California Dreamin’

DSCF1716FUJIFILM X-M1 (50mm, f/10, 1/350 sec, ISO200)

I need to post the images of my USA vacation of 2014. Reason is simple. I will go there again soon and I haven’t even started to post images from my trip in 2015.

Seems I can’t keep up with my traveling. What a luxurious problem! For me the most important thing is to travel. I just love to see places. I would compromise everywhere else first. I can imagine to live in a small flat or to drive an old, small car but to stay at home is not an option for me.

To travel means to learn. Here, in La Jolla, I learned that La Jolla is pronounced La Hoy-a. And a jewel it is: Beautiful beaches, the sea and wildlife.

DSCF1701FUJIFILM X-M1 (50mm, f/10, 1/350 sec, ISO400)
DSCF4250FUJIFILM X-T1 (192.9mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO250)

Wildlife is always exciting and sometimes even funny. Just take a look at the sea lion on the right side in the image above. Looks almost human. But the reason they want to stay out of the water is not to get warmed up by the sun. The real reason is to get away from the sharks.

I was a very passionate bird photographer a couple of years back. It peaked when I got the fantastic Nikkor AF-S 2.8/300 ED mkI in 2004. What a lens! Tack sharp wide open. Even better and sharper than the Canon EF 70-200/2.8 IS II. The best 70-200 zoom money can buy. It seems that I’m a little spoiled when it comes to tele lenses and tele zooms.

So how did it feel to shoot with the Fuji XC 55-230 OIS? Surprisingly good! The first big difference is really welcome: this lens weighs next to nothing! For someone who was used to shoot with heavy pro DSLRs and f2.8 zooms this is a revelation. I felt like tourist which is great thing since I’m a tourist.

DSCF4270FUJIFILM X-T1 (113.8mm, f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO200)
DSCF4289-2FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (18mm, f/9, 1/280 sec, ISO200)
DSCF4296FUJIFILM X-T1 (161.8mm, f/9, 1/340 sec, ISO200)
DSCF4299FUJIFILM X-T1 (171.6mm, f/9, 1/250 sec, ISO400)
DSCF4321FUJIFILM X-T1 (90mm, f/11, 1/250 sec, ISO250)

But of course there is no free lunch. While the image quality is surprisingly good and the lens is rather sharp even on its long end and wide open this is a slow lens. Slow regarding AF and even more so regarding aperture. This is more of a landscape lens but of course it can be used for wildlife if there is plenty of light and no need to track a subject.

The only thing you need to keep in mind is to watch the background. There is no way to throw the background out of focus if your subject is at some distance. It is a compromise but since I now completely switched to Fuji I decided to switch to the XF 55-200 OIS to get at least some subject isolation at f4.8. It is still a compromise compared with the lenses I used before but one I’m willing to make in order to keep the system size and weight down. A trip to Canada or Alaska and I would get the 100-400 to have some real tele zoom to shoot wildlife.

DSCF4367FUJIFILM X-T1 (95.4mm, f/5.4, 1/1000 sec, ISO320)
DSCF4371FUJIFILM X-T1 (107.3mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO640)

What those pictures of the sea lions can’t show is the smell the lies all over the place. You can get very close but you need to have a good stomach. Still: Nothing beats the real thing. You need to be there to get the full experience.

A very busy place but one of the few where animals and people can coexist. And that makes it special.

DSCF4485FUJIFILM X-T1 (84.8mm, f/5.2, 1/4000 sec, ISO400)