When I was looking through the Blog Stats for Olympuszuiko, I realized that this is the 100th post. Although I’ve been photographing for  many years, it’s only been a year (almost) since I started WRITING about my experiences with photography and with Olympus and other manual cameras. 

My wife has been telling me for a while to purchase a digital SLR and be done with the expense of film development etc, since I can use my beloved Zuiko, Kiron, Minolta and Vivitar lenses on most digital SLRs with the proper adapter. My T-mount lenses can easily adapt as well. Besides, it would also keep me from continuing to buy bits and pieces of equipment – lenses, bodies and other camera paraphernalia.

While that is true, I would definitely miss the feel of my beautiful manual cameras. My Olympus OM-1, OM1n, OM2, OM2n, OM-10 and OM-PC AND my Minolta Dynax 800si, the Ricoh CR-5, the Yashica TL-Super and the heavy Fujicarex II. Besides, if I gave up film completely, what would I do with the fixed lens cameras – in particular the Olympus Trip 35 cameras, the Ricoh 500G and Olympus 35 RC and Yashica Electro GSN rangefinders? To say nothing of the Pen EE half frame. They would end up on a shelf and slowly rot.

Still, progress cannot be denied. I have been looking into purchasing a Digital SLR for a while, and while it would seem natural for me to purchase an Olympus DSLR – perhaps the E-410 or E-510, but I’m not comfortable with the manual Zuiko compatibility issues, since even with the E-series Four-Thirds to OM Zuiko lens adapter, I will not be able to use the manual Zuikos stopped down to f/11 or f/16 which I use for most of daytime photographs. On top of that, my Minolta AF lenses would languish.

A better option for me is the Sony Alpha series cameras either the Alpha 100 or the new Alpha 700, with their full compatibility with all Minolta AF lenses, including my 3rd party Phoenix, Tamron and Sigma AF lenses. I use them quite a lot, especially the Phoenix 28-105mm and I would definitely be lost if I could not use them on any digital camera I ended up buying. I could use all my Zuiko and other Olympus Mount lenses on the Sony Alpha with the Bower adapter. I’ve used the Bower Minolta Maxxum-OM adapter successfuly on my Dynax 800si and have been pleased with the results.

I’m curious about the Sony Alpha 700, when I have a chance to actually try it out, perhaps I’ll be able to make up my mind. I have heard that Sony has fixed the “noise” issues that were a problem at 400 ASA and above and that the camera is much more rugged. I like the “rugged” part. Can’t ask for the digitals to be comparable with my manual cameras, but I’d sure like something that I could take on a hike without being afraid that it’d would die on me.

I’ve enjoyed writing about my cameras and lenses, and my feeble attempts at photography. As I look over the pictures that I have taken over the past year with a critical eye and compare them with photographs that I have made over the past 9-10 years, I realize that I have made progress in some areas and still need to work on several others – most notably, exposure issues, composition and lens selection.

Oh, well.. like the old saying goes – “the unexamined life is not worth living”. I guess it’s the same for photography. One last word.. I get about 200 hits a day, mostly people who are looking for information about a particular camera or lens. I am grateful to all those who stop by and read my blog… and occasionally leave a comment on a post.

Thank you for stopping by.

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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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.

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

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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.

A few weeks ago, I came across a question by another WordPress blogger asking – why does anyone use film anymore? That got me thinking… I left a comment on the post, of course, but I felt that the “Why” aspect needed to be better clarified, and hence, this post.

I don’t shoot much slide film – too much of a hassle to develop and an even bigger hassle to convert to digital format. I’ve used ScanCafe in the past, and they provided me with EXCELLENT service. Still, it means waiting a week for your slides to come back from the film processor, and then shipping them to ScanCafe for scanning at 3000dpi, approving the scans online, and then waiting for the finished DVD – a process can take 3 to 4 weeks, depending on how backed up they are. I would probably shoot more slide film if it was a cheaper and faster proposition.

Now, I mainly shoot 200 ASA color negative film, and on special occasions, a roll or two of Ilford Black & White. There are so many costs associated, and being on a budget, I use my local Walmart in Westminster for processing. Since I have been dropping off film for a while now, all the photo technicians know me quite well, and take extra care when developing my rolls. I don’t make prints, just ask for the processing, and transfer to CD. They develop and put it on CD for me in just over an hour, no prints for $4.25. A 5 pack of Fuji 200 ASA costs about $5.99. So it costs about $5.45 to buy and process each roll of film.

