Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back in Kansas

I'm back in Lansing Kansas for another week. The morning started out with packed flight on Southwest from Orlando to Kansas City International. Then a short rental car ride up 29, then west on 92, and then south on 7 to Lansing and my favorite Econo Lodge.

Since this is the second time I've been to this particular garden spot I came armed with my camera kit composed of the E-300, the Sigma 30mm, the Oly 14-45mm and 40-150mm kit lenses, and the Oly 9-18mm ultra-wide-zoom. While I still like the 30mm, I'm also discovering the limitations of the 30mm, such as its limited close focusing of 15 inches (my 12-60 focuses to a little less than 10 inches), it's CA in very bright sunlight (high contrast) and small aperture, and the peculiarity of my having to override exposure by anywhere from -1 to -3 EV on the E-300 with that lens mounted. Most importantly, it's not a zoom. Duh. I didn't realize just how dependent I'd become on zoom ability until I realized how I kept unconsciously twisting the focus ring as if it were a zoom ring. That's the greatest challenge of using the 30mm (or any fixed length prime). You really have to frame your picture. Too much use of zooms makes them a creative crutch as much as a creative asset. And I've been using zooms instead of primes since I purchased my Nikon N90 film camera in 1989.

At least this time the Kansas landscape is a little greener, and the temperatures a little warmer. The last time I was here in late March the natives were expecting a spring snow-storm that went on dump 12 inches around the area. This time the lows are in the 50's a night; jacket weather for me, but anywhere from 10-20 degrees warmer than the last trip.

I finally found a decent place to eat south and east of Lansing called The Legends. I got salmon at a Longhorn Steakhouse for around $18, and blew my meal per diem. It's already low to begin with (it's based on Leavenworth, not near-by Kansas City), and the rules are now that it's cut a further 25% on the days you travel. I guess I'll be blowing my per-diem a few more days because the only thing around Lansing are Burger Kings, McDonalds, Wendy's, Sonics, Subways, and Pizza Huts; you know, healthy, high-quality fast food. There may be some places to eat in Leavenworth itself, but I'll have to go hunt them down.

The only good things to happen today is the sun finally came out in the afternoon and I found 96.5 FM, The Buzz, on the rental's radio (a Budget Toyota Camry). The bad part is looking at all the pictures I shot during the part of the afternoon that was overcast and basically deleting everything I shot because it was total crap.

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