One of the challenges of deciding to “visit” all 50 states is defining how much is “enough” to qualify as a visit. As an example, I’ve been in both New Jersey and Texas before, but only saw the inside of the Newark and Dallas airports. That hardly qualifies as a “visit.”
In order to keep this project from taking another 20 years, Kathy & I decided that in order to count a state as visited, we needed to have a representative grouping of photos from that state. It doesn’t mean that we have to (a) hit all of the Chamber of Commerce sites or (b) create a photo essay worthy of National Geographic. It just means that we need to be there long enough to come back with some representative photographs.
I’ll be the first to admit that spending a few hours in a state like Delaware is hardly enough to satisfy either of those above requirements. And while 3 days in New Jersey was plenty, thank you very much, there are states that, out of necessity, we will only get to spend a few hours. We’ll try to keep those to a minimum of course, but that is what we’ve decided.
The other part of the equation is that there will be states where we don’t get to the Big Name places. In Indiana, for example, I’d love to get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But we’re going to find something else, partly because that’s our style, and partly because we need to keep it simple from the standpoint of time and money. As much as I want to go to Glacier National Park, I’ll probably make do with something like Little Bighorn. For now!
So anyway, here is a collection of photos from Delaware. If you are from the Delaware Chamber of Commerce – sorry! Otherwise, enjoy!
The main purpose for our recent visit to the DelMarVa area was to cross Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey off our “states visited” list. While I’m pretty sure I have been in Maryland previously, we hadn’t counted it under the terms of our “50 States” project, so it was time for a do-over. We spent a day traipsing around part of the state, visiting Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Historic Site, Hooper’s Island and Crisfield.
Hooper’s Island had been mentioned to us by a guide at the Blackwater visitor center, and that made for an interesting and unexpected detour. A place – not exactly a town, although they have a Zip code – called Hoopersville sits literally at the end of the world, accessible by a narrow strip of land and an interesting bridge over the Honga River. There wasn’t much going on out there besides some fishing, and it was a very scenic and quiet place
Crisfield we had heard about previously. Self-proclaimed Crab Capital of the World, it is a nice quiet town on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. We had dinner there before calling it a day and heading back for some rest. Because the following day we were to conquer Delaware and head for the Jersey Shore!
Sometimes I rely on my sidekick to find photographs and I just shoot them. This was a scene in a restaurant we visited in Carolina Beach. It was behind me so I probably would not have seen it, but Kathy has a good eye!
Kathy & I are finishing up our time in Carolina Beach, North Carolina before heading up the coast with visits to VA, MD, DE and NJ. This is just a sample of the photos I have found from our visit. More to come!
For our recent visit to Waynesville I rented another camera – the Fuji X-T3. It’s the latest version of my existing camera, the X-T1, and I wanted to see how it compares. It was an interesting experiment, with mixed feelings. The Folkmoot photos from my previous post were taken with that camera, and here are a few more.
All in all, the camera would be a worthy upgrade from the X-T1 if I happened to be in the market. But I’m not. The obvious reason would be cost, because in addition to the camera itself I would need to upgrade my memory cards, buy new batteries (my current batteries fit but have a lower power output so will supposedly not last as long), buy a new L-bracket and eventually – because of the 26MP files vs. my current 16MP – I would need to buy larger hard drives. Sorry, that would cover the cost of a nice vacation!
Another, albeit minor, negative would be the slightly larger size of the X-T3 body. In my opinion the X-T1 borders between just right and a little large (weird to say since my initial impression 4 years ago was that it was tiny compared to the Canon 5D!).
On the positive side, the files were quite nice, although I wasn’t blown away by a huge difference between the newer camera and mine. There is definitely a slight improvement in detail, and I found that with files almost twice as large, zooming in to 50% instead of 100% is far enough. Any closer than 100% just accentuates the flaws, and I don’t need to accentuate them any more, thank you!
The menus are a bit more complex, necessary due to the customization the camera allows. But it wasn’t impossible to figure out, probably because I’m already used to the setup. I liked being able to see blinking highlights in the viewfinder, which I can’t do with my current camera. That’s not a big deal but it is helpful in certain situations. The EVF is nice and bright, and contains all of the information found on the main screen.
One of the things I should have paid more attention to is the ability to set different autofocus parameters based on specific shooting situations. I tried tracking subjects in the parade but found a lot of missed shots because I didn’t have it set up correctly. That’s not something I usually do, so I didn’t think about it until after the fact.
So, no new cameras for me – yet! Although those new Canon point & shoots are due out any time…hmmmm! 😉
Tell just about anyone around here that you’re headed to Asheville, Boone, Blowing Rock or Cherokee, and they know where you’re going and likely have been there themselves. Tell someone you are going to Waynesville, and just about everyone says “where’s Waynesville?” Tell someone you are going to Waynesville for Folkmoot and they just get confused. “Where for what?”
When I was photographing for Our State and WNC magazines I took photographs to accompany articles about small towns in the western part of NC. Waynesville has become our favorite mountain town for a number of years and we keep returning. We’ve become friends with the couple who owns a small motel there, interestingly the same motel where my family used to stay when we visited from Pennsylvania. Waynesville has several restaurants we really like, a coffee roaster that makes my favorite coffee, and is ideally located for access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Every year in July, Waynesville hosts Folkmoot. Webster defines a ‘folkmoot’ as a general assembly of the people (as of a shire) in early England” Folkmoot in Waynesville has traditionally been a two week festival of international friendship and fellowship, highlighted by dance and musical performances. The Folkmoot organization has recently begun to evolve into a year-round cultural center, with programs and events that celebrate diversity, encourage cultural conversation, and preserve and honor worldwide cultural heritages.
We have been to Waynesville during Folkmoot several times in the past but have limited our participation to the Parade of Nations that is held one Saturday. This year we also purchased tickets and attended the opening ceremony, where all of the performers are featured in an indoor (and air-conditioned!) setting. I didn’t photograph there, but we did attend the parade the following day. I think I would like to eventually participate more, but for now we can be glad that we did something we hadn’t done previously.
Here is a small selection of photos from the parade. It is a lot of fun to attend, and I think I captured some photos that represent what it is all about!
Kathy & I are spending some time in Waynesville, NC trying to beat the heat in Charlotte. We’ve driven some curvy mountain roads during our sightseeing. This is a scene I have passed by many evenings without a camera, and decided to take one along last night just to capture a few shots.
I wanted to wrap up my thoughts on this camera for anyone who might be interested. Nothing earth-shaking here. Bottom line: I didn’t buy one and won’t be buying one. Below are a few pros and cons, some of which may repeat my earlier post, and all of them are my opinion only:
Excellent image quality – RAW files processed efficiently in Lightroom using the Adobe camera profiles. The “Auto” function in the Develop Module worked amazingly well. I could be comfortable with the results and seldom feel like I am compromising quality if this were my only camera.
Lightweight and Compact – The camera was very well-constructed and has a certain “heft” to it that speaks of quality, but is very light. I use a thin strap on my Fuji cameras, and it would easily accommodate the Leica. Although the Leica probably deserves a fancy custom leather job…. 😉
Good battery life – this is not fully tested since I made a point of recharging it daily. I only had one battery with the rental so I didn’t want to chance running out.
Size – I don’t have large hands, but it is a small camera and seemed to be a little small for me. I never felt like I was going to drop it, but some of the controls were a little touchy.
Manual zoom & focus – The primary zoom mechanism is a toggle switch that surrounds the shutter button. Many camera have that but I just never feel like it is very precise. In addition, there is a lens ring that can be set up to function as a zoom control. I actually prefer that, except that the zoom ring is right next to the aperture ring and I kept inadvertently changing the aperture!
Menus – people complain about menus on all cameras. This one was fine – I was able to figure out just about anything I needed easily. I think I went to the manual a few times but it was mostly out of curiosity.
The “Only Camera” Question – I could see myself having a camera like this as my travel camera. The photos are good enough that I don’t think I would worry about having the “wrong” camera with me if I left the Fuji at home. The zoom range is a little limiting for me, mostly on the long end as I like to get close to my subjects and frame tightly. That isn’t a big deal and there are plenty of pixels for a little cropping if necessary.
Lens Choice – I’ve gotten used to the ability to put together a kit of lenses for a particular trip. Going out the door with a Fuji body and a single prime lens is a great way for me to simplify and narrow my seeing. Traveling with a lens or two or the whole bag gives me endless choices. That can work both ways, but I’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of making a choice and living with it.
What’s Next? – I have a rental Fuji XT3 coming today for an upcoming trip. I can’t wait to try it out and compare it to my aging XT1. I’m not in the market for a new camera, but with a price point very similar to the Leica, it feels to me like the better option when and if the time comes to upgrade.