Darn. Digital would be so much cheaper, and an Olympus E-500 package (8 MP, currently $650 with 2 lenses) would practically pay for it itself in the film cost equivalent of about 150 rolls. That said, there is always the higher resolution of film, when scanned. I get 13.2 Megabytes on average on my scans, but since I don’t make any prints, it’s a moot point. I always have to bring them down to about 200kB for posting online anyway. Besides, an Olympus xD 1 Gigabyte flash memory card only costs about $30, and can hold 200 pictures at 5 Mb each. That’s more than 8 rolls of standard 24 frame film.

For me, it’s about my manual cameras, and the manual lenses – not really about the media… What’s important to me is the way the feel in the hand, their heft and feedback, both tactile and audio. Now if there was someone manufacturing “digital” backs at a reasonable price that could be retrofitted onto all the beautifully engineered older cameras out there, I suspect that you’d probably see most of the film crowd abandoning the medium in droves.

The amateur photographer is a canny animal – not being collectors, we are usually on a shoestring budget, and while the pleasures of film are considerable, the disadvantages have to be considered as well. Film does holds one back from experimenting and improving as a photographer, since we never get to explore various perspectives and multiple shots since the cost of film processing is always at the back of our minds. Digital media offers the opportunity to shoot the same scene at different exposures without worrying about using up film. Since practice makes perfect, digital cameras do help us improve and grow as photographers, since there is no cost barrier once the initial (considerable) investment on the DSLR is made.

As for me, although I love my solidly built manual cameras, they are only light-tight boxes. I am an user, and I like to take pictures. If film finally becomes a cost-prohibitive barrier to shooting, then I will have to bow to the inevitable. I would hesitate to call it progress, though. Ha ha. I know that I can use my beautiful Zuiko, Kiron, Komine and Panagor lenses on a Olympus DSLR, but the Olympus made OM to Four Thirds MF-1 adapter has lots of limitations, and that worries me. I have 10 Zuiko lenses and a bunch of Kiron, Vivitar and Komines. I would really like to use them on a Digital SLR, but the adapters available may just not permit it.

The Olympus MF-1 OM Four Thirds Adapter manual lists the compatible lenses, and that is pretty extensive – what is troublesome is that most of the OM series lenses will only work in a limited f stop range – typically f/4 – f/8, and thats not much use to me, since I hardly every shoot in that range, except in overcast conditions and for portraits. I generally set my lenses in the f/11 – f/22 range as I use the Sunny 16 rule, most often at f/16 (f/11 if I am using a polarizer).

I am holding out because I feel that we haven’t seen the best that Digital SLRS can offer yet. Olympus is selling the 10 megapixel E-400 only in Europe, for some reason – in the US, we have the 8 megapixel E-500, and the older E-300, E-330 and E-1 models available. Olympus announced the 10 Megapixel E-510 bundle late last month, but they are not in stores yet, although most sellers are accepting orders. The E-510 with the 2 lenses should come in at less than $1000, which is a great price (although not as attractive as $650 for the E-500).They also announced the E-410 for the US market, and I expect that it will have a pricepoint a little below the E-510.

As an alternative, I could also choose a Sony Alpha 100 (Minolta) body and get to use my Maxxum AF lenses (1.5x on the Alpha – ie, my 50mm will be a 75mm as opposed to the 2x on the Olympus eSeries). The Sony Alpha 100 is a great camera as well, and costs about $1050 for the 2 lens kit. I don’t particularly like Sony’s proprietary memory sticks, but thankfully, the Alpha takes a CompactFlash or a CF MicroDrive, same as the E-500. Hey, the xD card is a proprietary card as well. I wish they’d all stick to one format – say Secure Digital cards which have a much higher memory storage capacity. (or build in a 4 or 8 Gigabyte CompactFlash microdrive into every camera as internal memory and be done with it).

The one very great advantage of the Sony Alpha 100 is that it will take ALL my Minolta AF Maxxum and 3rd party AF lenses made in the last 20 odd years without an adapter – I’ve a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro, a Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7 standard lens (simply superb), a Maxxum AF 28-80mm xi, a Maxxum AF 80-200mm, a Maxxum AF 35-105mm, a surprisingly excellent Phoenix 28-105mm (I consider this a hidden gem), and a Tamron 70-300mm and a couple of T-mount preset lenses – all in all, a considerable investment that would happily not go to waste… in addition, I have a fine little Bower made Olympus lens to Minolta AF body adapter that allows me to fit my precious Zuiko and other 3rd party Olympus lenses to the Sony Alpha. Thank you Sony, for respecting all the Minolta AF camera users and retaining the solid Minolta AF mount.

