Pleasant Valley Sunday

Airship 1
Olympus E-1 with Zuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5
1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 100

I don't know why I picked this title. There are no valleys to speak of in Florida, and I left the Monkees behind a long, long time ago. And charcoal? I haven't burned charcoal for 15 years; I'm a propane kinda guy. Anyway...

This was a weekend full of weekend work. Which meant I grabbed whatever opportunities that presented themselves. The MetLife photo op came about mid-day Saturday while I was out getting a quick lunch with my wife. I happened to look up and there she sat (the blimp, not my wife), in a section of the sky that was nicely clouded, and reasonably clear in spite of the haze. Why was the blimp flying over my neighborhood? Because the Arnold Palmer Golf Invitational is being held across the road in Bay Hill. No, I wasn't there and won't go there. For the record, I hate golf.

Test Shot - Wind Vane
"Test Shot - Wind Vane:
Olympus E-1 with Zuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5
1/1000s, f/8, ISO 100

Late Sunday morning, I'm out again, this time trying to pick up some Einstein bagels at the Marketplace. I waited too late in the morning to snag a baker's dozen. The place was packed out the front door with golfing fans here to see Arnold Palmer invitational, and they were all there, dressed out in their golfing attire, to pick up a bagel or two before the next round started later in the day.

The car was parked in front of the clock tower, on which sits the wind vane. I wanted a test shot of the wind vane to see how clear and detailed a photo the E-1 and OM 300mm could produce. From the looks of things, it's pretty sharp and detailed.

Test Shot - Lakeside with Brush
"Test Shot - Lakeside with Brush"
Olympus E-3 withZuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5
1/320s, f/8, ISO 100

A few hours later and the wife and I took both Labs out to Dr. P. Phillips community park, and their little dog park-within-the-park. When we first arrived, we were the only group in the large dog section, and we spent 45 minutes by ourselves before the next group showed up. Unfortunately, the new group and our Labs got a little too rambunctious, so we put them back on their leads and headed home. The Labs were quite happy, as only Labs can be.

I had both cameras with me, the E-1 with the OM 300mm and the E-3 with the 50-200mm. I'd left them in the car when we took the dogs in, because managing the labs off-lead leaves no time for photography. After leaving the dog park, it was a different situation all together.

My wife and both Labs piled into the Prius and sat there with the air conditioner running while I grabbed both cameras and headed down to the lake to grab some more test shots. I'm still trying to get completely comfortable using the OM 300mm.

The park is next to a protected wetlands area. The way we handle wetlands here in Florida is to build right up next to them, then leave little bits 'natural'. That's exactly what we did here. There's the park and Sand Lake Elementary school, butting up to fragmented wooded area. The rest Big Sand Lake's shores is developments, housing tracts and condominiums.

Test Shot - Lakeside with Grass 2
"Test Shot - Lakeside with Grass"
Olympus E-3 withZuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5
1/500s, f/8, ISO 100

While at the park I decided to swap the lenses on the bodies; the E-3 got the OM 300mm and the E-1 got the 50-200mm zoom. I discovered it's easier to manually focus the 300mm, while the E-1 has a hard time autofocusing the 50-200mm. For the rest of the day the 300mm was on the E-3

Protected Wetlands
"Protected Wetlands"
Olympus E-3 withZuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5
1/500s, f/8, ISO 100

One of the few signs near the lake indicating the status of the wetlands. At least it seems to keep man and dog away from that part of the Big Sand Lake shore. Both my labs always want to hit the lake when they come to visit. After all, they're water dogs.

"Will Call"
Olympus E-3 withZuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5
1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100

The day comes to and end. One more trip, this time to a local Publix for the weekly grocery run. Everywhere I look I see temporary make-shift parking lots for the golf tournament tourists,  and signs like the one above scattered about the area. These lots and will-call areas are spread from the intersection of Apopka/Vineland and Conroy Windermere to Wallace Road, then down Wallace to Universal Studios.

The sign photo above was taken towards late afternoon, hand-held. The shutter speed had dropped well below the 'safe' shutter speed needed for 300mm hand held (the reciprocal of the 300mm focal length), and it shows as a slight blur due to camera shake if you pixel peep.


I've picked up a few new tips using the 300mm. The first is that it's effective focal length is really 600mm. Hand holding either body with the 300mm means picking a shutter speed around 1/500s or faster.

Although I like the 300mm on the E-1, it looks to function better on the E-3. The E-3 has the better viewfinder over the E-1. The E-3's finder is larger and brighter.

The E-1 handles just about every autofocus lens I've mounted on it equally as the E-3, with one notable exception, and that's the 50-200mm lens. Even in bright daylight the 50-200mm hunted like crazy, even at noon in bright sunlight.

I think it's time to put the 300mm aside for a while, and go back to using my regular lenses.


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