June 2007


Pick your own Strawberries – A favorite Maryland late Spring ritual, especially in Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll Counties. There are a number of fine orchards along Rte 27 and Rte 355, and fresh picked strawberries come into season June 1st – 25th every year. Then there are the cherries and blueberries, but that’s another post.

That’s my Sunny with the Strawberries. We went strawberry picking at the Rock Hill Orchard in Mt. Airy. It’s closer to Damascus though, just outside the Damascus town limits. It was a very hot day, very bright and hazy. I had carried my OM-1 along with the 90mm lens, and a polarizer. The polarizer saved the pictures from looking all washed out… it was that bright.

I really should get a hood for the 90mm. I love thar old Panagor lens, it was a real bargain… and besides being a fine portrait lens, it’s 1:1 macro. There’s something about the 75-90mm focal length range that I can’t pin down. but I love the perspective and definition that it offers.

Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy

Photographed with an OM-1 with a Panagor 90mm f/2.8 Macro lens on Fuji 200 film. I used a Circular Polarizer. Exposure was 1/250 sec at f/11/span>


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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The Thunderbirds were the closing act the the Joint Services Open House Air Show at Andrews Air Force Base. This year the Airshow was held May 18-20th. The 18th was only for Defense Personnel and Contractors, the 19th and 20th was for the general public.

The arrangements were superb – everyone had to drive to Fedex field, park there, and take a bus to Andrews. The organizers had arranged for so many buses, that no one had to wait for more than a few minutes. In fact, it took longer to get through the security checks.

The Marines doing the checks were firm and polite and kept folks moving. Food was not permitted, but they let me take my camera equipment. At Andrews, I continued to be impressed at the impeccable arrangements – the Airplanes neatly laid out, the clean Portable Toilets, the numerous food concessions for every taste, the drinking water tanker tenders strategically located. They even had facilities to wash hands after visiting the portable toilets. Imagine that.

To get the best view of the Thunderbirds, I made my way to the front, as close to the runway edge as possible. I used the Tamron 70-300mm lens and Fuji 400 Superia film. By the time Thunderbirds were in the air, the hazy sky had cleared up. I was lucky to get a clear view of the flyby zone. Since I was shooting at 300mm, I had a narrow field of view, and had to track the planes for a few seconds as they flew by to get the shots. Next time, I’ll probably be able to anticipate better.


Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds
Air Force Thunderbirds

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si camera and Tamron 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens on Fuji Superia 400 film. The exposures were between 1/750- 1/350 second, at f/5.6 to f/9.5


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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I finally got to go to the Joint Services Air Show at Andrews Air Force base this year. I’ve heard about it for years, and the fine photographic opportunities. Besides, where else could you get a chance to see a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter up close? The Thunderbirds were scheduled to perform as well, and I heard that there would be a bunch of old warbirds on display as well.

I was debating on what camera equipment to take, since it was my first time at a real air show, finally played it safe and took the Minolta Dynax camera with the Phoenix 28-105mm for the wide shots and since I really wanted to get close to the action, I also took along the Tamron 70-300mm and lots of Fuji 400 speed film.

The Airshow was back in mid-May, but I haven’t had a chance to post all the pictures I took – the Thunderbirds will have to wait for another day. The remarkable thing about this airshow is the level of access – how close one can get to operational warplanes from all the services. The organization is another thing altogether – I think they take it to another level. The transport arrangements were fantastic, everything was like clockwork. Truly amazing.


JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007
JSOH 2007

Here are the pictures of the Vintage war birds. Seeing them side by side with todays sleek aircraft makes it even more amazing.

Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds – that’s my Sunny admiring the Dinosaur Airplane
Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds
Vintage Warbirds

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si and Phoenix 28-105mm f/2.8-3.6 and Tamron 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6. I used a a Polarizer and Fuji Superia 400 film. It was very sunny, so the exposures were all approximately 1/200-1/250 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.
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I drive by Krider’s Church Road every day on my way to work. I usually take Md Rte 97 North (Pennsylvania Avenue) after I cross downtown Westminster. Its a very insignificant road just past the intersection of MD Rte 140. No one would notice the little road leading west if it weren’t for the tall steeple of Krider’s Church which is visible for miles around.

I took these pictures during a a lunch break late in the winter, a couple of days after a snowstorm. There was lots of snow/ice on the ground, sunny with a lightly overcast sky. I used the OM-2n with a 50mm lens. It was very bright, so I stopped the lens down as far as it would go, and set the shutter speed at 1/250 second.

The paved road ends just past the Church and there is a narrow gravel road that links the few farms and homes to another paved road about a mile due west. This farm appears to be abandoned, so I got out of the car and walked over to where I could frame the shot with the trees. The huge roll of cable just begged to be photographed, bright orange against the white snow and blue-white sky. Ditto for the school buses.

Krider’s Church
Old Barn
Cable Roll
School Bus Depot

Photographed with an OM-2n, 50mm f/1.4, Fuji Xtra 200 film, 1/250 sec at f/16, Hoya 81A filter


I’ve photographed Krider’s Church before in summer, but in Black & White, with my OM-1. The Church is surrounded by a parking lot and a lush green lawn, both of which don’t reflect much light upwards to illuminate the brickwork. The overcast sky and snow and the ground acted like a giant softbox in the winter photograph above.