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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If a scene wants to be be blue, then maybe we should let it be blue! Snowy landscapes tend to be blue on those dull, overcast winter days, and even when the sun is out, shaded areas have a bluish tinge. The color temperature on such days is probably in the 10,000K+ range — since there are no yellows and reds to temper the diffuse light, the ultra-violet (UV), violet and blue end of the spectrum predominate.

It may appear white to the human eye, since our brains compensate by ignoring the blue tinge. However, the lens transmits the light as it really is, and normal daylight film is very sensitive to UV radiation. UV radiation is recorded on film as blue and the dominant blue end of the spectrum present in overcast or shade situations further aggravates the situation, giving the overall scene a blue tinge.

Normally, to correct for the blue tinge, we use a Skylight 1A or UV filter for snowscapes and a warming filter such as a Tiffen 812 filter is usually recommended when photographing people to improve skin color. But what if we allowed the scene to be blue? Not only that, what if we actually enhanced the color by means of a blue filter? This past weekend, I had the chance – it snowed continuously all day Sunday, and I waited until we had a 2- 3 inch accumulation and then used the OM-2 with the Kiron 28-70mm fitted with a 80B filter.

The 80B filter is a color compensating filter to reduce the yellowish-red tinge when normal daylight film is used with tungsten lamps (studio use), but it can be used outdoors to create some spectacular blue effects, especially early morning (pre-dawn) landscapes and snow scenes. By way of contrast check out these photographs taken with the 81A warming filter.

Blue Snowscape #1
Blue Snowscape #2
Blue Snowscape #3
Blue Snowscape #4
Blue Snowscape #5
Blue Snowscape #6
Blue Snowscape #7
Blue Snowscape #8

Photographed with an OM-2 and Kiron 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens fitted with an 80B filter, 1/125 sec at f/11 on Fuji Super HQ 200 ASA film.

Blue Snowscape #9
Blue Snowscape #10

I had previously experimented briefly with the 80B filter in Vail, CO last October. The day started out overcast, but it turned sunny, and I switched back to my Polarizer after a couple of shots. I used the Minolta Dynax 800si with a Maxxum AF 28-80mm f/4.5-5.6 lens and 80B filter, Fuji Super HQ 200 ASA film. These were taken early morning at the Sonnenalp Lodge in Vail Village.

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 Mirror or Reflex lens must be the most maligned, joked about and misunderstood of all 35mm lenses. Granted, it has some disadvantages, chief of them being the fact that mirror lenses are fixed aperture, and cannot be stopped down beyond their built-in f/8 settings. In some lenses, the f/8 is a manufacturer’s claim, and in reality, the setting may be closer to f/11. Even if it is f/8 as claimed, if we add any correction filter, we are stopped down to f/11 or f/16 anyway, which limits us to daylight photography.

Another disadvantage is that the viewfinder is not as bright with a mirror lens, and that focusing becomes difficult for cameras that are using a split prism focusing screen, due to the fact that the center spot goes dark. But by far the most pointed out disadvantage is the fact that the lens causes the out of focus highlights (bokeh) to be annular, doughnut shaped rings of light, and that is considered undesirable by many photographers.

Other disadvantages are that it either takes a large filter size (mine takes a 77mm screw-in) or that in some cases a small filter has to be inserted at the back of the lens, making it EVEN harder to focus. Due to these disadvantages, most enthusiasts who jump in and purchase a mirror try using it one or two times, and then put it away to gather dust, or trade it in the first chance they get. There are plenty that are available on eBay, used and new… at prices that are quite reasonable.

Look at the lens from another angle — as a potential long focus hand held lens. The mirror lens is usually available in focal lengths of 400, 500 or 600mm, with the vast majority available in the 500mm range. The lens is very compact, about 4 inches long, since the mirror design folds the incoming light a couple of times. Consider that these lenses have been around for many years now, and computer aided design has made them optically very accurate, and straightforward to design & manufacture. Better than that, it can be made cheaply, and most of the non-OEM brands can be purchased new for a little more than $100, with used mirrors going for even less. It usually weighs less than 1 lb, and can be easily hand-held, and does not look odd even on a small frame camera such as an OM-1 or OM-2. Some of them even claim to be Macro, although it’s just a close focusing capability which is very useful.

