May 2007


This old Farmhouse lies off of Rte 27, just south of Westminster. There’s a little single lane farm road that runs under a rarely used railroad track and a picturesque little stream. The area is very peaceful and not many people ever use the road. I’ve driven past a few times this past fall and winter, but I waited until Spring to take these pictures. The Farm itself holds its original title deed from back in the 1730’s. It’s a working farm, not a “historical preserve” – there are many such treasures all over Carroll County, just need the time to go exploring with a camera. On this occasion, I had my Minolta 800si with my trusty Phoenix wide angle zoom. I used a polarizer on the lens. I’ve had the Phoenix for 8 years now, it’s one of the first lenses I purchased, and I’ve never regretted it.



Spring Hill Farm
Spring Hill Farm
Spring Hill Farm
Spring Hill Farm
Spring Hill Farm
Spring Hill Farm

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm lens, Fuji Super HQ 200, 1/200 second at f/13


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Just some pictures of gorgeous early Spring flowers… These were taken in the ol’ backyard in North Potomac and in cousin Madhavi’s yard in Centreville, VA with my Minolta Dynax 800si and my Sigma macro lens. Late March through mid-April is really an wonderful magical time in Maryland and Northern Virginia. I’ve never seen so many Forsythia bushes in bloom. And as for all the other flowers, words don’t suffice – only pictures can tell the story. The Sigma creates some very nice bokeh even when stopped down to f/11. 


Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring – look at the bokeh!
Spring
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200

Spring – look at the bokeh!
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200 – look at the bokeh!
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200 – look at the bokeh!
Spring – Fuji Super HQ 200 –look at the bokeh!

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si and Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro, warming filter and Fuji Xtra 200 film.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Assateague Island is on Maryland’s Eastern shore, on the Atlantic Ocean – just a few miles south of Ocean City, but what a difference. There is none of the hustle and bustle of the hotels and tourist industry, instead, just a peaceful nature preserve, with pristine white sand beaches, very family friendly – and above all, there is peace and quiet.Of course, I didn’t go alone… the whole family was there, and the kids had a great time in spite of the wind and cold water.

One of the unique features of Assateague Island (and believe me, this IS unique – is the population of wild horses. Yes, genuine horses in the wild. Of course, they are correctly termed as “feral” horses, animals that were once domesticated, but which have escaped and bred in the wild over the past few hundred years.

The official record has it that these horses are descendants of domestic animals that Eastern Maryland farmers permitted to graze on the island. They apparently avoided the mainland taxes on the horses, and saved the expense of fencing them in. After all, where would they go on an Island that is little more than a sand bank?

I like to think that perhaps they were survivors from a shipwreck that made it to shore? Or even more intriguing, perhaps they were the property of pirates and salvagers that made their home on that narrow barrier island. I prefer this explanation for the horses on the island rather than the prosaic one of avoiding taxes. The horses are very handsome beasts – they are skittish of course, and it’s best not to get too close, since they can bite and kick, causing serious injury.

I observed tourists feeding and trying to approach the animals in spite of the many warnings and threats of citations and fines. People just don’t appreciate how dangerous a 2000 lb beast can be. Still, the horses frequent the grassy verge by the roads and can be spotted all over. The herd on the Maryland side of the island is estimated at about 300 beasts. The Virginia end is also a National Seashore preserve, with approximately the same number of animals.

The whole place has a magical quality to it… the clean beaches, the wildness of the Atlantic in Spring, when the water is still very cold, the horses, the twisted trees and shrubs that are hardy enough to survive the rugged conditions, and of course, the calmness of the Bay side of the island, the warm sun – all make for a perfect day trip.

The facilities on the island are primitive, but sufficient. It’s best to pack lots of cold drinks and a substantial picnic lunch. And a couple of folding chairs to lounge in. It’s also very windy in the Spring, so a windcheater type jacket is a good idea. I tried to fly my big box kite, but the wind was so strong that the line almost sliced my fingers.

I had taken my Minolta with a Phoenix 28-105mm and a Tamron 70-300mm lens, and an Olympus OM-2n with a Kiron 28-210mm super zoom – the famous cult classic lens. I had also lugged along my Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 preset lens, but did not get an occasion to use it. I had taken the zooms and the long telephoto in case I could not get near enough to get good pictures of the wild horses, but the horses were right by the roadside.


Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Fuji Superia 400 film, Circular polarizer 1/350 sec at f/13

Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses

Photographed with a Olympus OM-2n, Kiron 28-210mm lens, Fuji Super HQ 200 film, Circular polarizer 1/125 sec at f/11


The Beach has to be seen to be believed. In late Spring, it’s still cold and windy, so there aren’t many people around. Lots of surf fishermen though, trying for Bluefin and Sea Bass. That changes around Memorial Day and then the beach is packed all through Summer until Fall. I prefer the peace and quiet of the off-season, so our next trip will probably be late September or early October.

