Whoa, April and May blew by, and now it's June. Time for some updates.
April included trips to Summit Point and Monongahela National Forest. It was good to break the 1D Mark II out to shoot racing again. I'd lent the camera to my dad to take to Africa, so this was the first time I've really used it since. It didn't miss a beat.
Of course, you don't need a 1D to get shots like the ones below. I was going for a speed/blurring effect on the first shot, which was taken at 1/13 of a second at f/20, ISO 100. It takes several shots to get it right, since no one can track and pan perfectly. When you get it really right though, it's awesome.
Monongahela was also fun, though the Smoke Hole motel we stayed in left much to be desired, especially for the cost. In any case, we visited Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia, as well as Dolly Sods, a tundra-like expanse that bears great resemblance to areas way up in Canada.
May included a trip to Shenandoah National Park. It was a chance to try out the Xpan since I got it back from an aborted repair down in DC. I'm still waiting for the film back on that one, but we also hit up Luray Caverns, which I haven't been to since I was a child. For the caverns, I thought it would be a good chance to shoot wide with the 17-40/4. It hasn't gotten much use since I got the 24-105/4. Unfortunately, I don't think my idea panned out. The pictures you see below are thoroughly cropped, so I probably would have done better to bring a fast 35/2 or something instead. I'm sure there are impressive, wide shots to be had, but the tour group was moving along pretty quickly, so there wasn't a ton of time to try every angle of composition. In the end, most of the wide shots I got were too cluttered. Photographer or not, I do recommend Luray Caverns though.
I also finally took the time to cut all my film from the past couple years with the Xpan. I couldn't let the lab cut them, since the shots are panoramic. I have this recurring vision in my head of a beautiful panoramic shot in E6, sitting on the light table, cut right in half. Painful.
While tedious, cutting film and seeing it on the light table through the loupe is one of the simple joys of photography that I think a lot of people miss out on. I've heard that with a really good loupe, your slides can look so good on the light table that it's enough to make you quit your real job to become a full-time photographer. In other words, the light table and loupe can be dangerously awesome.