This morning i went to a river in Beauharnois where there is many Mallard Ducks that stays there all winter. I wanted to test an adapter that i bought last December but didn’t had a chance to try, it’s an adapter that let me use my Canon 400mm/5.6L on my Fuji X-E1, but i can only use it W/O. It was snowing, i like that atmosphere when photographing wildlife in winter. The Ducks didn’t let me very close so i photographed them farther away and made more of an habitat shot. The weather was not the best to test that combo but focus peaking helped nail the focus at this longer distance.
Taken at 1/100 sec. at f/5.6, ISO 1250, tripod.
Didn’t had many occasion for photography this week but managed to get that one last Monday, it was -22°C before sunrise and -26°C with the windchill factor. I knew that along the Canal Soulange where there is those old wooden structures, the water froze on them and the surrounding vegetations.
This morning it was -15°C when i woke up, so i went on the shore of a river to photograph ice again before it melts in the coming days because it will be warmer and with rains on December 24th. As usual i got very close to the river, even fell on my butt in the cold water, by chance my winter pants are waterproof 🙂 I tried different angles and lenses, this is my favorite one and i converted it in B&W.
Not much time to shoot this week but got a photo on the shore of a Lake close to my work. Birds are staying later and later now, some even stay here that were flying South some years ago, warmer climate probably ?!?!
This week i was looking for leaves “On” or “In” the ice. One morning i was about to quit my search because i couldn’t found what i was looking for. Then i saw an Oak tree leaf that was partly frozen in the ice, i liked the dark and white pattern of the ice surrounding it.
Yesterday, when i woke-up, it was -10°C and knew where i wanted to go to see if there was fresh ice along a river. As expected there was fresh ice on the rocks and moss in the river. I played with my camera in the water for 2 hours and got some nice photos, but this one is my favorite.
This week was not the most productive, i took some photos of ice and leaves but not what i was hoping for. I went to an Historical site near my home this morning, it was -5°C and very windy, windy days are difficult for photography unless you can take advantage of it. This site is on the shore of the St-Lawrence river, i was hoping to find some ice formations on the rocks in the rapids. There was some ice for sure but the best looking ice was farther from the shore in the river so i had to walk in the river to get there, i had to be careful not to slip on the icy rocks and on the mossy rocks that were in the water.
Finally we had some colder days this week, i was waiting anxiously for below 0°C temperatures for more opportunities, especially frozen waterholes and ponds. I like photographing leaves caught in ice, it’s a subject that you can find easily. This week photo was taken at a pond, what attracted me was the contrast between the pale leaves and dark water and ice. The 2 water drops were frozen on the leaves which added some interest.
Last Monday the temperature during the night dropped to -2°C, before going to work i stopped at a river to see if ice had formed on the vegetation and rocks. There wasn’t much ice on the rocks, not cold enough but on one rock there was some moss covered with ice. I used my 180mm Macro lens to get that close-up of the small moss, i like the color combination of the green moss and blue/purple water in the background.
This week i found a new pond area which is along a dirt road along the highway close to my work. I’ve already went on that dirt road often but never walked the small trail that start somewhere along that road. I think i will certainly go next spring to photograph frogs, looks like a great habitat for Gray Tree Frog and Spring Peepers !
You’re lucky, you can’t smell the odor of rotten eggs that was in the air that morning, ponds often smell that.
I went to a small pond where i knew i could found some Green Frogs and sometimes Bullfrogs at this time of the year. In just a small part i found about 6 Green frogs and was able to get the portrait of this one posted here.
Telephoto zoom lenses are very popular because of their versatility and space saving compared to having several prime lenses to cover the same range. I’ve owned some of them in different mounts, so when i switched to Fuji i wanted to cover the maximum range with the minimum lenses. So i bought the 18-55mm and not long after i bought the XF 55-200mm because of it’s attributes (aperture ring, built quality and OIS) and IQ. Sure the XC 50-230mm is smaller and lighter but i wanted the better IQ and built of the XF 55-200mm.
I will be talking on how this lens performs in the field as a Nature photography telephoto lens, covering landscape, close-ups and some wildlife. Telephoto zoom lenses in that range are very useful in my photography, a big part of what i photograph is covered by the XF 55-200mm.
Currently i’m using it on my X-E1 and mostly on a tripod, i would say that this lens is the limit in size and weight that i would use on this camera, bigger than this lens and it would require an X-T1 with a grip (which i plan to buy eventually). One of the reason i went with Fuji is because they have designed their system like the old days with an aperture ring on the lenses and direct dials on their cameras. As already pointed often in reviews and by users the aperture ring can be accidentally knock off from the aperture you had selected, but i don’t think it’s too bad as i always check the info in the EVF or on LCD before shooting to see my settings. With some time now after using it in the field i’m used to the balance of the lens on my X-E1 and it’s not too bad after all, sure not the best combo but worth it.