Dunes
Dunes
Surf Fishing
South Beach
North Beach

Photographed with a Olympus OM-2n, Kiron 28-210mm lens, Fuji Super HQ 200 film, Circular polarizer 1/125 sec at f/11

North Beach
North Beach
Bay Side, near Verrazano Bridge
Bay side, near Verrazano bridge

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Fuji Superia 400 film, Circular polarizer 1/350 sec at f/13



Creative Commons License
olympus/zuiko by Ajoy Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. thank you for visiting olympus/zuiko.

I always appreciate an opportunity to use my Soligor 500mm f/8 Mirror lens, and like most other mirrors, it has a “close focusing” ability that’s often marketed as “Macro”. The fixed aperture setting (f/8) imposes a few limitations, of course, but the ability to handhold a 500mm lens outweighs the disadvantages any day. I didn’t even have to go far… this beautiful Yoshino Cherry tree was in full bloom right outside my brother-in-law’s home in Gaithersburg MD. I walked around taking a few photographs, trying very hard to relax and keep my hands steady. I used my Olympus OM-2 camera, with 400 ASA film.


Yoshino Cherry -500mm Soligor
Yoshino Cherry -500mm Soligor
Yoshino Cherry -500mm Soligor
Yoshino Cherry -500mm Soligor
Yoshino Cherry -500mm Soligor
Yoshino Cherry -500mm Soligor

Photographed with an Olympus OM-2, with a Soligor 500mm f/8 mirror lens and Fuji Superia 400 film. 1/250 second at f/8.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

A few weeks ago, I took Sunny and her cousin Mahathi for a hike along the Potomac Heritage Trail in Washington DC. The girls had a great time watching the ducks and playing in the little riverside meadows, collecting dandelions and wildflowers.

The Potomac Heritage trail is hiker friendly – not a shared route that has you constantly jumping out of the way to avoid getting run over by a bicyclist… there is lots of wildlife on the trail, and lots of wild flowers.

The area around the Key Bridge is epecially nice, if you ignore the traffic a few feet away beyond a low barrier wall, and concentrate instead on the gentle murmuring of the Potomac river. The river seems so content there.

Most people who hike the trail are very conscientuous about cleaning up after themselves, so the trail is clean and trash free.. can’t say the same for the river bank though. It’s littered with beer cans and plastic trash.. some from the river, I suppose.. but as far as I could see, it was left behind by fishermen who congregate in a few choice spots.

I also spotted lots of fishing lines tied to low branches. The lazy fisherman’s idea of sport I suppose. The abandoned lines can entangle wildlife, especially waterfowl. I was able to collect a large plastic grocery sack full of cans and trash in just a few minutes, with the girls helping.

Since this was a short hike, I didn’t carry any of my regular equipment – just the every ready standby Ricoh 500. It’s either that or one of the Olympus Trip 35 cameras when I have to travel light and shoot in a hurry.

Potomac Heritage Trail #1
Potomac Heritage Trail #2
Potomac Heritage Trail #3
Potomac Heritage Trail #4
Potomac Heritage Trail #5
Potomac Heritage Trail #6
Potomac Heritage Trail #7
Potomac Heritage Trail #8

Photographed with a Ricoh 500G rangefinder f/16 at 1/250 sec on Fuji HQ Super 200 film.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

I spotted this striking skyscape on my way home from work.. It must have been about 6.30 PM as I was driving south on Rte 27 near Damascus, MD. I looked for a good spot where I could get a clear view and pulled over to take the photographs. The lighting on the underside of the clouds was actually much softer and seemed to make the clouds glow with an inner radiance. The relative brightness of the scene (I was shooting into the sun) underexposed the lower part of the scene a little, and I lost some of the subtle details. I had my OM-2 and a Sigma 35-105mm zoom and was loaded with 400 ASA film, although a slower film would have been better for such a bright scene. I had to use a polarizer and protect my eyes while taking the shot – the Sigma is a beautiful lens, very sharp and ideal when one needs a “all-round” lens for a day trip, It’s surprisingly small and light, and very well constructed. I tend to have this lens in my camera bag a lot, and it has never failed to surprise me with its versatility.

Skyscape 1
Skyscape 2
Skyscape 3

Photographed with an OM-2, Sigma 35-105mm f/3.5-f/4.6 lens and Polarizer, Fuji Superia 400 film, 1/250 second at f/16


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

This was a chance find… Rte 407 is in Carroll County, and connects Rte 27 to I-270.. for the most part, it runs through a quiet rural community, mostly farmland and dairy farms. I came upon this old abandoned gas station, with its vivid colors, and HAD to stop. I had my OM-1n with me, with the Vivitar 28-85mm “Stovepipe” lens. This particular Vivitar was made by Kino Precision, and has a bit of history about it. It’s a beautiful lens… fast and sharp.

Gas Station #1
Gas Station #2

Photographed with a Olympus OM-1n, Vivitar 28-85mm f/2.8-3.5 lens and Fuji 200 HQ Super film


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites