Monday, July 22, 2013

Outer Banks 2013 - Keeping It Simple

I've posted previously regarding family vacations/travel and photography.  In the post Travel Photography - What To Take, I discussed how to get the best images you can with minimal gear.

Took a family vacation to the Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina - the infamous "Outer Banks" or "OBX".

I switched up the gear a little bit this time and instead of going all Nikon D50, I took the relatively new acquisition of the Fuji X-E1 and the Nikon D50.  The X-E1 handled the ultra wide to moderate range and the D50 took the moderate to telephoto.  Why go this way?  Well, the Fuji 55-200mm OIS lens was not released at the time of this vacation, so the Nikon was still required.

Gear List:
Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
Fuji X-E1
Fuji 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4R
Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye in Nikon mount/Fotodiox Nikon to Fuji lens adapter
Joby Gorillapod for DSLR
Nikon SB-26

Did not need the speed light for exposure on this trip.I did use it for another reason, which I will explain later.

We tend to travel and find our own way around.  We do take some of the chartered stuff, but we don't plan out the entire trip and have a schedule for everything.

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
Ok, so I told you earlier that the SB-26 was used but not for the reasons you would expect.  The family wanted the beach and ocean in the background.  I placed the Nikon D50 on the Gorillapod and attached it to a hand rail leading into the beach.   Set the timer and fired it off.  The camera was sufficient distance away that we could not see the small light on the camera body that let us know when the timer went off.  Instead, I set the camera on manual and dialed in the correct exposure.  I then placed the SB-26 on top of the camera and placed it in manual mode as well, popping off at 1/64th power.  We just needed a confirmation on when the shutter was released.  We go the perfect shot in 3 tries!!

Fuji X-E1
Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye

Fuji X-E1
Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye

Fuji X-E1
Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye
 The previous 3 shots were captured using the Rokinon 8mm Fisheye.  It is in Nikon mount and uses a Fotodiox adapter.  It has an aperture ring, so exposure in the camera is automatic!  Just set the aperture ring and the X-E1 will adjust the ISO and shutter automatically for you.   I used it just to get a different effect.  I very well could have gotten great shots with the Fuji 18mm, and I did...but sometimes you experiment and do some things a little different.
I chose to go with the Rokinon in Nikon mount because it can then also work with my Nikon D300.  Double duty is always good.

It is also a manual focus lens, so I get a large depth of field by putting the lens at f/8 and setting the focus ring to about 1.5 ft.   With this setting you should get everything from a foot and a half to infinity into focus.
Fuji X-E1
Fuji 35mm f/1.4R
Couldn't resist!  The above shot were some of the youngsters riding inner tubes down the sides of some of the dunes.

Fuji X-E1
Fujinon 18mm f/2
In Camera Panorama
Playing about with some of the in camera features, the Fuji X-E1 has the ability to capture panoramas in camera.  Just set it to that mode and follow the on screen guidance.

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
The shot above was helped tremendously by me going out and doing my "visual push ups" and taking up street shooting.  It doesn't hurt studying people like Fan Ho or Henri Cartier-Bresson....understanding their methodology and applying it.  I walked the beaches near our rental and treated it like a street shooting assignment.

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
This crab claw in the sand, most likely left here by a seagull after a meal, caught my eye as a great still life.  The contrast of the course sand/gravel with the smoothness and bleached out look of the claw really pulled my attention.  This is a situation where the VR came in handy.  It was bright, but I was standing straight up and shooting down at 200mm.

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
The 3 images above of the horses were taken at sunset.  These are wild spanish stallions that roam this area.   Back when America was first getting settled, the Spanish explorers would come into this area, and their large boats would get stuck in the shallow coastal waters.  They started throwing anything of weight overboard....and some of those things were the horses.  The ones that were never recovered, lived off the land and went back to their wild roots.
This is another situation where the VR really helped.  Most of these were shot at ISO 400 on the D50, which is still very usable.
The first 2 images were very typical of what you could expect to see, and the sunset light really helped pull out texture in the horses coats and the scenery.  We specifically asked for the sunset tour times for this very reason. Sometimes a little planning does help out!

The last image was shot on our way into the beach area.  The back lighting was so intense and the part of the beach we were on did not allow you to stop, so this was captured as a silhouette on purpose.   Sometimes you only have a split second to get that capture!

Fuji X-E1
Fujinon 35mm f/1.4R
In Camera Panorama
This is Currituck Light House.  We ended up here after just driving around exploring.  This is a situation where some of the in camera features save your bacon.  I only had the Fuji 35mm with me on the X-E1 and I could not get far enough back with an effective field of view of ~53mm.  So, I put the camera in Panorama mode and got this shot.

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
Here, we took the dolphin tour.  Spent most of the time racked all the way out to 200mm.  A lot of specular highlights from the water caused some havok with the meter.  So, we shot these in manual mode.  After looking at some of the shots, I'd say that the D50 was giving us a good under exposure of 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop under in aperture priority.  To not have to deal with the exposure fluctuation, we went right into manual mode and left it there for the duration.

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR

This image is of an ospreys nest. There were three babies in the nest.  This was an unexpected find on the dolphin boat tour.

Fuji X-E1
Fujinon 35mm f/1.4R
We also made a trip to the NC Aquarium.  It is not large but a visually impressive show of sea life and indigenous OBX wildlife. 

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