Category: Virginia

Old Pictures near the Cowpasture River

Well, these aren’t too old.  I took them in April 2016 while my brother and I visited the Cowpasture River area in Virginia.

I spent some time yesterday when it was raining going through some older pictures stored on a hard drive.  I wanted to see how they looked using this style of processing.  By the way, we got almost 4.5 inches of rain yesterday and last night.

Looking Back


I took this picture looking out the window of our hotel while in Virginia.  It was about 9:30 pm and you can see the reflection of me and the hotel room when I took a picture of the hotel parking lot.  It was the last picture I made while on the trip.

After I have been photographing for a while, I like to look back at what worked well and what didn’t work as well.  While driving in my car in Virginia I mostly used my Olympus E-M5 II camera with the Panasonic 12-35 mm F2.8 lens.  I didn’t need the E-P5.  It was the first time that I had used the Panasonic lens exclusively and I found that I really like it.  The image quality is great, it is fast enough, and the spread in focal lengths was ideal for what I photographed.  I was able to photograph in program mode and just think about compositions.  That is ideal for travel photography.

The only negative thing was the size & weight.  I wish the camera-lens combination were lighter but it isn’t too heavy and it is as light as I can get for its particular attributes.  But, it is heavier than I like for the particular strap I had on the camera.  The strap was essentially a round 3/8-inch rope with no neck pad.  I like it for lighter prime lenses since it is very flexible and fits in a case easily, but it gave me neck pains when I used it for longer periods with that much weight.

Another feature that I am thinking about is the camera bag I used: a Think Tank Retrospective 5.  I used it to hold the camera with the lens attached while driving the car and for carrying the camera in and out of the car for overnight.  I kept it on the floor of the car behind the front passenger seat with the top open so that I could reach back and grab the camera when I got out.  Using it that way it worked quite well.  My only fault with that bag is when I use it to walk-about.  It sticks out away from my body more than I like and can get in the way.  When walking with a bag I prefer a messenger bag style that hugs my body better.  But a messenger bag doesn’t work well on the floor of a car or when sitting it on a room floor since it falls over.

As a result of the above issues with the strap and bag, I am currently using a wrist strap and a messenger style bag, either a Domke F-802 or F-803.  Messenger style bags have an advantage in that when walking I have room to put mail, flyers, maps, additional lenses, etc. in them.  My problem is that I haven’t found the perfect all-around camera bag or strap that serves all uses.  As a compromise I sometimes use a Domke F-8 bag.

When I walk in good weather I prefer just a sling strap across my body if I’m using one camera and one heavy zoom lens, and no bag.  If I need a bag, I don’t use a sling strap since it doesn’t fit in a small bag.  I have been looking for a leather strap with a neck pad that is very flexible and easy to put into a bag without needing to remove it.  The strap also needs the ring connectors since I don’t like the triangular attachments since they and the nylon straps and connectors get in my way.

Virginia Hills & Depth of Field

I had many reasons for acquiring the Panasonic 12-35 mm F2.8 lens.  One was that I wanted to get a large depth of field (DoF) and a wider focal length.  These two pictures demonstrate what is possible.  They were both taken at a wide 12 mm focal length with one at F8 and the other at F10.  The wide focal length is nice from a composition perspective but is even better at small apertures since I can get a great DoF with most of the image in focus.  Both the wide angle and the DoF are critical aspects for landscape photographers.

Virginia Hills

My brother was standing next to me taking pictures with his camera as I made these, but I doubt his look like these.  These images were made along I64 east of Staunton, VA.  They had the typical blue haze and lack of definition of the hills along the Appalachians, so I took the liberty to tweak them and make them look like I wanted.  To be honest, I took these pictures to see how the Panasonic 12-35 mm lens performed at the extremes of the focal lengths under these conditions.