Krider’s Church – BW

Photographed with an OM-1, 50mm f/1.8, Ilford XP2 400 film, 1/250 sec at f/11; Tiffen Red 25 filter


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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Late Spring is a great time to drive around with a camera in the car, you never know what floral treasures you may find by the roadside. I spotted these on the way to work one morning – I had been delayed that day, and the sun was much higher in the sky than it usually is so these poppies blooming at the edge of the woodland were illuminated perfectly.

I had my Minolta Dynax 800si with me, with a Maxxum 35-105 zoom, loaded with Fuji 200 film. The Maxxum 35-105mm lens is a little wonder, and although it’s a tad slow at f/4.5 – f/5.6, it’s perfect for the outdoors under sunny conditions.

I also had something unusual – I had recently purchased a Bower adapter to mount Olympus Zuiko lenses on a Minolta Maxxum camera that I really wanted to try out. I had been carrying it around for a few days along with my Zuiko 200mm f/4 lens, so I took the opportunity to test it.

A 200 mm lens is perfect for taking pictures without getting out of the car, since the focal length is just right to fill the frame from about 18-20 feet. The Bower adapter has a glass element to compensate for the infinity setting, so its really a weak teleconverter. Of course, when mounted on the Minolta, the lens needs to be focused manually, and needs to be stopped down manually as well. Focusing is done with the aperture wide open, and then stopped down before taking the shot. The Minolta Maxxum’s metering works great with the manual lens though.

I had been looking for a way to use all my Zuiko, Kiron and Vivitar lenses from my OM cameras on my Minolta, and it seemed to fit the bill. I’m happy to say it works perfectly, and I’m kicking myself for not getting one sooner. Since it works with the Maxxum, it will also work with the Sony Alpha.

Maxxum 35-105mm
Maxxum 35-105mm
Maxxum 35-105mm
Zuiko 200mm Dynax 800si with Bower Adapter
Zuiko 200mm on Dynax 800si with Bower Adapter

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si and Maxxum 35-105 f/4.5- 5.6 medium zoom. The Zuiko 200mm f/4 lens was mounted on the Minolta with a Bower Adapter, Fuji Super 200 film. I used a polarizing filter for both lenses.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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A few weeks ago, Sunayana and I took a picnic lunch to Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg – It’s close to the heart of Gaithersburg, on Rte 355 (Frederick Road).

The park is very busy at all times of the year, yet provides a refuge for many kinds of wildlife because of the way it is laid out. The public, more frequented parts of the park are concentrated towards the front, bordering the ponds, while the back of the ponds is mostly open area with a wooded border. This allows the wildlife areas to be partially isolated from the rest of the park, except for the occasional couple walking around the ponds.

The pond supports a variety of ducks and geese, deer, turtles and lots of birds, fairly typical for the region, but still a welcome sight. The park is large enough so that one doesnt hear the incessant roar of traffic from 355 and yet easy to get to from anywhere.

I used an OM-2N with a Zuiko 70-150mm f/4 lens. The Zuiko 70-150mm f/4 is a venerable zoom, available cheaply on eBay and elsewhere – for some reason, people tend to overlook the fine qualities of this particular zoom – it was the first zoom introduced in the OM system, originally released with the OM-1 camera. Lots of people purchased this lens as their primary zoom back then, and that probably accounts for so many lenses being available, and like everything else, familiarity breeds contempt – in this case, very undeserved.

The Zuiko 70-150 is a superb optic in every way – sharp and true colors. It may not be as fast as some later zooms, but then, who needs anything faster than f/4 for outdoors photography? A quick search on eBay will usually show a dozen of these lenses being sold for anything between $40-$75, a pittance for such a fine piece of glass.

It’s a great portrait lens as well – open it wide to f/4, set the focal length to approximately to 100-110 mm, focus and shoot. It will give good results every time – with pleasant bokeh.

Sunny
Pondside reeds
cattail reeds
Ducks in a row?
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park

Photographed with an Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko 70-150mm, Fuji Superia 400 film

Roses outside the Pizza Hut at the intersection of Darnestown Road (Rte 28) and Quince Orchard Road (Rte 124) in Gaithersburg, MD. I took these pictures on my way to work, the roses caught my eye, and I pulled up – the store was still closed since it was so early in the morning, but as I was composing, the manager came out and asked me to go ahead. I complimented him on the beautiful flowers, and immediately got to work. I used my trusty Olympus OM-1 with the Panagor 90mm lens. The Panagor is my go to Macro lens, since it has a 1:1 macro capability, but more often than not, I use it for general photography, especially when photographing flowers. For flowers, there is no better lens, it’s sharp, reproduces true color (no cool or warm effect) and with a polarizer in place, it’s perfect.


Roses
Roses
Roses

Photographed with an Olympus OM-1 and Panagor 90mm f/2.8 lens at 1/125 second and f/11 using a polarizer. I used Fuji Super HQ 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.
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