would be cool. I've been swimming for as long as I've been walking, and sailing since I was 12.

The other plan I have is to charter a boat in the Caribbean, in what are known as the Windward Islands. I hear there is good sailing there..... :) If you haven't read Sailing Alone Around The World, by Joshua Slocum, you have to. He was the first to circumnavigate the globe single handed. He sailed a 36 foot sloop named Spray. This was an old oyster boat someone gave him as a bit of a joke. It was about 150 years old when he got it. He rebuilt it from the keel up, then took it to sea. If you love the smell of the salt air as much as I do, and you haven't read this book, you must.

Pentax DA* 50-135 @ 135, F8, 1/750, ISO 100

Three old ladies sitting on a rock. OK. I can't be sure about their gender, and I have no factual information about their tell me...are they gossiping? Of COURSE they are! :)

Pentax DA* 16-50 @ 24, F6.7, 1/250, ISO 100

This was on the way home, on Friday, at Risser's Beach, a Provincial Park on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. What interested me was the rust, in the salt water on the beach. Obviously, there is iron here. This is at low tide, as the tide is coming back in, so, for this much rust to have accumulated in a relatively short period of time, even in the presence of salt water, suggests there's a fair bit of iron here. I wonder if Champlain saw something like this, and moreover understood its significance.....

Pentax DA* 16-50 @ 16, F6.7, 1/350, ISO 100
Yeah, maybe I got a 'good one'. I've heard a lot of negative flak about the 16-50 SDM lens from Pentax. Maybe there were some early quality control problems. My guess is there were a few bad lenses, a few cameras that exhibited front/back focus, and a few users that couldn't find their butt with both hands. As the above shot clearly shows, the 16-50 lens sucks.....SO NOT.

It is worth reflecting, at this juncture, on what I like about my Pentax gear. Ned Bunnell, on his blog, mentioned the term Adventure Proof, to refer to the new Optio W80. That's a great tag line. It sums up my thoughts perfectly. My watch is Swiss. It is mechanical. It is automatic, so it winds as I move my hand. It doesn't need batteries. It has a 316 stainless steel case and bracelet that's been bead blasted, so its dull. It has a sapphire crystal, which can be broken if I hit it VERY hard (a hammer blow in the centre of the watch would probably do it), but only a diamond will scratch it. And it is rated to 660 feet or 200 meters. It is not just waterproof. It is 'Adventure Proof'.

My Pentax gear lived up to that moniker on this trip. In many cases the fog I traveled through was indistinguishable from a light, salty, rain. My Pentax K10D and my lenses met the forces of nature, and remained undaunted by them. What good is a camera, if you're afraid to use it?

When I get my W80 I'm going to tie a rope to it, put it in movie mode, and throw it off a bridge on the Margaree River. There be salmon down there. I'm going to use it to do a little reconnaissance. :-)

Next on my list is the K7. The very second I see one basking under the florescent lights of my local camera store I'm going to give it a new home..... :)


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