The lens hood have some play when installed, i bought a JJC hood but it also have the same loose fit, so Fuji still have some work to do on the lens hood locking system. Another thing is the zoom ring that is not too smooth, it’s on the stiff side but i prefer that than having a zoom ring that is too easy to turn and having a lens that suffers from zoom creep …. i really hate zoom creep because i’m mostly a tripod shooter so i’m pointing the lens up or down quite often to get the compositions i want in my photography and i want a lens that keeps steady during the exposure. On the plus side about the Zoom ring, i really like it’s rubberized finish, easy to grip and to differentiate it with the focusing ring. I would have liked the focusing ring and aperture ring to be like the XF 14mm but i guess we can’t have it all !
The lens focuses relatively close at 1.1 meter which is about the same as the Pentax DA*50-135mm/2.8 and Canon 70-200mm/4 L that i was using before i switched to the Fuji X system. You can get some good “close-up” shots and still maintaining good IQ (see crop below), the lens also performs really well at normal and long distances, for a zoom this is very good indeed. Sure a good prime lens in the same range might resolve more details at wider apertures but the convenience of that zoom wins over ultimate sharpness. Up to now i like how the lens performs in terms of color rendering and sharpness. That lens have nothing to envy to other brands top quality lens, i’ve owned Pentax DA*50-135mm/2.8, Canon 70-200mm/4 L and Sony 70-300mm G Series Telephoto zoom lenses and the Fuji is as good as all of them.
With Extension tubes
Well, when i bought it i was hoping to use my extension tubes with that lens to photograph Frogs when they are in the water and are difficult to get close. After using it on some occasions the results are not as good as i was thinking it would be. I tried the lens with my 2 extension tubes (with the 10mm or with both for a total of 26mm) to get closer focusing when photographing Frogs. The IQ in the center remains very good but even the in-focus areas in the borders and corners looks smeared, (see below the crop from the border of a photo of a frog) … btw the eye of the frog is perfectly sharp. I don’t know if it’s because the lens was designed to be close to the sensor are it doesn’t work well with extension tubes. I’ve never had such problems when using FF lenses with ext. tubes on my Pentax or Canon cameras, maybe it’s because it’s an APS-C lens or OIS and as the lens gets farther away from the sensor IQ of the corners suffers more ???
The next 2 photos of a small river near my home were taken on a cold morning (0°C), in fact it was our first time that we had frost on the ground during the month of September this year. It shows how useful is the XF 55-200mm for landscape photography because you can quickly change the composition, especially with fog it’s important to work rapidly because when the sun start to warm it up, the fog will quickly evaporate.
For the price i paid (550$ Canadian in sale for a brand new one) i think it’s a great buy ! Fuji did an excellent job with that lens, a good compromise between IQ, size, weight and maximum aperture. It’s a lens that i really like and is doing very well in the field when i need some reach for my landscape photography but also “close-up” and some wildlife. I don’t know if i will switch to the new XF 50-140mm WR when it will be available because i think i would probably miss the gap between 140-200mm ….. i was missing that gap when i was shooting with my Pentax DA*50-135mm.
This lens might not be for everyone, some will find it too big and heavy for their taste or use, but for me it ticks most cases. I would recommend that lens to any Fuji users because it’s a versatile lens backed by a very good IQ and renders beautiful images.
I found this adult Green Frog in a shallow pond covered with autumn leaves, always good to photograph Frogs in different seasons.
This week we had our first night with temperature at the freezing point (0°C), so in the morning there was some frost on the ground and fog in the fields near my house. I took that photo of a small river that is close to my home, i drive by that river everyday and i knew that on cold mornings fog is usually present over the river.
Early this morning i went on a walk in a forested area near my home and found Mushrooms growing on a mossy part of the forest. I liked the sidelight on those 2 growing together.
This week is a long exposure photo of boats taken in Beauharnois before sunrise, the street lights were still “ON” so they put some light on the vegetations in the foreground.
I was cutting the grass in my backyard when i saw a little fur ball running to hide himself under the cover of thick vegetation, it was a baby Cottontail Rabbit. I went inside to get my camera but when i was back the rabbit was not there anymore. I continued cutting my grass and suddenly 2 more little rabbit running again for cover, this time my camera was close and ready and i was able to capture the portrait of one of them. They were very small, around the size of my hand!
Taken with my Fuji X-E1 and 18-55mm lens.