In my opinion, these lenses have an undeserved bad rap. Oh, don’t get me wrong, of course I would love to be able to afford a reasonably fast OEM refractive 500mm prime lens (say f/5.6), but other than the enormous cost ($1000++ range??) that puts it beyond the reach of all but the most dedicated amateur photographers, the lenses are large, and heavy. One cannot dream of hand-held photography with such a lens and a sturdy tripod would be a necessity. A professional photographer may have the resources and justification to purchase such a lens, since his or her professional activities and heavy usage call for it.

But what of the amateur who wishes to move into photographing birds, or just wants to have the opportunity to use a super-telephoto? There aren’t many low-cost alternatives. A few possibilities come to mind, but none of them seem suitable for casual handheld photography. Let’s explore what’s out there that’s relatively cheap, and gives us what we want– ie, a super-telephoto lens that’s reasonably fast, and comes in a standard bayonet mount. Handheld is ideal, but we will settle for something that will let us use a bean bag or some similar support, without having to resort to a Tripod and long exposures. There are other long focus cheap lenses in older screw mounts still available, and I will discuss them in another post.

# Using a mid-range zoom such as the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 zoom (67mm filter size) with a 2x tele-converter. The tele-converter will cause the loss of 2 stops, but we will end up with a upper range of 420mm f/8 or thereabouts. If you are familiar with the tank-like construction of the Series 1 f/3.5 lens, it will be clear that the addition of the 2x converter will make it very difficult, if not impossible to shoot hand-held. Adding a Polarizer will cut us down 2 more stops to about f/16. Cost should be around $125-$150 or so for the lens and tele-converter setup.

# A lighter mid-range such as a Kiron 80-200mm f/4.5 zoom (55mm filter size) with a 2x tele-converter. As before, the tele-converter will lose 2 stops, and we will end up with around 400mm f/8. The assembly is not as heavy as the Vivitar Series 1, but still unwieldy. The same filter factors apply. Cost approx $150

# A third possibility is the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 prime (72mm filter size). Now, the 300mm falls into the super-telephoto range, and it is built compactly enough that hand-held photography is possible. Add a 2x converter, and you have a 600mm f/8. Hand-held is out of the question, though. Same filter factors apply. Cost varies approx $350 for the setup.

# Vivitar used to make a 75-250mm f/3.8-4.5 zoom (62mm filter size). When coupled with a 2x tele-converter, gives us a 500mm f/8 at the upper end of the range. Too big for hand-held photography, and the same filter factors apply. Cost approx $125-150 for the setup

# Tamron made a 60-300mm f3.8-5.4 and Tokina made a similar 60-300mm f/3.8-5.6 that could be coupled with a 2x tele-converter to give us an 600mm f/11 at the upper range or an approximate 500mm f/8. Still huge though, and no hand-held. Same filter factors apply. Cost varies, approx $150-200 for the setup.

Of course, if we are able to focus using the ground glass portion of the focusing screen (if you’re using a OM-1 or OM-2, you can get a 1-10 matte focusing screen, which has grid lines but no center prism.) and are willing to use a proper support/tripod, the above combinations will permit stopping down to at least f/22 or lower.

There are Digital options as well — if you have a Olympus E series DSLR and the 4/3 to OM adapter. In the Olympus E series cameras, the smaller CCD size (12mm x 18mm) affords a digital conversion factor or 2x compared to the 35mm format (24mm x 36mm), so any of the above 35mm lenses focal length will effectively be doubled – for example the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 when fitted to the Olympus E-500 will be a fast 600mm f/4.5, and the Vivitar Series 1 75-210mm f/3.5 lens will be a 420mm f/3.5. By the same token, the 500mm Mirror will become a massive 1000mm f/8. But that’s only if you have already made the considerable investment in a DSLR. I’m not sure what kind of results we would get with hand-held photography, although I am sure that the image stabilizing technology makes life much easier. The 2x conversion applies only to the 4/3 (Four-thirds) lens system and Olympus E series cameras. The Sony Alpha (aka Minolta) has a 1.5x digital conversion factor. I am not sure what the Canon and Nikon digital conversion factors are. Perhaps 1.4x??. Here’s a beautiful example of what you can do with a 500mm Mirror with a 2x tele-converter on an Olympus DSLR. This is 2000mm equivalent Handheld!!