This week it’s an adult Gray Tree Frog that was hiding in a tree at the day camp of my older girls. I found it just beside the entrance, i even removed some weeds in front of the Frog to have a better view.
I’ve been a Nature photographer for the last 26 years but i’ve always liked what Street photographers were producing, especially in B&W. I recently bought a Fuji X-E1 because i wanted something smaller, it’s a camera that reminds me of the old rangefinder cameras often used by street photographers in the past. So i was tempted to try street photography, so i took my X-E1 with my 27mm and 18-55mm and headed for a town near my home with a boardwalk along a river where big boats are anchored. There is also a lot of restaurant and stores are all side by side so i was hoping for some interesting occasions.
I started with the 18-55mm because of the OIS which was useful around sunrise, i thought that i would use the 27mm when the light would be sufficient but i stayed with the 18-55mm because of it’s versatility …. maybe next time i will bring only the 27mm to force me to use it. It was difficult, it’s not easy to photograph peoples in the street and found that i didn’t had much time to compose/focus and set the aperture needed for the shot. Also i found it not easy getting close to peoples and take their photos, i will need more practice to find confidence at getting closer to peoples.
I liked the experience, it was fun and challenging to try a new photographic discipline, i will certainly continue to do it when i have time to get better at it.
Here are some of the photos i took this morning, all taken in RAW and converted to B&W in Silkypix and PS Element 12.
This week it’s not a Frog shot that i’m posting 😉
I captured those Boats at sunrise, i liked the tranquility of the scene even if it’s not the most spectacular sunrise i’ve seen.
This week it’s a photo of a Green Frog in a dark waterhole taken with a 14mm lens.
When i bought my Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55mm and 27mm i needed a smaller camera bag to carry that the camera would fit with one of my 2 lenses with accessories like a spare battery and SD cards. I wanted a camera bag that didn’t look like the regular camera bags, at first i wanted a waist bag but changed my mind and decided to go for a small shoulder bag style. I had two brands in mind, Billingham and National Geographic bags because of their look and materials.
Here is the link to the USA site, that bag was not available in Canada even if the others from the series are available, so i had to bought it in USA:
Here is the main site without the prices, but all the collections are there, some interesting products:
After some research on the web and thinking i finally ordered the National Geographic “Earth Explorer series” Holster 2342 bag. The material and look reminds me of the old backpacks that my grandfather was using while going hunting and fishing. The size was just about perfect to carry my Fuji X-E1 kit without ending taking too much gear, the bigger the bag you use you will always end up filling it and it’s finally heavier than you wanted it to be in the first place. If i need more gear i will use my Lowepro Inverse 100 AW waist bag which can holds a little more gear.
My goal was also to just enjoy using my kit like the old days of Manual focus cameras, old style bag, old style camera with my old manual cable release that i was using with my Pentax K1000 when i started photography. You might think that i’m crazy to put that much thought for just a camera bag but i wanted to have a different kind of experience when shooting with my X-E1 compared to when i’m using my Canon DSLR kit which is more of a plastic, modern feel and heavy to carry in the field.
Here is a short video i made with the bag and my Fuji X-E1 + 27mm:
I tried my X-E1 + 18-55mm, it fits with the lens pointing down, i had to remove the divider in the bag though, it’s the biggest and longest lens it will fit. So it’s best to use it with smaller lenses like the 27mm, especially if you want to bring a filter, spare batteries and SD cards. For just my X-E1 + 27mm it’s perfect, i was able to fit a Polarizer, SD cards, a spare battery and even fit it with my QR plate for my big Ballhead. It would be a great bag for the Pentax Q series cameras, you can certainly fit the camera with a lens attached and still be able to bring 1 or 2 lenses ! I was able to fit my Pentax K-01 body only, i’m sure it would also fit with either the DA40mm XS, DA40mm Ltd or even the DA21mm Ltd attached.
In the field the bag work really well, it’s comfortable since it’s small and the camera in it is small and lightweight as well. The camera is easily accessible when you need to get it out as well as the accessories in the front pocket. I like the zipper and flap that closes the bag, it’s a double protection. The material looks very tough, there will be no problem using that bag in the field for many years to come. The padding looks not as thick as the ones in my bigger camera bags from Lowepro and ThinkTank but since the cameras that fits in it are small and lightweight it’s probably more than enough to protect them. There is a rain cover available for the Earth Explorer series, i might buy it eventually if i see that i need more protection against the rain.
So this is my first impressions after a short time of using this bag, will certainly do an update later this year to see how it survive in the field.
Frog season is great, we had good periods of rain, the water level in the small ponds is still high and there is a lot of Mosquitoes as well. This week i tried a more artistic rendering of this Green Frog.