One other advantage we have now that the photographers in the 70’s and early 80’s did not have (back when the bad rap started) is better FILM. We have much better emulsions that provide high quality images with 400 and even 800 ASA film. So if you have been hesitating with respect to buying a Mirror lens, give it a try. Keep an open mind, and don’t compare it with its much more expensive counterparts and I can assure you that you’ll be surprised. Look for a good deal, and take the plunge. Maybe you know someone who has a mirror lens they will let you borrow for a few days. Load your camera with 400 or 800 ASA color film and go shoot. Perhaps go hiking or even birdwatching. Don’t worry about filters. If needed, you can use some simple post-processing software tools provided by Picasa to make minor adjustments.

Maybe it won’t be professional quality but at least you will not lose another super telephoto opportunity. And if you’re happy with the results, that’s all that matters. Who knows? Like me, you might fall in love with the doughnut bokeh. And by the way, mine is a very ancient, beat-up looking Soligor CD lens. Check out the setup below. 😀

500mm Mirror #1
500mm Mirror #2
500mm Mirror #3 – check out the bokeh
500mm Mirror #4
500mm Mirror #5
500mm Mirror #6
500mm Mirror #7
500mm Mirror #8 500mm Mirror #9

Photographed with an OM-2, Soligor 500mm f/8 Mirror lens, 1/125 sec, f/8; Fuji Superia 400 film. For the curious – here is my camera and lens setup. I am using a collapsible rubber Mamiya 77mm screw-in lens hood to protect the mirror lens from flare.

OM-2 and Soligor 500mm set-up #1
OM-2 and Soligor 500mm set-up #2

Here are the related Posts:
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part I
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part II
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part III

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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We went out to visit historic White’s Ferry a couple of weekends ago. Took the White’s Ferry road off of MD Rte 28, and drove a good distance – to the point that I was beginning to think that we’d lost our way, and missed a turning or something. Finally got there late afternoon, and sat on the bank watching the historic ferry General Jubal Early
The General Jubal Early

make its trips across the river. The leisurely pace of the crossing contrasted with the hurry of the cars rushing off the ferry – people are in too much of a hurry. I had the OM-2 with me, fitted with the 28-85mm Vivitar. Sunny had the Panasonic Lumix Digital.

White’s Ferry
White’s Ferry


Sunny 1
Sunny 2

Photographed with a OM-2, Vivitar 28-85mm f/2.8-3.8 ‘stovepipe’ lens, 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.

photographed with an OM-2 and Kiron 28-210mm, Fuji 200
It was beautifully warm last Saturday afternoon, and my daughter Sunayana

The Oak

Photographed with an OM-2, Panagor 90mm f/2.8 lens and Fuji 200
and I were feeling cooped up, so we took off on a grand adventure to visit the mighty Travilah Oak, and then to hike a bit along Seneca Creek off of Rifflesford road. Of course, I had my OM-2 with me, fitted with the Kiron 28-210mm Super Zoom. It’s a beat up looking lens, but the glass is wonderfully mmmmmmm. The Kiron 28-210 is probably the best of the “high ratio” super zooms. Anyway, I digress. Our first stop was at the Oak, where we duly hugged the tree, and visited for a little while. The Travilah oak is located at just outside of North Potomac, you drive west on Muddy Branch Road, until you cross the Travilah road/Glen Road Junction, and there it is – a great white Oak (Quericus Alba) that dates back to the late 1780’s, and is certified to have been around when the US Constitution was ratified. It’s a privilege to see such a tree, and even more gratifying that the electric utilities have left it alone.

Photographed with an OM-2; Kiron 28-210mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, Fuji Xtra 200
From there, we set off for Seneca Creek – we drove down Rifflesford Road until we came to the stream, pulled off to the side of the road, and the Seneca Creek green trail runs 2.5 miles to Clopper Road. Sunny was determined to whack any alligators or snakes she came across, so she armed herself with a stout staff, and we were off looking for sneaky alligators and digging for ladybugs. Its awesome to see her unbounded 4yr old’s enthusiasm for the outdoors… and it’s pretty peaceful in the woods about this time of the year. I wonder why people stay indoors even when it’s so nice out. All the better for us. Anyway, it was good to be outdoors… turned cold again on Sunday. Oh well.

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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